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Say 'Goodbye' to cars, 'Hello' to new deals

Many car manufacturers are discontinuing their models and consumers are finding jumping at the chance to get a good deal.

February 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The meter is running out for several car models and in some cases, entire brands. Many consumers are jumping at the chance to get a good deal on the last on the lot. Others are worried about the cars that they already own. Does discontinued spell out deal or dud? Consumer Specialist Ric Romero explains how it all depends. This past year was one of the roughest on car manufacturers in a very long time. As a result many automobiles will no longer be around or manufacturers are cutting back on production. All this means you might get a good deal. Remember, I said might.

Mara Woloshin has been driving Saabs for over ten years.

"I love the way this car is designed. It's six speed, it's got a beautiful interior," said Mara.

But GM announced that it is winding down Saab and recently announced a sale of the car company to the Dutch. Meantime Mara's local dealership has closed. Now, she's forced to get her beloved car serviced nearly 100 miles away.

"I'm very concerned about parts, service and how I'm going to be able to cost-effectively maintain my car," said Mara.

It's not just Saab. The auto industry is putting the brakes on underperforming brands. Volvo is in transition, and Pontiac and Saturn aren't going to be manufactured anymore.

"It's sad to see a brand like Pontiac disappear. But you know what? It's going to allow General Motors to survive and that's the important part," explained James Bell, Kelly Blue Book.

Bell says there's no need to panic if you own a discontinued car. You're still under warranty and can still get service. The government is keeping a close eye on the situation. In terms of GM, "The government has made sure that General Motors is going to have a good supply of parts and service facilities available in your area. It just probably won't be nearly as convenient," said Bell.

If you're planning to buy a car that's stopping production, Phil Reed at Edmunds.com says there's concern.

"In most cases the resale value of these vehicles is going to drop very steeply. So if you're buying a car that you want to turn around and trade it in three years, this is not the car for you," said Reed.

On the flip side, Reed says that if you plan to keep the car for seven or more years, you may want to seek one out.

"They're basically offering fire sale prices for the vehicles and they're trying to sell everything they can before they have to close," said Reed.

So dealers are offering rebates and deep discounts. But do your research online before heading to the lot. And don't be afraid to haggle because this is a new phenomenon and no one knows just how low a dealer is willing to go. Also, because you're seeking out a discontinued car, be prepared to compromise on color, trim and option packages if you want the best deal.