Vehicles that disappear from the new-car market for low sales or other reasons don't necessarily vanish: in fact, some gain in value and presumably popularity.
That's the finding of Lawrenceville, Georgia-based Black Book, a division of Hearst that values used and leased cars and trucks.
It's analytics-driven report released in July "looks at why certain vehicle models were discontinued over the last several years, and how they’ve retained their values since discontinuation.
Among the top choices are the Toyota FJ Cruiser, a stylish off-roader with brightly-colored roof; and the venerable Hummer H2, alternately praised and panned for its military-style body and gas guzzling image.
By contrast, vehicles such as the Mazda MPV minivan and Mercury Milan sedan sunk in value over the years.
"Our analytics approach enables us to take a deeper look into historical depreciation trends to better understand how certain vehicle retention has performed over time," said Anil Goyal, executive vice president, operations at Black Book. "This information proves valuable to automotive dealers, lenders, Original Equipment Manufacturers and other industry professionals who each need a deeper understanding of vehicle retention patterns for the buying, selling, stocking and financing of vehicle models,” he said.
Black Book noted its figures show the FJ Cruiser, whose last model year was 2014, "has actually gone up in value by 25.7 percent compared to other vehicles that were listed in its segment." Next best was the Hummer H2, with a retention value at 18.5 percent.
Sometimes, popular editions were discontinued due to changes in manufacturing strategy, Black Book noted.
"When this happens, certain models retain their values better than their segment average, while others see retention values plummet," the guide said.
To determine the values, Black Book conducted a "thorough analysis" looking at small- and mid-size cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans. "Their discontinuation dates vary over the last few decades, and the reasons for their discontinuation are as diverse as the vehicles themselves," the company said.
Toyota's FJ Cruiser "was acclaimed for its off-road performance," Black Book said. At the same time, the vehicle's "wide stance and short wheelbase made it look quirky. The FJ Cruiser counted just 14,000 sales in its last model year of production. Still it's unique and had a relatively high demand from enthusiasts and "became a modern collectible."
According to Black Book, the FJ Cruiser's three-year change in retention was a full 26 percentage points higher than than the Mid-Size Crossover/SUV segment as whole.
Not every discontinued vehicle performed so well. Many have lost value. The Mazda MPV minivan, last built in 2006, has lost 15.8 percent of its value compared with other vehicles in its segment. The Milan, a decent seller for a brand that was discontinued, has lost 9.5 percent compared with others in its segment it was dropped in 2011.
Black Book said it's able to provide fine-tuned value information even with discontinued cars and trucks due to accurate vehicle depreciation data available, combined with advanced analytical modeling and input from seasoned editors with a rich network of automotive expertise.
The company dates to 1955 as an independent suppler of vehicle pricing information. Its figures are published daily by National Auto Research, and the company counts offices in Georgia, Florida and Maryland as well as the Canadian Black Book in Toronto. Visit BlackBook.com or call 800-554-1026.