Every history comes to an end. So is with the car’s life. And 2006 brought with it the demise of a slew of auto models, cars, and trucks that won’t be back on dealers’ lots in 2007, including vehicles of every stripe from exotic supercars to plebeian sedans.
Ford GT - Many consider the GT the greatest American supercar ever—a product from Ford no less. Reception of the concept version of the vehicle at the 2002 Paris Auto Show convinced Ford to produce the car on a limited basis. To keep it a classic, the company ended production this year. A 500-horsepower version of the Mustang inherited some of the GT’s technology as it took the car’s spot at the top of Ford’s performance lines.
Ford Taurus - there was a 2007 model year version of Ford’s once-mighty Taurus sedan. But that model was only available for sale to fleets, 2006 having been the car’s last model year on the retail market.
Hummer H1 - Hummer H1, a civilian version of the M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, more commonly known as the Humvee, was the biggest and baddest of off-road vehicles during the rise of heavy SUVs in the 1990s. This year, General Motors decided to pull the biggest Hummer as sales tanked, focusing instead on its newest midsize success, the much smaller H3.
Pontiac GTO - the GTO has been around since the mid-1960s, after all. But when it reemerges, most likely in 2009, it won’t be on the same platform as the current model, which was based on the Australian Holden Monaro. The upcoming GTO, probably a derivative of the next Camaro, will retain the masculine, muscle-car persona the line has always had.
Dodge Stratus - Chrysler is planning to replace the Stratus with the 2007 Avenger.
Honda Insight - the innovative little car introduced in 1999 was the first gas-electric hybrid on American roads. It was then, and remained until its demise this year, the most fuel-efficient car on the American market, earning up to 66 miles per gallon. But the cramped two-door certainly wasn’t no-compromise the way later hybrids like the Prius and even Honda’s own Civic are now.
Acura RSX - the Acura RSX was a sporty compact from Honda’s luxury division that earned praise as reliable, fun to drive, and easy on fuel usage. But as the company took the Acura brand worldwide, the model began making less sense. The introduction of the similarly performing Civic Si in the U.S. put the final nail in the RSX’s coffin. Executives say it won’t be coming back for 2007.
Porsche Carrera GT - The Carrera GT was intended to encapsulate Porsche’s racing efforts into a production car that consumers could buy. But that didn’t mean it was inexpensive—it cost nearly half a million dollars. That dough got drivers outrageous specs: 605 horses, zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and top speeds of 205 mph. And though the model was discontinued for lack of sale, another race-bred Porsche, the GT3, is intended to take its place.
Volkswagen Phaeton - The idea behind the luxurious Phaeton was simple: Make a technologically dazzling car for all the baby boomers who had grown up with Volkswagens but now had much more disposable income. It didn’t quite work. American customers balked at shelling out nearly $70,000 for a VW—even if it had built-in dehumidifiers. A mere 820 models were sold in 2005, so VW axed the model this year.
Saab 9-2X - One of the less successful badge-engineering schemes of the last few years, the Saab 9-2X was in fact a Subaru Impreza assembled in Japan with a modified body, suspension, and interior. But the similarities between the two models didn’t escape many. It soon earned the derogatory nickname, Saabaru. Despite the criticism and the model eventually being discontinued, it retained Subaru’s excellent safety and reliability records, earning awards for both.