For years, auto industry watchers waited for Toyota to apply the Prius' winning gas-electric hybrid powertrain to its upscale Lexus division, and for 2011, the Japanese automaker finally obliged. The resulting product, the modestly athletic CT 200h never managed to approximate the Prius' success.
The CT has always been a decent-driving hybrid with a usefully size cargo hold, but it's likely that American luxury buyers' aversion to hatchbacks has kept it from being a sales hit. Even so, the CT has had some solid years, but by this point, it's old, having been on sale since 2011. So far this year, just 2,933 units have been retailed, meaning the model will likely come nowhere near its 2015 sales total of 14,657 cars.
Photo by: Lexus
2016 Infiniti Q70
Compared to higher-profile rivals like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, any number of Infiniti models generate sales figures that would seem to suggest the Japanese automaker's cars are involved in some sort of luxury car witness-protection program.
Things seem to be starting to improve for Nissan's premium brand, however, particularly with its growing stable of crossover SUVs. But that's not enough to lift sales of its aging Q70 flagship sedan, which has found just 2,110 takers so far this year -- a steep falloff compared to 2015's (already moribund) 8,449-unit yearlong sales total.
Once the marque's most recognizable and popular model, Scion's larger, second-generation xB never managed to capture the winning rectilinear funk of its predecessor, and this year, just 2,418 new examples have found homes.
Fiat's peculiar-looking 500L was always going to be a tough sell on appearances alone, especially with the Italian marque's lack of brand recognition and low quality survey scores. But then the front-wheel-drive hatchback's minders at Fiat had the brilliant idea of parking the altogether more attractively styled 500X in showrooms right alongside this lump.
Yes, the 500L's cabin is airier and somewhat larger inside, but the comparatively conventional 500X has more of the crossover SUV-like styling that buyers are going gaga over these days, plus it's got available all-wheel drive and a similar price tag.
Little surprise, then, that just 1,730 500L models have found their way into buyers' garages so far this year.
Photo by: Fiat
2016 Chevrolet SS
If there's one car that Roadshow editors are sad to see on this list, it's got to be the Chevrolet SS.
Other than its anonymous Father-of-Malibu appearance, there's not a lot wrong with this rear-wheel-drive sports sedan. With a 415-horsepower V-8 powerplant and planted handling from its magnetic ride-control suspension, it's a car capable of humbling many of Europe's finest sport sedans for a fraction of their prices.
But virtuous as it may be, the buying public just doesn't seem interested in a $46,000 four-door from the likes of Chevrolet. Just 1,131 new examples have made it into private hands through April of this year, often at very steep discounts.
Photo by: Chevrolet
2016 Hyundai Equus
Like the Kia K900 with which it shares a lot of structural underthings, Hyundai's Equus luxury sedan hasn't exactly set the sales world on fire. Not that the Korean automaker expected big sales numbers from its first foray into full-size luxury, but even then, only 781 customers have been snared by the big Hyun's velvety-smooth Tau V8 engine this year.
Thankfully, help is on the way. Hyundai has already announced it is launching a second luxury channel, Genesis, to further separate its higher-dollar vehicles from its everyday models. Part of that changeover will bring a new Equus for 2017, rebranded G90. Offering both six- and eight-cylinder power as well as all-wheel drive, the G90 should have a better shot at knocking off a few potential Lexus buyers, especially with its less baroque exterior design and higher-quality cabin.
Photo by: Hyundai
2016 Honda CR-Z
When word first surfaced of the Honda CR-Z, enthusiasts worked themselves into a froth in anticipation of a successor to the much-loved but long-dead CR-X, an inexpensive hatchback that was both more fun and more frugal than any single car had a right to be.
When it finally arrived for 2011, the CR-Z indeed looked the part of a CR-X successor, being another small, front-drive funster with a sloping twin-window hatchback. However, the production car had put on some weight, thanks to a hybrid powertrain. Sadly, the CR-Z's performance wasn't as spritely as loyalists had hoped, and despite the presence of an electric motor and battery, it wasn't as efficient as one might expect, either.
For 2016, the CR-Z received a belated facelift, but it doesn't appear to have helped sales -- only 736 models have been sold so far this year.
Photo by: Honda
2016 Audi Allroad
Given the explosion in both Audi and crossover SUV sales over the last few years, it's rather unexpected to find the Allroad on this list of forgotten vehicles. But both functionally and visually, the Allroad is as much of a lifted station wagon as it is an SUV, so perhaps that's why it hasn't taken off with consumers.
Based on the German automaker's bread-and-butter A4 sedan, the Allroad is the only way you can get a long-roof of this model -- Audi no longer offers an A4 Avant wagon in the US due to slow sales. Even with its rough-and-tumble, couture mukluk appearance, the Allroad has sold just 597 units so far this year.
The Allroad is actually quite a plush and versatile vehicle, but it's getting on in years a bit, too, having bowed in 2013. Fortunately, a new generation base on the excellent new B9-generation A4 sedan is coming soon.
Introduced for the 2015 model year, the rear-wheel-drive sedan promised a plush ride and lots of features at a cut-rate price, but sloppy dynamics and the humble Korean badge on the hood means that even a superstar NBA spokesperson like LeBron James hasn't been able to help buoy K900 sales.
Just 781 examples have sold this year, a steep drop-off from last year's numbers.
Photo by: Kia
2016 Cadillac ELR
Introduced for 2014, Cadillac's ELR was blessed with gorgeous sheetmetal, but also saddled with a sky-high price tag, dreadful CUE infotainment system, and a plug-in hybrid powertrain incapable of delivering the power, range or refinement that luxury buyers expected.
For 2016, Cadillac amped up the ELR's powertrain and dropped its price by some $9,000, but the update hasn't worked. Just 357 examples have been sold so far this year, and the model's future doesn't look bright. The ELR is still burdened with hardware derived from Chevrolet's much-cheaper first-generation Volt, and there's no sign of it getting the new Volt's much-improved gas/electric powertrain.
Photo by: Cadillac
2016 Volvo S80
Today's S80 has been on sale since 2006, so it should come as no surprise that Volvo's biggest and costliest sedan is also its slowest-selling model.
To be fair, a radical new replacement, the 2017 S90, is nearly here, and it promises to be one of the most tech-rich and safest cars on the road, with a sleek new look and a stunning interior both derived from the Swedish automaker's award-winning XC90 crossover.
In the meantime, however, the arthritic S80 soldiers on, having sold just 193 units so far this year.
Photo by: Volvo
2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the poster child for low sales is Mitsubishi's perennially slow-selling i-MiEV. After all, it's an oddly shaped pure-electric hatchback with inferior range, sold by a brand most Americans have forgotten exists at all.
Sales have totaled just 14 units through April of this year.
Interestingly, our neighbors to the north seem to find this car a lot more compelling thank us Yanks: 36 examples have been sold this year in Canada.