Port Huron, Michigan, United States
It happens every year. We bid adieu to some cars and trucks that will be missed, and say good riddance to others wondering how they stayed around so long. Whether they're being killed off for slow sales or due to a new product coming along to replace them, the list of vehicles being discontinued after 2012 is surprisingly long and diverse.
CNN Money has compiled a list of departing vehicles, to which we've added a few more of our own. In the slow sales column, cars like the Lexus HS 250h, Mercedes-Benz R-Class and the full Maybach lineup appear, while the Ford Escape Hybrid, Mazda CX-7 and Hyundai Veracruz are all having their gaps filled with more modern and more fuel-efficient alternatives. Obvious exceptions to the rule include models that still sell in decent numbers like the Jeep Liberty and the Chrysler Town & Country (which will eventually be replaced by a crossover-like vehicle).
Check out our gallery of discontinued cars above, then scroll down for more information.
Chrysler has slowed production of its Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans this week, Automotive News reports. The Windsor, Ontario plant will cut its three shifts from eight hours each to four hours each in an effort "to align production with market demand," a Chrysler spokesperson told AN. Chrysler also builds the closely related Routan minivan for Volkswagen at its Ontario facility, but has not built a single example thus far in 2013.
Sales of Chrysler's minivans fell 15 percent for the first two months of 2013, and a large part of that has to do with the 26-percent drop of the Grand Caravan alone (the T&C was only down by one percent). According to Automotive News data, as of March 1, Chrysler had an unsold inventory of 24,713 Town and Country models and 18,547 Grand Caravans - a 69- and 43-day supply, respectively.
"No sense running full speed now, then have a lot of vehicles sitting around a few months down the line," Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson told AN. Full production is expected to resume again on March 18.
Chrysler is being targeted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a pair of actions that focus on over 1.2 million Jeeps, minivans and crossovers.
The first is a "preliminary investigation" that focuses on an airbag issue afflicting the Jeep Commander built in model years 2006 and 2007 and Grand Cherokee from 2005 to 2006. In total, 700,000 vehicles could potentially be affected. It's not entirely clear what the airbag issue is, with The Detroit Free Press simply stating that the restraint systems in the affected Jeeps may be "faulty."
The other investigation is what's called a "recall query" and it covers a problem that General Motors should be familiar with. In this case, there could be a problem with the ignition switches of 525,000 vehicles, ranging from 2008 to 2010 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, to the 2008 to 2010 Dodge Journey crossover. Again, it's not entirely clear what sort of behavior prompted the 32 complaints that NHTSA has received on these vehicles.