Hooniverse Asks: Have You Ever Bought a Car That Was Later Disavowed by its Maker?

2017 Chrysler 200S
Just recently Fiat Chrysler intimated that both the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart weren’t very good cars for the company. This was after the fact that they almost admitted to neither model being a particularly good car at all. I wonder how the current owners of the reconstituted Dart and Alfa-based 200 cars feel about that?
I’d guess they feel the same was a did owners of Merkurs after Ford killed off that short-lived brand and then proceeded to pretend like they never existed. Or, how owners of Pontiac Azteks felt from the very moment they drove their weirdo-mobiles off the lot.
There have been a number of times when, after the fact, car makers have publicly asked “what were we thinking?” and repudiated models that they previously heaped with praise. Have you ever owned a disowned model? How did that feel?
Image: Carhoots

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31 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: Have You Ever Bought a Car That Was Later Disavowed by its Maker?”

  1. JayP Avatar

    Cadillac – everything from V8-6-4 to Catera.
    That was a big step when GM (Maybe it was Welburn?) to admit those cars were junk and time to move on.

  2. 0A5599 Avatar

    My boss at the time had a Nissan Van that was involved in a mandatory buyback from Nissan. It was 6 or 7 years old and had about 130k on the odometer and they ended up offering USD 7000 plus a coupon on a new Nissan. I think similar condition vans went for around $4000 right before the buyback.
    He was very reluctant to sell. He liked the van, but also he had spent nearly that much in recent repairs, so figured it would have held up for a long time. Yeah, something about a fourth alternator makes it so much more reliable than the first three…

    Curbside Classic: 1987 Nissan Van – How Did This Turkey Escape The Crusher (Or Oven)?

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Interesting, first time I hear about buybacks aside from a Wolkvagen or something: Why would a company be obligated to buy back a 7yo car substantially above market value?

      1. P161911 Avatar

        Nissan stuck a bigger engine in them for the US market and they had a bad habit of catching on fire. After 4 safety recalls, they gave up.

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          Yeah, they never could get the underhood temperatures under control, and eventually gave up.

          1. Hatchtopia Avatar

            Yeah, they never could get the underfoot temperatures under control, and eventually gave up. <— Fix't

          2. outback_ute Avatar

            Yeah, they never could get the underbackside temperatures under control, and eventually gave up.
            That is probably more like it

      2. Maymar Avatar

        Most buyback programs tend to value the vehicles pretty generously – it’s better from a customer service standpoint, it helps guarantee the vehicles actually get turned in, and it smooths over any resentment over the defect meaning you’re getting financially screwed.

        1. JayP Avatar

          2 pals with VW diesels – one’s already turned in and bought a gas Tiguan, the other is looking for a CC to replace his Passat diesel.
          $5k to $7k over what you paid will keep you happy.

          1. Maymar Avatar

            Yeah, I had a coworker who had one of the recalled Ford Windstars (rusty rear axle or something), who was pretty pleased to get $4k or so for a $1000 van.

      3. 0A5599 Avatar

        Not really OBLIGATED to buy them. It was with Nissan’s consent. As others have noted, US models had heat problems which occasionally resulted in engine fires. When the engine is next to the driver and front passenger, and immediately in front of the second row, consequences of a fire could be very deadly. Cheaper to overpay to eliminate all risk than to have to face a jury against a family of burn victims, repeated for each additional fire.

      4. nanoop Avatar

        Thanks everybody, enlightenment right here!
        So it’s one of these slightly pervert calculations of risk (time is eating into the fleet, but may increase the probability per vehicle) and possible damage (people, reputation, reparation), and monetary costs of both alternatives.

  3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    Not quite, but I came very close to buying a pair of Italjet Casual 350s, a bike so bad that Italjet wiped any mention of it from their corporate literature and when contacted, pretended that they never existed.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

        Wow. That references back to me. I originally sent that quote about Bob Lawrence to Sheldon’s EMU, in 2005.
        (Wed Jun 08 2005 — about halfway down the page)

        1. Alff Avatar

          I had a sneaking suspicion that might be you.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      I own a Corvair, a vehicle that similarly tends to be “forgotten” in official Chevy and GM literature.

  4. Eric Rucker Avatar

    I’ve owned three Volkswagen diesels, although none of them were actually affected by Dieselgate (they were 10, 23, and 24 years prior to the first Dieselgate cars). Does that count?

  5. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

    I owned a 2007 Saturn Sky, of fiery death ignition switch fame.
    Wonderful car, the only one I’ve ever really regretted selling. Unfortunately they’re quite difficult to find in good shape now (except at Carmax, which is asking nearly double what they’re worth…).

  6. mdharrell Avatar

    I’m of the school of automotive criticism that holds the manufacturer’s opinion to be neither of greater validity, nor of lesser validity, than any other opinion. Therefore it is preferable to buy vehicles that have been disavowed by everyone, not just the company.

  7. Maymar Avatar

    I don’t know if disavowed is quite it, but as I’ve said, I drive a Mazda2, probably among the last few sent to North America (built June ’14). I was quite excited to check out its replacement at the auto show just a few months later (too late to be of any real relevance, but still) – the next gen 2 got federalized, through EPA certification, and was shown to the public as incoming, and then…nothing. Mazda decided they’d rather bloat the thing, add AWD, and rake in that sweet crossover money. I suppose I could walk over to a Toyota store and buy the Big Mouth Billy Bass version, but it’s also got tiny sedan badonkadonk. Still preferable to a CX3.

  8. Dutchman Avatar

    I own a 2013 Dart turbo. I was excited to have the Dart for all of two days. The car itself isn’t bad. It’s the shoddy workmanship and engineering done by FCA. I’d love to drive to Auburn Hills and rip them one.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      I have vowed never to buy another FCA product.

      1. ptschett Avatar

        Surely FCA can’t be that bad, they have the same “World Class Manufacturing” program as the company where I work.

    2. Vairship Avatar

      The fact that the Alfa Romeo-based Dodge Dart has been deemed such a catastrophe by FCA leadership must give some pause to all the new Alfa Romeo dealers in the US…

  9. Double G Avatar
    Double G

    evo 9

  10. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    At times like this I wish I had a Citroen GS Birotor. The closest I get is a car whose manufacturer got flushed, although the Saturn SL2 makes a very good transportation appliance, as long as it isn’t exposed to road salt.

  11. salguod Avatar

    2015-12-19 14.26.00
    Not technically disowned by BMW, but effectively so.
    I also bought a Saturn Outlook after GM announced that it was disowning, uh, discontinuing the Saturn brand. Got a great deal as a result, but Saturn’s demise made me sad because I had also owned a 1992 SL2 that I loved. I felt a little satisfaction when GMC recycled the Outlook’s body for the 2013 Acadia.

  12. ptschett Avatar

    I thought this was normal? My high school car was a ’73 Mercury Cougar, from late in the last model year it was on the Mustang platform; I went to college driving my ’96 Thunderbird that had its warranty start in August 1998, a year after the Thunderbird’s ~43-year consecutive run ended; after college I bought an ’05 Dodge Dakota and held onto that for more than 5 years after the last 2011 Dakota was built.

  13. William Robinson Avatar
    William Robinson

    Hey… I own a 15 200… I got the thing slightly used more than a year ago. Beside buying it from ford with there best used car warranty which by the way is more than useless I’ve had one let down in traffic which was caused by the power to the tcm short which was a recall. I’ve had the tcm reflashed once more and suffered a broken aluminum wheel. I’ve put more than 110k km for a total of 128k and I’m mostly pleased with it. 300hp and fwd is kinda fun and with the right tires its an alright handler and real good in the snow despite its weight. The bad part is the rear seat head room it sucks but hey I don’t sit back there. I think FCA where really short on giving the 200 a fair shake they killed it within two years of its introduction. From my little perch the 200 seems to be everywhere unless this is where FCA decided to dump all remaining cars. Frig knows Chevy did it with a bunch of Malibu once.

  14. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    Recalling less than one year old Betas in the 1970s in the UK because the rustproofing had failed so badly were the first nails in the coffin of the Lancia marque.
    Parking a Lancia Beta this close to salt water was tempting fate.
    Edit: The rust in my (slightly later) Gamma isn’t actually as bad as in the similar age BMW E3s and E21s I had but it is in weird places like under the rubber covering on the bumpers instead of anywhere structural.