Automakers are usually all about what's new — new product, new technology, new brand image.
But they're also pragmatic businesses willing to milk profits out of what's old.
Which is why, for instance, Lincoln will keep building its slow-selling MKT crossover after its successor, the Aviator, arrives in showrooms next year.
The 9-year-old MKT might seem an unlikely candidate for life extension, considering that it has two things that Lincoln is dropping: the split-wing grille and an alphanumeric name. But it still has value that Lincoln parent Ford Motor Co. can take advantage of by selling it to fleet customers, especially as a livery vehicle. Robert Parker, Lincoln's director of marketing, sales and service, has said the MKT "can fill that role profitably for the company and will for the time being."
Lincoln is just one example of brands that find the old car/new car pairing a tempting proposition. Although fleet sales are a common motive, automakers also use holdovers to plug empty lineup segments, keep an entry price available, maintain dealer inventory during a high-volume production launch or serve overseas markets.
And sometimes they just want a little more payback from the hundreds of millions of dollars they spent to create and build a new vehicle, industry experts say.