DesRosiers: Canadian New-Vehicle Market Not as Strong as It Appears

Though an initial glance at the Canadian new-vehicle market may suggest that November was quite robust, this strength is a bit deceptive, according to analyst Dennis DesRosiers, who said “there are some concerns” to be found when taking a closer look at the month’s sales.
Overall, there were 115,981 new vehicles moved in Canada during November, a gain of 13.6 percent year-over-year, according to the latest Market Snapshot from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. Through 11 months of 2010, sales have hit about 1.45 million units, an improvement of 7.1 percent.
“Dig a little deeper and there are some concerns,” DesRosiers suggested.
“First of all, sales in November 2008 and 2009 were abnormally low due to the upheaval in our industry which started in September/October 2008 and continued until GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in late 2009,” he continued. “So any decent sale performance in November 2010 would have looked good.”
Looking at traditional sales trends from 2003 through 2010, he pointed out that typically the Canadian market moves between 115,000 and 120,000 new vehicles for this particular month.
As such, the 115,981 units sold in November 2010 comes in at the “low end” of usual range.
Not to mention, the month’s seasonally adjusted annualized rate for new-vehicle sales dropped 2.5 percent and came in at 1.567 million vehicles, DesRosiers highlighted. In October, the rate was 1.61 million units.
Giving some more perspective into the actual strength of the market, DesRosiers also reiterated that “incredibly generous” incentives were spotted in various areas of the market during the month,
“Given the incredibly incentive dollars in the market, I actually believe that November sales were disappointing,” he stated. “A number of full-line OEMs have been pushing the incentive button very hard lately.
“If it was a second tier OEM, then I could understand, but GM, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota have all been putting a lot money on the windshield and when they do it other companies like Ford have to follow at least to a degree,” DesRosiers added.
Interestingly enough, the impact of incentives is certainly seen when comparing truck sales and car sales. With hefty incentives on the truck side, their sales climbed double digits on a year-over-year basis to 64,986 units, while cars were relatively static with 50,995 vehicles sold.
“Much of this incentive money was on light trucks, so it isn’t surprising at all that light truck sales in November were up 26.6 percent, while passenger car sales for the month were flat at 0.4 percent,” DesRosiers noted. “The market goes where the money is!”
Breaking it down by automaker, he found that many were up by double-digit percentages on a year-over-year basis, with a few single-digit climbers sprinkled in. A few brands saw their sales drop, most notably Toyota (down 25 percent) and Lexus (down 18 percent), among the larger brands.
The heaviest gainer was Acura (up 54 percent with 1,449 unit sold), followed by Mitsubishi, which improved 48.4 percent to 1,742 vehicles sold.

UCDA Finds Rampant Curbstoning Throughout Ontario

TORONTO, Ontario - 

The Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario recently looked to discover how much curbsiding remains a problem in the region.  An analysis of online advertisements posted on three popular websites between Aug. 1 and Oct. 21 revealed some astonishing numbers.

UCDA's search turned up 76,000 ads accounting for more than 48,000 unique vehicles in Ontario. Officials said the “top prize” went to a single individual in Ottawa who advertised 38 vehicles. Meanwhile, a Toronto resident was promoting 24 units.

The association discovered 530 different curbsiders were each advertising three vehicles for sale, while another 2,913 individuals were offering two units apiece.

“All this activity in just 90 days — and this exposes only the cars they ‘advertised,’” UCDA declared.

The association’s analysis stemmed from a review of listings at Kijiji, AutoTrader and Auto Catch. UCDA indicated the majority of the 3,825 total curbsiders used Kijiji’s free listings. In fact, this made up 76 percent of the overall total.

“Finding curbsiders there was like shooting fish in a barrel,” association officials pointed out.

Also as part of the study, officials ed some of the curbsiders. Oftentimes, they said the curbsider would indicate the vehicle advertised had been sold, but “he had a couple more” available.

UCDA turned over its study findings to the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council as well as the Canada Revenue Agency’s HST Enforcement and Audit Section. UCDA believes OMVIC has strong track record of prosecuting curbsiders, levying a minimum fine of $2,500.

“These studies just show the tip of the curbsiding iceberg,” UCDA officials contend. “Like most legitimate dealers, curbers don’t advertise all of their vehicles, and many don’t advertise at all. So the true total is likely far higher than our results show.

“Our studies only shine a light on those cars that curbsiders advertised,” they continued. “We’d doubt that there’s a member anywhere that doesn’t pass a suspected curber’s house on the route to the dealership."

Which Vehicle Brands Are Retaining the Most Customers?

By many accounts, new-vehicle sales are unlikely to bounce back to pre-recession numbers in the near future. Therefore, while retaining customers has always been vital, if possible, this plays an even larger role in today's marketplace as automakers strive to eke out the highest sales totals possible. J.D. Power and Associates recently set out to find out which automakers are most successful. 
The two vehicle brands topping its list for retaining the most customers are Ford and Honda, J.D. Power reported Thursday when releasing its 2010 Customer Retention Study.
Ford and Honda both have a customer retention rate of 62 percent. Next on J.D. Power's list are Hyundai, Lexus and Toyota, each of which sees 60 percent of its customer base return.
Showing the largest gains from a year ago is Kia, which garnered a 58 percent retention rate this year, up from 37 percent a year ago.
Looking at Ford and Honda in more detail, the Edge, F-Series and Fusion vehicles have been the most pivotal in bolstering Ford’s ability to keep customers coming back. The Accord, CR-V and Pilot models, meanwhile, have been the most crucial in lifting Honda’s retention rate.
So what are the reasons behind each brand’s success?
Of the two groups of customers (Ford and Honda), there is a greater chance that Ford owners will return thanks to vehicle styling and perceived “fun-to-drive" models, according to J.D. Power. Meanwhile, the customers more apt to return for resale-value reasons are those buying Hondas.
Interestingly enough, customers in general are becoming more likely to repurchase from a brand because it has fun-to-drive vehicles, and they are apparently less likely to remain loyal due resale value strength, J.D. Power found.
J.D. Power discovered consumers are seeking out fun to drive vehicles in higher numbers, driving an 8-percent jump in this category.
Conversely, there was a 10-percentage-point drop in the influence of resale value strength.
“Now that economic and market conditions have improved somewhat, vehicle owners are increasingly citing emotional, rather than practical, reasons for staying with their vehicle brand or switching to a different one,” explained Raffi Festekjian, J.D. Power's director of automotive product research.
“In light of this, developing new models with attractive styling and that are perceived as fun to drive is increasingly critical for automakers in order to retain and conquest customers as the market continues to recover,” Festekjian added.
Across all brands, customer retention came in at 48 percent this year, which was static from a year ago. The study — which consisted of 34 brands — found that 16 of these brands showed year-over-year improvement, while 14 brands saw a decrease and four brands witnessed stability.
In some good news for domestics, Big 3 customers have become a bit more likely to stick with Detroit's brands. Among the customers trading in a domestic model, 69 percent went the domestic route again. Sixty-eight percent did the same last year.
That said, the rate of returns is much higher on the import side.
In fact, nine out of 10 customers trading in an import ride stuck with the import side of the market. J.D. Power said this high level has been fairly prevalent recently.
During 2009 and 2010, domestics have done a better job at wooing customers from import brands than they have at improving retention rates, J.D. Power indicated.
The proportion of Big 3 customers this year that had been import customers before came in at 14 percent. This compares to 10 percent two years ago.
“While import brands still have notably higher customer conquest rates than domestic brands, the gap is beginning to narrow,” Festekjian explained.
“In recent years, domestic brands have achieved parity or even surpassed the performance of import brands in initial quality and new-vehicle appeal, and customer perceptions of these nameplates seem to be evolving accordingly,” Festekjian continued. “It will be interesting to see how the performance gains by domestic brands affect retention and conquest rates in the coming years.”

J.D. Power provided the following data  in its 2010 Customer Retention Study regarding the retention rates for 34 brands:

Make Retention Rate
Ford 62 percent
Honda 62 percent
Hyundai 60 percent
Lexus 60 percent
Toyota 60 percent
Mercedes-Benz 59 percent
Kia 58 percent
Subaru 57 percent
Nissan 54 percent
BMW 53 percent
Chevrolet 52 percent
Industry Average 48 percent
Audi 46 percent
Lincoln 45 percent
Ram 45 percent
Cadillac 44 percent
Acura 43 percent
GMC 43 percent
Land Rover 41 percent
Volkswagen 41 percent
Porsche 39 percent
Mazda 37 percent
Infiniti 35 percent
Mini 35 percent
Jeep 34 percent
Volvo 32 percent
Suzuki 31 percent
Mercury 28 percent
Buick 27 percent
Mitsubishi 27 percent
Scion 25 percent
Chrysler 24 percent
Dodge 22 percent
Jaguar 16 percent
Saab 4 percent



Dealers, CarMark Director to be Featured in POADA’s Final Webinar of the Year

CARY, N.C. - 

The Pre-Owned Automobile Dealers Alliance is offering dealership management another free opportunity to learn more about the CarMark Certified Pre-Owned program before 2010 concludes.

A pair of dealership executives who have already seen what the CarMark program can do, along with CarMark’s national director and a representative from one of the POADA’s partners, are scheduled to participate in an upcoming Webinar. The event is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday. It will be the last in the POADA’s yearlong series of Pre-Owned LIVE sessions.

Randy Beeninga, owner of Auto Focus in Greensboro, N.C., and Ken Champagne, president of Gem Chevrolet in Willimantic, Conn., plan to discuss how this unique certified program has helped to enhance their used-vehicle inventory for customers, as well as boost sales.

Also joining the 45-minute session will be Dave Coleville, national director of CarMark Certified Pre-Owned, and Chris Gluth, the senior partner development manager at Carfax.

The panel will highlight the value of CarMark Certified, which officially rolled out earlier this year. The Webinar also has a segment scheduled so dealers can ask questions and hear responses straight from dealers already using the program.

“Franchise, former franchise and top independent dealers can make more by certifying through the CarMark Certified brand, an OEM-equivalent certification program with no royalty or franchise fees,” explained POADA executive Bill Zadeits.

“The CarMark program is available exclusively to members of the POADA, and membership is open to all qualified dealers at no cost,” Zadeits added.

Free registration for the Webinar: CarMark Certified Pre-Owned — A CPO Program for ALL Dealers — can be completed .

More details about the POADA are available at . Previous sessions of Pre-Owned LIVE that covered a myriad of other topics crucial to dealer success can be accessed .

LoJack Reports a Rise in Attempted Vehicle Thefts at Dealerships

WESTWOOD, Mass. - 
Launching its first Vehicle Theft Alert this week, LoJack reported that attempted vehicle thefts at dealerships are escalating.
Between Sept. 21 and Nov. 23 of this year, at least 12 instances of attempted theft were reported at dealerships. In these cases, law enforcement officials told the company the thefts were deterred by LoJack’s Stolen Vehicle Recovery System. This means it could be vital for dealerships to ensure their inventory is secured.
"The recent increase in dealer lot theft is alarming because it underscores how sophisticated and brazen today's professional thieves have become. These clever thieves are targeting both new- and used-car dealers; are using a variety of methods to steal vehicles and, in some instances, are even employing violence," said Patrick Clancy, vice president of law enforcement at LoJack Corp.
"Dealers need to be aware of this trend and should take measures to protect their dealerships and the vehicles on their lots,” he added.
According to the LoJack data, fraud is one of the leading factors behind many of these recent thefts.
Offering dealerships tips on what to look out for, the company revealed In one instance, a suspect purchased two vehicles — a 2010 Lincoln Navigator and a 2011 Ford F-350 pick-up truck — using fraudulent documents and a fictitious business name.  
The fraud became apparent over time. Once an investigation confirmed that the vehicles were stolen, the dealer was able to get the LoJack unit in the Navigator activated.  Apparently, within four minutes, the vehicle was tracked and located. A suspect was taken into custody. The company noted that the F-350, which did not have a tracking device, was not recovered.
Breaking into a dealership and stealing keys is apparently another major method behind recent dealership thefts.
In one instance, the company said a thief broke into a dealership during the night and stole a Hummer H2 along with the keys to 60 other vehicles parked on the lot. Once the theft was discovered and reported, the police entered the VIN into the National Crime Information Center police computer, which activated the LoJack signal and allowed the vehicle to be located. Luckily, all 60 other keys were in the vehicle when it was discovered.
In yet another instance, apparently three men approached a used car dealer and asked for a test ride. During the ride, one of the men pulled a weapon and the other two forced the salesman out of the vehicle, carjacking a Mercedes E-500.  
Again the plot was foiled thanks to the tracking device. The ensuing investigation led to the arrest of three people and the recovery of the Mercedes, as well as a second vehicle that had also apparently been carjacked.
Overall, seven suspects have been arrested as a result of these dealership recoveries, the company revealed.

Do Dealers Really Treat Customers Differently Because of Gender?


CarWoo set out recently to refute a longtime belief that dealers treat customers differently because of gender.

Turns out, CarWoo’s analysis showed that in 80 percent of cases, there was no difference in either offers extended or negotiation styles based on the buyer gender or dealer gender. Officials said their study reviewed marketplace transactions for vehicles of the same make, trim and option package in the same geographic area to get a good understanding of trends.

However in 20 percent of the cases, CarWoo conceded there was a significant difference in offers extended to men versus offers extended to women.

Here’s how the company arrived at these determinations.

CarWoo set seven parameters to create a sample of deals started by both men and women:

—Limited to one major metropolitan area in the U.S.

—All deals were for the same make and model of vehicle.

—The deals were started in same time frame within two to three weeks of each other.

—Limited to a vehicle with a small option set.

—Limited to new units with an MSRP of less than $40,000.

—Limited to buyers where there was no ambiguity of gender, such as someone named Pat or Chris. CarWoo stressed that its program is anonymous but it does show the buyer’s first names to dealers.

—The same set of dealers was observed across the trial period.

Drilling down deeper in the study results, CarWoo indicated 65 percent of dealers offered the exact same price to both men and women. When there was a difference, the company said 15 percent of dealers made an offer with a price difference being less than $500, while 20 percent presented a deal with a price difference greater than $500.

For those dealers who presented offers with the greatest difference, CarWoo wanted to learn why. Here are two responses the company shared.

“It’s a negotiation, and you have to size up the person who’s across the table from you,” one dealer stated. “If I sense that person is going to be a strong negotiator, I might set my price higher.”

Another dealer shared that “there are cultures where negotiation is a part of life. In some in fact you lose face if you don’t negotiate. Culture impacts my pricing because the price I sell the car at determines how much I get paid in the end.”

“What is surprising in this data is not the 20 percent of the cases where there is a significant difference. The eye-opener is that 80 percent of the time there is no difference at all. That is certainly not what people commonly believe or expect,” declared Peter Chiu, vice president of product management for CarWoo.

“Beyond the raw data, we also interviewed a number of dealers, and in the cases where there was a consequential difference in the offers, it seems that this was not a case of gender bias, but rather was a case of a skilled negotiator making a judgment about how best to close a sale,” he continued.

Tommy McClung, chief executive officer of emphasized that this study showed how important the company service can be to connect shoppers and dealers together.

“The CarWoo marketplace data is a rich repository of real time market data. We see thousands of transactions per month and are constantly reviewing this data to extract value for both consumers and for the auto industry,” McClung explained. “This analysis represents a particularly significant finding in an industry where distrust is rampant."

Carfax to Debut Free Used-Car Webinar Series to Help Dealers

Carfax will begin a new Webinar series next week that it says can facilitate stronger used-vehicle sales for dealers by guiding them to a more firm understanding of the latest industry trends, best practices and technologies.
The debut PowerUp seminar begins at noon (EST) on Dec. 17 and will run 45 minutes. This particular session will delve into utilizing wireless technology in acquiring vehicles. The remaining 17 Webinars in the series will examine a wide variety of dealership operational functions, with each session being devoted to one specific topic.
Examples of topics include pricing, advertising and social networking.
Other auto-related companies will be featured in the Webinars, as well.
“I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the information presented in Carfax Webinars,” shared Bruce Allen, of A&T Chevrolet Subaru in Sellersville, Pa.
“Six of our employees, myself included, all recently attended one and came away with helpful tips that we implemented right away and saw real results,” he added. “It’s encouraging to see companies like Carfax supporting dealers by providing resources like these Webinars that help us sell more cars and make more money.”
Carfax’s director of dealer business Lance Vickery added: “It can be difficult to keep up with the constant changes within the used-car market.
“These Webinars are an easy way for dealers everywhere to gain more knowledge but also share their thoughts and questions with peers who likely are experiencing similar issues,” Vickery continued. “Together with other industry experts, we’re sharing information we know helps dealers stay on top of their game.”
Carfax said it will host at least one Webinar a month until December 2011. Each will be held at noon on a Friday.
Anyone can register for a Webinar, which is free. To do so, visit .

Ford Hopes $600 Million Plant Investment Can Make It More Nimble


Ford is refurbishing one of its plants in hopes the additional capacity and infrastructure will enhance its capability to produce fuel-efficient units and respond to quick-changing dealer and consumer demand.

The automaker said Thursday it’s taking $600 million to transform its Louisville Assembly Plant into a modern, flexible facility for manufacturing the next-generation Escape for the North America market starting late next year.

Executives pointed out this plant is the third North American body-on-frame truck facility that Ford is re-tooling to enable production of fuel-efficient products from its global vehicle platforms. They noted Louisville Assembly has been building the Ford Explorer since 1989.

Ford indicated that it moved production of the all-new 2011 Explorer to Chicago Assembly in order to overhaul the Louisville facility.

When the transformed Louisville Assembly Plant restarts production next year, officials mentioned it will operate on two shifts with approximately 2,900 employees. Currently, they said the plant uses only one shift and approximately 1,100 employees.

Ford thinks the 1,800 additional jobs are expected to be filled through a combination of transferring employees from other facilities, re-activating workers on indefinite layoff at the time of launch and hiring new workers.

The Escape scheduled to be produced at this reconfigured plant is expected to debut at the North American International Auto Show in January, according to officials.

Beyond making the Escape, Ford highlighted the capability of the tooling and facility upgrades in its final assembly area and body shop. Louisville is scheduled to house reprogrammable tooling in the body shop geared to allow the plant to produce multiple vehicle models at the same time without requiring downtime for tooling changeover. Ford believes this strategy should make the Louisville Assembly Plant its most flexible high-volume plant in the world.

With this new technology, the OEM explained Louisville Assembly can build up to six different vehicles at the same time, allowing Ford to meet demand more quickly in the event of potential shifting customer preferences dictated by changing economic conditions.

“Our Louisville Assembly Plant transformation further proves our commitment to American manufacturing and our commitment to deliver the high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles people really want,” declared Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas.

“Working closely with the UAW and Kentucky officials, we have found a way to competitively deliver an important new vehicle that is good for our customers and supports our plan to deliver a well-balanced product portfolio of cars, trucks and utilities,” Fields continued.

Jim Tetreault, Ford’s vice president of North America manufacturing, elaborated how the flexibility this refurbished facility should have coincides with the automaker’s overall strategy.

“Manufacturing flexibility is a key to competitiveness, and we are continually exploring ways to raise the bar in this critical area of the business,” Tetreault insisted.

“While we are launching Louisville Assembly Plant with one key product — the next-generation Ford Escape — we are building in the flexibility to produce other vehicles at the plant in the future, depending upon volume requirements, customer preferences and other factors that affect vehicle demand,” he continued.

Ford emphasized the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the city of Louisville were key partners in strengthening the foundation for its commitment to American manufacturing in Louisville.

The OEM indicated state and local partners have committed up to $240 million in tax incentives during the next 10 years, based on current and potential future investments and job creation at the company’s two Kentucky facilities — Louisville Assembly Plant and Kentucky Truck Plant.

Officials explained Kentucky's incentives are based upon an initial combined Ford investment at both facilities of about $800 million — the $600 million for Louisville Assembly transformation and the previously invested $200 million for accommodating Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator production at Kentucky Truck Plant. They added the incentives also allow for further future investment.

“We are grateful to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the city of Louisville for their support of Ford and our commitment to manufacturing here,” Fields asserted.

“With Louisville Assembly Plant up and running next year, Ford will have nearly 6,600 employees in Kentucky, and the work we have done together makes this an important manufacturing center of excellence for us,” he went on to say.

Gov. Steve Beshear responded by stating, “Kentucky takes great pride in its ongoing partnership with Ford Motor Co. The transformation of the Louisville Assembly Plant demonstrates the depth of that relationship and the tremendous results that can occur when state and local government and the private sector work together.

“It is because of our relationship that the Commonwealth proactively approved an amended incentive package that will create the flexibility to potentially increase Ford’s investment and jobs at Louisville Assembly Plant and Kentucky Truck Plant over time,” Beshear also noted.

Furthermore, Ford mentioned its investment of $600 million in Louisville Assembly Plant for production of the next-generation Escape also is supported by the company’s green partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Officials explained the Louisville Assembly Plant is one of 11 Ford facilities in the U.S. participating in the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentives Program initiated by Congress and implemented by the Obama administration. The program is meant to help develop advanced technology vehicles and strengthen American manufacturing across the country.

“Only one word can capture the magnitude of today’s announcement — wow,”declared Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson.

“Ford is making a long-lasting investment in the company’s future in Louisville, Kentucky and a tremendous commitment to our citizens by dramatically expanding the number of good-paying jobs,” Abramson concluded.

Chevrolet Reveals Sponsorship Deal with Army-Navy Game

Chevrolet will continue its efforts to give back to America servicemen and servicewomen this weekend when it begins a three-year deal to be a sponsor of college football’s annual Army-Navy Game presented by USAA.
The auto brand —which will be the “Official Vehicle” of the game — is also giving the Freedom Team of Wounded Warriors a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD during Saturday’s contest in Philadelphia.
Explaining the Freedom Team in more detail, officials noted that it is under the Achilles International organization that offers disabled athletes and veterans support for gyms, parks and tracks.
Freedom Team will provide transportation for athletes to marathons throughout the U.S. with the Silverado HD and haul necessary equipment to the races with the truck, as well.
“We appreciate Chevrolet's continued support of our military and veterans and look forward to Chevrolet being part of America’s Game,” commented Jon Starrett, who is U.S. Naval Academy’s senior associate athletic director.
Adding more perspective, Bob Beretta, senior executive associate athletic director at the U.S. Military Academy, shared: "Chevrolet and the Army have worked hand-in-hand since the Chevrolet Suburban was used for troop transport in World War II. And we look forward to Chevrolet's continued support."
This campaign is just one of several Chevrolet’s outreach programs for the military.
The brand recently gave troops in Afghanistan 11,000 hours of prepaid calling cards. At Chevrolet stores and various events, the GM Military Discount program gathered donations totaling more than 20,000 cell phones.
Then, these were given to the Cell Phones for Solders nonprofit organization. The NPO takes the proceeds from recycling cell phones and gives overseas troops calling cards.
“We at Chevrolet would like to give something back to those who give so much to our country. For more than a century the Army-Navy Game which has represented the honor and pride of the Armed Forces that transcends the game of football,” stated Chris Perry, vice president Chevrolet marketing.
“We are also proud to support the Freedom Team athletes, who serve as inspirations for all Americans,” he added.

Which Models Made Forbes’ Flop List?


Coming on the heels of Honda announcing it will discontinue the Element, Forbes revealed its list of 2010 automotive flops, which included the boxy utility as well as a handful of other models from that manufacturer.

The site turned to a panel to pick its top flops. The Element as well as the Insight and Crosstour were included on the list. A model from Honda’s luxury brand was also among those the site chose — the Acura ZDX.

The rest of the list included the smart Fortwo Pure Coupe, Lexus HS250h and Suzuki Kizashi

The Forbes panel that compiled this list incorporated nominations from Jake Fisher, senior automotive engineer for Consumer Reports; Troy Snyder, director of product development at; and John McElroy, the host of Detroit’s Autoline Daily.

“Dwindling sales is one way to determine an automotive flop. Excessive hype before a launch, with media silence afterward is another. So is a round of scathing reviews from auto critics, and a Consumer Reports rating that places a car among the 10 worst vehicles of the year,” panel members stated.

“Sure, some owners of these vehicles might love their cars and may be completely happy with their purchases. But overall these lines failed to meet expectations,” they added.

The Forbes panel went on to offer more about each vehicle it mentioned.

smart Fortwo Pure Coupe

MSRP: $11,990

Why it flopped: Poor handling, poor public perception of its ability to withstand a crash, not enough gains in fuel economy to justify the first two problems and declining sales.

Honda Insight

MSRP: $18,200

Why it flopped: Poor handling and drive performance when compared to the Prius and low sales.

Lexus HS250h

MSRP: $34,650

Why it flopped: There was a lot of excitement about it because this seemed to make total perfect sense, but unfortunately it just didn't perform. The fuel efficiency wasn’t that good — it gets the fuel efficiency of a Toyota Corolla, so sure, it’s got leather, but it doesn’t really live up to what was promised.

Acura ZDX

MSRP: $45,495

Why it flopped: Polarizing looks, small interior, low sales.

Honda Crosstour

MSRP: $29,790

Why it flopped: Polarizing design and not as much space in the trunk and rear as consumers expect for a hatchback-crossover-sedan.

Suzuki Kizashi

MSRP: $18,999

Why it flopped: Low awareness of Suzuki brand in America.

Honda Element

MSRP: $20,875

Why it flopped: Seven years straight declining sales and odd design.

For the complete story from Forbes, click .