• Jan 6, 2010
2010 Toyota Matrix – Click above for high-res image gallery

In a U.S. News and World Report story distributed via Yahoo dubbed "The 10 Best Discontinued Cars," author Rick Newman spoke with an unnamed analyst at Kelley Blue Book in an effort to help new car shoppers find exceptionally deep discounts on new cars. Here's where it gets hazy: As part of that process, Newman sought to:
"...identify models likely to be discontinued over the next couple of years. For some of these models, the manufacturers have confirmed that the car is being axed; others made the list because of strong indicators that they're being discontinued, such as manufacturing changes or declining shipments to dealers."
Note the word usage of "likely" and "next couple of years" coupled to that very misleading title. To Newman's credit, he notes "unconfirmed" when discussing vehicles that haven't been officially killed off, but to our eyes, the title is misleading and the execution of the list itself strikes us as disingenuous, particularly as it mixes vehicles that have already been officially nixed (Honda S2000, Mercury Sable, Pontiac G8, Saturn Sky, Volkswagen Jetta GLI) with end-of-life models that are likely to be replaced or die out in due time (Chevrolet Colorado, Lexus SC430), as well as nameplates that have been facing declining or slow sales (Toyota Matrix and FJ Cruiser, Hyundai Veracruz). We spoke with Curt McCallister, Toyota's Midwest Public Relations Manager about the fate of the Matrix and FJ Cruiser, and he offered us the following guidance:
"There are no plans to discontinue either model. The Yahoo story is erroneous in that it was based on conjecture from unnamed analysts from Kelley Blue Book. The reporter (Newman) was informed of the factual errors in his story, multiple times yesterday. He was also questioned on why we weren't allowed to confirm or deny these assumptions. It was poor reporting that unfortunately has an Internet reach."
Click through to the jump for the rest of the story, including a comment from Hyundai.



[Source: U.S. News and World Report via Yahoo]

We also spoke with Hyundai spokesman Dan Bedore, who told us that the 2010 Veracruz is "an important part of the Hyundai lineup as our only three-row crossover" – he informed us that unlike last year's model, the facelifted 2010 Santa Fe will only offer two rows of seats.

One final thing: We note that in "The 10 Best Discontinued Cars," Newman also says that General Motors is "streamlining" its Buick lineup, something we can't find much evidence of. The brand only has three vehicles for the 2010 model year (Enclave, LaCrosse and Lucerne) and while the latter is likely to disappear, GM is actually expanding the TriShield's lineup, with the soon-to-arrive 2011 Regal, an upcoming entry-level sedan and likely a small crossover.


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  • 29 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota has many models in the 15-20k range. It's kind of baffling: Yaris, Corolla, Matrix, xB, xD, and I'm sure I'm missing one. Maybe they should go back to calling it the Corolla Matrix on the car, and bring its styling back to earth. Many people want an honest-to-goodness wagon and it's the perfect platform.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota really dropped the ball on the Matrix this generation, it sold so well last generation because it was essentialy a 5-door Corolla that was extremely practical and got exceptional gas mileage.

      This generation they gave it a hideous boy racer body kit, ruined the gas mileage for the sake of a measley 10-15hp, and cheapened the interior. The interior is by far the worse thing they did, the cheap plastic works in the cargo area because it's easy to clean, it doesn't work as the dashboard/center console.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The 2009 Matrix lost one highway mpg to the 2008 with the manual, and nothing with the automatic. The difference is that there is now a bigger engine offered, but you're certainly not forced to take it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The cheaper plastics is just part of the unfortunate trend across the auto industry to go with harder plastics in interiors. Toyota has unfortunately chosen to go along with everyone else in this regard, and it's extremely noticeable in their other newer cars as well, but it's not just Toyota who's guilty of this.
        Honestly it's kind of depressing when you sit inside a 1999-2001 Camry, then a 2002-2006 Camry, and then sit in the current one-the change in the interior materials is not subtle at all. But you'll notice this if you do this with cars from other manufacturers as well, including the luxury brands.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I guess it doesn't do anything constructive posting just to say I agree completely with what you said, but I do so I did.
      • 5 Years Ago
      People really think the Matrix will be around for another cycle? If Pontiac and it's Vibe is gone, no need to keep the slow selling Matrix.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They should have just called the speculative demise "unpopular long-in-the-tooth cars that should sell at fire-sale prices", then they wouldn't have the issue with calling them "discontinued" when they aren't.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This didn't say the Matrix would see another cycle. It said its demise was imminent. It's only a one-year-old model.
      • 5 Years Ago
      When I heard Hyundai's name I immediately thought the Azera was going to be the model mentioned. I doubt the Veracruz will be discontinued in a few years; especially if the new Santa Fe will only have 2 rows like the post mentioned. In any case, I doubt the Azera will be axed either, considering the new Sonata will only be available in a 4-clyinder.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, the Azera's not going anywhere. The 2011 KDM Grandeur (HG) has already been spied. We'll probably get it in mid-2011 as a 2012. Hopefully we'll get at least the DOHC 3.5L V6 and 6AT in the current TG for 2011. The Veracruz won't be going away soon. I certainly expect a new engine for next year, as its below-par fuel economy is its biggest problem. But once the new Portico hits the street, I think the Veracruz's days in the Hyundai line-up are probably over. Wouldn't be surprised to see a revised version return under a different name on the Genesis-side of the store, though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Azera (or Grandeur, as the KDM model is called) just got a home-market refresh. Everyone immediately thought it would go the way of the Dodo as soon as the Genesis came out, but it's still around. If Hyundai's plans to create an upscale brand and division actually come to fruition, I could see a version of the Azera anchoring the lower end of a premium brand, much like the ES 350 does for Lexus.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If someone has sales numbers on the Matrix, I'd like to see them. All I have ever read was that it was not broken out from the Corolla numbers. I own an 03. It meets my needs - hauling stuff, (frequently using the fold down front seat) and getting decent mileage. Not wild about the looks of the 03. Hate the current model, but it would still be on my list for the same reasons, and because of the lack of alternatives.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I actually had to Google 'Hyundai Veracruz' to see what one looked like. Probably explains why it's being discontinued.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Judy- Don't know where you get your info, mostly your dead on, however the comment about the Ford/GM fullsize SUVs was a bit off. I rarely see them in fleets, and they are the only real option for a large family with older kids. Minivans are great for small/young kids, but when the kids get bigger, minivans just don't cut it anymore. Yeah, there are still full size vans, but not much variety or style there, and no FWD/AWD option either for winter climates. Besides, the fuel efficiency is the same as a SUV. Make me a minivan with seating for 5 or 6 large teenage boys and I will pay attention. Until then, Suburban/Expedition XL are the only ones on my radar.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You and me both. I honestly never even heard of the Veracruz.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cars that need to go on the chopping block.

      Jeep Compass
      Dodge Nitro
      BMW X6
      • 5 Years Ago
      The idea of killing the FJ Cruiser is sad since I've always admire it but since day one they should have used a 4 cylinder engine instead of the gas guzzling V6.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Er Toyota hire a lot of American workers. In other hand, Ford and GM plants are in Mexico.
      • 5 Years Ago
      MarkV GLI -

      Paukert's statement about the GLI gibes just fine – that's the *next* Jetta that won't be out for some time yet, and as I read it, that statement is reporting on what Car and Driver has stated. As you probably already know (it looks like you're a VW fan from your name), there will be a sporty Jetta that's a lot like the GLI available next year, but it'll be a TDI diesel version. Sadly, the GLI is dead for this model year, as you can note its absence on VW's consumer website.


      • 5 Years Ago
      I think both Toyota and Hyundai have a valid point.

      I remember reading the USN&WR piece when it was picked up on Yahoo's news feed, which doubtlessly gave it much wider distribution than it got from the publication's own website. Like a lot of business reporting in the general media, it was beefed up with erroneous conjecture and speculation to spice up the article's provable facts. Lame hedging words like "likely" and "strong indicators" are a poor defense against the article's strongly and clearly stated premise of "Best Discontinued Cars". Especially when it's not clearly portrayed as such.

      Even less defensible is the effort to lay attribution on a confidential/unnamed source from another publication. Reporters need to recognize that when they use unnamed sources said reporters BECOME THE SOURCE and take full responsibility and liability for whatever they report. I doubt that Mort Zuckerman is pleased with this turn of events.

      Speculating on my own, it's unlikely that Toyota and Hyundai will take what's left of USN&WR to court for libel. Though they could, and might even win judgment against the publication/website. But it certainly doesn't help to tick off two deep-pocketed advertisers who could provide the kind of revenues that could keep a troubled news organization afloat. And tragically for Toyota and Hyundai, the retraction won't get the wide play that the original, erroneous article did.
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