Rust in peace: These cars that are not long for this world

Larry Printz
Tribune News Service

The 2020 model year has begun, and along with it come the obituaries of cars that have reached the end of the assembly line. Predictably, given low gas prices and consumer infatuation with SUVs and crossovers, the list is filled mostly with large sedans and economy cars, some beloved.

Here’s a list of the casualties.

The Impala, Chevrolet’s large sedan, is yielding to demand for SUVs and crossovers.

BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, 6 Series Gran Turismo: These ungainly byproducts were neither fish nor fowl, not quite a car, but not an SUV. Not knowing what to make of them, buyers stayed away.

Buick Cascada: Like most Buick sedans, this tarted-up Opel, an already old design when introduced stateside, lacked the sizzle required of a droptop. Poor sales and GM’s sale of Opel ensured its eventual demise.

Buick LaCrosse: As traditional Buick buyers die off, so do the products they prefer. Buyers infatuated with SUVs snubbed this beautifully modern traditional full-size sedan. What a pity.

Cadillac XTS: Given its hunchback shape, the XTS was never a convincing interpretation of a traditional Cadillac. This front-wheel drive sedan’s mission is better filled by the newer rear-wheel drive CT6.

Chevrolet Cruze: Its popularity has diminished, as the Trax, Sonic and Spark show that practical hatchbacks are the economy cars of choice in the 21st century, not compact sedans.

Chevrolet Impala: Like its siblings, the Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet’s last traditional large sedan, and a truly wonderful one, bites the dust in favor of SUVs and crossovers.

Chevrolet Volt: Revolutionary when introduced at the 2007 Detroit auto show, the first plug-in hybrid car disappears, a victim of GM’s pathetically lackluster marketing efforts.

Fiat 500/500e: Despite cornering the market on cuteness, the retro-styled Cinquecento dies, the victim of a lack of change, dependability woes and a buying public no longer interested in tiny, fuel-sipping cars.

Ford Fiesta: Low fuel prices have killed demand for the fun-loving Fiesta, despite its handling chops.

Ford Taurus: Large on the outside, small on the inside, the nameplate that revolutionized American car design in the 1980s succumbs to years of penny pinching, bad design and inept marketing.

Infiniti QX30: Developed in partnership with Mercedes-Benz, and derived from their GLA-class, the stylish U.K.-built QX30 is being axed as Infiniti exits the Western European market.

Nissan 370Z Roadster: While the coupe survives, Nissan has killed the convertible. Will anyone notice?

Smart ForTwo: Never very fuel efficient despite its Lilliputian size, this two-seat hatchback’s raison d’etre no longer exists thanks to low fuel prices and consumers’ distaste for economy cars, particularly second-rate ones.

Toyota Prius C: Toyota’s smallest, cheapest hybrid, based on the previous-generation Yaris platform, is being replaced by the larger, better looking Toyota Corolla Hybrid, which also yields better fuel economy.

Volkswagen Beetle: Having long lost its fashionable cache, it’s time to bid farewell to the modern Beetle, which never proved as popular as the original people’s car introduced by Adolf Hitler.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen/Alltrack: It seemed like a good idea: offer a cargo-friendly alternative to the ubiquitous SUV. Sadly, consumer herd mentality prevented buyers from considering it.