The global auto industry is expected to generate about $2.8 trillion in sales this year. That’s down from a peak of just over $3 trillion in 2018, before the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues wreaked havoc on the industry.
But it is an industry literally and metaphorically driven by innovation and change. By 2030, it is estimated that the global automotive market could generate $3.8 trillion in annual sales. This estimated $1 trillion in sales growth will likely come from the electrification of consumer vehicles and business fleets, which will take decades to replace traditional combustion engine vehicles.
As electric vehicles (EVs), hybrids and other green energy vehicles make their debut, other popular vehicles are likely to be retired or reborn in electric form in the coming years. According to various automakers, the following four popular cars are all expected to be discontinued by 2024 or earlier.
Arguably the most popular car on this list that will receive the ax by 2024 is the Dodge Charger. The Dodge brand, which includes three main vehicles (Charger, Challenger and Durango), belongs to Stellantide ( STLA -2.50% )the company formerly known as Fiat Chrysler before its merger with PSA Peugeot.
Tim Kuniskis, CEO of the Dodge brand, said MotorTrend in November 2021 that the Charger “will be out of production by 2024”. The plan, according to Kuniskis, is to introduce the company’s first electric muscle car later this year, which will hit the road in 2024. This matches Stellantis’ broader plans to introduce more than 25 battery-electric vehicles ( BEV) in the United States by 2030, as well as more than 75 BEVs worldwide. Stellantis expects to be able to generate 50% of its US sales from BEV by the end of the decade. In some context, Stellantis was selling 19 BEVs globally in February 2022, along with 15 plug-in hybrids.
As for the Charger, it had a good run in the United States. Annual units sold have consistently reached 80,000 to 98,000 between 2012 and 2019, with sales declining during the pandemic. Since it went on sale in its modern form in 2005, just under 1.5 million Chargers have been sold in the United States, according to data from GoodCarBadCar.net.
Knowing its rich history, muscle car enthusiasts will no doubt be sad to see the Charger discontinued. However, Kuniskis understands the value of the Charger brand name, which potentially leaves the door open for a future EV version of the Charger to emerge.
In addition to the Dodge Charger, its muscle car sidekick, the Dodge Challenger will also be put to bed by 2024.
On the surface, the Challenger has never been as popular with consumers as the Charger. While annual Charger sales peaked at over 119,000 units in the United States, the Challenger’s best year ever came in 2018 with just over 66,700 units sold. However, playing second fiddle to the Charger has always proven lucrative for Dodge and Stellantis. Since its first sale in 2008, nearly 711,000 Challengers have been purchased in the United States.
But with Stellantis pushing its electric vehicle-focused Dare Forward initiative, muscle cars like the Challenger, which have seen sales drop dramatically since 2019, are no longer part of the long-term plan. Similar to the Charger, Kuniskis likes the Challenger name. However, Dodge and Stellantis have yet to release the name of their new electric muscle car.
If there’s any consolation here for those (like me) who like raucous/noisy engines, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares recently noted that the company is working on creating an artificial sound for the electric muscle car. from Dodge. Says Tavares, “After creating the sound, they think about how they make the sound louder and more powerful depending on how you use the car.”
The big sedan carnage continues with the confirmed discontinuation of the Avalon, manufactured by Toyota engine (TM -2.38% ). According to Toyota, production of the Avalon will end next August after 28 years (yes, twenty eight years old!) on the floors of the exhibition halls.
Even without the electrification of mainstream vehicles in the United States, Avalon sales have been hinting at an eventual shutdown for years. After reaching nearly 71,000 units sold in the United States in 2013, Avalon’s sales fell in every subsequent year except one (2018). In each of the past two years, less than 19,000 units have been sold in the United States. In other words, the writing has been on the wall for a while for this once-popular sedan.
Killing the Avalon is easy for Toyota, with the Camry continuing to dominate the midsize car class (nearly 314,000 units sold in the United States in 2021). Additionally, demand for higher-margin SUVs has all but stifled interest in larger sedans. Year-over-year unit sales of the Toyota Highlander, 4Runner and Lexus RX increased by a double-digit percentage according to the company’s December 2021 sales update in North America.
If that weren’t enough, Toyota has plenty of reasons to turn away from declining brands like Avalon and towards BEVs and hybrids. All but one of more than a dozen BEVs and plug-in hybrids in Toyota and Lexus’ lineup saw higher sales in 2021 than in 2020.
Finally, we have the Passat (yes, another sedan), which has a rich heritage and has undergone more than half a dozen design revisions over the past five decades. The latest iteration of volkswagenit is (VWAGY -2.08% ) The Passat was introduced to the North American market just a few years ago.
Last July, Volkswagen confirmed it would drop the Passat from its lineup after the 2022 model year to focus on building the Atlas SUV and the ID.4, an all-electric compact SUV that offers between 245 miles and 280 miles of range. Last year, Atlas sales in the United States jumped 32% to more than 115,000 units (including the Atlas Cross Sport), while ID.4 sales approached 17,000 units.
Volkswagen has made it clear that it will spare no expense to become a leader in clean energy transportation. The company has allocated 73 billion euros (about $79.2 billion) between 2021 and 2025 for the research, development and production of future technologies. The goal is to generate half of its sales from BEVs by 2030 and to be a producer of zero-emission vehicles by 2040. For reference, the $79.2 billion that Volkswagen spends on the next-generation technology represent more than General Engines ($35 billion) and Ford Motor Company ($30 billion) has been earmarked for electric vehicle and battery research through 2025 on a combined base.
As for the Passat, the writing was on the wall similar to Toyota’s Avalon. Although sales in the United States reached over 125,000 units in 2012 and 109,000 units in 2013 following a redesign, the latest version of the Passat never really stood out. In 2020 and 2021, unit sales did not reach 25,000 in the United States
C’est la vie, Charger, Challenger, Avalon and Passat!
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