Ranked

Ranked: 15 worst-selling new vehicles in the U.S. in 2019

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class, which has been discontinued in the U.S., is one of 2019's worse-selling models.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Some cars, like the Toyota Camry and Honda CR-V, sell well. It seems like you see them everywhere. Occasionally, on dealer lots you'll see a leftover model from the previous year waiting to be sold, but it's likely to be snatched up quickly. The vehicles on this list are the opposite.

Most of these models are the equivalent of the leftovers you forgot about in the back of the fridge for months after Thanksgiving. The majority of them aren't even made anymore. A few are handmade specialty models, and for that, their lack of sales can be forgiven.

One thing you will notice; super luxury models aren't on the list. Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Rolls-Royces, among others, get a pass because of their scarcity.

Smart ForTwo (605 sold)

2016 Smart Fortwo

Photo courtesy of Smart

If you visit the Smart website, the first thing you'll see is a message saying, "smart cars are no longer sold in the US." Sure, "no longer," but they were sold up until September when the arm of Mercedes-Benz finally pulled out of the U.S. market.

Kia K900 (390 sold)

2020 Kia K900

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia not only still makes the K900, it's just been through a generational redesign. The model gets high marks from reviewers but it's never really caught on here in the U.S. It is more popular in Kia's native Korea.

Ford C-Max (213 sold)

2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford sold 213 new C-Maxes in 2019, through the third quarter. The hybrid and plug-in hybrid model was in production through the 2019 model year so it's understandable that there's a few still left on lots.

Alfa Romeo 4C (144 sold)

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The Alfa Romeo 4C coupe is one of the few models on this list still in production. Though Alfa doesn't produce or sell many of the cars, they're considered one of the more fun vehicles you can get behind the wheel of. That assessment doesn't take into account their aging infotainment system, shoddy interior, and harsh ride.

Volkswagen CC (58 sold)

2017 Volkswagen CC

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Volkswagen CC ceased production in 2017. The so-called "comfort coupe", which is actually a sedan, never really gained momentum with U.S. customers, something its replacement, the Arteon, is also experiencing.

Chrysler 200 (48 sold)

2016 Chrysler 200

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The Chrysler 200 fell out of favor at FCA right around the same time as the Dodge Dart. Despite this, 48 people still bought the model in 2019.

Jeep Patriot (27 sold)

2017 Jeep Patriot

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

In the words of Led Zeppelin, "I just can't quit you baby." Despite the new Jeep Compass and upgraded Jeep Renegade being suitable alternatives to the Patriot, 27 buyers still purchased the Patriot in 2019. That's down from the 621 FCA sold last year.

Dodge Dart (15 sold)

2016 Dodge Dart

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

In September 2016, production of the Dodge Dart ended. And yet, despite no new ones being made in three years, 15 new Darts were sold to customers. In 2014, Fiat Chrysler's then-CEO Sergio Marchionne said that Dart customers who wanted a hatchback could be served by the Jeep Renegade or the Fiat 500X, two models that remain on U.S. lots today.

Nissan Juke (11 sold)

2015 Nissan Juke

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

There are Juke enthusiasts spread throughout the U.S. who actively take to Twitter to lament that the latest Juke generation has yet to make its way to the U.S. They may be the ones who bought the 11 new Jukes sold in the U.S. this year. In 2018, Nissan sold 713 of the SUVs to U.S. buyers.

Toyota Venza (9 sold)

2016 Toyota Venza

Photo courtesy of Toyota

Toyota sold just as many Venzas in 2019 as they did in 2018 - 9. The five-door crossover's last model year in the U.S. was 2015. That means that customers who bought a new Venza this year actually bought one that's four years old, and didn't really change from 2012 to 2015. What's the phrase about a sucker being born every minute?

Mercedes-Benz B-Class (8 sold)

2016 Mercedes-Benz B-Class

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Head to the Mercedes-Benz website and you won't even find the B-Class listed for sale. The second generation, which was produced from 2011-2018, was sold in the U.S., though it wouldn't be considered a popular model by any stretch of the imagination. In 2018, the luxury automaker sold 135 of the models in the U.S.

Infiniti QX70 (6 sold)

2016 Infiniti QX70

Infiniti sold 954 QX70s in 2018 but just six were sold in 2019. The model was discontinued in 2017. Infinit's QX50 has picked up much of the slack from the hole the QX70 left and the model's body style will see a bit of a resurgence when the QX55 debuts later in 2020.

Chrysler Town & Country (5 sold)

2016 Chrysler Town & Country

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Chrysler sold five new Town & Country minivans in 2019 despite not having manufactured the model since 2016. That's actually one less than was sold in 2018. It really makes you wonder how many of the minivans they'll sell in 2020.

Honda CR-Z (2 sold)

2016 Honda CR-Z

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda only sold two new CR-Zs in 2019, down from the 28 they sold in 2018. The hybrid coupe was last made in 2016. It was discontinued to make room for Honda Accord Hybrid and Clarity production.

Dodge Avenger (1 sold)

2016 Dodge Avenger

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

One lucky (?) buyer took home a brand spankin' new Dodge Avenger in 2019. The front-wheel drive sedan hasn't been in production since 2014.

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SCCA's Track Night in America events take place across the country at lesser-known tracks.

Photo by Dan Sabol

For a parent, weekends are precious. Weekends are for road trips, backyard parties, and youth sporting events. A mere 52 opportunities to connect with your family.

For the gearhead, however, a weekend can mean a long couple of days away, driving or towing to the nearest track for some full-throttle action. While the family can and often does tag along at weekend track events, devoting attention to the car, the kids, and the spouse can be a challenge.

Track Night in America 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost The Ford Mustang is sold as either a coupe (shown here) or a convertible.Photo by Chris Tonn

Since 2015, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has been offering an alternative to a weekend at the races. Their Track Night in America program is a mid-week track experience open to just about anyone with a car and a helmet. It starts mid-afternoon and leads into the twilight hours. For this dad, sneaking away from the office at noon and missing a single dinner with the family is a much better alternative to an entire weekend away.

Over the past five years, the SCCA has offered over 650 Track Night events at 47 different tracks – and finally, an event popped up in my home state of Ohio. I had a 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost coming to my door to test. I'd finally run out of excuses – it was time to get on track.

With a bunch of sweeping corners spread over a brief two miles, the Nelson Ledges racecourse between Cleveland and Pittsburgh has been thrilling racers for decades. It's a throwback to the early tracks that appeared in the 1960z – it's rustic. Many newer tracks offer a country club atmosphere – Nelson Ledges has a shack with some bathrooms, a timing building that is undergoing some repairs, and a few picnic tables. It's all about the on-track experience, and this track delivers.

Track Night in America 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost The Mustang's available High Performance package added 19-inch machined-face aluminum wheels to the tester.Photo by Chris Tonn

The EcoBoost High Performance package on my tester seemed ready-made for track duties. It adds 20 horsepower to the standard turbocharged four-cylinder (up to 330 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque), alongside many of the suspension, braking, and aerodynamic goodies from Ford's V8-powered GT Performance Package. For me, the highlight was the 13.9-inch brake rotors being clamped by large four-piston calipers. These brakes give plenty of stopping power on track, and never felt like they were fading under the heat of stops from triple digits.

Track Night in America is meant for street cars, not race cars, as the SCCA's goal is to let people simply have fun with the cars they already have. Many other track day programs tend to encourage drivers to work their way up a "ladder" of sorts from novice track events to time trials all the way to wheel-to-wheel racing. While that's certainly an option, the SCCA just wants people to enjoy performance driving in a safe environment without the pressure to compete.

Track Night in America 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Ford gave the test car a larger rear sway bar and unique stability control tuning, elevating its on-track performance.Photo by Chris Tonn

I wish something like this had been around twenty-plus years ago as I began to make a little bit of money. While I'd long spent time at the track as an avid spectator, getting on track back then generally required a dedicated race car. I explored those options – even going so far to buy a retired SCCA Honda Civic to get back on track for myself, only to be laid off shortly after getting it home – and I found myself pushing my motorsport ambitions aside.

Track Night lets drivers self-select into one of just three groups – Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced, all based on prior track experience. There's no breaking out cars based on speed – just driver ability. Considering our current pandemic, Track Night is well positioned – there are no instructors strapped in the passenger seat. Rather, they space out and observe from trackside, and will pull aside drivers to give pointers and encouragement between each of the three twenty-minute track sessions.

The novice group gets accordingly more attention, as well as a masked-up group debriefing after each session. The instructors joked that social distancing is important on track as well as in the paddock – a safe six feet helps to keep away both viruses and sheet metal damage.

Track Night in America 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost The car's Showstopper red leather upholstery adds a bit of a dramatic touch to the interior.Photo by Chris Tonn

As I have little actual on-track experience, I selected the novice group. I was expecting some slower cars in the group – and while there were a couple, I was also watching my mirrors fill with C7 Corvettes, Porsche Caymans, and a Chevy Camaro SS 1LE. The four-banger Mustang was quick – keeping pace except coming off corners with a recent five-liter Mustang – but let down a bit by the ten-speed automatic transmission, which was reluctant to shift as quickly as I'd like. The car was magic in the corners, however, as the balance afforded by the lightweight engine let both ends of the car rotate at will.

Instructors told me that their main goal is for everyone to drive home with the same intact car they arrived in, so keeping within the limits of both the car and the driver is paramount. Only one incident marred our evening – a snarling Chevy El Camino modified in the Pro Touring style came back to the paddock on the end of a rope with some tire barrier damage to the left side of the car, though it seemed to drive home without problems.

Track Night in America 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Photo by Dan Sabol

SCCA has a winning program on their hands. Over five years, over forty thousand drivers have registered for Track Night events. It's a great way to keep socially distant at speed. I missed a conference call and one family dinner, and was home in time to tuck the kids into bed. I get to spend another weekend with my family. Admittedly, I'll spend some of that weekend pondering if I can trade the family minivan for a new Mustang EcoBoost.

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