Honda, Toyota, BMW and Kia have discontinued several vehicles. What won’t be back in 2022. – USA TODAY

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Old cars never die. They just … fade away.

The list of vehicles that were discontinued in 2021 or had their demise announced is voluminous.

As Americans flock to SUVs and pickups, the automotive graveyard is once again filled with passenger cars, which have largely fallen out of favor.

It’s not even enough to be an electric car. Several of those were discontinued in 2021, too, signaling the importance for automakers of matching the body style of new vehicles with shoppers’ preferences. In general, bigger is better.

“You basically have traditional automobiles going away,” said Karl Brauer, executive analyst at car-research site iSeeCars. “Plus, you have one-off cars that are a bit bizarre, but honestly seem like they’re out of date now.”

In recent years, passenger cars like the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Nissan Juke have met their demise. There’s more where that came from in 2021.

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While the SUV boom is a big reason, there’s another factor this year: Automakers are dealing with a global shortage of semiconductor chips, which is causing them to prioritize their most profitable vehicles. That typically means their largest models get preference over their cars, which often end up on the chopping block.

Here’s a non-exclusive list of vehicles that are being phased out after announcements or decisions made in 2021, based on research by car-research sites iSeeCars and Edmunds.

Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen axed the Passat for sale in America following a limited-edition 2022 model-year run of the sedan.

The move came more than 30 years after the Passat nameplate made its debut in the U.S.

The Passat had suffered several setbacks in recent years. The diesel version of the car was one of the vehicles that cheated emissions standards in VW’s pollution scandal. After that, the diesel Passat was phased out while the gas version labored on.

But it has struggled to keep up with larger, more popular VW models in recent years, like the Atlas and Tiguan SUVs.

In the end, there wasn’t a compelling reason for car shoppers to buy the Passat instead of the only slightly smaller and cheaper Jetta.

Mazda 6

The Mazda 6 sedan had some devoted fans. But it hadn’t been redesigned in seven years.

And there’s simply not much room left in the midsize family sedan segment for vehicles other than the standard-bearers, like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

Given Mazda’s increased focus on SUVs, the Mazda 6 didn’t stand much of a chance.

“There’s some talk about it coming back as something far sportier, but I think that’s unrealistic,” said Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights for Edmunds.

Mazda CX-3

The demise of this compact crossover illustrates that even small SUVs are not immune to the nation’s obsession with larger vehicles.

The CX-3 was not technically a passenger car, but it was just as small as one.

“I always thought the car was too small,” Brauer said. “It’s an SUV, but it has almost no utility. The second-row seat and cargo area were almost useless.”

Mazda acknowledged that the CX-3 simply wasn’t attracting much attention anymore. “Consumer interests,” Mazda said in a statement, “continue to evolve.”

Hyundai Veloster

A fairly unusual vehicle from the moment it debuted a decade ago, the Veloster was billed at the time as a way for Hyundai to capture the interest of millennials without kids.

It was zippy and had a strange three-door design. It was supposed to be fun personified.

But its peculiarity turned out to be a detriment in the end. It turns out millennials want what everyone else wants: SUVs. 

“It might have made sense for when the Japanese imports were starting to come back with sportier cars, but it was too late and it was too awkward,” Drury said.

The good news for fans of the vehicle is the extra-sporty Veloster N variant will stick around for now.

Honda Clarity plug-in and fuel-cell vehicles

It’s hard to view these vehicles as anything other than compliance cars, an industry term referring to vehicles that were made solely for the purpose of meeting fuel economy regulations.

The Clarity was never sold in high volumes. You’d be hard-pressed to spot one outside of California, where regulations require automakers to deliver more energy-efficient vehicles.

“I don’t think most people heard of it from the beginning,” Drury said. “They’ll have to go back to the drawing board on that one.”

Toyota Land Cruiser

Perhaps this one just got too expensive. With a base price of $87,000, buyers might as well get a similarly priced luxury SUV from Toyota’s Lexus brand, Drury said.

Yet while it’s leaving for now, the expensive off-roader may not be gone forever.

The Land Cruiser has always had a devoted fan base. The fact that Toyota makes the vehicle in other markets may mean it comes back in a few years, said Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst for research firm IHS Markit.

Volvo V60 and Volvo V90

These two wagons were fish out of water. Wagons have fallen out of favor, giving way to SUVs, which have more space and a higher stance.

“I thought the V90 was a fantastic-looking vehicle – very good styling. But you just knew it was never going to sell,” Drury said.

Volvo is having a lot more success with its XC SUVs.

BMW i3

One of BMW’s first attempts at an electric vehicle, the i3 had a very unusual body style for the German luxury brand.

“It was a cool concept from the beginning,” Drury said.

You could almost call it quirky. But in the end, quirky is not what BMW buyers are looking for.

Hyundai Ioniq EV

The Ioniq nameplate isn’t going away. Hyundai is keeping the hybrid and plug-in versions of the Ioniq sedan and adding a new SUV called the Ioniq5.

But the electric version of the sedan will go away. The Ioniq5 will effectively take its place.

Kia Sedona

There goes another minivan. Sort of.

The Sedona was one of only a few traditional minivans left, including the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey.

Kia opted to ditch the Sedona nameplate and redesign the minivan as a “multi-purpose vehicle,” or MPV. It still looks like a minivan to us.

Toyota Avalon

The large sedan was often hailed as a well-engineered and well-built vehicle.

But that’s not enough to pay the bills in a segment that’s fading away fast.

The Avalon outlasted several competitors that were discontinued earlier, including the Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Impala.

But if you’re looking for a large ride from Toyota, chances are you’re choosing a RAV4 or Highlander.

You can follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter here for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday morning.