4 popular cars to be discontinued by or before 2024

The global auto industry is expected to generate approximately $2.8 trillion in sales this year. That’s less than a peak of just over $3 trillion in 2018, ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain problems that ravaged the industry.

But this is an industry that is literally and figuratively driven by innovation and change. By 2030, it is estimated that the global auto market could generate $3.8 trillion in annual sales. This estimated $1 trillion in revenue growth is likely to come from the electrification of consumer vehicles and corporate fleets, which will take decades to replace traditional combustion engine vehicles.

As electric vehicles (EV), hybrids and other green-energy vehicles make their debut, other popular vehicles will likely retire or possibly be reborn in electric form years later. According to several automakers, the next four popular cars will be discontinued by or before 2024.

Image source: Stellantis.

Dodge Charger

Perhaps the most popular car on this list to get the ax by 2024 is the Dodge Charger. The Dodge brand, with three core vehicles (Charger, Challenger and Durango), is owned by: Stellantis (STLA) 1.45%)the company formerly known as Fiat Chrysler prior to its merger with PSA Peugeot.

Tim Kuniskis, the CEO of the Dodge brand, said: MotorTrend in November 2021 that the Charger will “go out of production by the time we reach 2024”. According to Kuniskis, the plan is to introduce the company’s first electric muscle car later this year, which will hit the road sometime in 2024. This fits into Stellantis’ broader plans to introduce more than 25 battery EVs (BEVs) in the US by 2030, as well as more than 75 BEVs worldwide. Stellantis believes it will be able to generate 50% of its US sales from BEVs by the turn of the century. For some context, as of February 2022, Stellantis sold 19 BEVs worldwide, along with 15 plug-in hybrids.

As for the Charger, it has had a nice run in the States. Annual units sold consistently hit 80,000 to 98,000 between 2012 and 2019, as sales declined during the pandemic. Since it hit the sales floor in its modern form in 2005, only 1.5 million chargers have been sold in the US, based on data from GoodCarBadCar.net.

Knowing its rich history, muscle car enthusiasts will no doubt be saddened to see the Charger being discontinued. However, Kuniskis does understand the value behind the Charger brand name, which may leave the door open for a future EV version of the Charger.

A 2020 Dodge Challenger Hellcat SRT Redeye parked in a roadway.

Image source: Stellantis.

Dodge Challenger

In addition to the Dodge Charger, its muscle car sidekick, the Dodge Challenger will also be deployed by 2024.

At first glance, the Challenger was never as popular with consumers as the Charger. While the Charger’s annual sales peaked at more than 119,000 units in the US, the Challenger’s best year came in 2018 with just over 66,700 units sold. However, playing second fiddle to the Charger still proved lucrative for Dodge and Stellantis. Nearly 711,000 Challengers have been purchased in the United States since the first sale in 2008.

But with Stellantis pushing its EV-focused Dare Forward initiative, muscle cars like the Challenger, whose sales have fallen significantly since 2019, are no longer part of the long-term plan. Like the Charger, Kuniskis appreciates the Challenger name. However, Dodge and Stellantis have not yet announced what their new EV muscle car will be called.

If there’s any consolation here for those (like me) who like throaty/loud engines, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares recently noted that the company is working on creating artificial sound for Dodge’s electric muscle car. Tavares said: “After they make the sound, they think about how they can make the sound louder and more powerful depending on how you use the car.”

A 2022 Toyota Avalon parked near water.

Image source: Toyota Motor.

Toyota Avalon

The big sedan carnage continues with the confirmed discontinuation of the Avalon, which is manufactured by Toyota Engine (TM 1.71%). Toyota says production of the Avalon will end next August after 28 years (yes, twenty-eight years!) on showroom floors.

Even without the electrification of consumer vehicles in the US, Avalon’s sales have been pointing to an eventual shutdown for years. After reaching nearly 71,000 units sold in the US in 2013, Avalon’s sales have declined in every year except one (2018). Less than 19,000 units were sold in the United States in each of the past two years. In other words, the writing has been hanging on the wall for this once-popular sedan for a while now.

Killing the Avalon is easy for Toyota, with the Camry still leading the mid-sized category (nearly 314,000 units sold in the US in 2021). Furthermore, demand for higher-margin SUVs has virtually quelled interest in larger sedans. Year-over-year unit sales for the Toyota Highlander, 4Runner and Lexus RX grew at a double-digit percentage from the company’s December 2021 sales update in North America.

If that wasn’t enough, Toyota has plenty of reason to shift its focus from shrinking brands like Avalon to BEVs and hybrids. All but one of the more than a dozen BEVs and plug-in hybrids in the Toyota and Lexus ranges saw sales increase in 2021 compared to 2020.

A 2022 Volkswagen Passat driving down a windy road.

Image source: Volkswagen.

Volkswagen Passat

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 most recent version of Volkswagen‘s (VWAGIA 0.35%) Passat was introduced to the North American market only a few years ago.

Last July, Volkswagen confirmed that it would be removing the Passat from its lineup after the 2022 model year to focus on building the Atlas SUV and the ID.4, a compact all-electric SUV with a range between 245 and 280 miles. Last year, Atlas sales in the US increased 32% to over 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 effort to become a leader in clean energy transportation. The company has committed a whopping EUR 73 billion (approximately $79.2 billion) between 2021 and 2025 to research, develop and manufacture future technologies. The goal is to achieve half of its turnover from BEVs by 2030 and to be a zero-emission vehicle producer by 2040. For reference, the $79.2 billion Volkswagen is spending on next-gen technology is more than General engines ($35 billion) and Ford Motor Company ($30 billion) earmarked for electric car and battery research through 2025 on a combined base.

As for the Passat, the writing was on the wall in the same way as Toyota’s Avalon. Although US sales rose to over 125,000 units in 2012 and 109,000 units in 2013 after a redesign, the latest version of the Passat never quite caught the eye. In 2020 and 2021, unit sales did not reach 25,000 in the US

C’est la vie, Charger, Challenger, Avalon and Passat!

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