View Full Version : The wisdom, or lack thereof, of buying a car of a discontinued make
02-13-2010, 07:48 PM
I've had it with my 2003 PT Cruiser, which I bought used. It has been fraught with problems leading to numerous expensive repairs.
I have some specific requirements as far as a vehicle's ability to haul stuff. Finances are such that I will probably buy used. One of the cars I'm considering is a Saturn Vue.
I traded in a Saturn sedan to buy the Cruiser. The Saturn was, IMHO, a lot of car for a great price.
So how stupid would it be to buy a used Saturn, when that entire make is being ditched? My thought is that, given the millions of GM products on the road, it should be easy to attain parts, etc.
I don't think I'd feel the same way about buying a used Saab.
It's Not Rocket Surgery!
02-13-2010, 09:35 PM
The Vue is closely related to the Chevy Equinox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_Theta_platform). It probably won't be a major pain to repair.
02-14-2010, 07:30 AM
I think you could find parts and mechanics for decades to come. Your question started me thinking. I can't actually remember hearing anybody ever say they could not buy parts to fix their car because it was old or obscure. Not to say that it doesn't happen, but I don't see how it could happen for such a major and recent brand as Saturn.
02-14-2010, 08:10 AM
Mechanical parts for any discontinued GM brand should be no problem for at least ten years and probably longer. Body and interior parts tend to vary more among brands and will become scarce somewhat more quickly. Auto-Zone and other aftermarket parts houses have amazing access to about anything you'll ever need. It's easy to go online to Auto-zone, O'Reilly's, Advance auto Parts, NAPA, etc. and check parts availability for hoses, belts, brakes, alternators, starters, and other parts you know you'll need someday. Until recently, I've had a habit of driving 15-20 year old cars as my daily drivers. I never had any problems finding parts.
02-14-2010, 10:07 AM
As others have said, maintenance won't be an issue.
Depreciation may be.
If you intend to buy this thing & run it to 250K miles & then junk it, depreciation is a non-issue.
But if you intend to buy it today and sell it in 3 years time, the fact it'll be an orphan brand by then may make its resale value a lot lower, and probably make the sales process itself harder/ slower.
The fact it's about to be an orphan brand now lowers your purchase price today, but not by as much as your sale price will be lowered in 3 years. The net effect is to raise your total cost of ownership. The difference could be 10-20% of what you'd pay for the vehicle today. The older and more run-out a vehcicle you buy today the less the impact. 10% of not very much money is even less money.
02-14-2010, 11:07 AM
If you plan to keep the car, it shouldn't be a bad idea. The parts will still be available for at least a decade and by the time you need any major repairs, it would be better to get something else anyway.
Also, if new parts aren't available, you still will be able to get used or rebuilt parts. People drive Model T Fords today and parts can still be found. (http://www.modeltford.com/)*
I have a couple of Saturns and am in no hurry to replace them.
*One of the nice things about the Internet is that you can easily find parts for obsolete items (e.g., phonograph needles (http://www.needledepot.com/) or Kodak Carousel projector bulbs (http://www.bulb-source.com/Kodak.htm)
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