COVID-19 dealt a serious blow to the U.S. auto industry last year. Americans bought 14.7 million vehicles in 2020, the fewest in a decade and a 16% decline from the previous year. The pandemic, however, was likely not entirely to blame for the decline. U.S. auto sales have declined in two of the previous three years, after seven straight years of growth.
The decline in sales in 2020 was led by steep drops in sales of certain car models as American drivers continued to shift to crossovers and SUVs from sedans and compacts. Almost all of the slowest selling cars today are in one of those two categories.
To determine the cars disappearing the fastest, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed information from auto sales data company GoodCarBadCar, which sources data directly from manufacturers, on the vehicles that had the largest percentage sales decline from 2015 to 2020. We excluded vehicles that reported fewer than 1,000 sales in the U.S. in 2020. Sales of dozens of vehicles were down by more than 50% in the last five years, with a handful falling by more than 80%.
A decline in sales for a particular vehicle does not necessarily mean Americans have lost interest in it. In some cases, 2020 was the last year of the current generation of a model, and buyers loyal to the brand were waiting for the new generation. In many cases, sales of the vehicles on this list declined because the model has been discontinued.
In a few cases, a model is discontinued because the automaker plans to release a more modern vehicle in the same class, but usually cars are discontinued because people have lost interest in the model.
Many of the vehicles on this list are being slowly phased out after failing to catch on with American car buyers, likely due in part to poor reviews. In fact, two of the cars on this list were among the worst-reviewed in recent memory. These are some of the worst cars introduced in the last 10 years.