CITROEN C-ZERO/PEUGEOT ION - LAUNCHED 2011: These two French EVs are almost identical, and not only to each other: they are both heavily based on the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Curiously, the Mitsubishi is no longer available, but PSA is continuing with the C-Zero and iOn.
ALFA ROMEO MITO - LAUNCHED 2008: It still looks good but it has been a dynamically troubled premium supermini from day one, owing to its heavy reliance on hardware from the budget Fiat Punto. Doubtless, it has hung on partly because of those looks, but also because Alfa Romeo dealers had little else to sell before the launch of the Giulia. Alfa has no plans to replace it so it could still linger.
MASERATI GRANTURISMO - LAUNCHED 2007: Aging gracefully, which is just as well now that it’s a decade old. Just about competitive in cost when new, and sensationally so in its looks, the Granturismo still exudes glamorous appeal and makes a slightly left-field choice, away from the usual Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar options. A beautifully upholstered cabin and genuine space for four heighten the allure.
MERCEDES-BENZ SL - LAUNCHED 2012: We’re all so obsessed with new cars – in no small part because the manufacturers induce us to be – that this 2012 machine seems older than it really is. Mercedes has regularly given it light facelifts, but this once staple luxury sports tourer faces many more interesting competitors today, not all of them convertibles.
NISSAN 370Z - LAUNCHED 2009: The Z is one of Nissan’s most famous achievements but it has become something of a problem child. Or rather, the market that once bought it has, because the coupé segment has morphed to reflect the modern desire of the motorist to sit higher aboard crossovers. For this reason, Nissan has no concrete plans to replace the Z. The numbers don’t add up.
SUZUKI JIMNY - LAUNCHED 1998: Now the oldest production car on sale and, unsurprisingly, it feels it. In some ways, that’s good – there’s a wonderfully mechanical gearchange and it’s charmingly easy to drive – but it’s noisy and the only connectivity is with the road below. Bluetooth? Forget it. The first brochure item listed – carelessly – under ‘Technology’ is ‘Front wiper with intermittent’. Great off road, though.
BMW 6 SERIES - LAUNCHED 2011: Amazingly, the 6 Series was only recently named the most discounted new car in Britain. At six years old, the 6 Series is hardly ancient, but such big incentives indicate a car which has lost its allure. That’s a common problem among coupés, which tend to be bought mainly as fashion items on wheels. Once the fireworks of desire are spent, it’s all over.
VOLVO S60 - LAUNCHED 2010: Still handsome inside and out, which has no doubt helped it to live slightly longer than average. To make sure, Volvo gave it a facelift it in 2013, with new pressings for the bonnet and wings – an unusual expense to go to these days. There have been mechanical updates, too, but none effective enough to mask the S60’s dynamic shortfalls.
MITSUBISHI SHOGUN - LAUNCHED 2006: Now that SUVs are among the status symbols of the middle class, real off-roaders, which merely shrug off ascents of gloopy hillside fields, are rare. That makes it easier to keep a rugged 4x4 in production for longer, as Mercedes and Land Rover have proven. The Shogun is a slow-moving handful on the road, but on rough stuff, it remains superb.
VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG - LAUNCHED 2010: It’s not like VW to dawdle with model replacement (original Beetle apart) but the Touareg is now seven years old and its replacement trails by some distance the debuts of the latest Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga, whose platform it shares. The successor should appear this year, laden with tech and closely based on VW’s T-Prime concept.
FIAT PUNTO - LAUNCHED 2005: It’s still quite handsome, but also very old, at 12 years. Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne reckoned this once massive seller wasn’t worth replacing because of the 2008 downturn. Result? Fiat’s absence, effectively, in a segment from which it originally took a big slice. Dealers are offering £2000-odd off, but at £11,635, that just isn’t enough, and you have to pay another £175 for front airbags.
PEUGEOT 508 - LAUNCHED 2011: Family saloons and estates were once pretty much all Peugeot made – the 403, 404, 504, 505 and 405 all hits in their time. But the market faded, with demand sucked away by premium competition and SUVs. Peugeot’s 406 and 407 were less compelling, too. The 508 is better but makes little impact in this list. A replacement finally arrives next year, allegedly of different confection.
Car firms are increasingly clinical about replacing aging models, releasing their successors every four to seven years regardless of today’s proliferation of models and niches.
But some cars manage to dodge these rigid product plans – and the guillotine. Sometimes this is because their maker doesn’t have the budget to launch new models, or because they have little else in their product range to offer, or because there’s no replacement planned but still some profit in continuing with production.
Flick through our gallery for 12 survivors worth looking at – and you might be surprised by which ones are still hanging on in there.