On the crowded North American market, car manufacturers often struggle to find the buyers for their models. Sometimes, the reasons are pretty obvious, as the product simply isn’t attractive enough, or its build quality is subpar. However, there are numerous incomprehensible factors that lead to poor sales of good, fun, well-designed and competitively priced cars. Browsing through all segments and sales figures in the first quarter of 2017, we’ve arranged a selection of great cars that aren’t doing so great despite obvious qualities. So, here are 20 best cars nobody is buying in the United States.
1 Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta saw a 20% increase compared to the Q1 of 2016, but with around 13,000 cars sold it still falls short compared to Nissan Versa and KIA Soul which lead the segment with more than 30,000 and 25,000 sold examples. The reason for Fiesta’s bump in sales are Ford’s deals for the leaving sixth generation model. However, when the new Fiesta arrives to the showrooms in mid-2017, the sales figures are expected to decline again. So, if you are looking for a good deal, and you want a reliable small car, catch the sixth generation Fiesta while you still can, and you’ll even save some money in the process.
2 Chevrolet SS
A proper American power sedan was a product that always managed to attract buyers who are into something more than just family transport. However, Chevrolet SS didn’t find its way to the buyers, despite being a 415 horsepower, 6.2L V8-powered modern muscle car for a family of four. The sales figures almost doubled in the first quarter of 2017, but that’s mostly due to the fact that enthusiasts realized that this soon-to-be discounted model is actually a pretty great deal. Despite the significant surge in sales, the SS was sold in just a bit more than 1,500 examples. To put that number in the right context, the best-selling Dodge Charger sold in over 22,000 examples during the first three months of 2017.
3 Mazda Miata
Mazda Miata is a quintessential car for driving enthusiasts, which is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to new car sales. Despite being the best-selling roadster of all time, the Miata isn’t doing that good in the United States. To be fair, there are numerous factors to contribute to Miata’s poor sales, and one of those is that its key audience simply gravitates towards buying and modifying older Miatas, which is both cheaper and more enthusiast-like thing to do. The fact that the Miata sold in tens of thousands between 1989 and 2008 isn’t helping either, and the new Miata has sold in just 3,382 examples in the first quarter of 2017.
4 Fiat 500X
The Fiat 500L failed for a reason, but apart from bad image Fiat has in the States, we can’t see why the Fiat 500X isn’t doing any better at the moment. This subcompact SUV sold in less than 2,000 examples in 2017, which is a 50% decline compared to 2016. Ironically, the sales leader in the segment is Jeep Renegade, a car that has the same platform and most mechanical components as the poor-selling 500X. The reason for such a big sales gap is perhaps the fact that the Renegade starts at $17,995, while the 500X has a starting price of $20,000, and Americans simply don’t see Fiat as a premium brand.
5 Volvo XC90
Even the established brands with a long and trustworthy presence on the American market struggle with selling their products, and one of the best examples is the Volvo XC90 which fell 50% compared to 2016. This premium SUV fails to compete against the likes of Lexus RX, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE, despite being a well-built car with good equipment, state of the art safety and a competitive price. The XC90 sold in just over 4,500 examples, which is nothing compared to the RX which sold in more than 21,000 copies, or even the X5 with 12,000. To add to the decline, the XC90 had pretty decent 2016 sale figures with 35,417 sold examples, the best score since the model’s introduction in 2002.
6 Ford Flex
Sometimes, even a cool looking, practical and competitively priced American SUV fails to get the recognition it deserves, and such is the case with the Ford Flex. The Flex sold in a bit more than 6,000 examples, which is ten times less than segment leader Ford Explorer which sold in 62,000 examples. But, the Explorer is not the only Ford which outsold the Flex multiple times, as the Ford Edge sold in almost 32,000 copies. That’s fairly understandable, considering the fact that the Explorer and Edge appeal to a much wider audience as they have a rather classic design, unlike the bold Flex.
7 Cadillac ATS
Despite being one of the coolest-looking premium mid-size sedans on the market, the Cadillac ATS struggles to outsell even some less-established models like the Lincoln MKZ, not to mention segment leaders from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Infiniti. The ATS sold in just around 3,350 copies in the first quarter of 2017, way less than 20,000 examples of the Mercedes-Benz C Class sold during the same period. Regardless of poor sales, Cadillac ATS offers quite a lot in terms of driving dynamics, equipment, and quality, proving to be a great car overall.
8 Mazda 6
With beauty, quality, great driving dynamics and price on its side, it’s strange how the Mazda 6 failed to attract more customers. This mid-sized sedan recorded a 4% increase in sales over the 2016 Q1, but it still falls behind other Japanese sedans like the best-selling Camry, Nissan Altima and Honda Accord. Mazda 6 sold in a bit less than 10,700 examples, but when we put numbers into perspective, we can see that it’s nothing compared to 83,460 sold copies of the Camry. It is a shame Mazda can’t reach more customers as it’s a fresh breath of beauty in a class dominated by dull emotionless cars.
9 Lexus GS
With a 58% decrease in sales figures compared to Q1 2016, Lexus GS sold in just 1,695 copies in Q1 of 2017. The market segment is dominated by Mercedes-Benz E-Class with 11,900 sold copies, while BMW 5 Series tries to follow, but falls behind with 6,650 and a 32% decrease over 2016 numbers. It’s strange how Lexus can’t reach broader audience in this segment, as it’s an already established brand, and the GS is by all means a fantastic car. What’s particularly strange is that the newly introduced Genesis G80 managed to outsell the GS too, and that has to be a warning sign for the Japanese brand.
10 Porsche Cayman
Okay, so the Porsche Cayman is really a car that’s not intended to be sold in tens of thousands examples in a month, but it still baffling how such a formidable contender doesn’t get the love it deserves. First of all, the Cayman provides all merits of owning a Porsche for less money than the 911, and next, it offers superb driving quality. However, buyers from this segment often opt for either cheaper Mercedes-Benz or more expensive exotic offerings, so the Cayman does nothing more than to fill the gap. To put it into numbers, Porsche sold little less than 600 Caymans in the first quarter of 2017, which is a 28% decrease compared to 2016.
11 Mini Cooper
As a premium car in the segment, Mini Cooper started losing ground compared to other cheaper offerings. To add to that, the introduction of the Clubman also had a negative impact on its sales figures, so the Cooper fell 16% compared to 2016 Q1. Considering the segment, the Mini Cooper has its limits, but it’s still a fantastic little car that can offer great build quality and smile-inducing driving dynamics, especially in upmarket versions.
12 Mazda CX-9
Compared to 2016, Mazda CX-9 sale figures surged almost fivefold, but that is still a far cry compared to sales leaders that are coming from Ford, Jeep and Toyota. The CX-9 sold in a bit less than 6,300 examples, which is almost marginal compared to around 62,000 sold examples of the Ford Explorer, or 56,600 Jeep Cherokees. However, we strongly believe that the CX-9 will eventually catch up and find a way to its intended customers, as it offers great sporty drivability, beautiful design and a fairly good list of optional extras, all at a very competitive price.
13 Volkswagen Touareg
The 2015 Dieselgate scandal had a huge impact on Volkswagen’s sales in the US, but it’s still amazing how a car that was so well-received when it was unveiled in 2003 and that still has a lot to offer despite the bad press could reach such catastrophic sale figures in 2017. On a steady decline since 2012 when it sold in 10,553 examples, the Touareg has reached shameful sub-1,000 sale figures in the first quarter of 2017. To make matters worse, the Volkswagen Touareg comes from the company that holds numerous records for best-selling models. Will the Touareg survive this crisis? We’ll see by the end of the year, but we seriously doubt it.
14 BMW i3
When it comes to hybrid power, BMW has a strong contender in the class, but the i3 just can’t reach the buyers with just 468 sold copies. The sales numbers are increasing though, and the i3 has a 48% increase compared to 2016, but that won’t be enough for it to be considered a good seller. The main reasons behind such sales numbers are probably its design and price, but despite that, this BMW can offer great driving dynamics and build quality to match.
15 Buick Regal
The Buick Regal is essentially a rebadged Opel Insignia, European Car of The Year award winner for 2009. But, as we’ve all witnessed many times, what works for Europe usually doesn’t for the United States, and that’s exactly what happened in case of the Regal. With 3,308 sold copies, the Buick Regal is one of the worst selling cars in the class, and it also has a 48% decrease compared to 2016 Q1. The Regal is even outsold by the Chrysler 200, despite the fact that its sales figures fell even more – 63%. It’s all really such a shame because the Regal is one of the better sedans in its segment and price range.
16 Volkswagen Passat
Aftermath of the Dieselgate scandal have also reflected on the Volkswagen Passat, a car which gained 30% better sales than in Q1 2016, but still lost its place in the segment. In Q1 2017, the Passat sold in around 18,270 examples, which sounds great when you forget that it sold in more than 300.000 copies between 2012 and 2014. At the moment, the Volkswagen Passat is a car that a lot less people choose to buy, but a return is expected in the next couple of years.
17 BMW 2 Series
This RWD compact is one of the most fun cars to drive around the United States, and its build quality and options are nothing short of our expectations of BMW. However, its sales figures decreased 34% compared to the first quarter of 2016, and in Q1 2017, the 2 Series sold in just 2,250 examples. Audi still leads the segment with its A3, but the compact BMW has a lot more to offer in terms of joy of driving, which is evidently not on many people’s list of priorities. So, if you’re searching for a compact car that will bring a smile on your face, look away from the A3 and go with the Beemer.
18 Cadillac CTS
Cadillac has really been struggling in recent years, despite offering great premium cars in various segments. Seems like the market has lost its desire for the CTS, as the sales figures fell 37% compared to 2016, and the car sold in just a bit less than 2,490 copies. Even worse for the CTS, its direct competitor Lincoln Continental outsold it, as well as XTS, another similar offering from Cadillac. Despite all of that, the CTS is still a great car that’s worthy of your attention as it’s a great American luxury sedan.
19 Lexus IS
Once a good seller, the Lexus IS now shows grim sales figures in the first quarter of 2017. In general, Lexus sales figures have taken a bad turn when it comes to sedans, and the IS is no exception with 5,700 sold examples and a 35% decrease over 2016 numbers. Lexus really needs to find a way to get to the customers, because their sedans are on par with the German competition in every aspect except for sales numbers.
20 KIA Sedona
We’ll end the list with a car which falls under the dying minivan segment. The KIA Sedona is quite an amazing vehicle which has to offer various creature comforts, decent driving dynamics considering the class and top-notch safety for the whole family. However, the Sedona is losing the battle against the SUVs, as well as other minivans such as Dodge Grand Caravan. The Sedona sold in just a bit more than 6,400 examples, and it also had a 37% decline in sales figures, the biggest fall in the class.