These vehicles aren’t exotic like the Ferraris and Lamborghinis, but some of them are beyond rareby Sidd Dhimaan, on LISTEN 06:53
When you talk about rare cars, you probably think of high-end Bugattis, Ferraris, Porsches, etc. No one would think of a regular production car to be a rare one, unless it is a vintage. But, surprisingly, many cars are actually quite rare and get lost in the crowd without getting noticed. Unless you have a keen eye or you’re a diehard petrol head, you too may not have noticed them. Doug DeMuro lists nine such rare cars that you might have walked or driven by without giving it a second look.
This minivan was built from 2005 to 2009 but it bombed big time. There are multiple reasons for that. For starters, Chevy and Pontiac had regular versions of this in the form of the Uplander and the Montana SV6, respectively. The Buick Terraza was supposed to be the luxurious version. From 2005 to 2007, the company sold a total of 40,000 examples. Now, this doesn’t make it rare, but when you compare it to its rival, the Honda Odyssey, it sure sounds like it. Honda sold about 525,000 examples in the same period! They weren’t very reliable either, so spotting one today would be a pretty cool thing.
Chevrolet HHR SS Panel Van
Chevy made these in 2008 and a bit of 2009. It was based on the HHR SS, the turbo version of the HHR. It’s essentially a high-performance cargo van that came with alloy wheels, sport suspension, and it made around 260 horses. Doug notes that the HHR Panel van and the HHR SS were common, but not the HHR SS Panel. Apparently, only a few hundred examples of this were made.
Kia made this full-size SUV in 2009 and offered it with a V-8 mill under the hood. Kia managed to sell only 23,000 examples in the one year that it survived. Chevy, on the other hand, managed to move 75,000 copies of the Chevy Tahoe from its dealerships in the same period. An utter flop with horrible timing as the recession had kicked in when the company brought the V-8 SUV. Perhaps, that led to its downfall.
Mazda sold this from 1991 to 1994 and it was essentially a rebadged Ford Explorer. This was when the Blue Oval had a huge stake in the company. This was sold only as a two-door model and Mazda could move just 40,000 copies from ’91 to ’94. We’re almost 30 years into the future from then, so if you spot it today, don’t forget to click a picture of this special SUV.
Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive
Mercedes sold this electric B-Class from 2014 to 2017. It was called the B-Class Electric Drive until 2016 and was renamed B250e for the 2017 model year. In Canada, you could get yourself a B-Class with an internal combustion engine. But, Stateside, the electric version was the only way to get yourself a B-Class. Mercedes managed to move just 4,100 examples over four years. For those of you who would say that the EV market wasn’t mature then, Chevy had sold 100,000 Volts in that period.
Before the brand faded away into oblivion, GM was heading the brand and it decided to badge-engineer the Trailblazer to revitalize Saab. It released the 9-4X in 2010-11, the last vehicle that came out with the Saab badge. Unfortunately, it didn’t do well (the reason why it was the last Saab). GM built it alongside the Cadillac SRX in Mexico, but soon shifted its focus on the SRX and let the 9-4X drown. By the time the company dropped the ball on it, only 814 examples of the Saab 9-4X were made. Doug noted that the Sab 9-4X is essentially rarer than a Ferrari F40 and a Porsche Carrera GT.
Another subsidiary of General Motors and another failure. Can’t be a coincidence, right? Saturn sold the Astra from 2008 to 2009. It was also a rebadged model that was sold as the Opal Astra and the Vauxhall Astra in the other markets. The company could sell only 18,500 examples in its two-model year run, which was a lot fewer than its rival, the Ford Focus. Ford was selling around 200,000 Focuses a year at that time. Considering it was last sold 12 years back, it will be quite rare to spot it on the roads today. Let us know if you do spot one.
Subaru B9 Tribeca
The automaker had the B9 Tribeca in its portfolio from 2006 to 2007 and was its first attempt at a mid-size three-row SUV. It is succeeded by the much more popular Ascent, but the B9 Tribeca couldn’t reach that level of fame. It came with a very weird-looking three-part grille. This was going to be a staple across Subaru models and even made it to the Impreza. It obviously didn’t bode well with people and Subaru decided to pull a plug on it. The company even dropped its ‘B’ moniker policy and rebadged it to Subaru Tribeca for the 2008 model with a simpler grille. Subaru sold around 30,000 examples of the B9 Tribecas in the two model years that it was alive. To put things into perspective, Subaru sells over 100,000 copies of the Ascent every single year. Well, it’s a good thing that the company responds quickly to what people want.
Though it gets its name from something that’s supposed to be the centerline; the neutral or the halfway mark that doesn’t tilt on any one side, the Suzuki Equator was nothing but an irony. The Suzuki Equator was the Japanese automaker’s attempt to make a mark in the U.S. and it thought the best way to do that was to introduce a pickup truck. In all honesty, it wasn’t a bad decision by any means. However, Suzuki took a shortcut because the Equator was essentially a rebadged Nissan Frontier. The automaker could sell only 8,200 Equator over the course of four years! To put things into perspective, Nissan was selling around 80,000 Frontiers a year at that time. Pickup trucks are mighty popular Stateside, but Suzuki couldn’t have bombed this any worse.
Watch the video below and let us know in the comments section which car you’re surprised to find in this list, or which car you think should’ve made the cut but didn’t.