By on October 9, 2018

2017 Chrysler 200S AWD - Image: FCA

Like faces in the community, the passing of each year bring the appearances of new car models and the disappearance of old, familiar ones. Product changeover is constant. Picking up a just-released model ensures you’ll be seen driving a “new” car until refresh time rolls around, or, if you’re something of an oddball, until the unpopular vehicle that tickled your automotive fancy gets prematurely chopped from the lineup.

It’s nice getting into a model that’s destined to look relatively fresh for three or four years, but it’s also nice getting a deal and saving yourself some coin when dealers want that old (and possibly executed) model gone. Would it bother you to find yourself in the second camp?

These days, it’s unlikely you’d need to worry about parts drying up a handful of years down the road, but it does happen. That’s assuming you even planned to drive it long-term. More than likely, a new car with an acceptable amount of power and content, going for the right price (as the dealer desperately wishes to free up a more lucrative spot), is all a buyer desires. The most car for the money, never mind the car.

If you could live with the transmission, an all-wheel drive, Pentastar-powered Chrysler 200S might have been the unwanted gem of your dreams last year. The same might be said of a nicely equipped mid-level Ford Fusion in a year or two.

Neither of these two examples have any collector potential, so you’d be staring down the barrel of a car that’ll be dated and “old” the moment you drive it off the lot. “Its parent didn’t want it around anymore,” the locals will say. “It was a problem child.” Then again, assuming it does have a replacement, you might be making the right choice. You’ll know how your model shakes out, quality-wise. Americans who purchased a new ’75 Dart instead of its ’76 Aspen successor likely soon realized they made the right choice.

So, does the prospect of buying a swan song of a vehicle give you a moment’s pause? How come?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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60 Comments on “QOTD: First in Line at the Going Out of Business Sale?...”


  • avatar
    seth1065

    I am all for it and as proof I drive a last generation only made for 2 years saab 9-5, if you are buying new ( which I did not do w the saab) you are getting a new car, with a warranty for perhaps the price of a used car a few years old. Take the 200 S pictured above, to me it looks pretty good, and I am not a FCA fan at all, I hear the back seat is too small, I am in my car 95% by myself or maybe one other person so no big deal. If I bought said 200s for my kid as their first car out of collage, would they care about the tranny , doubt it. Issues that may bug you at 28K will bug you less if you paid 18K for example. Now if, when Fiat goes under would I run out and buy a 500? not likely because it does not fit my needs but if I could score a very good deal on a Alfa sedan would I consider it, more than likely yes.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I desperately wanted to buy that car when it was new, but was frankly too worried about Saab itself going away. How have you liked it, and how did you get comfortable that you’d be able to get parts and service for it long-term?

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        I love the car, bought it at 63 k and just passed 100k, knock on wood no major issues, the parts are not really an issue, body parts may be if I get in an accident, but with saabs Insurance companies tend to total them due to low book value vs price of parts, so it is what it is. This is my 5th saab so I knew what I was getting into, can not beat if for the price I paid , the safety and the seats. As a bonus in 3 years I have only seen 4 others. Is the interior that of a 46,000 car, hell no but I 25% of that. I bought the 4 cy because I did not need AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Re: the 200, the back seat *is* terrible. It probably has the worst headroom of any vehicle ever offered in that market segment, certainly among any midsizes I’ve ever sat in. That said . . .
      – I’m probably the biggest back seat nitpicker around. If you’re using the car for one or two people, is that a deal breaker? Probably not.
      – Viewing the 200 as a short-lived Camcordibu competitor, it seems like a failure. Viewing the 200 as a competitor in the rather niche Verano-ILX market segment, it seems like an opportunity to score a bargain. My sense is that a significant chunk of 200 buyers got great deals on them and are very pleased with what they got per dollar.

      As a bonus, I think these are a nicely styled car, and the Pentastar-equipped ones are (in my world) quite fast. (Granted, all V6 or I4T sedans are fast.)

      • 0 avatar
        fenwayy

        I had a Challenger SXT with the pentastar and was very pleased with it.
        When it was time to switch to AWD I began looking at the 300, or the Ram.
        I was amazed when I found I could get a 200 at about half the cost of the others. They are mechanically similar and the 200 is loaded with options I wouldn’t normally choose ( ventilated seats, heated steering wheel)

        I actually have the identical car in the picture.
        AWD,power, very comfortable sport seats…
        I’d buy it again..

      • 0 avatar
        HaveNissanWillTravel

        My ‘17 Nissan Versa has more back seat legroom and headroom than the 200 and the 200 is a much larger car overall.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I purposely look for “orphans” knowing you’re going to get a good deal on a discontinued, but perfectly good car. Car models change so much that most people won’t know you’re driving an orphan should you care about stuff like that

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Good point.

    • 0 avatar

      True. I keep my cars very clean, and more than once I’ve had people ask me if my 95 Explorer was an ’10 model because it looked new, the odometer betrayed the image though when people read the 300,000+ miles were on the clock.

      Even my 04 Buick Rendezvous gets some love by non-car people, they think it’s only a couple years old.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        I do not know what it is with Buick Rendezvous and Pontiac Astek owners but I have never seen one that looked abused, they seem to keep them well kept esp for their age.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ texan01 – A non-car friend of my family had two Rendezvous. The first one got totaled by someone who ran a light and t-boned her; she replaced it with a nearly identical one. My family kind of joked about it, but after riding in it a couple of times, I was like, “Oh, this actually is pretty comfortable.”

        Sample size of one, but our friend’s first one gave her no issues before the accident, and the second one outlived her. Essentially, she got the core virtues of a Lexus RX at what must have been a significantly lower price.

        Which engine does your 300,000-mile example have?

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          “, she got the core virtues of a Lexus RX”

          Uhh I’m not sure I’d ever utter “Rendezvous” and “RX” in the same sentence, there is just a Grand Canyon gap in build quality and refinement and performance there. I get that they’re roughly shaped the same way.

          I don’t mean to sound down on the funny looking Buick, I think it’s a perfect “hit ’em where they ain’t” type of vehicle that can return many good miles/years of service.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Orphaned cars are not like they used to be. Parts are aplenty as they are used across model lines, the Saturn SUV (Acadia platform mate) is a great example. I see plenty of these still rolling around that still look to be very well maintained and when the inevitable brake caliper is needed one from a GMC will work just fine.

    I have a hard time believing the Fusion parts for brakes, power window modules etc are not being used on other Ford units. Perhaps the only concern would be crash parts, however plenty were made and I am wiling to gamble you can find enough on the parts web from other crashed cars to piece one back together if needed.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      You’re talking about the Saturn Outlook, which shared the Lambda architecture with the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave as well as the GMC Acadia you mentioned. But the body shell was closest to that of the Acadia. And in fact, in 2013, when all the Lambda vehicles were facelifted, GMC began using the then-discontinued Outlook’s body shell, which had a wrap-around rear windscreen and squared-off taillight apertures.

      But for cars that aren’t badge-engineered, you might have to worry about cosmetic stuff. Take, for instance, the final Saab 9-5 and the very short-lived Saab 9-4X (the latter of which fewer than 500 units were made). Those cars are GM under the skin and have GM platform sisters, but also have unique Saab-themed instrument clusters, radios, switches and such. Still, I bet there’s a big stockpile of stuff for them, especially since they were discontinued prematurely.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yes body shell is largely the biggest issue now-a-days. Engines are rarely “exclusive” anymore (Buick only, Oldsmobile only, Pontiac only etc) but fascias/taillights/door skins…

        In the past few years I’ve seen Bravadas with Chevy front clips because of this issue. (Personally I’d rather slap the Buick front end on there.)

      • 0 avatar
        la834

        The Saab 9-4X has a windshield that isn’t shared with any other vehicle. Hope and pray yours doesn’t crack.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    A “keeper” type who holds a car for ten years or more, I target a discontinued model or one that will be replaced with an all new design: proven powertrain, full warranty and heavily discounted price. What’s not to like?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I’m the same way, I find buying the end of a model run preferable to any new model, not only are they cheaper, but usually the last year of a model is generally it’s best year, because most of the issues have been addressed and fixed

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      I like that cars toward the end of their model run usually have some bugs fixed. But you also have to watch out for “de-contenting”. Ford did this several times in the 1990s. They removed features from the cars as the years went on, presumably to maintain profits as the “new model” luster wore off. Things like underhood lights and glovebox dampers disappeared. Moonroofs got smaller. Floor mats got downgraded. Exterior trim got simplified. Certain options from previous years were simply no longer available. The 1997 Thunderbird, for example, suffered from several of these things.

      • 0 avatar
        cpthaddock

        Some go the other way though, adding standard content, reducing individual options and simplifying packages (aka the Honda approach) to maintain appeal before a refresh.

  • avatar

    What I like to do is buy a luxury sedan where they’ve come out with a new model, or changed the name recently. Depreciation on luxury sedans is already cliff face anyway, and once there’s a new one on the block you save some additional money. Bonus if you’re buying American or Japanese because of parts sharing – so you don’t have an Audi “we don’t make that any more” issue when the car is 6+ years old. As an added bonus, if you head toward the less popular models which aren’t as remembered, there’s less competition for the nice ones that are still around.

    Who thinks of a used GS/RL/RLX/M35/MKS/Genesis? Almost nobody, except you.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      ” so you don’t have an Audi “we don’t make that any more” issue when the car is 6+ years old”

      I’ve actually been fairly impressed so far with parts availability for my B5 so far, although prices can be quite steep at the dealer (power steering hose and fancy OE style clamps). Parts support in the aftermarket is rather robust as well. Suspension components are in abundance (there’s a lot of them and they wear out), auxiliary systems, replacement LCD screens for the dash, etc. All online, all generally very affordable. The effort it can take to replace said parts on the other hand is another story…

      • 0 avatar

        My A8 needed a plastic disc that rested on top of the fuel sending unit, and had warped. Audi didn’t make the part, and so the mechanic had to go to a third party manufacturer which only produced a “kit” with some other junk in it.

        The entire trunk lining had to be removed to fix that plastic disc.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Man I forgot you owned an A8 at one point. You jumped straight into the big leagues!

          I’ve been slowly bringing the A4 up to snuff, addressing minor and cheap-to-fix cosmetic issues. Replaced the missing/sand blasted mesh in my totally rad RS4 bumper with black plastic gutter guard, polished the OE wheels and put in new center caps and wheel bolt covers, and started to polish out the worst of the scotchbrite pad damage one panel at a time. Also got the blown out flex pipe repaired (welded in a universal section for $150), but I still have a minor leak elsewhere that sometimes trips the CEL.

          Outstanding issues:
          Excessive fan roar (fan clutch?)
          Quattro center diff binding (not sure if normal)
          Pass Front suspension clunk (everything feels tight?)
          Power steering pump R&R (reman unit is crap, installing old pump with a new line)
          Driver side rear window inop
          LCD info screen R&R
          Replace shift knob and boot
          General interior cleaning and sprucing up
          Replace ugly rusty aftermarket air cleaner element

          Oh, so from what I gather, the car was originally red, after it was wrecked pretty good in the front it got the RS4 bumper and side skirts. Alignment of the hood to the headlights and the fenders to the front doors is awful.

          She’s no Pebble Beach entry but it’s a fun and comfy DD with enough to keep me busy and put some value into it, but perfectly functional to be left alone and driven every day.

          • 0 avatar

            Oh yeah, LWB as well. Your minor leak for the CEL could be the same fuel sending issue. The disc becomes warped and lets air mix with the fuel at the back.

            I don’t think I had any binding with that A8, it was so smooth. Both Subarus bind up at very low speed sharp turns. I don’t think my Infiniti does it.

            As you’re new to Audi, I will advise you to be careful with every plastic clip item under the hood. When you break one you can’t run to AutoZone and get a new one most of the time.

            Clunk from ball joint issue?

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            My CEL is P1177, for sure an O2 sensor picking up excess oxygen in the exhaust stream, and I can hear the exhaust leak.

            I checked the front end as best as I could with a prybar loading it in different ways, nothing obvious yet.

          • 0 avatar

            You’re gonna give me PTSD with P-air leak codes. My favorite was P2042.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I don’t concern myself with looking cool in my neighbor’s eyes. I never have looked cool, and never will. Last year’s model will be fine, thank you.

    –the fat kid in elementary school.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I’ve had cool cars and not-cool cars. The cool cars are fun for the attention they garner, but now that I’m driving not-cool (Gen2 xB yo!) I can’t say I miss it much. Honestly, I kinda hanker for a Pentastar 200, got a soft spot for orphans.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      And if you did care about looking/feeling cool, theres literally NO midsize sedan on the planet that is gonna deliver a thing. When youre driving a ‘cool car’ like a Challenger, Wrangler, or Corvette no one cares if its the latest model anyway. A 10 year old muscle car is going to be inherently cooler than ANY sedan/CUV.

      Having a conversation starter is nice and all, but that’s a minor perk of owning a ‘cool car’. If youre buying it to impress people you don’t like or know, youre throwing your money away for the wrong reasons.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Two birds in the hand (ie: heavy discount + known reliability) is worth more to me than the temporary allure of “new”, or speculation about future value, parts availability, etc.

  • avatar
    MBella

    Unless there is something specific the new model has that the old one doesn’t, I don’t see why you would buy the new version versus the outgoing model. You’ll get a significant discount, and all the issues will usually resolved.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Does the all-new body carryover the old powertrain? Then worst case, you’re mostly dealing with minor bugs/recalls.

    Lots of buyers feel like vomiting at the thought of owning what everyone else does, Silverado, Mustang, Camry, (every b!tch has one) etc, but you have the option of keeping it long term, if you end up really liking the car, keeping it for a 2nd ride, or god forbid your future finances rule-out anything new.

    I still gotta laugh at aging Saab, Volvo, LR/Jag, etc owners when every silly part I could possible need or want for my extremely reliable ’04 F-150 (powertrain has been around since the early ’90s) is behind the parts counter somewhere, or can be over-nited worst case.

    It wasn’t by accident, I profiled that well equipped (for an STX) F-150 when it was new (not Heritage/Jellybean), still looks fresh.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “(every b!tch has one)”

      “when every silly part I could possible need or want for my extremely reliable ’04 F-150 (powertrain has been around since the early ’90s) is behind the parts counter somewhere”

      Can you not connect the dots there?

  • avatar
    ejn63

    It used to be that badge engineered models once dropped were of concern only where the proprietary body parts were concerned (say for a SAAB 9-2 vs an Impreza or WRX of the same generation).

    With all the electronic displays and controls now, it may wind up being more than that – so much is now controlled by software, which to outward appearances looks the same, but the question: it it similar enough that the display panel from a Jeep Cherokee will fit the Chrysler 200 a few years down the road, or will you need the rarer one from the 200? That may wind up being the cause of some relatively serviceable cars being scrapped because the exact fit parts they need no longer being available – or no longer being available at a reasonable price.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Things are always situational to me, I don’t have a hard and fast answer.

    If they discontinue the current Regal buy the time I’m shopping for a new vehicle in Summer 2019 I’ll be giving the TourX and GS a hard look, especially if the discounts get good. If I had needed a commuter car and not cared about interior/trunk volume I would have looked hard at the old Regal when it was sitting unloved on dealer lots.

    I will give a CPO XTS serious consideration even with Cadillac’s impending axing because the greasy bits are so common and so shared with so many other GM vehicles.

    For fans of 3 row vehicles when the new Highlander and new Pilot were being released there were good deals to be had on the outgoing models.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I’ve been window shopping base-trim Regal sportbacks a bit, at the level of discounts I’ve seen at some midwest dealers (but not locally), $18-20k for a useful 5 door hatchback with a 250hp+ motor and German build sounds awfully interesting compared to a Camry/Accord/Malibu/etc.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Like I said, the greasy bits (engine, trans, AWD system) are scattered across the GM lineup in other vehicles.

        The nice thing about a new one would be the 4 year/50000 mile bumper to bumper and 6 year/70000 mile powertrain. That’s better than GMC or Chevy.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    It depends on the situation. I’ve taken aged inventory that was out on the lot (’96 Thunderbird, the 2010 Challenger); I’ve ordered in the 1st model year because I immediately wanted things it specifically had that the outgoing model didn’t (’05 Dakota, ’15 Challenger); and I’ve ordered late in the product life cycle knowing something new was close (’17 Ram 1500.) The 200 is still quite modern looking & I’d consider a holdover one if I was in the market for a car like that.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I bought a new 2008 Isuzu I-370 crew cab 4×4 in the Summer of 2008.
    Basically a badge engineered Colorado/Canyon but with 11k off MSRP. Heated leather seats, tow package, and fog lights for 20k I like it a lot. Might not have bought a new truck but for the price and with a warranty if was too good to pass up. Still have the truck and it is worth about 14k even after 10 years. So yes I would consider an orphaned brand, model, or one that is being replaced with a redesign if the price is right.

    • 0 avatar
      jh26036

      Didn’t even know such a truck existed, and I was perfectly aware of the Ascender.

      2008 was a great year to buy a truck. You could pick up a Honda Ridgeline RTS for $23k and 10 years 100k miles later, it is still a $12k truck.

  • avatar
    ppxhbqt

    Doubt many people bought 1975 Darts (or Valiants) by the time the Aspen/Volare came out; the Dart was well into its 1976 model year by then. In fact, that should have been a big clue the Aspen/Volare weren’t fully baked and were being rushed to market behind schedule.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Yes Isuzu made an I-280 with a 2.8 I-4 engine and an I-370 with a 3.7 I-5 engine. The Isuzu was made in the same plant in Louisiana as the Colorado and Canyon. The grill is different and the name Isuzu is on the wheels and trim instead of Colorado or Canyon otherwise everything else is identical. My truck even says made by GM. The ultimate badge engineering when all you change is a grill and the name plates.

    https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/isuzu/i-370

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    PS the Ascender was the same as the Chevrolet Trailblazer,GMC Envoy, Oldsmobile Bravada,Buick Rainier, and Saab 9-7 all made in Moraine, OH with genuine GM badge engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Not to say that the GMT360s weren’t badge engineering at its finest, but there were three unique bodies between those six models. That’s more than just a grille and badge swap, even if they were identical underneath.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Maybe so but they were close enough to see the family resemblance. They were not bad but how many brands do you need from the same basic model.

  • avatar
    haroldhill

    I had the chance to drive a 50’s eggshell for a week, and I admit to getting off on all the looks as I drove through town. But on a day-to-day basis I’m quite happy without the attention. My best ever was a 92 Dodge Spirit, not quite at the end of the model run but getting close. K car perfected. Reliable, comfortable, responsive. Seriously my best ever. Close second is my 08 Matrix which trails only the Aztec and the 70’s F10 Datsun as the ugliest car in the history of “civilization”. And it’s gray, too. But it’s comfortable, reliable, and responsive. And it’s a station wagon to boot.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    One of my best friends in HS somehow found a Merkur Scorpio used in SW MO. What a comfortable cruiser, we could fit the starting 5 of our HS bball team in it. Parts availability was the end of it ,but the body, interior and paint wore very well.He ended up driving a Pontiac Parisienne Bonny through college.

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