Five Endangered Cars

September 16, 2010

Every year, a few more cars make their way to the automotive graveyard.  When the recession began, frankly, we got misty-eyed at some of the cars that met an untimely end.  With Americans cutting back on spending, automakers were forced to cut achingly beautiful roadsters like the Saturn Sky and track-day whippets like the Honda S2000 -- cars you'd buy for love.

This year, another collection may be headed off into the sunset.  But it's a little harder to feel pangs of regret for some of them.  For the most part (okay, there's one exception...more on that in a minute) they never found their niche.

These five cars may be on their way out after the current model year.

2009 Mitsubishi Galant ES

2009 Mitsubishi Galant ES

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Mitsubishi Galant

Mitsubishi makes some decent cars.  The Lancer is an attractive compact, and the Lancer Evolution is a track-worthy demon that defies all natural laws.  The redesigned Outlander has its virtues.  But in recent year the Galant hasn't gained traction in the crowded midsize sedan field -- and when Mitsubishi cancelled the higher-performance Ralliart version for 2010, the writing was on the wall.  Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko has reportedly told confidantes he may cancel the Galant in North America after the 2011 model year, and at the moment, no replacement is planned.

2010 Kia Rondo

2010 Kia Rondo

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Kia Rondo

Visitors to Kia's own Rondo page find the following message awaiting them there: "Thank you for inquiring about the Rondo. As the saying goes 'all good things must come to an end.' But with endings come new beginnings."  Then they are directed to a new website advertising the Kia Sportage.  It looks like we've seen the last of Kia's crossover-wagony-thing.  The Rondo always had promise, with the space of a sport utility and the easy driving dynamics of a sedan.  But it never had much style, which may have killed it in the end.  Kia has learned its lesson, though -- the Korean company's new products all feature the  dynamic, edgy styling the Rondo lacked.

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