FORD WILL kill the Scorpio, the full-sized sedan that once sold over 100,000 units a year, but dwindled to little more than 20,000 in 1997.
Fiat stopped building the Croma in 1996. The Opel/Vauxhall Senator died a few years before that.
The decline of full-size sedans at full-line companies is well-reported. But why have they faded?
True, luxury-car buyers want prestige nameplates. But the generalists haven't helped themselves by offering unexciting and unoriginal - if lower-priced - alternatives to Mercedes, BMW and Volvo mid-sedans.
Now Volkswagen is going the other direction, planning a VW-branded car over the Passat.
Both French makers plan new concepts when replacing their top-class sedans. The 605, XM and Safrane have languished, but PSA and Renault have little choice but to continue. They don't own prestige brands like Jaguar, Saab, Audi or Alfa Romeo.
Ford and GM are thinking up new ways to attack the segment. Fiat executives talk about bringing back the Croma in some form.
They are right to keep at it.
Most will come up with hybrids that combine elements of minivans, sport-utilities and station wagons. But the first full-line carmaker to offer a comfortable, powerful and popular-priced big sedan that is also breathtakingly beautiful may yet find a sweet spot in the market.