Mazda RX-8 - 1134 sales
Don't tell Felix Wankel: The only new vehicle in which his rotary engine design is found has failed to win over the American public. Just 1134 Mazda RX-8s found homes with buyers last year.
There's plenty to enjoy in the RX-8: a smooth rotary engine with 232 horsepower and a sky-high 9000-rpm redline; sharp handling; and a unique design, which includes two rear half-doors.
Yet the RX-8's 1.3-liter engine is low on torque, high on fuel (and oil) consumption, and has a somewhat variable reputation for reliability. When it launched in 2003, the car also stacked up poorly against its competition, the Nissan 350Z. The Nissan is more powerful -- especially after it was replaced by the 332-horsepower 370Z in 2009 -- and appears to have stolen the sports-coupe spotlight from Mazda. Proof positive: Nissan sold nearly 11,000 copies of the 370Z last year.
Mazda is expected to discontinue the RX-8 soon. Rumors of a replacement -- possibly resurrecting the RX-7 moniker from early rotary sports cars -- have abounded for years, but so far there are no firm signs of a new car on the horizon.