• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

Car Buying

Buying a Used Car: Should You Buy From a Defunct Automaker?

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Infiniti cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon

author photo by Lindsay Martell

In the last few years, more than a few automakers and car brands have gone bust or left the U.S. market. Should you even consider buying a used car from one of these brands? Will parts be available? Will warranties be honored? We've gone brand by brand to help you decide if it's a good idea to buy a car from a defunct automaker. 

HUMMER/Pontiac/Saturn

You shouldn't have too much concern about finding parts if you're interested in most HUMMER, Pontiac or Saturn models. Since those were General Motors brands, most used models share parts with other GM vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Malibu (in the case of the Pontiac G6) or the Chevrolet Tahoe (in the case of the HUMMER H2). 

There are a few models you may want to watch out for when buying a used car. The full-size HUMMER H1, for instance, is a low-volume vehicle manufactured before General Motors took over the brand (and during GM's ownership). However, that model has a loyal, helpful enthusiast following that should point you to available parts. Others to think twice about include the Pontiac G8 and Solstice Coupe, as well as the Saturn Astra. Those models didn't have any GM "twins," so finding parts could get tricky -- though GM dealers tell us there aren't any problems at the moment. 

Mercury

Like HUMMER models, Mercury vehicles almost always have a "twin" product in the Ford lineup. As a result, it should be no trouble to find parts for nearly any modern Mercury -- from the Grand Marquis (based on the Ford Crown Victoria) to the Milan (based on the Ford Fusion). Also like HUMMER, Ford will continue to honor warranties on Mercury models as the warranties expire. 

SAAB

While SAAB offers some unusual vehicles that stand out from the crowd, we recommend doing a lot of homework before buying one. One reason is that many late-model SAAB warranties are no longer honored. That means you'll be paying out-of-pocket for every repair -- even on 3- and 4-year-old cars. You also may have trouble finding parts, especially for body panel repairs. 

A visit to a local SAAB dealer suggests parts distribution isn't difficult now, but that may not always be the case -- especially since SAAB is officially bankrupt and the brand's new owners may not continue making parts for older vehicles. Our suggestion: Talk to current owners and dealership service departments before buying a used SAAB. And don't expect a seamless experience when it comes time for major servicing or bodywork. 

Suzuki

Suzuki is the most recent brand to leave the U.S. market, having declared bankruptcy here late last year. With no parent brand in the U.S. (unlike Mercury, which falls under the Ford umbrella, or General Motors brands Saturn, Pontiac and HUMMER), Suzuki owners may have trouble tracking down parts in the future. 

Some models, such the Equator pickup and earlier versions of the Grand Vitara and XL-7 SUVs, should be okay, as they have "twin" models sold by other U.S. brands. But the Aerio and Kizashi may prove problematic as they age and the brand's distribution network dwindles. The one benefit to Suzuki's bankruptcy compared to SAAB's is that Suzuki says it will continue honoring warranties on its vehicles. If you want a Suzuki, be sure to negotiate a good deal.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Close 
Buying a Used Car: Should You Buy From a Defunct Automaker?