Dodge’s boxy, affordable mid-size sedan featured a refrigerated glove box to keep drinks cold for road trips, but that was never enough for it to pose a serious challenge to the Toyota Camry’s dominance under the hood. Obama administration. Nearly a decade after Dodge canceled the car, at least one sold new.
The Avenger is an extreme case, but it’s not the only zombie car sold in the first quarter of 2022. With a worldwide shortage of microchips limiting the number of new cars on dealer lots, more than a handful of buyers are gone in the oldest thing. on the dealer’s lot in the first three months of this year.
Zombie cars are rare. Dealerships do not own the cars on their land. They often make payments on them through a complex loan agreement with the automaker that built them. The longer they keep them, the more payments they have to make. Selling a car makes the dealership more money quickly than keeping one as it ages.
If a dealer stores a car for years, they also have to pay to maintain it. What dealerships call “carrying costs” accumulate in a vehicle once technicians replace fluids to keep it running.
Automakers tend to stop advertising cars when they first consider dropping them. Buyers usually walk into a dealership knowing what they want to see, and it’s usually something they’ve seen advertised recently. Few people imagine driving away in a brand new 5 year old car.
That leaves dealers motivated to get rid of aging stock and replace it with something currently advertised.
But, every once in a while, a dealer finds an unsold car on a storage lot years past its time. With a car shortage this year, some of these zombie cars are selling out. We dug through our Q1 sales data and found a few undead surprises that somehow found a new buyer in the first three months of this year:
BMW i3: 9 new sales
This is perhaps the least surprising entry on the list. The original BMW i3 small electric car was just discontinued last year. But it’s perhaps the most anti-Bimmer BMW ever built, with urban mannerisms and none of the sporty sedans fame Munich’s best cars.
Fiat 124 Spyder: 3 new sales
A few years ago, Fiat in Italy looked at the beloved little open-top Mazda MX-5 Miata and thought, “We should have built it. It had the classic little chassis engineering that was the magic behind Europe’s beloved roadsters. All it took was a bit of Italian design flair to make a compelling Fiat. So they brokered a deal with Mazda and started building Miatas with slightly different bodywork to sell as the Fiat 124 Spyder. The “Fiata” was produced from model years 2017 to 2020. But sales, apparently, continue.
BMW i8: 1 new sale
The BMW i8 remains a one-off achievement more than two years after the last one rolled off the production line. A hybrid supercar, it boasted 0-60 mph times of around 4 seconds and an EPA rating of 76 MPGe. We still think, from behind, it looks like he is giving birth to a Porsche. But no one can deny its appeal. At least one buyer agreed this year, buying one two years after production ceased.
Buick Regal: 1 new sale
Unlike the other cars on this list, the Buick Regal is still built and sold today. In China. GM announced it would leave US showrooms in 2019, but at least one remained until this year.
Cadillac CT6: 1 new sale
Cadillac was once world famous for its huge and opulent full-size sedans. Today’s largest Cadillac sedan wouldn’t live up to them, however. The last car to try was the CT6, discontinued in 2020. The factory that once built them now produces GMC Hummer electric vehicles.
Chevrolet Impala: 1 new sale
The Impala name has a long history, but it hasn’t been used since 2020. The last Impala was a front-drive, V6-powered sedan that probably didn’t live up to the legend of rear-drive Impalas. from the 1960s. But it was still a comfortable family car, and it still makes occasional appearances on the sales charts.
Dodge Avenger: 1 new sale
Built from 1994 to 2014, the Avenger was Dodge’s last attempt to build a mainstream midsize sedan. Today, Dodge sells the big Charger and doesn’t bother trying to market anything smaller. But, incredibly, a dealership sold a brand-new Avenger this year, eight years after it ended production.
Dodge Dart: 1 new sale
The compact Dart lasted slightly longer than the Avenger on Dodge lots, disappearing in 2016. A compact sedan based on a Fiat design, it never enjoyed the success of the Neon it replaced, probably because the Dart looked generic where the Neon looked like a friend. At least one buyer, however, drove away in a never-before-sold Dart in 2022, six years after Dodge wrote it off.