Similar woes have afflicted the Mercedes R-class, first introduced in 2006. Essentially a low-roofed minivan with three rows of seats, it was initially marketed as a "sports cruiser." When that didn't fly, Mercedes tied on a more apropos "family tourer" moniker. Confused buyers, put off by the R's funereal looks, stayed away. U.S. sales never came within shouting distance of Mercedes' goal of 25,000 a year. Despite healthy incentives, the round-roofed R-class has remained anchored to dealers' lots. A scant 195 found buyers during the month of April.

Last updated June 03 2011: 9:20 AM ET
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