Toronto, Ontario — As the decade comes to a close, OEMs are reevaluating the future of the automotive sales market. With countless new models hitting the roads every year, automakers are forced to kick some beloved makes to the curb to make room for new ones.
In 2019, several fan-favourite vehicles met their timely demise. The last of Volkswagen’s iconic Beetles rolled off the assembly line in July; while Ford will end production of its boxy SUV, the Ford Flex, in the new year, eradicating hundreds of jobs from the automaker’s Oakville, Ont. assembly plant.
Take a look at some of the timeless models meeting their demise in 2019:
Buick Regal (1973-2020)
The Buick Regal will not survive beyond the 2020 model year; and, once they’re gone, Buick will be left selling nothing but crossovers. When the last Regal is sold, Buick will end its continuous production of cars—something the company began in 1908.
Buick LaCrosse (2005-2019)
While the Buick LaCrosse lives on in some markets—like China—the large sedan will be disappearing from the North American market after 15 years. The model even received a facelift for 2019, but, alas, it joins the aforementioned Regal in General Motors’ growing car graveyard.
Chevrolet Cruze (2011-2019)
The Chevrolet Cruze once rivalled reigning sales champs like the Honda Civic, but, alongside the arrival of more crossovers and SUVS, the company decided to end Cruze production in March 2019.
Chevrolet Volt (2011-2019)
At the time of its 2010 launch, the Chevy Volt was one of the first hybrids of its type. It saw strong sales in the first few years of production, but a second-generation refresh in 2016 prompted declining sales, so Chevy pulled its plug.
Ford Fiesta (1978-2019)
The Fiesta remains one of Ford’s best-sellers worldwide. The first generation Fiesta appeared in Europe in 1976 and crossed the ocean two years later, arriving on the North American market in 1978. Ford withdrew the model in 1980 but brought it back to North America in 2011. Perhaps it will resurface again in another 20 years?
Ford Focus (1998-2019)
Ford exterminated its entire car lineup in one fell swoop—save for the Mustang, of course. Four- and five-door Focuses will still be sold, but only in Europe. Original reports suggested that Ford may keep a rugged car model active in North America, but the company ultimately decided against it.
Ford Flex (2009-2019)
The Ford Flex was the biggest boxcar of them all—literally. Ford’s boxy SUV has accumulated something of a cult following since its 2008 debut. The automaker sold about 27,000 Flex models each year, accumulating to more than 296,000 units sold. Ford, however, said that Flex’s sales “never met brand expectations.”
The Flex’s discontinuation will lead to 450 layoffs at Ford’s Oakville assembly plant.
Ford Taurus (1986-2019)
After five generations and more than 30 years on the market, the Taurus is getting the boot. A steady four-year decline is being blamed for the model’s demise.
VW Beetle (1938-2019)
You can likely recall the mania that accompanied the introduction of the front-engine, built-in-Mexico Beetle back in 1997. In 1999, Volkswagen sold 83,434 Bugs alone. But the novelty wore out and the introduction of the second-generation Beetle in 2012 did not change the model’s trajectory.
Only 14,411 were sold in 2018 and, in July, the last Bug rolled off the assembly line with a five-piece mariachi band trumpeting behind it. Volkswagen de Mexico chief executive Steffen Reiche was “nearly overcome with grief.”
Smart ForTwo (1998-2019)
The last SmartCar model in North America will disappear after the 2019 model year. Daimler ended the sales of gasoline-fueled Smart cars in 2017, and Canadian sales of the mini model fell 6.3 percent, seeling just 345 units in 2018 after the car went full electric. With just 93 kilometres of driving range—compared to EVs like the Tesla Model 3, which boasts an estimated range of 523 kilometres and far more passenger and cargo space—the model saw U.S. sales drop 58 percent in 2018.