Roadsters dead: Cadillac cans XLR, Honda confirms end for S2000

Two automakers, Cadillac and Honda, announced today that production of their high-performance roadsters will come to a close during 2009. Cadillac says that production of the Chevrolet Corvette-based XLR will cease in March or April and Honda confirmed earlier reports that 2009 will be the last model year for the slow-selling S2000.

The Bowling Green, Kentucky-built XLR's production cessation means that about 40 workers will lose their jobs. Cadillac sold just 1,250 XLRs last year, the model's fifth year, even though it had been subject to a minor facelift.

"Obviously, it's difficult when a plant loses a product," plant manager Paul Graham told the Bowling Green Daily News. "We want to continue to grow our volume as much as we can. So it's been difficult."

The S2000, which was introduced in 1999, had been intended as a limited-run model, but Honda says it continued production due to demand. Still, the automaker barely sold 2,500 S2000s in the U.S. last year, well down from prior years. Overall, Honda sold about 65,000 S2000s in the U.S.

"The S2000 is a sports car designed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts," Honda executive vice president John Mendel said in a press release. "It raised the bar for all future roadsters, and it's already considered a classic by many Honda fans."