It's all a popularity contest. If you're a successful car, odds are good that you'll make an appearance the next year.
But if you're the kind of car perpetually marked as the "manager's special" with an asking price that's about to become a begging price, you're probably not going to be asked to return for the next year. You've been cut.
Perhaps what's most interesting about 2018's death list is that it's almost all outliers—cars that weren't intended to conform with the workaday crossovers and sedans that make up most of the roughly 17 million new cars sold annually. It's a sad day for quirkiness, although not too many of us will miss cars like the Nissan Quest and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
It's also a tough year for car enthusiasts as new-car buyer appetites for crossovers, SUVs, and pickups seem endless. That's all fine and dandy, but no enthusiast can look upon the demise of the Dodge Viper and Chevrolet SS as a high point.
Here's a look at what models aren't returning to the lineup for 2018 as well as some hints as to what spelled their demise.
2015 Buick VeranoEnlarge Photo
Buick's entry-level sedan arrived a few years back with high hopes. We wanted it to be a cut-rate Audi A4, but it came across feeling more like the dressed up Chevy Cruze that it was. It turns out that lots of sound deadening and some gaudy fake portholes do not a luxury sedan make.
2016 Chevrolet SSEnlarge Photo
This one's complicated. Really complicated. The Chevy SS' demise has more to do with parent company General Motors' decision to end manufacturing in Australia than it does to do with weak sales sales in America. But that's not to say that the enthusiasts who begged for this V-8 muscle sedan exactly lined up to buy it, either.
2017 Dodge ViperEnlarge Photo
Oh, the Viper. If you're of a certain age, you had a poster of one in your locker. Dodge was hoping that you'd be old enough and rich enough to buy one by now, but that hasn't been the case. We wouldn't be surprised to see another Viper someday, but we're not going to hold our collective breath.