There are some cars that feel like they’ve been on sale for an eternity, with the likes of ever-present models like Ford’s Fiesta being in UK showrooms since the late 1970s.
But there are motors that lived far shorter lives – some of them lasting just months before being culled for one reason or another.
Using information provided by Autocar, we’ve listed 10 models from the modern era that were available in the UK for the shortest period – all of them being pulled from makers’ line-ups short of being on sale for 12 months.
Cars that couldn’t cut the mustard: We take a look at ten recent UK models – including the four pictured – that were on the market for the shortest period of time before they were culled from showrooms for one reason or another
Why a motor is taken off sale after only a short period of time could be down to a number of factors, from the brand bowing out of the UK market to the engine failing to meet the latest emissions standards.
However, in some instances it is because the car in question is so painfully unpopular that it no longer makes sense to stock them.
Here are the 10 shortest-lived examples from the modern era, with the oldest example dating back 25 years.
With the help of Autocar, we can also tell you how many of them are still on the road today – and what they are likely worth.
It’s proof that in the motoring world, exclusivity doesn’t always translate to big prices…
10. Chevrolet Trax
On sale: 2013-2014
Why so short-lived? Chevrolet pulled out of the European market
How many are left? Approx 1,600
How much for one today? Good condition examples for £5,000
Manchester United players (L to R) Alexander Buttner, Anders Lindegaard and Sam Johnstone pose with the Manchester United Red Edition Chevrolet Trax
The Trax was US brand Chevrolet’s answer to a compact crossover for buyers across the pond.
It was on sale around the time the car maker began sponsoring Manchester United and even released a small run of Red Devil liveried models.
But its existence was as short-lived as the careers of many recent Man United managers, with the Trax disappearing when Chevrolet’s parent company General Motors decided to pull the brand from the European Market.
The Trax’s sister model, the Vauxhall Mokka, stayed on the UK market until 2019.
9. Honda Legend Mk4
On sale: 2006-2007
Why so short-lived? Sales blown out of the water by German rivals
How many are left? Dozens
How much for one today? Good condition examples for £4,000
The Honda Legend Mk4 made its debut at the London International Motor Show in 2006. It was pulled from UK showrooms the next year
Just because a car was hugely unpopular, that doesn’t necessarily translate to it being a bad motor. That’s certainly the case with the final generation Honda Legend offered to UK customers.
It was packed with standard kit and was the first model to offer automatic lane-keep assistance as an option, as well as a forward collision mitigation system.
But there were two major issues: firstly, it was offered with just one engine – a less-than-impressive 3.5-litre V6 petrol with no diesel option at all; and secondly, it was priced at around £40,000.
With more premium-feeling German rivals at the same price and offering economical oil-burning engines, the Legend didn’t live up to its name and was rapidly dropped from showrooms only months after entering the market in 2006. Today, it’s a solid, well-equipped, used family saloon.
8. Suzuki X-90
On sale: 1995-1997
Why so short-lived? Unpopular when available, though arguably ahead of its time
How many are left? Approx 130
How much for one today? £1,500, if you can find one
The X-90 was hugely unpopular when new in the mid-90s. If launched today – with crossover sales booming – Suzuki would probably have a success story on its hands
The Suzuki X-90 is an example of a car brand launching something that was ahead of its time and, if released decades later, would probably have sold like hotcakes.
Seen as a modern-twist on the convertible Jeep, the compact crossover offering open-top driving on difficult terrain. That said, most UK models sold were rear-wheel-drive versions, with hardly any all-wheel-drive examples bought.
The tiny dimensions and quirky looks were too much for reserved UK drivers who avoided it like the plague.
Many will most fondly remember it for its use as a marketing tool by Red Bull, who painted a number of them in brand colours, strapped an enormous energy drink can to the back and sent them to events to hand out free samples of their sugary beverages.
7. Nissan Cube
On sale: 2010
Why so short-lived? Exchange rate made it non-profitable for dealers at the time
How many are left? Approx 1,000
How much for one today? Good condition examples for £3,200
Just 1,000 UK versions of the Nissan Cube were delivered before the Japanese brand culled the model due as the exchange rate deemed the vehicle non-profitable for dealers
Nissan announced the arrival of the Cube as an official UK model by encasing one in a giant ice cube on the Southbank in London
The Nissan Cube is one of the most unique models to ever hit the market – and its launch event in London, where it was encased in a giant ice cube on the Southbank – was a fitting way to introduce it as an ‘official’ UK car.
That’s not to say the Cube wasn’t on British roads before 2010. The box-shaped small motor had gained a massive cult following for its standout looks, with some drivers importing earlier examples from Japan.
Such was the demand that Nissan deemed it a good idea to introduce it as a right-hand-drive UK model, making 1,000 available in 2010.
But that was the lot, with the poor exchange rate between the Yen and the Pound meaning there were no profit margins for dealers. As a result, it was axed before a second shipment could arrive, easily earning its place here in the list.
6. Renault Fluence Z.E
On sale: 2012-2013
Why so short-lived? Exchange rate made it non-profitable for dealers at the time
How many are left? Just 47
How much for one today? If you can find one, over £5,000
The Fluence Z.E was Renault’s early – and unsuccessful – experimentation with electrification. It was everything that’s wrong with trying to shoehorn an EV powertrain into a standard car
There weren’t many ‘good’ early full-electric vehicles, and the Fluence definitely sits in that bracket.
The Fluence was a medium-sized saloon car sold in mainland Europe, but as part of Renault’s early experimentation with electrification was – for some reason – picked as the ideal model to shoehorn a zero-emission powertrain.
It was, without question, terrible to drive and offered a claimed range of 115 miles – though was, in the real word, down in the double digits. And given that small saloon cars haven’t been popular in the UK for decades, was hugely overlooked by a market far from ready to consider switching to electric power.
Renault sold just 79 examples in a 12-month stint. Yet they’ve still managed to hold their value relatively well today, showing just how strong the demand is for second-hand EVs.
5. Renault Koleos Mk1
On sale: 2008-2009
Why so short-lived? Not a proper 4X4 + not an economical crossover = not popular
How many are left? Approx 1,800
How much for one today? Good condition example for £2,000
Renault has twice tried to sell a Koleos 4X4 to Britons, both times failing miserably and taking them out of showrooms ahead of schedule. The original was on sale for around one year only
French brand Renault jumped the gun on the SUV boom when it launched the original Koleos in the UK in 2008.
While it did have all-wheel-drive it wasn’t a traditional offroader offering big ground clearance and a robust design. Nor was it economical – or modern feeling – to compete with the, at the time, growing market of crossovers, like Honda’s CR-V.
It was also sold only with old-hat diesel engines, with was enough reason for buyers to dodge the car entirely.
Almost a decade after pulling the original Koelos from showrooms, Renault relaunched the name in 2017 for another SUV assault. But, like its predecessor, it had an early exit from the market, taken off sale in 2020 due to ‘commercial reasons’.
4. Saab 9-5 Mk2
On sale: 2010-2011
Why so short-lived? Saab went bust in 2011
How many are left? Approx 1,000
How much for one today? If you can find one, around £5,000
When Saab eventually went bust in 2011, it took the 9-5 with it. That was no shame, as it was arguably the worst car the Swedish brand – known for build quality – ever produced
While the original Saab 9-5 was a glowing success, the same can’t be said about its second attempt released in 2010.
It was launched at a time when the Swedish brand was on the brink of collapse, having had just divorced from General Motors and in desperate need of a cash injection. It had pinned its hopes on a second-generation 9-5 delivering, but with essentially a Vauxhall Insignia underneath it had little chance competing with executive rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
While changes were made to the suspension to make it feel supple on UK roads, the ride was terrible, handling even worse and the steering wheel suffering from constant vibrations.
Saab went bankrupt in December 2011, which spelled the end for the 9-5.
3. Subaru B9 Tribeca
On sale: 2006-2007
Why so short-lived? Painfully expensive running costs
How many are left? Approx 350
How much for one today? If you can find one, around £6,000
The combination of the snout grille design and horrendously expensive running costs were enough to kill off the B9 Tribeca after just a year in showrooms
As awful as the B9 Tribecas styling was, its incredible dullness and high running costs were a bigger contributing factor to UK sales flopping.
The much ridiculed ‘snout’ was a ‘spread-wing’ design introduced by Subaru as a nod to its aeronautical heritage. What works well on a Bugatti clearly doesn’t translate to a family SUV.
Its combination of a flat-six, 3.0-litre ‘Boxer’ petrol engine and a five-speed automatic transmission was a nightmare when it came to vehicle excise duty, with 291g/km putting it in the highest possible band, which today translates to annual tax bills of £600 a year!
With a claimed fuel economy of 23mpg, it’s totally understandable why this wasn’t a hit – and why Subaru hauled it out of showrooms.
2. Suzuki Kizashi
On sale: 2012-2013
Why so short-lived? Not fit for the UK market, especially with saloon sales in decline
How many are left? Approx 305
How much for one today? If you can find one, around £5,500
Suzuki asked customers and the press if bringing the Kizashi saloon to the UK – without a diesel engine option – was a good idea. Drivers must have lied to them…
Suzuki played a dangerous game in the early 2010s by asking customers and the press if they’d be interested in the arrival of a new family saloon model with four-wheel drive and one engine choice of a 2.4-litre V6 petrol.
Incredibly, the feedback must have been positive, as the Kizashi was brought to UK shores. But those who feigned interest in the idea of the Japanese executive saloon didn’t put their money where their mouth was.
Demand for the model was exceptionally low, not least because there wasn’t a diesel option, which meant high 191g/km CO2 emissions.
Again, this is an example of a car that wasn’t fit for the market, but wasn’t actually all that bad. Comfortable, pleasant to drive and guaranteed to cope in the worst weather Britain could throw at it, it wouldn’t make a bad affordable family run-around today.
1. Honda Logo
On sale: 2000-2001
Why so short-lived? Scarcely equipped and super-basic supermini nobody wanted
How many are left? Approx 600
How much for one today? Good condition examples for £900
Remember the Honda Logo? You probably don’t because it was only available in UK showrooms for 9 months around the turn of the century
Never heard of the Honda Logo? That’s understandable, because it was only on sale in the UK for nine months before bosses at the Japanese firm hit the ejector seat button on this dinky model.
It hit the market in April 2000, but by January 2001 was terminated from the UK market, which is surely one of the shortest sale runs of any car sold in Britain in the modern era.
Surveys carried out around the time of being on sale said it was one of the most reliable cars you could buy. Thought that’s because it was so void of equipment that there was literally nothing to go wrong.
It was hauled from showrooms to make way for the Jazz supermini that followed and went on to become a UK hit. You get the feeling the Logo was introduced by Honda to put the feelers out for a compact model at the time.
> For a full list of every short-lived car sold in the UK, checkout Autocar’s full slideshow of examples
Recent models you might not know have been culled
Mercedes-Benz X-Class (2018-2020)
There was such little demand for an executive pick-up truck that Mercedes culled the X-Class after only two years
The German premium brand identified a hole in the market in 2018 – the lack of an executive-class pick-up truck. So it signed a deal with Nissan to use its Navara and clad it in Mercedes badges and a more up-market interior to create the X-Class.
But there wasn’t much demand for a posh truck, with buyers continuing to buy the cheaper Nissan. Pick-up sales also went into decline, spelling an end for the X-Class.
Bentley Bentayga diesel (2017-2019)
The Bentayga introduced Bentley’s first – and likely – last diesel engine, which was released in the wake of parent group VW’s huge diesel emissions cheating scandal
Another modern example of a motor not being in showrooms for long was the diesel Bentley Bentayga – the iconic British firm’s first, and likely last – oil burner.
It arrived in the wake of parent firm VW’s dieselgate scandal, and was rapidly axed from the range.
Fiat/Abarth 124 Spider (2017-2019)
Fiat’s collaboration with Mazda to use the MX-5’s brilliant chassis for the Italian’s own roadster sounded like a great plan…until Fiat put their own engine in it
The Mazda MX-5 is the best-selling roadster of all time. The latest example is a brilliant combination of affordability and pure driving dynamics.
This sounds like all the right recipes for Fiat to use for the rebirth of the 124 nameplate, with the arrival of a hotter Abarth version. But with Fiat’s own 1.4-turbo petrol engine under the bonnet, it was a poorer – flatter – alternative to Mazda’s icon and disappeared from the market after just three years.
Suzuki Jimny Mk4 (2018-2020)
The last iteration of the Jimny was a massive sales success for the limited time it was available. Suzuki was forced to kill it off due to its high emissions
One example we were sorry to see disappear was the latest Suzuki Jimny. The boxy compact SUV won fans for its cute looks and impressive off-road ability. Suzuki couldn’t make them fast enough to appease demand.
But it was emissions that spelled the premature end for the dinky 4X4. Carbon emissions of 154g/km were simply too high for Suzuki to meet targets and it was culled as a result. It’s now back as a commercial vehicle – meeting less strict CO2 targets – with no rear seats.
Range Rover Evoque Convertible (2016-2019)
Some crossover attempts are destined to fail, such as a soft-top SUV. The Range Rover Evoque Convertible looked like a bathtub on wheels
The Evoque has undoubtedly been a sales hit for Land Rover, but the decision to lop the roof off the compact SUV is a dubious one. It introduced the Convertible in 2016, and it looked like a bathtub on wheels.
Starting prices were astronomical – around £47,000 – and the added weight required to stiffen the chassis to cope without a fixed roof absolutely obliterated any driving characteristics it had. When the Mk2 Evoque hit the market in 2019, no drop-top version was offered – for good reason.
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