Piston Slap: New Life for Old Tooling… Or Not?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

TTAC commentator Halftruth asks:

Hey Sajeev,

This question came across my mind recently whilst reading all of the sedan death watch articles on TTAC. What happens to all the tooling and hardware when a model is discontinued/killed off? Can any of this stuff be recycled/redeployed?

Consider the Chryco 200, discontinued after 2 years. Will FCA mothball that stuff or throw it out or… something else?

Sajeev answers:

Finding relevant, concrete facts is challenging, so remember vehicle tooling eventually wears out. Especially for consumer touch points like body parts: perfect panel gaps are paramount to a ( perceived?) quality product. Don’t be surprised if vehicles that remain unchanged for years (a la 2009-present Toyota 4Runner) go through multiple sets of tooling.

And when the tooling fails to make the cut (so to speak), I reckon most is destroyed. First World manufacturers now refrain from selling sloppy seconds to their Third World counterparts, preferring the role of global manufacturers doing their thang in everyone’s backyard.

Redeployment? Yes, imagining the modern equivalent of the Vauxhall Victor reincarnated on a new continent is a romantic notion I’d love to indulge. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the durable, simple and strong Crown Vic became the next masala-infused Muscle car?

But that’s no longer viable. And if a cruise ship is worth 5+ million in scrap, assuming a financially significant value for vehicle’s collective tooling is far from insane. So what of the Chrysler 200’s tooling?

It’s probably off to the scrappers, if it hasn’t already turned into new tooling!

What say you, Best and Brightest?

[Image: Shutterstock user Zapp2Photo]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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2 of 34 comments
  • Iamwho2k Iamwho2k on Mar 16, 2018

    Here's my naive question. What happens to all the cars that *don't* get sold? I've always wondered where the last few 2016s, for example, go.

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Mar 16, 2018

    Seeing the better part of a brand-new Hyundai Sonata unit body protruding from a dumpster out behind the Montgomery assembly plant in 2008 really put the economics of auto production into perspective for me. To quote Homer Simpson's long-lost half brother, "There's maybe forty bucks of steel in there". I'm guessing that well-used tooling is similarly discounted to mere salvage values.

  • Ltcmgm78 Imagine the feeling of fulfillment he must have when he looks upon all the improvements to the Corvette over time!
  • ToolGuy "The car is the eye in my head and I have never spared money on it, no less, it is not new and is over 30 years old."• Translation please?(Theories: written by AI; written by an engineer lol)
  • Ltcmgm78 It depends on whether or not the union is a help or a hindrance to the manufacturer and workers. A union isn't needed if the manufacturer takes care of its workers.
  • Honda1 Unions were needed back in the early days, not needed know. There are plenty of rules and regulations and government agencies that keep companies in line. It's just a money grad and nothing more. Fain is a punk!
  • 1995 SC If the necessary number of employees vote to unionize then yes, they should be unionized. That's how it works.