Wrongful or just supporting? 5 cars that hardly anyone buys

There are cars that, despite their recognized qualities, few people buy. It’s worth making it clear: we’re not talking about extremely exclusive models with million-dollar prices.

Explanations for this can include individual or combined factors, such as uncompetitive prices, low availability at dealerships, in the case of imported vehicles, and focus on direct sales – when most of the respective license plates come from companies, especially car rental companies.

Below are five cars that are far from the leaders in their respective categories. Would they be wronged by the consumer and deserving of higher sales or just supporting roles in an increasingly competitive market?

Give your opinion in the comments. The suggested prices below are for the State of São Paulo.

Kia Rio

Kia Rio - Alessandro Reis/UOL - Alessandro Reis/UOL
Image: Alessandro Reis/UOL

Launched in early 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic, Kia Rio had been awaited for years in Brazil. From January to August, there were only 167 licensed units according to Fenabrave, the federation of concessionaires.

The compact hatch imported from Mexico brings platform and several other components shared with the Hyundai HB20, including the 130hp, 16.5kgfm 1.6 flex aspirated engine and the six-speed automatic transmission – all with a less controversial look than shown by the Brazilian “brother”, which is among the best-selling cars in the country.

Available in a single version for R$ 84,990 with solid paintwork, it is well equipped: standard 17-inch alloy wheels, digital air conditioning, seven-inch multimedia center with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, traction and stability controls, four-wheel disc brakes and even torque vectoring.

As it is imported, it cannot compete in volume with the HB20, manufactured in Piracibaba (SP). However, would it deserve better luck?

Fiat One

Fiat Uno Attractive - Marcos Camargo/UOL - Marcos Camargo/UOL
Image: Marcos Camargo/UOL

With 18,637 licenses from January to August and owner of the 18th place in the passenger car ranking, what is Fiat Uno doing on this list?

The answer is simple: 97.4% of the total is related to direct sales, with billing to companies, while the rest corresponds to registrations in the name of individuals.

Fiat itself admits: Uno has seen better days as a more equipped and spacious option to the Mobi subcompact, but today it is approaching retirement and survives from the demand for fleet owners – especially car rental companies.

Not by chance, the hatch had a simplified range, today restricted to the Attractive version, with a suggested price of R$ 65,530 with solid paint. This configuration brings the old 1.0 Fire Evo Flex four-cylinder engine, capable of yielding 75 hp and 9.9 kgfm, with five-speed manual transmission – the modern 1.0 Firefly three-cylinder, more powerful and economical, is no longer available to the compact.

Today the Uno brings only the basics from the factory, such as power steering and power locks and front windows, while the rear window wiper and defogger are optional.

According to the columnist of UOL Cars Fernando Calmon, Uno, Doblò and Grand Siena cease to be manufactured on December 31st and will be discontinued as soon as the stock runs out.

Honda Accord

Honda Accord - Disclosure - Disclosure
Image: Disclosure

The Honda Accord is the typical example of a car that is imported in very low volumes to play the role of “ambassador” for an automaker.

In other words: its role is to demonstrate what the respective manufacturer is capable of in terms of technology and design, to drive demand for simpler and cheaper models.

According to Jato Brasil, from January to July the executive sedan had only six licensed units, against 10,538 units of the Civic in the same period.

It is true that there was a hiatus in imports waiting for the renewal of the Accord, which last month reached dealerships in the hybrid Touring version, currently offered for R$ 310,900.

But just look at sales in 2020 (56 units) to be sure Honda never intended to sell too many units here.

The new version has two electric motors and a 2.0 gasoline engine with 145 hp and 17.8 kgfm with a CVT gearbox. In 100% electric mode, it reaches 184 hp and 32.1 kgfm.

Standard features include autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control, lane maintenance assistant, LED headlamps, sunroof, ventilated front seats and two-zone digital air conditioning.

Kia Cerato

Kia Cerato - Press Release - Press Release
Image: Disclosure

The average sedan had 603 copies sold from January to August, far less than the 28,175 sales of leader Toyota Corolla in the same period.

Brought from Mexico as Kia Rio, in theory the Cerato has a bullet in the needle to perform much better in the Brazilian market – although it has no way of approaching the volume of competitors manufactured here, such as the Corolla and the vice-leader Honda Civic.

Launched in Brazil in September 2019, the current generation has several qualities: it was bigger than previous incarnations, equaling Toyota in wheelbase (2.70 m) and surpassing it in trunk capacity: 520 against 470 liters. In addition, it has a five-year warranty, like Rio and Corolla himself.

It has a bold look and a competitive engine, with two liters, 167 hp and 20.6 kgfm, managed by a six-speed automatic transmission equipped with four driving modes – equipped with paddle shifts in the more expensive version.

Suggested prices are 114,990 and R$129,990. In the top configuration, it features two-zone air conditioning, heated front seats and a key in person. It always comes with six airbags, plus traction and stability controls with ramp start assistant.

Volkswagen Voyage

Volkswagen Voyage - Simon Plestenjak/UOL - Simon Plestenjak/UOL
Image: Simon Plestenjak/UOL

Volkswagen’s compact sedan fits in the same situation as Fiat Uno: it is a model at the end of its cycle, whose sales today are predominantly aimed at fleet owners.

The 16,808 license plates registered in the first eight months of 2021 guarantee Voyage the 19th place among passenger cars. However, 91.84% of this volume corresponds to direct sales – that is, very few individual customers acquired the model in this period.

As columnist Fernando Calmon has already reported, the current generation of Voyage, Gol and Saveiro will remain in line until January 2024 – so the trio will survive for more than two years, probably with some update.

Even a veteran, Voyage has qualities that have ensured its survival in a category filled with more recent rivals.

VW currently has two configurations: 1.0, for R$73,350; and 1.6, which costs R$78,350 with a manual transmission and jumps to R$85,250 with a six-speed automatic transmission. The cheapest option has 84 hp, while there are two 1.6 engine options: with manual transmission, it produces 104 hp and, without a clutch pedal, it delivers 120 hp.

Regardless of the version chosen, making it more equipped, which includes amenities such as a face-to-face key, 15-rim alloy wheels, multimedia center and multifunctional steering wheel, requires purchasing an optional package for R$ 6,960.

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