Quick! Which passenger vehicles sold in the United States were discontinued before the calendar flipped to 2012? Quite a few models, actually. Each of America’s three major manufacturers discontinued one or more models, but several foreign companies dropped one or more models too.
Why the demise? For numerous reasons including slow sales, outdated designs or replacement by a new model. We’ve pulled together a list of vehicles that were last produced in 2011 and likely won’t ever be seen again new:
Cadillac — GM killed off several large sedans last summer including the Buick Lucerne and two Cadillac models: the DTS and STS. The Lucerne will not be replaced. The DTS and STS are being replaced this year by the XTS, a large front- or all-wheel-drive sedan.
Chevrolet — So long, HHR! This heritage high roof model was developed to compete with the Chrysler PT Cruiser. Riding on the extinct Cobalt platform, the HHR’s time was limited. Good thing too: the PT Cruiser was ended last year, making the HHR a true anomaly on the market.
Dodge — Three Dodge models were axed, with only one expected to be replaced. The Dodge Nitro, a compact SUV based on the Jeep Liberty was terminated. The Dodge Dakota, a small pickup truck that first was sold in the late 1980s was discontinued. The compact Dodge Caliber, a product of the DaimlerChrysler debacle, saw its end after a 6-year model run. Only the Caliber will be replaced with the 2013 Dodge Dart coming to the market this year.
Ford — Police car fleets are dominated by the Ford Crown Victoria, but even that car has seen its end. First introduced three decades ago, the “Crown Vic” received only minor updates over the years. The new police car of choice is either the Ford Taurus sedan or Ford Explorer crossover SUV. Also discontinued: the Ford Ranger, a compact pickup truck that may someday reappear if Ford decides to introduced its replacement now on sale in many global markets.
Honda — Honda sells some of the longest running model names on the market including the Civic and Accord dating back to the 1970s. Alas, its boxy Element has been deep-sixed, a utility vehicle that was popular with dog owners and yard sale fans. The Pilot, Ridgeline and Odyssey will take over those responsibilities.
Mazda — Mazda may yet bring back a rotary-powered car, but with the RX-8 being canceled, the technology it embraced so strongly 40 years ago won’t be available in North America. Its Mazda Tribute small crossover has been ended too, but its replacement, the CX-5 is already waiting in the wings.
Mitsubishi — We’ve seen countless Mitsubishi products sold since the 1970s, first as filler products for Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler line ups, then as its own brand. The Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe and convertible is now dead as is its big, bulky and dated Endeavor SUV. Surprisingly, the dated Galant sedan soldiers on, but we know that a replacement for this aged vehicle will eventually arrive.
Saab — Three Saab models have come to an end because Saab no longer exists as of Dec. 19, 2011. The company is bankrupt, facing liquidation, but as of this writing you can still find new 9-3, 9-4X and 9-5 models looking for a home. Saab may one day reemerge, but for now this Swedish brand and is model line is gone.
Should you buy an orphaned model? If you’re looking for a good deal, go ahead and consider one from a viable manufacturer. Otherwise, steer clear of Saab and be mindful that the vehicle you buy isn’t quite worth anywhere near its pre-discounted sticker price.