2018 is coming to a close and the automotive world will likely remember it as the beginning of the end for the American sedan.
Things kicked off in April when Ford announced plans to eliminate all sedans in North America in order to focus on trucks and crossovers. The so-called ‘Blue Oval Bloodbath’ effectively meant cars not named Mustang were being put out to pasture.
More recently, General Motors piled on the bad news by announcing plans to kill an assortment of sedans in North America. These include everything from the luxurious Cadillac CT6 to the popular Chevrolet Cruze.
USA Today recently compiled a list of some of the models that got the axe this year and we’ve decided to expand on it to include some of the models that got an unceremonious death or a date with the undertaker.
Ford introduced the 2019 Fusion at the New York Auto Show and it featured an updated design and a newly standard Co-Pilot 360 suite of driver assistance systems. Despite the updates and relatively strong sales of 209,623 units in the United States last year, the Fusion is headed for the automotive afterlife.
The all-new Ford Focus is raking up awards in Europe and we came away pretty impressed when we drove the car last month. Unfortunately, Americans won’t have a chance to get behind the wheel as Ford has decided to drop the Focus on this side of the Atlantic.
Ford Focus Active
Prepares the shortest lived model on the list, the Focus Active was confirmed for North America as a consolation prize for the death of American-made sedans. Those plans were short lived as Ford reversed course this summer thanks to the trade war between China and the United States.
While the Focus Active was somewhat interesting, the same can’t be said about the Taurus. Large, bland and boring, the Taurus is well past its prime and is largely forgettable.
Even the once interesting Taurus SHO is an afterthought as the similarly priced Dodge Charger SRT 392 features rear-wheel drive and a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine that develops 485 hp (361 kW / 491 PS) and 475 lb-ft (643 Nm) of torque. To put those numbers into perspective, the Charger has 120 hp (89 kW / 121 PS) and 125 lb-ft (169 Nm) of torque more than SHO.
Speaking of bland Fords, the C-Max was envisioned a Toyota Prius competitor but it was largely met with a shrug from consumers. Sales hovered at around 20,000 units annually in the United States, a mere fraction of annual Prius sales.
Switching gears to General Motors, the Buick LaCrosse will go out of production next year. Large sedans have fallen out of favor with American consumers and LaCrosse sales have consistently fallen since 2014. Last year, the automaker only sold 20,161 units in the United States.
The XTS is a holdover from Cadillac’s days as a purveyor of large, front-wheel drive luxury sedans. Despite its old school nature, the model is still relatively popular with consumers as buyers snapped up 16,275 units last year. However, the XTS isn’t long for this world as production will end late next year.
The CT6 is Cadillac’s flagship sedan and it received a facelift and a high-performance V variant for 2019. Both will be short lived as North American production will end on June 1st. This is a sad fate as the CT6 V features a twin-turbo 4.2-liter V8 that develops an estimated 550 hp (410 kW / 557 PS) and 627 lb-ft (850 Nm) of torque.
It’s easy to forget the ATS sedan was axed earlier this year, but it won’t share the same fate as the CT6 and XTS. While those models are gone for good, the ATS will effectively be replaced by an all-new CT3 / CT4.
The Cruze wasn’t the best compact sedan on the market, but it was competent and recently given a facelift for 2019. Despite the update and respectable sales figures, the model will be phased out on March 1st.
Like the Buick LaCrosse and Ford Taurus, the Chevrolet Impala is a large sedan that has seen dwindling sales in the past few years. While Chevrolet sold over 172,000 Impalas in 2010, that number dropped to 75,877 units last year.
The Volt helped to usher in GM’s electrification push, but it was only a modest sales success. Sales peaked at 24,739 units in 2016 and have largely hovered around the 20,000 unit mark. Those numbers aren’t great and the Volt been overshadowed by the Bolt in recent years.
The Volkswagen Beetle is an icon and the company said goodbye earlier this year when it introduced the Final Edition at the Los Angeles Auto Show. However, it could be revived in the near future as Volkswagen is reporting working an electric five-door hatchback which will incorporate a number of Beetle styling cues.
Hyundai announced plans to drop the Azera in 2017 and it’s easy to forget the model was never offered this year. Despite being large, luxurious and competitively priced, the Azera was never a hit and US buyers only snapped up 3,060 units last year.
While sedans make up a bulk of this list, Americans also said goodbye to a couple of crossovers. The Juke was kicked to the curb by the all-new Kicks and some people may mourn its death as the company’s replacement is front-wheel drive only.
Like the Juke, the Volkswagen Touareg was getting long in tooth. However, Volkswagen introduced a redesigned model overseas and decided not to offer it stateside. This is a bit disappointing as the 2019 Touareg is larger and more luxurious than its predecessor. However, the model is a premium product which makes it tough sell in America where it has to compete with the more affordable Atlas.
Those are just some of the models that got the kiss of death this year and there are a handful of others that aren’t returning for 2019. Among them are the Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe, Chevrolet City Express and Infiniti Q70 Hybrid.