1976 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Image courtesy of JL1Row on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0.

10 Car Brands That No Longer Exist

Can you remember any car brands that are no longer being produced? Customers demand changes over time, and the automobile industry has to change with it. Due to this, some car brands are unable to continuing competing in the market and cease to exist despite having a large amount of loyal customers. Today, we will bring you a number of car brands that are no longer being produced, and shortly describe their most popular models.

AMC

American Motor Corporation was established in 1954 through the merger of Hudson Motor Car Company and Nash-Kelvinator Corporation, making it the biggest corporate merger in the United States at the time. AMC was also one of the few companies that wasn’t affiliated with Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company or General Motors, and this gave it an advantage for a while. However, as the automotive industry became more competitive, the company was unable to keep up. It eventually folded in 1988 to Chrysler, which turned AMC into one of their car brands: the Jeep-Eagle division.

The most well-known AMC model was the Javelin, which was produced between 1967 and 1974. AMC made the Javelin to compete against the Ford Mustang. The Javelin was a coupe with a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. With a range of trim and engine options, consumers could have an economical pony car or a muscle variant.

DMC

delorean DMC-12

Photo by Ed g2s on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0.

The DeLorean Motor Company was formed in 1975 by John DeLorean, a top executive in the automobile industry. However, underwhelming sales of its vehicles meant that the company lacked funds to continue operation. While desperately trying to raise funds, DeLorean was taken in by the FBI for drug trafficking. In October 1982, he was arrested and charged with conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States. The primary evidence was a video that showed him making a deal with an undercover FBI agent. Although DeLorean was eventually acquitted on the basis of entrapment, his reputation was tarnished, and the company went bankrupt.

The most well-known DMC model was the DeLorean DMC-12, a stainless steel sports car that featured gullwing doors. With rear-wheel drive and a V6 engine, the car produced 200 horsepower. However, it didn’t become famous until it was featured as the time machine in “Back to the Future,” which wasn’t released until 1985. With popularity from the films, DMC (Texas), which is unaffiliated with the original company, supports DMC-12 owners and has plans to revive the car in 2017 with newly built replicas.

Eagle

Photo by EagleESi on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 / GNU FDL 1.2.

Photo by EagleESi on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 / GNU FDL 1.2.

As mentioned above, AMC became Eagle in 1988 after Chrysler bought the former. Aimed at car enthusiasts, the car brand lacked the Chrysler Corporation logo, featuring the Eagle head instead. Although they were sold in Chrysler, Dodge and Mitsubishi dealerships, consumers failed to recognize them among other car brands. Additionally, Chrysler was in financial turmoil by the end of the 1980s and didn’t have money to produce innovative or new cars for the brand. These factors led to the closure of Eagle in 1999.

During its operation, the most notable vehicles that Eagle produced were the Vision and Talon. Produced from 1993 to 1997, the Vision was a full-size luxury sports sedan with front-wheel drive and a four-speed automatic transmission. Engine options included a 3.3-liter V6 and a 3.5-liter V6. Produced from 1989 to 1998, the Talon was a sporty, 3-door liftback. Engine options included a 1.8-liter, 2.0-liter and 2.0-liter Turbo.

Tatra

Image courtesy of Dr. Killer on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Image courtesy of Dr. Killer on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0.

As the second-oldest company to produce cars after Daimler, Tatra is a Czech company founded in 1850, but it didn’t start manufacturing vehicles until 1897. During World War II, it produced tank engines and heavy, rear-engined trucks to support the war effort. Tatra produced only 90,000 cars, and poor sales led to its decision to stop making cars in 1999. However, it still makes a range of trucks from all-wheel drives to 18-wheeler trucks.

While producing cars, Tatra’s most well-known model was the MTX V8 because it was the fastest Czech model ever. Only five of them were made. With a V8, 215-horsepower engine and a top speed of 153 mph, the car could accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 6.2 seconds. With an injection version of the engine, the car produced 301 horsepower, accelerated from zero to 62 mph in 5.6 seconds and topped at 165 mph.

Mercury

Image courtesy of Chuckharris42 on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

Image courtesy of Chuckharris42 on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

Established in 1938 by Ford Motor Company to fill the price gap between the Ford and Lincoln car brands, Mercury was an affordable premium car brand in the American market. The company was a competitor to the Buick and Oldsmobile car brands under General Motors as well as the Chrysler brand. Most Mercury vehicles were based on Ford vehicle bodies. The brand was discontinued in 2011 after Ford Motor Company announced that it wanted to refocus its engineering and marketing efforts on its Ford and Lincoln brands.

The most successful Mercury model was the Cougar. From 1967 to 1973, the car was intended as a pony car. It was built as a personal luxury car from 1974 to 1997 and as a sport compact car from 1999 to 2002, after which its production halted. The eight generations produced over these periods were equipped with a range of mostly V8 engines.

Oldsmobile

Image courtesy of Sfoskett~commonswiki on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0

Image courtesy of Club442 on Wikimedia Commons , hosted under CC BY-SA 4.0

Oldsmobiles were produced by Olds Motor Vehicle Co., which was founded in 1897 by Ransom E. Olds. General Motors purchased the company in 1908, and it continued producing the Oldsmobile brand until it started to phase out models in 2001 following a shortfall in sales and profitability. Oldsmobile officially ceased production in 2004, making it the oldest American brand to survive and the fourth oldest in the world behind Daimler, Tatra and Peugeot.

The most successful Oldsmobile model was the 4-4-2, which is generally recognized as the 442. Over its production time, the rear-wheel-drive muscle car was mainly equipped with V8 engines that generated a range of horsepower from 160 to 400.

Plymouth

Plymouth_Duster

Image courtesy of Bull-Doser wikipedia.org, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

Based in the United States, Plymouth was established in 1928 as the first brand under Chrysler Corporation to enter the low-priced market. Despite their lower cost, Plymouth vehicles had standard features that some of the competition didn’t have. By the 1990s, however, many Plymouth models overlapped in price and features with Dodge and Eagle models. Chrysler Corporation tried to reestablish the brand in the entry-level market, but sales continued to fall. After Daimler-Benz AG bought Chrysler Corporation in 1998, Plymouth became defunct in 2001.

The most successful Plymouth model was the Duster, which was produced from 1969 to 1976. During those seven years, little was changed with the A-body of the compact coupe. With rear-wheel drive, the car was equipped with several engine variants that produced between 225 and 275 base horsepower over the years.

Pontiac

Pontiac Firebird

Image courtesy of Torenhire on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

General Motors created the Pontiac brand in 1926 as a companion to its more upscale Oakland brand. Pontiacs became more popular and entirely replaced the Oakland brand by 1933 to become a companion for the Chevrolet brand. Marketed as a performance brand, Pontiac specialized in mainstream vehicles. However, financial problems and restructuring efforts at General Motors in early 2009 led to the brand being completely shut down by October 2010.

The Firebird was the most successful Pontiac model, and it was produced from 1967 to 2002. Built as a pony and muscle car, the Firebird was made on the F-body platform and was rear-wheel drive. Over the years, it was equipped with various V8 engines that generated 220 to 325 base horsepower.

Saab

Image courtesy of IFCAR on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

Image courtesy of IFCAR on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

Founded in Sweden in 1945 by Saab AB, the Saab Automobile AB brand was very loved around the world and still has a cult following. Following one merger in 1968, General Motors took 50 percent ownership of the company in 1990 and then became the full owner in 2000. The company was sold again in 2010 to Spykers N.V. After insolvency problems in 2011, the company filed for bankruptcy, and the Saab brand became inactive. In 2012, National Electric Vehicle Sweden purchased the bankrupt estate. However, the company hasn’t had a license to produce vehicles under the Saab brand since 2014.

From 1978 to 1993, the Saab 900 was the most popular model for this brand, selling nearly 1 million units after its introduction. A convertible version was made in 1986 and accounted for 20 percent of sales. The compact, entry-level luxury car had a long front-end and short rear-end, was front-wheel drive and came in several body styles: coupe, three-door hatchback, sedan, and five-door hatchback. Its various engine options over the years produced 99 to 188 horsepower.

Hummer

Image courtesy of U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

2007 Hummer H3. Image courtesy of U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

AM General, the maker of the military Humvee, first established the Hummer brand in 1992 to offer civilians a version of the M998 Humvee. General Motors bought the brand name in 1998 and produced the H1, H2 and H3 models. The economic downturn made the viability of the Hummer uncertain for consumers, and sales declined. After a failed sale of the brand to a Chinese manufacturer, General Motors dismantled the company in 2010.

Of the Hummer models that General Motors made, the H3 was the most popular during its five-year production. Classified as a mid-size SUV, the four-door H3 was four-wheel drive and had three engine options: 3.5-liter inline-five engine; 3.7-liter inline-five engine; and 5.3-liter V8 engine.

From producing competitive pony cars to delivering luxury transport, the demise of car brands has occurred all over the world and sporadically across history. Did you own a car that any of these car brands made?

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