10 of the Rarest Normal Cars
It's not just special supercars that sell in low numbers...
This is not an ordered list. There are many rare normal cars, but these are the among the rarest.
The 929 was Mazda's large luxury sedan, aimed at the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class and sold from 1987 to 1996. Mazda was neither a luxury brand nor a particularly popular one at the time, guaranteeing slow sales, and the anonymous styling didn't help. Sales figures weren't quoted, but I suspect it sold about as quickly as the Kia K900 is currently selling, which is a few hundred cars per year. I found this one over the summer.
1989 Eagle Medallion wagon
After Chrysler purchased AMC in 1987 to acquire Jeep, they replaced AMC and Renault (AMC was partnered with Renault) with Eagle, which produced badge-engineered cars only. Eagle's first two models were the 1988 Premier and the 1989 Medallion, which was essentially a rebranding of the Renault Medallion. It came as a sedan or a wagon and only for the 1989 model year, selling about 4,000 units, with the wagon being the less popular body style.
After four safety recalls couldn't fix an engine overheating problem, Nissan bought back all 31,998 of their Wagons for fair market price, crushed them, and gave the owners discounts on new Nissans. However, some owners elected to keep their Wagons. And yes, it literally was called "Nissan's Wagon".
Renault Le Car
The Le Car was the US version of the Renault 5, selling 216,000 units across 13 years. However, fewer than 500 remain.
Passport was a General Motors Canadian dealership network that sold Isuzus, Saabs, and the Optima, which was a rebadged Opel Kadett, from July 1988 to January 1991. The Optima's obscurity prevented brisk sales, with fewer than 500 still registered for road use as of 2012. It was replaced by the Saturn S-Series.
After GM sold Saab to Spyker, Spyker found itself in financial trouble, so they immediately started selling the redesigned (and unfinished) 9-5 and new 9-4X to gain a profit. Unfortunately. they had to be sold for about $10,000-$15,000 more than they were probably actually worth, meaning that only the most serious Saab enthusiasts purchased them. Production ended in 2011 when Spyker sold Saab to NEVS; GM's contract allowed them to build the 9-5 and 9-4X until their eventual discontinuation or if the brand was sold to another company. A mere 267 9-4Xs were sold in the US out of a worldwide grand total of 814.
The Yugo was an average, decent subcompact for the time period, except that it had lots of body roll and lackluster fuel economy. It's most attractive feature was it's rock-bottom starting price. For the first couple years of it's life, reliability was fine, but got abysmal in 1988. Afterwards, the Yugo became notorious for it's famous unreliability, with only about 200 of the 140,000 sold remaining today. Luckily, owners know the vehicle's significance and take meticulously good care of them, ensuring that no more are likely to reach the junkyard.
1999 Daewoo Nubira hatchback (US)
Daewoo began to sell their famously infamous cars in the US in September 1998, quietly retreating in early 2002. One of their three models was the compact Nubira, which received an extensive refresh for the 2000 model year. Three body styles were available initially for the 1999 model year: a sedan, a wagon, and a hatchback. However, the hatchback only stayed on sale for one season, meaning that none were imported in 1999--all in 1998. Normally about 30% of compact cars that come as either hatchbacks or sedans are hatchbacks, and 523 Nubiras were sold in 1998. This means that roughly 160 Nubiras were hatchbacks.
Five pictures of only two of them exist on the internet, I met a previous owner of one (who owns a Lanos and owned a different Lanos), and I saw one at an airport in Spokane, Washington in August 2018.
The Ambassador was a refreshed version of the Princess, of which just 60 are left and 28 are still daily driven. Pictured is the last one off the production line.
The Lonsdale was a rebadged Mitsubishi Galant Sigma sold exclusively in the UK. It took three years to sell the initial 5,000 imported, with a mere five remaining today: three still on the road and two not.