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Have You Ever Wondered Why Aging Cars Stay In Production?

Industry News / 7 Comments

Instead of being discontinued, there is a reason why old cars stick around.

Have you ever wondered why some models stick around for 10 or even 15 years without being replaced or majorly updated? This is pretty common in the automotive industry, which is why there are so many "new" cars on sale today that are actually very old underneath.

Take the Nissan Frontier, for example, currently in its 15th model year without ever having received a major refresh. Dodge has several models that are all living on borrowed time, including the Grand Caravan and Journey. The Grand Caravan has, for all intents and purposes, been replaced by the Chrysler Pacifica, so you may wonder - why does Dodge continue to build it?

Automotive News was curious as well, which is why the outlet decided to speak to Lincoln, one of the brands guilty of keeping old models around. The Lincoln MKT has been on sale since the 2010 model year and will continue to be sold even after the new Aviator arrives as a 2020 model. Despite being highly outdated and following Lincoln's now-defunct alphabetic naming scheme, the MKT will stick around because it still generates a profit.

Robert Parker, Lincoln's director of marketing, sales, and service, said the MKT "can fill that role profitably for the company and will for the time being." This profitability mainly stems from fleet customers, especially limousine and taxi services.

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Models like the MKT serve an important role, keeping the new vehicles and the fleet vehicles separate. Having the MKT in the lineup will prevent Lincoln from having to sell the new Aviator and Nautilus to fleet buyers, ruining their image in the eyes of the customer.

Vehicles like this are also pure profit for automakers because the tooling for them has been completely paid off. This allows companies to drastically reduce the price and still make a profit. Instead of spending millions of dollars to develop new vehicles, automakers can keep an old model around and offer it at a discounted price to attract budget buyers. So if you've ever wondered why an old model is still being sold, there's your explanation.