Fall means the end of the year for automakers, and not all the vehicles get to live through 2020.
Most of the canceled models are smaller cars as the demand continues to shift to crossovers (remember, Ford is shifting almost exclusively in that direction.)
It’s good to know which ones have been chopped because some might mean extra discounts, and others are just rarities that you might want to check out before they’re gone.
Here are five noteworthy vehicles that will not be around to finish 2020.
BMW i8 — There’s a limited market for an expensive plug-in hybrid sports car. BMW isn’t saying that there are any examples languishing on dealer lots, but supply is likely getting close to meeting demand.
Also, the problem with a high-technology machine is that after five years on the market, its space-age features start to appear on more conventional vehicles.
So, BMW is pulling the plug in the spring of 2020, but there may be a new version in a few years that re-sets the hi-tech bar.
Buick Cascada — It’s never fun to say goodbye to a convertible in Florida.
The Cascada has done good job of contributing to the refreshed image of Buick by looking sporty and offering some nice color combinations. The interior has a premium look and a feel of quality. There’s even room for people in the back seat.
The only problem is it has been a while since the market has demanded a non-sports car mid-manager convertible.
It also doesn’t help that since this was really built by Opel in Europe, it was saddled with a small motor. A 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is a little anemic on this side of the Atlantic.
Chevrolet Cruze — The Cruze was once one of Chevrolet’s most significant cars. It provided the mainstream platform for Chevy to introduce the Volt (which is also being discontinued in 2020.)
The current model is a well-executed sedan. The only problem is that the world is turning to crossovers, and so the Cruze isn’t the high-volume seller Chevrolet needs.
Fiat 500 — It looks like we will be saying “arrivederci” to the small Fiat in 2020.
It may seem odd that the little car is bowing out of the USA only about nine years after re-launching the Italian brand.
The problem is size and volume. Fiat needs to sell a lot of the low-price 500 model for it to be profitable. Initially that was fine as people enjoyed the novelty of it.
But once those customers were satisfied, it’s just competing with the rest of the economy car field. Being cute doesn’t make up for lacking interior space and functionality, and sales have been sliding for the last few years.
This cancelation might have a large ripple effect. Many Chrysler/Dodge dealers in the FCA family were told to build independent buildings to house Fiat.
There will still be smaller volume models on sale like the 500L, 500X, 124 convertible, and some also have Alfa Romeo vehicles.
Still, these freestanding dealers are going to want a mainstream model to keep the lights on, and that means either a replacement car or a new master plan.
Smart Fortwo — The Fortwo compact was a novel idea but one that just doesn’t quite work. Smart was down to only selling electric versions of this city car, and the battery range was far below what other all-electric cars get.
So, it was only appealing to customers who specifically needed an extra small vehicle that didn’t have to go too far. The best we could figure was that it was for the people who understood that a neighborhood golf cart was not safe for the streets. That’s quite a narrow market.
The Smart cars will continue to be sold in other parts of the world, but since the electric Fortwo was the only model in the lineup in the U.S., this ends Smart’s flirtation with the USA. ¦