They are the automotive equivalent of cold pizza or chicken salad — leftovers that are still plenty appealing by themselves, even if they are no longer the freshest thing in the refrigerator.
For automakers and dealers, keeping older vehicle designs in production after their replacements are introduced is becoming an important strategy to protect market share and inventories while keeping budget-conscious customers happy.
Volkswagen is the latest automaker employing this strategy. When it launches its redesigned three-row Tiguan later this summer, the German brand will keep its current two-row Tiguan around as the "Tiguan Limited," a cheaper version with fewer trims and options.
VW is not the first company to try this. When Nissan introduced its redesigned 2014 Rogue, it kept the previous version around for two more model years as the Rogue Select. General Motors adopted the strategy earlier in the decade when it redesigned its Impala and Malibu sedans, keeping the previous versions for fleet sales as the Impala Limited and Malibu Classic.
"Whenever I see a car go on long past its 'sell by' date, I always tell myself that it's a pure numbers game," said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. "They usually have amortized the car, and they know how much it costs to keep it going. And if there's still an upside there, they'll keep it going."