The 10 automotive species on the verge of extinction
In a first, Americans will likely buy more crossovers than midsize sedans this year — unseating the 4-door car as the default vehicle of choice. The crossover has become the family wagon equivalent of today, with hybrids and compacts SUVs expanding as the cars of choice for young singles, couples and families.
A long list of other model types now find themselves in the less-visited areas of new car dealerships. These vehicles that once drew enough buyers to justify new engineering now represent the endangered species of the auto industry. Some are in decline, others nearly defunct, and a few, sadly, may never return. Here are ten automotive species struggling to survive in the 2010s:
Compact and regular-cab pickups: The Ford Ranger, a truck that had been a top 10 seller throughout the 1990’s, is defunct, while nearly all remaining compact competitors like the Nissan Frontier are scheduled to become larger, longer, and wider. Size now dominates the pickup market, so much so that even regular cabs (those that seat two) are becoming difficult to find at new car dealerships. (The new Chevy Colorado pickup is two feet longer than the last-generation Ford Ranger.)
Conversion Vans: These wooly mammoths of the automotive world were once rolling showcases of American kitsch and luxury. A living room on wheels with a fold-down bed was often crowned with artwork and interior decor that were (cough! cough!) highly personalized. Higher gas prices, loaded up minivans, and the popularity of compact RV’s have all helped decimate this once rolling piece of Americana.