Each year, I like to see which car is the first next-year car on sale. The 2014 Mazda6 was in showrooms by January 2, 2013, the 2017 Audi Q7 was a presence by the beginning of February 2016, and I’m pretty certain 2020 Corollas were just rolling into showrooms at this time last year. This year, it seems like the CEO of car model years is delaying launches.

The 2020 Toyota Highlander is just now mainstream, after a slow launch during January, and 2020 Nissan Sentras are starting to arrive at dealerships. Other new models, such as the Buick Encore GX, were just released as 2020’s. Companies like Toyota, Mazda, and Kia love releasing cars way ahead of schedule; what happened?

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I’m pleased to announce that Kia’s new subcompact crossover, the 2021 Seltos, is available at most Kia dealerships nationwide now. Based on an AutoTrader search and the lack of a 2021 year on cars.com, it looks like the Seltos is the first 2021 car in town. In February! Kia launched its 2011 Sorento earlier than this in 2010, and the Telluride and the new Soul were here by now last year. What’s holding companies back this year? One could argue this is how it should be, but a “2020” car shouldn’t be on sale until February or March 2020.

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