To be fair, 2011 isn’t quite over yet, so declaring five cars the worst sellers of the year prior to December 31 means opening yourself up to criticism and ridicule if a particular model bounces back. That said, it’s a fair bet that these five cars, picked by MSNBC as the worst sales performers among mainstream automobiles, won’t be rising out of the sales basement. Most are dated designs, and some soldier on simply because a manufacturer has paid for the tooling and can’t afford a new replacement model. Others are quirky for the sake of being quirky, which is never a good thing. At least Saabs were quirky for the sake of being innovative.
Without further drama, here are the five worst selling cars of 2011 (so far), including each ones sales decline compared to YTD 2010 sales:
1. Acura RL: 979 units sold to date, a decline of 34 percent
2. Acura ZDX: 1,220 units sold to date, a decline of 54 percent
3. Toyota Land Cruiser: 1,226 units sold to date, a decline of 4.5 percent
4. Hyundai Azera: 1,407 units sold to date, a decline of 42 percent
5. Subaru Tribeca: 1,970 units sold to date, a decline of 4 percent
Look for Subaru to retire the Tribeca soon, and look for Hyundai to launch a new Azera in 2012. As for the others on the list, the Toyota Land Cruiser has become bloated and overpriced, limiting its appeal as a go-anywhere SUV (unless, of course, you’re an African warlord).
Honda has some problems. The Acura RL is getting on in years, and no longer offers the content consumers want at a price they’re willing to pay. The Acura ZDX is perhaps the most controversially-styled vehicle since the Pontiac Aztek, and its plunging roofline makes it functional as a coupe only. Let’s hope that Honda recognizes its problem with design and product mix, before it becomes too big to solve.