If your vehicle model is one of the many that are being discontinued by its manufacturer here is what you should know.
First off, don’t panic. In the short-term, there will be no changes in your ownership experience if you have a model that is being killed off. Here are some considerations.
Parts and Repair Support
Your dealer and the local mechanics you use to keep your vehicle running will not have any problems whatsoever keeping your car healthy, finding parts, and handling any recalls. At least no more so than with any other model. The American Congress has written tomes of laws and regulations that require automakers to support models that they discontinue with parts and recall support for a long, long time. GM still supports Saturn, Saab, Hummer, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile models at its authorized dealerships and online.
If you have an unusual vehicle that is being discontinued, something that you planned to keep for many decades as a collector vehicle, you may want to be sure you can recoup your investment. That said, the more rare and unusual a vehicle is, the more collectible in general.
Depreciation and Loss Of Value
It is fair to assume that a vehicle that is being discontinued by its maker isn’t going to hold its value as well one that it is keeping. However, that is not always the case. There are really two things to consider. First, if this model is unpopular enough that the folks who make it are killing it off, that means it was not really a ball of fire in the used market anyway. On the other hand, there are some interesting recent cases of niche models that were discontinued actually going up in value. The most notable is the Toyota FJ Cruiser. When this model was for sale it was not popular at all by comparison to other SUVs in its class (like the Jeep Wrangler). However, after Toyota killed it off it not only held its strong resale value, it rose to be one of the top three vehicles in America in terms of percent retained value. Don’t take our word for it. Check out the advertised prices for used FJ Cruisers at BestRide’s postings. The specific model you have will determine how well it will do in the resale market. One thing to take note of is that the retained value of vehicles varies dramatically. A Toyota Prius has almost double the retained value of a Nissan Leaf. Popular BMW sedan models still being made and still getting rave reviews suffer from huge depreciation in their first three years. There are many forces at work here.
Buying a Discontinued Model
If you have just been dying to buy a Chevrolet Impala, Chevy Volt, a Cadillac sedan, or one of the many cars still being built, but on their way to model retirement you should plan to get one. However, it is worth reading the tea leaves and watching for a really special deal. The fact is, dealers have been piling a fat stack of Benjamins on the dash of these models to get rid of them anyway. Once you hear in the auto news that they are being officially killed off you may well get the deal of a lifetime on one of the remaining new ones still unsold.
If you are shopping for a used model that was killed off recently, say a Chrysler 200, we would only advise that you take a hard look at the value of equivalent models from other brands.
It May Only Be Temporary
Models come back from retirement too. The Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Honda Passport and many other models were at one time put out to pasture only to be brought back into the fold by automakers who eventually had a “what were we thinking” epiphany. When they do bring back a discontinued car, truck, or SUV there is a big promotion of that model and the prior generation is often looked back on fondly by shoppers.
Grab any high school yearbook you can find and flip to the comments and signatures. Mine is full of references to a Plymouth Fury, Dodge Dart, VW Bug, and Oldsmobile Cutlass that my friends and I owned and had adventures in. Cars are a very important part of our identity at certain points. Every one of those vehicles was a rattle trap junker when we owned them. It made no difference to us because they were ours. There is more to cars than just sales numbers on a report or dollars and cents. When car models and jobs go away because a bean counter says it will save the company a few dollars, something more than just the tangible is lost. Car models may fade away, but the memories will endure.