Top 10 Worst-Selling Cars In America – March 2011

When the Volkswagen Passat narrowly missed landing on Canada’s Worst Sellers list in March 2011, what you didn’t realize was that the swoopy Volkswagen Passat CC was included in those Passat sales figures. Here, with the soon-to-be-replaced 2010 Volkswagen Passat at #1, 2331 Passat CC sales are missing. By itself, the CC was in fact up 16.9% in March and is up 14.7% year-to-date.

The Good Car Guy already went over the changes to the new monthly rundown of Worst-Selling Vehicles. That leaves a little space to lob insults at some of the worst offenders.

The Jaguar XF is a pretty cool car. Yet ever since the newer, bigger Jaguar XJ came to market, XF sales have been in a perpetual dive. Thus, there are no insults found here for the XF, only for Jaguar’s product planners who’ve made the XF a V8-only car (like the XJ) and set up an overlapping pricing strategy. Jaguar XJ sales totalled 463 in March, up 4530%.

Ah, but a genuine insult is what you desire. It is the official opinion of this website that the Lexus HS250h is the worst new car you could buy today. As a member of’s The Bad 8, the HS250h was already set aside as one of eight automobiles you must avoid. Now the Lexus CT200h is here and the HS looks even worse. HS250h sales were down 80% in Q1. 

While we’re speaking of Toyota products, how ’bout a moment for the Yaris? Not awful in the conventional sense, the Yaris is now viewed in the light of the excellent 2011 Ford Fiesta and a 2012 Kia Rio which is bound to be a winner. No wonder Yaris sales are disappearing.

% Drop
March 2011
Volkswagen Passat
Lexus HS250h
Volkswagen New Beetle
BMW 6-Series
Jaguar XF
Mazda RX-8
Jaguar XK
Mazda Tribute
Hyundai Santa Fe
Toyota Yaris

Related From
Top 10 Worst-Selling Cars In America – March 2012
The 10 Worst-Selling Cars In America – April 2011
The 15 Worst-Selling Cars In America In 2010
Top 20 Best-Selling Cars In America – March 2011
Top 30 Best-Selling Vehicles In America – March 2011
U.S. Auto Sales By Brand – March 2011

  1. The Passat isn't even offered for sale anymore. There is no 2011 model. Why included in 2011 sales statistics? Kind of misleading calling it the worst selling vehicle.

  2. @anonymous – the Passat CC was mentioned for a reason, showing that Volkswagen can still sell a Passat. But Volkswagen can't be given credit or preserved from blame for not having a Passat ready. You see Accord sales plummet in the years in which new generations are introduced? How 'bout Camry sales… do they drop to 38/monthly in the lead-up to a new generation's introduction? Ford F-Series? If others can do it, Volkswagen should be able to as well. The Passat still exists, it's not as if they cancelled the product or switched it to a new name. Also, have a look at the picture: that's a 2012 Passat, and the image title says, "not going to be a worst seller."

  3. Have Honda and Toyota ever cancelled an entire model year of the Accord or Camry? Because that's what VW has done with the 2011 Passat. Counting sales figures of cars that are no longer for sale is a bit odd to me.

  4. Have Honda or Toyota ever had to cancel a model year of a vehicle because demand for their current model was so low they had to totally re-think the mission of the model?

    There are always reasons for decling sales. Volkswagen has a pretty good one with the missing 2011MY. But that doesn't cancel out the fact that, in March 2010, Volkswagen sold 1708 Passats (not very many, by the way) and in March 2011 they sold 38. Maybe we should take Chrysler off the Canadian list becuase many Canadian dealers don't have any to sell. Perhaps the 6-Series should be removed from the same list because everyone who would possibly want a 6-Series would just wait a couple more months for the new model. Let's take the Mazda Tribute off the U.S. list since Americans really want to buy Fords and the Escape is the same thing, so the Tribute doesn't stand a chance.

    A Worst Sellers list like this isn't about convincing anyone, "It's a bad car," or "These are the cars people aren't ever buying anymore." Otherwise the Yaris and Santa Fe couldn't be included, what with 8526 sales, nor would a car as intentionally rare as the Jaguar XK be making an appearance. We know it's not going to be on a Best Sellers list.

    This list is about showing where sales have disappeared but could yet return. These aren't formally cancelled models like the Pontiac G6 – for which sales have truly and completely dried up – but cars which are knocked down but not necessarily knocked out. (The Mazda RX-8 sure seems down for the count though, don't it?)

    Back to the Passat, then, that's exactly why it's here. It's on its last breath, there are no buyers because a) there are very few to buy and b) few midsize car buyers wanted one in the first place.

    More likely than not we're about to see some serious declines from certain models which were built in factories that have had trouble getting up and running. Sad though the situation is, we can't ignore falling sales when trying to tell a story about falling sales just because of a rough situation. In the Passat's case, Volkswagen built its own rough situation. They designed a bloated, overpriced sedan, then gave it a swoopy in-house rival, then rejigged the process in a manner so revolutionary that they stopped marketing it for a season. That's not The Good Car Guy's fault, and it's certainly not the American car buying public's fault.

  5. "These aren't formally cancelled models like the Pontiac G6 – for which sales have truly and completely dried up – but cars which are knocked down but not necessarily knocked out."

    The Passat sedan and wagon were cancelled for 2011. Again, that is the point you are missing.

  6. @ oh un-named one, did Volkswagen report a 97.8% year-over-year drop in Passat sales in March 2011?


    Have Volkswagen's U.S. dealers been selling Passats without interruption? Yes, although not many, quite obviously. But they've still been selling them. Why there are leftovers from MY2010 isn't difficult to figure out.

    Will Volkswagen continue to sell Passats in the future?


    For the record, even back in December – since calendar year/model year consistency seems to mean so much to consumers (but clearly not automakers) – Passat sales fell 72.3% in the U.S., a figure which would have been more than enough to land the car near the top of a list just like this one. In January, October, and November of 2010, Passat sales were down in year-over-year comparisons. More likely than not, there were reasons for this. But the only reason the Passat would've had for escaping inclusion on a list like this would be if the Passat were no longer available. Yet evidence suggests that, not only was the Passat available, it was going to be available in the future under the same name.

    Also, there was a 2011 Passat. Not in the U.S.A., but that again isn't the fault of a Worst Sellers list, nor is it the fault of consumers who were denied the opportunity to acquire a MY2011 vehicle.

    To be fair, had VW changed the name of the 2012 model, you wouldn't see the Passat here, just as you don't see the Chrysler Sebring here. But the Passat lives on, as the picture suggests.

    1670 Passat sales from March 2010 were missing from Volkswagen's tally in March 2011. As a scorekeeper, whether you'd like to give Volkswagen credit for that or blame Volkswagen for that… well, that's up to you. What this post says is that 1670 Passat sales which were present in March 2010 are gone now, but fortunately won't be missing in March 2012. Far more than a score card, this Worst Sellers group is just a listing of facts. Volkswagen Passat sales dropped 97.8% in March 2011. If that fact can't be pointed out, then we must also be forced to say Volkswagen USA sales weren't 27,176 but actually stood at at 27,138. I mean, there was no 2011 Passat, right, so surely 38 of'em could'nt've been sold, right? Right?

    Of course that's wrong. So long as Volkswagen or any other automaker is attempting to sell a specific model in America and plans to do so in the future, the model will be eligible for a Worst Sellers list, just as it would've been eligible for a Best Sellers list had Volkswagen sold 21,000 MY2010 Passats in March 2011.

  7. anonymous said, "Why included in 2011 sales statistics?", which I will take to mean, "Why include it in 2011 sales statistics?" Maybe because VeeDub included it?

    If they are going to include it, shouldn't other reputable organizations be open to including it, as well?

    Then anonymous (same person?) said, "Counting sales figures of cars that are no longer for sale is a bit odd to me." Ummm, didn't it kind of HAVE to be on sale if 38 people were going to buy one?

  8. Yeah, you can only go so far with model year designations. I get the point. If Volkswagen isn't actively trying to advertise/market the Passat, then don't blame them for not selling any. But yet the Passat was for sale. But yet again, not really, it was sort of a dead model. But yet, if a 2011 model comes out in July 2010 do its sales data only count towards 2011? Or if a 2011 model comes out in February 2011, do its yearly figures only include the final eleven months? Model year designations don't mean anything to auto manufacturers like Porsche and Ferrari. If sales figures had to work around model year designations they wouldn't be much use. But yet again, VW wasn't really selling the Passat in March.

  9. Here's the most important reason to include the Passat, a continuing model, on the list, @StJeRa and @anonymous. Let's imagine Volkswagen had a hugely popular German car on their hands and decided to go into a brief lull before they started to build a new model of the same car in Chattanooga. Imagine they built enough of the outgoing model to cover that lull because they knew they could sell them. But because they skipped naming some of those cars the MY2011 Midsize Sedan and called them 2010s instead the car was kept off Best Seller lists. We would consider that ridiculous.

    What we had here, however, was an unpopular car to begin with. Thus, Volkswagen didn't try and build enough Passats to cover the lull because they knew they'd have a huge problem – particularly given the soon-coming less-expensive 2012 model – trying to sell what was, by purely statistical measurements, already a flop in North America.

    Again, it must be said, Volkswagen USA posted a Passat sales decline of 97.8% in March 2011. Volkswagen sold 38 Passats in March. Whether or not placed the Passat on a Worst Sellers list, Volkswagen still sold 38 Passats in March, down 97.8%. Thems the facts. Whether or not it's on the list, the Passat was still one of America's worst-selling cars in March 2011.

  10. Model year means nothing. As for the other stuff, who knows. But MY2010 or MY2011, the Passat was still for sale.

  11. The old Passat should have always been the CC 5-seat.

    CUV sales pick up and Santa Fe goes down that hard?

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