2018 was a mixed-bag year for the car industry. While sales seemed to rise, there were signs of change, omens strong enough to prompt a massive wave of action by several companies.
One of those currents were the clear indications that small and mid-sized cars are now out of fashion, with most Americans opting instead for SUVs, trucks, and crossovers. Looking at the top-selling vehicles of the year, most lists were dominated by the latter, like the RAV4 and the Ford F-Series pickup. This trend led Ford to jettison any of these models in their product lineup, and GM to close/repurpose the factories that produce them.
There is another ripple effect from this trend: specific models are idling longer on lots than others. How long a vehicle sits on a lot is often a good barometer of its popularity. The longer it sits, however, the more antsy dealerships are to sell as the interest paid on the car increases. Knowing which models aren’t moving can help dealers make decisions on stock or be proactive in advertising cars that may be harder to move.
Kelley Blue Book provided USA today with data regarding how long different models were sitting in wait on lots, identifying twenty-six models that are averaging over 130 days before sale. Of the twenty-six, the overwhelming majority are sedans. Tied at the “least days on the lot” (out of the twenty-six that have spent the longest time), are the BMW 6 Series and Cadillac CTS, both averaging 130.3 days on the lot. At the high end stands the Mitsubishi Lancer at a whopping average of 195.3 days before sale.
Here is a list of the five hardest to move cars on lots, starting with the one underneath the front-running Lancer.
#1. Volkswagen Touareg
This mid-sized car comes in right behind the Mitsubishi Lancer with an average of 194.1 days on lots. It’s to be replaced on its line with more popular models.
#2. Fiat 500
At 160.3 days on the lot, this subcompact took a hit this past year, with sales dropping from 12,685 in 2017 to just 5,370.
#3. Chrysler 200
2018 sounded the death knell for this sedan, which had replaced the Sebring in 2010. Its fall from grace was even steeper than the Fiat 500: in 2017 18,457 Chrysler 200s were sold; in 2018 a mere 1,043. That, on top of the average 157.6 days on the lot, has made it clear that this car isn’t going much further any time soon.
#4. Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is an unusual case. Unlike the Fiat 500 and Chrysler 200, it’s still selling pretty well; even down 5,368 sales from 2017, it still sold a nice 47,936 units in 2018. What seems to be keeping this car on the lot an average 156.1 days isn’t its luxurious features, but instead its price tag: it starts at $53,500. This puts it higher than most models in its category, making buyers think twice before committing.
#5. Chevrolet Impala
The Chevrolet Impala is still looking nice despite having been in production for 60 years. This is due to constant updates provided to the classic car. Unfortunately, it’s a sedan, and that category is being often skipped over by customers these days no matter how nice the car in question is. Chevrolet Impalas saw an average of 147.7 days on the lot last year and took a hit of a little over 19,000 units.