20 Cars That Will Die In Detroit

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Every time I went to a new car launch at the Detroit Auto Show, this is what I saw before me.

Now don’t get me wrong. In this line of work you are sometimes better off not seeing the faces of all of those money-sees, monkey-dos, who are doing the same thing as you. However the brutal truth of today is that there are plenty of sites (like TTAC and Jalopnik) that are offering up a healthy dose of new car coverage. 

So that means I got to  hit em’ where they ain’t. And this is most certainly where they ain’t.

Now where should I start?

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Thank God for Smart!

Let’s go ahead and count them out.

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1…2…3…4…5…6…7..

The Smart cars have become the decontented pre-bankruptcy equivalent of a Chrysler PT Cruiser. A car that should have been kicked to the curb way back in the day when a Hummer made you think of an SUV, and Mercedes was tranforming that other Chrysler product into a one way stop for rental car companies.

It fails as an electric. It fails as a car share vehicle. It fails with premium gas. It fails with under-engineered transmissions, and most importantly, it fails because when it comes to commuter cars,  four seats are better than two.

So who is next?

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This thing. I think they still call it a Crosstour. All I know is when a manufacturer starts to advertise other services on the windshield of a vehicle, that model has been marked for death.

So what was next. An Insight? A CR-Z?

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They weren’t around, but this Taurus SHO is still trying mightily to push up the daisies. 4000 pounds plus of heft and the interior room of a subcompact in a full-sized car are keeping this car in a final coma state. The other Fords? They are all far more likable when it comes to real world ownership.  Even this one.

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The Ford Flex has many great qualities. A design that is reminiscent of the classic Volvo 240 when it comes to boxiness. A wonderful interior that is worthy of a road warrior’s consideration, and enough of a side profile to advertise the wares of a small business.

Nobody is buying it. After years of front fascia face lifts, the Flex is still stuck at 25,000 units a year. A far cry from the 100,000 potential sales Ford sought for it way back in 09′.

Two Ford models may be trimmed… maybe not. Then there is Lincoln…

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The Navigator is one of those models that you would think have joined such great names as Zephyr and Versailles. Lo and behold, the Oldsmobile of SUVs has remained flat at 8000 units for 5 straight years. That guy dusting it? He was the only one in the corner of the Lincoln booth.

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The Lincoln MKT has the dubious honor of being the only car sold by Ford that has yet to reach the 10,000 unit sales mark. This SUV/CUV/clusterscrew of a crossover is repulsive in person. A vehicular version of a carnival side show. Ford meant well, but this vehicle is just a damn mess when it comes to design. 

The next door Volvo display at the NAIAS is devoid of unmarketable wares. Every vehicle is new and genuinely interesting, albeit expensive. Mazda almost made the bar as well, if it weren’t for that filler vehicle in the back.

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The CX-9 just so happens to be hit with a double whammy. Low sales and low reliability. Now that there are plenty of alternatives in the three-row crossover segment, the CX-9 is likely going to be headed to the same resting place as the CX-7.

And now for a pleasant intermission.

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That was nice. So nice, it deserves an encore.

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No, not the Renault type. Speaking of which, take a look at this weird little thing below.

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Keep? Kill? Klingon? Anything is possible. I just hope GM gets rid of the color.

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Now this is a true alien species. Lexus LS460 Sport. The oxymoron that is the Lexus LS and sport is combined with a front grille that makes Doug DeMuro’s recent rant about corporate grilles a must read.  The LS has a remarkable pre-Y2K history when it came to luxury.  Somehow I just don’t see this version living up to the past pedigree.  Not with that face.

Jeep offered two cars in drag affordable compact SUV’s at the auto show.

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The Jeep Patriot

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And the Jeep Compass.

Sales are propped up in the 50k range for both vehicles. To be honest, I would be rooting for the demise of both and the restoration of what was the classic Jeep Cherokee.

But then there’s this…

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If the Lexus grille resembles an insane angry alien, then the Fiat 500L is the Jar Jar Binks of the car world. Not even a slew of surfware and orange paint will save this model from a one gen demise.

The Toyota display is right behind the Fiat line at the auto show. Toyota tends to favor their heavy sales hitters for auto shows. Scion, doesn’t have anything other than the FR-S.

The iQ

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The xB

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and the xD

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All three will like go the way of the xA. There is way too much ugly in these three cars to bring them back from the sales version of rigor mortis.

Kia, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, VW, Jaguar, and Land Rover all had their big sellers. Or in the case of Jaguar, big seller. This left four more vehicles to finish off the twenty.

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The BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo. A great name with too much of a bangle butt…  and then I found one more of these behind the Smart curtain.

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That makes an even 20. If only Mitsubishi had shown up at the show, this entire exercise would have been a whole lot easier.

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