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The Departed - 2007 automotive edition

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Silently, a dozen models are leaving our showrooms...

Would you be shocked if I told you that a dozen cars are leaving our showrooms in 2007? More importantly, could you identify which ones?

Yet again, the auto industry is set to launch a record number of vehicles, with nearly 70 all-new or redesigned models finding their way into dealerships. "This is unprecedented, says one of Canada's top auto analysts, Dennis DesRosiers. We're far from the 30-something annual launches of the last decade!"

As I said, we bid farewell to a dozen models in 2007. Let's take a moment, if you please, to review these vehicles that served us for a number of years.

Ford Taurus: 20 years!

Twenty years. It had been on the market for 20 years! Of all the vehicles being discontinued in 2007, the Taurus had the longest life. It also sold 7.5 million units in North America, which is essentially the total number of vehicles sold in Canada over the last five years!

Chevrolet SSR: not "neceSSRy"...

The short existence of the Chevrolet SSR was a rocky one. Launched with a base price of $70,000, this retro-styled vehicle was far from being affordable. In order to boost sales, GM cut the price by $20,000 and increased the output of the V8 engine to 400 horsepower. Despite all these efforts, the 2-seat convertible pickup truck (!) only sold 696 units in Canada...

Honda Insight: a pioneer

In 1997, the Honda Insight became the first-ever hybrid car in North America. This 2-seater, which barely produced 80 horsepower, was significantly heavy on the wallet: $26,000. With the new technological advancements, the car had to relinquish its leadership to more conventional hybrids, such as the Honda Civic Hybrid and Accord Hybrid.

Acura RSX: this one we'll miss...

Among the 2007 Class of Departed, the one we'll be missing the most is the Acura RSX. The heir to the Integra (1987-2002) is kicked out of the fold because Honda's premium division wants to move upscale. This is strange since the Canadian sales of the RSX exceeded 3,000 units a year (almost a thousand in Quebec alone).

Subaru Baja: too ahead of its time?

The Subaru Baja never had a single glory day and that's quite a shame. A cross between a sedan and a compact pickup truck, the Baja was rather versatile. Was it too ahead of its time? Or was it too expensive, at $30,000? Whatever the reason, less than 600 Bajas have found takers in Canada since its introduction as a 2003 model.

VW Phaeton: misunderstood

It had style, a powerful 444-hp W12 engine and one of the most sumptuous interiors on the market. But it was a Volkswagen. Who wants to pay over $100,000 for a Volks? In three years, only 103 units were sold in the country...

Here are the other vehicles being axed in 2007:

Chevrolet Epica and Suzuki Verona (2004-2006);
Lincoln LS (2000-2006);
Mitsubishi Montero (1996-2006);
Infiniti Q45 (1990-2006);
Saab 9.2x (2005-2006). By the way, the Saab 9.2x had the shortest existence of all the aforementioned vehicles...

photo:Ford - General Motors - Honda - Acura - Subaru - Volkswagen