Dozens of new models join the new car price lists each year, and at Auto Trader we cover them all. But sometimes we’re invited to drive a new car and we can’t help wondering why it exists.
As car makers rush to exploit every niche they can, they sometimes forget why they’re bothering.
Some cars you have to question include anything costly and French – think Peugeot 607 and 407 coupe, Citroen C6 or Renault Vel Satis. The same goes for the Italians – have you ever seen an Alfa Romeo 166 out of captivity? With withering depreciation for all of these guaranteed, it’s no wonder the Germans have got the segment sewn up.
Last autumn, Suzuki introduced an SX4 saloon; have you ever seen one? Brits don’t buy saloons unless they’ve got a premium badge on the nose; the chances are you’ll never see a three-box Suzuki SX4, but then you won’t be missing much.
Other sales duds include the petrol-only Subaru Tribeca SUV, the Renault Koleos 4×4 and Laguna coupe, plus the Chrysler Sebring and Cadillac BLS. If you’ve ever seen any of those, the chances are you’re the person who bought one, or you live near a dealership that’s had one in stock for months on end, desperately trying to flog it.
Despite a string of sales disasters over the years, car makers continue to introduce cars completely inappropriate for the market. We can often spot the duds before they’ve even arrived – but which cars have you only ever seen in the price lists, and never in the metal?