QOTD: Questioning the Expiration Date of Automotive Product?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd questioning the expiration date of automotive product

Try as we might, there’s just no way to know everything about the contemporary offerings of all car manufacturers, even if consideration is limited in scope to North America. Invariably, our mental encyclopedia is missing a few pages. That means sometimes, we should consider the unknowns of our automotive knowledge.

Allow me to explain.

Today’s QOTD was prompted by something I asked on Twitter three weeks ago. Specifically, I queried the informed citizens of Car Twitter on the automobiles they’d have to check via Google to be sure they were still in production. Start searching the recesses of your mind for the things you really don’t know, while we talk about the first example that came to mind for me.

Asking myself the question I’d just invented, the Twinkie-shaped (and colored) Fiat 500L was the first car to come to mind. I assumed it had been in production since 2012 or so, and that it was past due for a major refresh or a cancellation in North America. Everybody who wanted one (that’s very few people) bought one shortly after introduction. I recalled the factory for the 500L used to make Yugos — and had a workforce that liked to go on strike. And when was the last time you saw one? Here in the Midwest, they’re fairly rare. Discontinued model, right?

Turns out I was half right, given I didn’t look this up until writing this piece. I got the introduction date correct, 2012, but I was wrong about the cancellation assumption. The 500L continues production in Serbia, though the factory was just idled (like so many other things) due to COVID-19. The TTAC article linked here also informed me of the North American death of another car I would’ve assumed was still on offer: the regular 500.

It’s a simple question, but not something one usually considers — unless there’s a critical mass of boredom, or perhaps a pandemic keeping everyone at home 24/7. Are you willing to admit what you don’t know?

[Images: FCA]

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2 of 26 comments
  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Apr 01, 2020

    Acura RLX- I’m surprised it’s still around, there’s even a hybrid version. I saw one some months ago but at around $50k there are plenty of other premium sedans that are a better value.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 02, 2020

    I KNOW the Jeep Patriot was discontinued after the 2017 model year, but I see so many in San Diego, including a couple brand-new looking models with dealer sheets still on the window, that I still wonder if there's a factory somewhere still cranking out a few. The simple answer is there was a glut of unsold Patriots when production ceased, and they're still working off the remainder. But how did dealers stay in business with so much inventory on the lot? Did FCA actually lease them, and they're now returning?

  • Bullnuke Well, production cuts may be due to transport-to-market issues. The MV Fremantle Highway is in a Rotterdam shipyard undergoing repairs from the last shipment of VW products (along with BMW and others) and to adequately fireproof it. The word in the shipping community is that insurance necessary for ships moving EVs is under serious review.
  • Frank Wait until the gov't subsidies end, you aint seen nothing yet. Ive been "on the floor" when they pulled them for fuel efficient vehicles back during/after the recession and the sales of those cars stopped dead in their tracks
  • Vulpine The issue is really stupidly simple; both names can be taken the wrong way by those who enjoy abusing language. Implying a certain piece of anatomy is a sign of juvenile idiocy which is what triggered the original name-change. The problem was not caused by the company but rather by those who continuously ridiculed the original name for the purpose of VERY low-brow humor.
  • Sgeffe There's someone around where I live who has a recent WRX-STi, but the few times I've been behind this guy, he's always driving right at the underposted arbitrary numbers that some politician pulled out of their backside and slapped on a sign! With no gendarmes or schoolkids present! Haven't been behind this driver on the freeway, but my guess is that he does the left lane police thing with the best of 'em!What's the point of buying such a vehicle if you're never going to exceed a speed limit? (And I've pondered that whilst in line in the left lane at 63mph behind a couple of Accord V6s, as well as an AMG E-Klasse!)
  • Mebgardner I'm not the market for a malleable Tuner / Track model, so I dont know: If you are considering a purchase of one of these, do you consider the Insurance Cost Of Ownership aspect? Or just screw it, I'm gonna buy it no matter.The WRX is at the top of the Insurance Cost pole for tuner models, is why I ask.