The Overlooked and Undermarketed: These Great Cars Never Stood a Chance

When you buy a new car, there’s a lot to take into consideration. When car hunting, you’ll want to make sure that you’re purchasing a reliable, good-looking, comfortable, sustainable vehicle. While some automakers like Toyota have built a reputation for quality craftsmanship, other companies haven’t been so lucky.
Getty Images Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images
Getty Images Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images
Some car manufactures have tried hard to step up their game but to no avail. These sets of wheels have managed to fail in the sales department, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve attention. Read on to see the best cars no one seems to be buying in the United States.

The Chevy SS

The SS was introduced in the United States as a concept car in 2003. They eventually dropped the concept but kept the name and re-branded the Holden Commodore as the SS for American consumers. There was something about the dual identity that turned buyers off, though the car received outstanding reviews upon release.

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It gained recognition for its extensive safety features and dependable performance. The SS had a unique design yet never managed to make its way into steady sales.

The Acura NSX

Marketed as the Acura NSX, the Honda NSX is a mid-engine sports car. The acronym stands for “new,” sportscar,” and “unknown world” – the “x” indicating an unknown variable in math.

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The model’s first edition managed to sell adequately in the 1990s, but the car’s fate plummeted in the 2000s. In 2007, only two NSX cars were bought. Yes, you read that right, two! When the second generation emerged in 2016, only 269 units were sold. Needless to say, this car isn’t a fan favorite.

The Suzuki Kizashi

Kizashi translates, “something great is coming” in Japanese, but nothing great became of the car. Suzuki launched the mid-sized sedan, Kizashi, in 2009. The car was made to be practical; it was stable and had an all-wheel driving option to aid car owners through hard winters.

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Due to the global financial crisis, less than 6,000 Kizashis were sold. Years later, the car continues to sell poorly despite its shining technical record.

The Mitsubishi Mirage

For a brief period of time, compact hatchbacks were all the craze in America. They were marketed as cheap and efficient and were considered the perfect vehicle for urban driving. Mitsubishi jumped on the hatchback bandwagon, manufacturing the Mirage, but sadly, sales never materialized.

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The sales for this small car were so poor; there were reports of the Mirage sitting on Mitsubishi lots for nearly four months at a time.

The Hyundai Equus

For almost 20 years, the Equus sold reasonably well outside of North America. Hyundai’s first-ever luxury car couldn’t sell more than a few thousand units in the United States each year. There was something about it that failed to trigger car buyers.

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In 2011, the Equus was redesigned and now featured a V8 engine and spacious seats. Though it was Hyundai’s most sturdy car, it didn’t receive great reviews. That, and mixed with the lack of marketing, resulting in poor sales.

The Mazda6

The Mazda6 made its debut in 2003, striving with strong sales. The mid-size compact car was given high marks for its performance and dependability. Since its initial release, sales have slowly declined, and in 2019, sales plummeted to a little over 21 thousand units.

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It sounds like a sizable number of sales, but it was insignificant compared to the Toyota Camry. In 2019, Toyota sold nearly 350 thousand Camrys, proving how powerful their name is in the American market.

The Dodge Avenger

We’re not sure what failed with the Dodge Avenger. It was launched as a part of the automaker’s redesigned lineup as a reliable, fairly-priced, driveable car. The Avenger’s sales never grew the wake the Charger and Challenger did.

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After nearly a decade on the market and in lots, the Avenger had only sold half of a million units. In 2014, Dodge ended production and focused attention on their more successful models.

The Scion FR-S

Scion is a suspended marque of Toyota that debuted in 2003. It emphasized inexpensive and stylish vehicles and was marketed as Toyota’s youth-focused brand. The Scion FR-S stood for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive, and Sport.

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2,500 units of the FR-S were released in 2013, though the number plummeted to 2,000 in 2014 and 2015. The FR-S endured little excitement and was discontinued in 2017.

The Alfa Romeo 4C

The 4C seems to hit the mark when it comes to design. That being said, it disappoints in every component that makes a satisfactory sports car. The 4C may be thought of as a car that was built for desire and fun, but there is no doubt that its $66,900 price tag just isn’t worth it.

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Alfa Romeo had massive struggles selling the model, and in 2019, only 421 units were sold throughout Europe. Numbers are destined to stoop down to practically nothing which each year that passes.

The Fiat 500

The Italian car manufacturers, Fiat have never been known for making the safest cars. In fact, they gained such a bad reputation; they halted vehicle sales in the United States for many years.

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It came back into the market with the Fiat 500, which turned out to be a hit with car critics but failed to excite buyers. Fiat initially expected the vehicle would sell 50,000 units by 2011, but only succeeded in selling a mere 16,000.

The Dodge Viper

At one point in its production run, the Dodge Viper was one of the company’s most popular cars. It was fast, sleek, and is still thought of as a high-grade car. As supercars became less popular, so did the fate of the Viper.

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Despite its outstanding reputation, sales slowly dropped, and in 2005, only 1,652 units were sold. A decade later, in its final production year, only 585 Vipers were sold. If you thought that was a small amount, you’ll be sad to know that in the last year the Viper was available to consumers, only five cars were sold!

The Infiniti Q60

Sometimes, strong starts don’t mean a lasting streak. The Q60 was released in North America and started very strong, but in 2014 and 2015, it barely reached 3,000 units, with only a few hundred vehicles selling in Canada. Sadly, the Q60s demise took place despite a throughout marketing campaign that collaborated with social media and influencers pushing the model.

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In 2014, the Q60 was rebranded as the Infiniti G coupe in hopes of creating “a new identity and direction to promote consumer familiarity.”

The BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon

Despite the BMW 3 Series being one of the carmaker’s best-selling models ever, the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon didn’t sell well in the United States. The gorgeous car was released in 2017 and did extremely well in Europe. Its exceptional engine and 248 horsepower couldn’t help its sates in America.

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The Sports Wagon only made up 4% of sales when it came to BMW’s 3 Series. By the end of 2018, BMW had halted production of the vehicle, though, in 2019, it reappeared on the U.S market.

The Lexus RC

When the Lexus RC was introduced to the world in 2014, it was unveiled with poor results. Despite having a powerful engine and a stylish appearance, only 1,922 units were sold in Amerca during its debut year. Embarrassing!

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Sales numbers have slightly gone up since then, but not enough to earn back their dignity. The best year for the RC was 2015 when nearly 15 thousand American cars were sold, though even that is low for a Lexus model.

The Porsche Cayman

When the Porsche Cayman was dubbed the Best Roadster in the World in 2016, the automakers were on the top of their game. The car, a developed version of the 911, had won numerous awards, resulting in high sales.

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Sadly, consumers didn’t seem to be too interested in the evolved version of the 911. Surprisingly, Porsche still manufactures the Cayman, which means low sales numbers could flip at any time.

The Nissan GT-R

You may recognize the Nissan GT-R from various video games and “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, but the car wasn’t all that popular in reality. As a successor to the Skyline GT-R, Nissan had high hopes that the GT-R would do well.

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The car was released in four countries, and the 1,700 units sold in America would be the highest count of them all. Though the car had won various awards, customers didn’t think the value for money was worth it. If you’re interested in a GT-R, they’re still on the market!

The Škoda Fabia

The Škoda Fabia has been around for more than 20 years. At first, it was a top contender, but as time went on and more modern hatchback versions were released, sales plummeted. Most of its sales occur in China, and shockingly, only a few hundred units sell every year in Europe.

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Only 35% of millennials prefer the car, saying a lot when they are the vehicle’s best audience. Though the model as much to offer, it has been outshined time and time again by its rivals.

The Hyundai Genesis Sedan

The Hyundai Genesis Sedan’s central purpose was to “shatter premium automobile paradigms.” The high-class car cost $533 million to develop and was sold across the globe. Taking all of this into consideration, the Genesis Sedan only sells 20,000 units each year.

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These numbers are surprising considering the vehicle seemed to have everything going for it; it was developed well, marketed regularly, and had numerous awards under its belt. Despite all of this, something about the Genesis failed to impress.

The Kia Rio

The Kia Rio may be a small car, but it has 50 cubic feet more than other minis. The car also offers a powerful engine and is very stylish. Despite the great sales it had in the past, newer versions have failed.

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In 2017, it took four months before a single fourth-edition Rio was purchased. The company reached a new low in 2017 when 16,760 were sold in the States, and 2,028 were sold in South Korea.

The Mercedes AMG

The AMG GT was a grand tourer coupe released for six figures in 2015. Although Mercedes has sold high-end coupes before, something about this model didn’t strike customers. Only 1,277 units were sold in the first year.

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From 2015 to 2018, the AMG GT barely sold over 1,000 models every year. Perhaps the marketing is to blame; the car was advertised to semi-professional drivers who had many other cars to choose from. With only a four-star rating on most sites, the Mercedes-AMG GT did not seem worth the price.

The Ford Flex

In recent years, the term “flex” has become slang for “to show off.” The Ford Flex, on the other hand, is something Ford didn’t manage to show off. The Flex, designed to bring a new variety of consumers to Ford, was a very functional SUV with great performance grades.

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While it was in production, the Flex averaged sales of around 20,000 units a year. It peaked in 2009, with 38,717 units sold. Ford couldn’t figure the best way to market the stunning vehicle and ended its production run after a decade in 2019.

The Cadillac CTS

The Cadillac CTS was an exceptional car that was overshadowed by other circumstances. Though it had a list of obstacles, the most prominent one was that the CTS had to battle against the BMW 5 series, and though it was a better car in almost every way, the German car remained more successful.

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Sales peaked in 2005, with 61,000 vehicles sold. But after that, they plummeted. By 2015, less than 20,000 units were sold a year.

Toyota Mirai

The Toyota Mirai’s unpopularity is completely justified. It’s a subpar sustainable vehicle, we’ll give it that, but it’s nothing short of absolutely unreasonable.

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This hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle tries to support its sustainability with an over the top price tag of $75,000. When you add this 154-hp powertrain and its funny design, all you’re left with is a car that no one wants to buy!

The Cadillac ATS

The car that was meant to reinvent the brand did the exact opposite. Cadillac sold the ATS from 2013 to 2019, though they couldn’t get sales up. Sales were low, with a mere 1,134 cars bought by consumers in 2019.

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Surprisingly, when the ATS first came out, “Esquire” named it Car of the Year. With all the praise the automobile received, it was unexpected to see what happened to the model just a few years after its release.

The Kia K900

Kia advertises themselves as an automobile manufacturer that makes cars to meet your lifestyle. They made a made daring move when they decided to join the luxury market with the K900. The Korean company went all out to make it work, signing a deal with the NBA and turning star player LeBron James into a brand ambassador.

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They spent tons of money on marketing but were left with a car that no one wanted to buy. Since they weren’t known for their luxury cars, the attempt to enter the high-end market never made it with American consumers.

The Maserati Ghibli

$80,000 may seem like a steal when it comes to this Italian-crafter luxury car with 400 ponies under its hood, and we’d have to agree with you. However, consumers now understand the value for money of this sedan isn’t as high as they thought; in fact, it’s highly overstated.

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The Maserati Ghibli offers very little to justify its price or make it more worth a buyer’s money than the cheaper competition. Sales have been dropping, and by 2019, they were only hundreds of units being sold.

The Audi Allroad Quattro

The Audi Allroad Quattro seemed to have it all. It is a station wagon with more room inside it than a sedan and drives like a car. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, the car’s sales don’t reflect that.

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Allroads only sell an estimated 15,000 units every year, with some dealerships waiting months on end to sell a single car. Regardless of poor sales, Audi is issuing an A6 Allroad in 2021. Perhaps the new model will prove better than its forerunners did.

Jaguar XE

Though more reasonably priced and in a more common niche, this mid-size sedan, the Jaguar XE, sadly, it’s going through the same problems its predecessors went through.

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The main obstacle the vehicle undergoes is the reliability and features that its rivals offer for a far more sensible price tag.

The Buick Regal

For years, Buick struggled to draw a younger, more modern buyer base to its product. The company went through a re-branding process in hopes of changing this. They redesigned many vehicles to be more attractive to younger consumers.

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One of these cars was the Regal, a sporty, well-designed set of wheels that received rave reviews from auto publications. Buick failed to find its place in the American market, and in 2019, only ten thousand units were sold in America.

The Volvo V60

Let’s face it, Volvo isn’t what it used to be, which makes purchasing it all the tougher. The V60 is not a bad car but compared to the Audi A6 or the BMW 5-series, Touring doesn’t have all that much to offer.

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Volvo seems to be transitioning into a subscription-based model of marketing its cars. We hope it works for them!

The Nissan Juke

There is no denying that the Nissan Juke was a hit when it arrived in 2010. Though its first year was a little low, it sold nearly 40 thousand units in 2011, a very substantial number for a new vehicle. After just a few years, sales diminished and by 2016 fell less than 20,000.

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Though it didn’t make it in the mainstream market, the well-crafted car found a niche fan base. The average buyer was under 40, which was excellent for the carmaker, even if the overall sales weren’t as impressive as they had hoped.

The Lexus LFA

The Lexus LFA is an elegant luxury car that deserved a better destiny. The LFA was produced and sold from 2010 until 2012, and the car’s low sales were the leading cause of its demise. Four years after production ended, it was announced that new LFAs were still accessible for purchase.

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In recent years, the car has become more popular, with the head of Lexus’ European office saying, “The LFA is an icon now and possibly always will be – we don’t need to replace it to keep that status.” He sure knows how to sell a car lagging in sales!

The Subaru BRZ

Subaru’s attempt at making a dent in the sports car market is a failure, to say the least. The car company partnered with Toyota to create the vehicle. The automakers shared the same body, which meant that the BRZ was the same car like the Toyota 86.

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Though they have the same body, Subaru did not have an easy time persuading consumers to purchase the vehicle. In 2019, 2,334 BRZs were sold, while more than three thousand Toyota 86s were sold.

The Jeep Compass

One of the least popular Jeeps on the market is the Compass. In addition to this, the slick vehicle also had the misfortune of being named the brand’s worst model.

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Though the Compass is stylish and is capable off-road, it’s an underwhelming car in every aspect, from safety and cargo area to performance. Its low sales reflect the mediocrity of this car.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon

Talk about scandal in the car world! The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon was scheduled to be released in 2010. But then, in 2009, a brochure leaked on the internet, spilling the new perks the car would feature. Although the car received recognition and acclaim, consumers didn’t seem to like the design.

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SUV crossovers were released that same year and seemed to outshine the Mercedes model. Despite poor sales in the States, the car did extremely well in Europe, selling over 50,000 units within a year.

The Volvo S60

Though Volvo is a well-regarded carmaker, the launch of their S60 did not compare to the company’s other models. Even though the car is easy to steer, has a powerful engine, and has many safety features, it did not do well.

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Following its debut in 2000, the Volvo S60 sold less than three thousand units. The model has sunk in and out of popularity over the years. Though it didn’t succeed the way Volvo has planned, car owners who bought the model absolutely love it.

The Jaguar F-Type

The two-door, two-seater Jaguar F-Type was advertised as the “spiritual successor” to the E-Type. Like all Jaguars, the sports car has three pedals and a stick shift, but for some reason, it didn’t market as well as the others. After its release in 2013, only 6,377 units were sold worldwide.

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New versions of the model have increased the car’s reputation. After they arrived in North America, sales jumped to 11,000 a year. Jaguar tried every sort of marketing in the book, short films, songs, hashtags, but nothing they did inspired consumers.

The BMW 2-Series

The BMW 2-Series has been in lots since 2014 and includes various models, but it is the least-selling series from BMW. When it was released, the series sold a mere seven thousand units in the United States, and even fewer were sold in Canada.

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The cars ran perfectly fine but weren’t as attractive to consumers as the 3-Series. It was conceived that its low popularity was because the models have a completely different front-wheel drive, comparable to the MINI Cooper.

Dodge Grand Caravan

The Grand Caravan may be a useful car, but no one is going to buy it. It’s boring, unattractive, and just doesn’t have any more appeal than its competition.

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Dodge hasn’t done much to make consumers want to purchase it rather than a rival of its kind. As a matter of fact, the company is considering canceling the model fully as of 2021.

The Jeep Renegade

Though Jeep’s forte is off-roaders, the Renegade was designed for comfort. It was a crossover between an SUV and a Jeep, with abundant space and a front-wheel drive. Since its release in 2015, the car hasn’t proved itself.

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The car has become more popular, and since the Renegade’s price fell, customers have begun appreciating the fast car that’s both spacious and comfortable. Sometimes, you just gotta give the underdog a chance!

The Mazda5

Mazda5 was a great car that just didn’t make it. The well-crafted minivan didn’t manage to take off in the United States, mostly because it was overshadowed by the more attractive yet less reliable Dodge Caravan.

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The Caravan managed to overcome the Mazda5, selling ten times better than Mazda’s attempted minivan fail. In turn, Mazda was forced to move on and focus their energy on their more successful models.

The Nissan 370Z

Often, the greater the build-up, the greater the disappointment. Nissan’s sports car, the 370Z, was publicized for years before it went on the market. It was initially announced in 2006 and made its first appearance in Los Angeles in 2007. But, when it became public in 2009, it did not perform as well as the carmakers expected it to.

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In typical Nissan fashion, their cars sell over 30,000 units every year, but the 370Z only managed to sell 13,00 upon its release. Needless to say, those numbers have only gone down. Despite receiving praise and making its way onto video games, customers weren’t interested in the sleek model.

The Alfa Romeo 4C

Don’t be fooled by the Alfa Romeo 4C sleek exterior – it got bad reviews. The Italian ride came in two models, Coupe and the Spider. Though it received a positive assessment for its style, it was criticized for being unreliable.

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The car was condemned for this poor performance, and all the negativity impacted sales, which barely made it to 400 in the first year. Surprisingly enough, both models are still being sold in 2020.

BMW I3

The i3 was once the first of its kind, a pioneering electric cruiser. Unfortunately, it now stands dominated by more electric alternatives from a plethora of carmakers.

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Its demise is mainly due to the disappointing range that it offers, only 81 miles on pure electricity, in comparison to its competition. Considering its substantial price of $44,000, consumers would rather opt for something else.

The Jaguar XJ

Competing against Mercedes and expecting to have better sales is a bold move to take, but that’s what Jaguar was hoping to accomplish with the XJ. It was a traditionally and conservatively designed vehicle with better features and reliability than its German competition couldn’t outshine them.

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Mercedes sales dominated Jaguar’s. For seven years, Jaguar produced the most recent car production, only selling 102,396 units worldwide.

The Lexus LC

Before we continue, we just want to reiterate how excellent of a sports car the LC is. It’s powerful, comfortable, and stylish. Yet, there’s something about it that has put off consumers from buying it. In the past years, LC sales in the United States have been dropping.

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In 2018 sales barely reached two thousand units, and in 2019, numbers were twice as low. Judging by the way things are looking for the vehicle, it may as well be forgotten in the years to come.

The BMW Z4

When roadsters were popular, BMW’s 4 series was considered the best of the best. The Z4 was smooth, reliable, fast, and had excellent performance scores. All of this was in the ’90s, though it’d be difficult to find a BMA two-seater on the highway today.

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In 1998, sales for the Z4 peaked, with 20,613 cars purchased. Unfortunately, a decade later, BMW was selling less than six thousand a year, and in 2016, only a little more than one thousand units were sold in the United States.

Lotus

Across the globe, Lotus is known as a maker of high-end, high-quality supercars. The company can be rooted back to 1948, and yet, car enthusiasts in the United States don’t even know it exists.

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In 2019, the Lotus’s attention in America was minuscule, the Lotus’s CEO declared, “We’ve got to make sure as part of the engineering plan that all the cars we produce in the future, all volume cars, will be federally approved…The U.S. is a huge market for anyone making sports cars; we can’t miss it.” We hope it works for them!

The Volkswagen CC

One of Volkswagen’s best cars was the CC released in 2008, but American consumers begged to differ. The German company released the CC as a luxury sedan, but the description just didn’t seem to fit. Volkswagen focused their attention on the driving experience, which was very apparent.

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They crafted a premium driving experience but left the tech features that American’s expected behind. In turn, the production of VW’s CC was terminated in 2017.