Today is Endangered Species Day, Americans' designated day to recognize national conservation efforts to protect at-risk animals and their habitats. Like the West African black rhinoceros, passenger pigeon, Caribbean monk seal and Tecopa pupfish -- and, lest we forget, the black-faced honeycreeper — each year many models of cars also go the way of the dodo.
Motor Nature selects cars for extinction for all sorts of reasons: the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart sedans for being terminally unremarkable; the Chrysler Town & Country minivan to be replaced by the new and eminently improved Pacifica; and, in the case of the Hyundai Equus and Genesis sedans as well as the entire Scion lineup, to be reimagined as a wholly new brand or folded into an existing one.
As we reach the midpoint of this year, we already can't help but notice some cars that, frankly, don't look to be long for this world. Here are five endangered automobile species we predict we'll be pouring one out for come 2018 ...
1. Acura ILX
"The ILX marked Acura's return to the entry premium sedan segment, but it's been an underwhelming effort that even its owners reportedly dislike," said Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays. "Entry premium cars have slim popularity to begin with — enough for GM to pull the plug on the Buick Verano — but within the class, the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and Audi A3 outsell the bargain-priced ILX by significant margins."
Mays prognosticated: "It's telling that parent company Honda debuted a redesigned Civic some 20 months ago, yet the ILX, which was based on the prior Civic, has trundled on without a redesign. Its days are numbered."
2. BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo
"BMW offers a number of models that blur the lines between conventional body styles, but the 5 Series GT is perhaps the most awkward looking of the bunch," said Senior Research Editor Mike Hanley. "It's at the end of its life cycle and we'd be surprised if a redesigned second generation appears."
3. Buick Cascada
"Despite its recent inclusion in the Buick lineup, the Cascada is based on a convertible of the same name from GM's Opel division in Europe, where its roots go back nearly five years," Mays explained. "You can see it in the center controls, which chronicle a bygone era of GM interiors. Sales are low, and Buick's parent automaker is jettisoning its European operations, including Opel. Orphaned from its roots, the Cascada smacks of a single-generation car."
4. Fiat 500L
"Fiat's quirky crossover hasn't caught on at a time when interest in small SUVs is red hot," Hanley assessed. "With year-to-date sales totaling just 399 cars, it hardly seems worth keeping around."
"Since SUVs are the flavor of the year and sales are soaring, sedans are likely on the chopping block at various automakers," predicted Jennifer Geiger, assistant managing editor for news. "We already know the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 are singing their swan songs; chances are many other sedans will follow with an encore."