The modern cars already vanishing from our roads

We’re just over two decades in and already there are some 21st century cars that are heading towards extinction.

When did you last see a Renault Vel Satis, a Suzuki Kizashi or a Rover CitiRover? And how many times is Cadillac going to try and relaunch its range in Europe?

Here are the desperate last rolls of the dice, half-baked segment busters hoping to snare indulgent middle class whims, tentative ventures into alternative propulsion systems, children of unfortunate alliances and plain old turkeys – all populate our gallery of 21st century misfits:

Slideshow story - please click the right-hand arrow above to continue

Behind the data

A few notes on these numbers:

They’re taken from the excellent website, which uses DVLA data that is not always 100% accurate - hence there occasionally being more examples of surviving models than were apparently sold in the first place. The cars featured are typically those of which there are no less than a 1000 remaining. In many cases, the survivors are far fewer.

There are also some absentees we can’t extract. The Peugeot 407 Coupe (pictured), never a big seller, may be endangered, but it can’t be identified among the 407 saloons and estates. And Saab’s fine, if flawed, 2011 9-5 can’t be separated from its predecessor. The numbers mentioned include both those currently licensed and registerd as Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) - still in existence but on private land at present.

40: Mini Clubvan

Launched: 2012

Total sales: 1020

Numbers left: 779

A cute throwback to the Minivans of the 1960s, and equally useless as a meaningful load carrier. A fine example of a vehicle that sits in a niche within a niche, this is the BMW Group’s one and only car-derived van. And it’s rare.

39: Chrysler Delta

Launched: 2011

Total sales: 794

Numbers left: 726

A crass, UK-market rebadging of yet another off-target Lancia, and heroically expensive at launch - pricier than an equivalent BMW 1 Series in fact.

38: Vauxhall VX220

Launched: 2002

Total sales: 1892

Numbers left: 359

Also available from other brands, the aluminium-chassis, composite body, mid-mounted engine and terrific styling made a modest hit of the VX220. The opportunity to buy the real thing from Lotus inevitably limited its impact, despite it looking better than the Elise.

37: Lotus Evora

Launched: 2009

Total sales: 850

Numbers left: 756

It wasn't the huge seller it should have been. Its big problem is Porsche, and a price that rose sharply in real terms, over the years. Its high survival rate is impressive.

36: Infiniti FX

Launched: 2010

Total sales: 663

Numbers left: 632

Bigger than EX30/37 and a still more striking SUV, but clearly not striking enough.

35: Dodge Avenger

Launched: 2009

Total sales: 1085

Numbers left: 377

This miserable US rentacar device came with a raucous Volkswagen diesel to take your mind off some dubious Detroit plastics. An arrival triggered by Chrysler’s madcap scheme to relaunch Dodge in the UK, a surprising number of Avengers survive.

34: Ssangyong Kyron

Launched: 2006

Total sales: 1102

Numbers left: 239

A largish SUV of curiously interesting style.

33: Citroen C6

Launched: 2005

Total sales: 781

Numbers left: 382

A more impressive car than its XM predecessor, the C6 sold even more slowly, the market for big saloons from mass-makers almost dead. The C6 attrition rate is much lower than for the XM – it's vastly more reliable, and already almost collectable.

32: Vauxhall VXR8

Launched: 2007

Total sales: 561

Numbers left: 436

The intention was never to sell many of these muscular rebadged Holdens, and so it transpired. Instantly collectable, as the survival figures indicate.

31: Rover CityRover

Launched: 2003

Total sales: 8666

Numbers left: 176

An increasingly desperate MG Rover struck a keen deal to buy the Tata Indica, a rudimentary but serviceable hatchback, which it then (lightly) tarted up and attempted to sell for too much money. More interesting as a paragraph of history than a historical artefact.

30: Peugeot Ion

Launched: 2011

Total sales: 396

Numbers left: 365

The least unsuccessful of the Mitsubishi-based EV trio, and sales only ended recently.

29: Infiniti Q70

Launched: 2013

Total sales: 366

Numbers left: 375

A large and shapely model carrying much kit. To limited avail - but impressive survival rates.

28: Fiat Croma

Launched: 2005

Total sales: 1020 - estimated

Numbers left: 189 (NB: Contains a handful of first-generation Cromas)

Dull, even less successful. An ill-starred child of the ill-starred GM-Fiat tie-up at the start of the century; its sister car was the Vauxhall/Opel Signum, which was better but still unsuccessful.

27: Subaru B9 Tribeca

Launched: 2006

Total sales: 685

Numbers left: 285

Tribeca is an exclusive suburb of New York City. The B9 Tribeca is more exclusive than Subaru planned, and its numbers are being sharply reduced now due to the major thirst from its flat-six petrol engine and frightening annual road tax bills.

26: Suzuki Kizashi

Launched: 2013

Total sales: 340

Numbers remaining: 292

A compact, sporty saloon for the US, the big-engined, sharp-chassis Kizashi momentarily seemed a good idea for the UK. But only momentarily.

25: Proton Impian

Launched: 2001

Total sales: 2324

Numbers left: 143

Impian: it means ‘dreams come true’ in Malaysian, but not in this case. But it was Proton’s first in-house car with Mitsubishi engines, and Lotus sprinkled some chassis stardust to sweeten the deal.

24: Infiniti M30D/35h

Launched: 2010; 2011

Total sales: 74; 240

Numbers left: 55; 210

Infiniti’s slow-selling diesel and hybrid M cars.

23: Cadillac BLS

Launched: 2006

Total sales: 597

Numbers left: 189

One of Cadillac’s bolder attempts to crack Europe, the BLS was a freshly iced slice of Saab 9-3 cake. There was even an estate. Nerdy factoid: this was the only Cadillac not sold in the US, the only one made in Europe and the only one with an Italian diesel engine.

22: Mitsubishi I-MIEV

Launched: 2009

Total sales: 277

Numbers left: 210

From this imaginative machine were spawned two French-flavoured variations in the Citroën C-Zero (a name to tempt fate) and the Peugeot iOn. None of the trio has sold well, although the EV market was tiny 10 years ago.

21: Citroen C-Zero

Launched: 2011

Total sales: 237

Numbers left: 204

Citroen’s brief flicker of EV life, along with its two dim Mitsubishi and Peugeot cousins.

20: Lexus IS-F

Launched: 2008

Total sales: 232

Numbers left: 182

An exciting Japanese take on the BMW M3, but only for 232 individuals.

19: Infiniti G37

Launched: 2009

Total sales: 207

Numbers left: 161

A 3 Series scale Coupé and cabriolet, more interesting used than new.

18: Infiniti Q60

Launched: 2014

Total sales: c200

Numbers left: 173

Another attempt at the 3 Series, this time even rarer. And dead already.

17: Renault Avantime

Launched: 2002

Total sales: 393

Numbers left: 147

A luxury MPV coupé is about as useful as a garden shed with a bidet. But the Avantime has fans, who have a club. Partly conceived to occupy the Matra factory previously building the Espace, it achieved neither that nor the establishment of a new segment.

16: Renault Vel Satis

Launched: 2001

Total sales: 1284

Numbers left: 109

Renault’s last ambitious, expensive and spectacularly ineffectual attempt to beat the premium players. The Vel Satis was undeniably different and unexpectedly well-made, but instantly joined the sizeable car park of French cars that are too strange to sell.

15: Infiniti EX30/37

Launched: 2009

Total sales: 174

Numbers left: 148

It’s hard to know which Infiniti is which, so bland is its naming system. This one is a not unattractive SUV, and was even available with a diesel. But that wasn’t enough, its risible sales an unfortunate portent for the brand which has now closed down in the UK.

14: Aston Martin Cygnet

Launched: 2011

Total sales: 154

Numbers left: 127

This oddball, super-luxury city car was reputedly sired from a conversation between Aston's Dr Ulrich Bez and Akio Toyoda, and is one of the rarer Aston Martins, though not of the familiar sort. Amazingly, Cygnets are now worth more than the earliest examples of the V8 Vantage.

13: Cadillac CTS

Launched: 2005

Total sales: 299

Numbers left: 105

A small saloon by American standards, of very small sales.

12: Chevrolet Volt

Launched: 2012

Total sales: 130

Numbers left: 110

This car was meant to trigger a low-emission revolution. A revolution following the well-worn wheel-tracks of the Toyota Prius, it’s true, but the plug-in Volt brought more. But not to Britain. And its Vauxhall Ampera brother scored only 1288 sales, both models strangled by prices considered too high.

11: Hyundai XG

Launched: 2000

Total sales: 698

Numbers left: 28

A mid-size Korean businessman’s saloon best deployed in Seoul.

10: Renault Fluence

Launched: 2012

Total sales: 79

Numbers left: 44

An electric Megane saloon, the Zoe’s bigger brother had memorably ferocious low-speed acceleration, and an equally ferocious appetite for amps. A high price and the desirability of an extension lead soon killed it. The recent EV boom has lifted prices, though.

9: Maybach 57&62

Launched: 2003

Total sales: 81

Numbers left: 35

Daimler’s ill-judged attempt to counter BMW’s audacious acquisition of Rolls-Royce and Volkswagen of Bentley. Maybach was an almost unknown brand, but the main problem was this limo’s forgettable styling – it looked like a stretched Rover 75, but without the elegance. A few stretched egos bought them, though.

8: Cadillac SRX

Launched: 2006

Total sales: 55

Numbers left: 28

A fast vanishing large luxury American SUV, of not-so-large sales.

7: Smart Crossblade

Launched: 2003

Total sales: 27

Numbers left: 17

Silly roofless, windscreen-free city car for sun-seeking, draught-loving, parking-constrained urbanites of unlimited cash resources. Of whom there are surprisingly few, these numbers suggest. Further deterrents to a sale included left-hand drive only, a high price and the need to house it undercover.

6: Hyundai Grandeur

Launched: 2005

Total sales: 39

Numbers left: 21

Grandeur is usually a rare commodity, and so it proves with this ambitiously labelled Hyundai.

5: Cadillac STS

Launched: 2008

Total sales: 31

Numbers left: 23

A slightly larger American saloon than the CTS, but of even smaller sales.

4: MG XPower SV

Launched: 2004

Total sales: 36

Numbers left: 19

MG Rover’s most ill-advised adventure (and there were many), the De Tomaso-based SV was ugly, unfinished and virtually unsaleable at ambitious 911-rivalling money. It was quick, though, and its carbonfibre panels were of exceptional quality, unlike the interior.

3: Infiniti M37

Launched: 2010

Total sales: 13

Numbers left: 13

Petrol-powered M37 represents Infiniti’s slowest seller of the lot.

2: Mia Electric

Launched: 2013

Total sold: 18

Numbers left: 12

This weird French cross between baby car, bus and van had a central driving position, sliding doors, electric drive and a range that more or less coincided with the moment when you’d had enough. It handled, though.

1: Cadillac XLR

Launched: 2007

Total sales: 3

Numbers left: 3

An American convertible with sales that can only be described as tiny. If you ever spot this car out in the wild, you should start buying lottery tickets in quantity as you are clearly very lucky. One of the biggest unicorns in the UK.


The modern cars already vanishing from our roads We reveal the newish cars most in danger of going extinct, going from most models left in existence, to least