The automotive industry can be called one of the most stable. Most companies that initially contributed to its development still exist and many have already celebrated their century-old anniversary. As a highly competitive but profitable business, the automotive industry has for many years created a huge number of brands. Some appear on their own, others appear within existing companies to appeal to a particular type of customer.
The first category either has survived to this day or has been absorbed by one or another car giant. It is the habit of big car manufacturers to acquire smaller companies that leads to the frequent destruction of the latter. For some, I’m very sorry, and for others – not so much. The difficult financial time at the beginning of the 21st century forced GM, Ford, and Chrysler to remove a lot of their brands. They were either sold to other companies or eliminated once and for all. Here are these American brands that have disappeared over the past 20 years.
Oldsmobile: Born in 1987, killed by GM in 2004
At times when the car is just beginning to form in Europe, Rensham Olds is working hard to create its own motorized cars across the Atlantic. Its old-founded company, Oldsmobile, was acquired by General Motors shortly after its appearance – in 1908, Oldsmobile will be remembered as the first brand to launch mass production a few years before Ford. The first model is called Curved Dash (1901). This is the first manufacturer to offer an automatic transmission. The technology, which is also adapted to Cadillac models, is called Hydramatic and has four gears. The brand is also attributed to one of the earliest incarnations of the car – Oldsmobile Rocket 88 (1949). In its 107-year history, Oldsmobile produces models with the coolest names – Viking (1929), Cutlass (1961), Toronado (1986). GM decided to close the brand in December 2000 due to a drop in sales. The murder of Oldsmobile was completed in 2004. The last model with this emblem is the Bravada crossover.
Plymouth: Born in 1928, killed by Chrysler in 2001
Plymouth is a brand born of corporate whims. In 1928, Chrysler attempted to enter the budget segment of the market dominated by Ford and Chevrolet. This is how Plymouth appears, whose roots can be traced to the Maxwell brand, acquired by Walter Chrysler in the early 1920s. In 1939, Chrysler introduced the Plymouth Convertible, the first passenger cabriolet with a retractable roof, at the World Trade Fair in New York. For 73 years under the Plymouth brand, such models as Belmont (1953), Barracuda (1964), Road Runner (1968), Caravelle (1985) and Prowler (1998).
Mercury: Born in 1938, killed by Ford in 2011
In the late 1930s, Ford sold its main product and Lincoln cars as “hot bread”. The company needs a premium brand to fill the gap between the two major brands. And then the son of Henry Ford – Eckel, creates Mercury. Mercury has been given great hopes, but frankly, the brand has been fighting for its existence throughout its 73 years of existence. The brand fails to speed despite the fact that its cars carry cool names: Meteor (1961), Marquis (1968), Marauder (2003) or the latest Milan model (2009). Ford stopped Mercury’s work in 2011, justifying its decision with the need to pay more attention to the Ford and Lincoln brands.
Pontiac: Born in 1926, killed by GM in 2010
Pontiac is represented as the surname of the Oakland brand in 1926. Gradually it grew, became an integral part of GM’s empire, and eventually became a company’s performance division. The brand quickly outstrips Oakland thanks to the popular Pontiac Five Passenger Coach (1926) and Pontiac Big Six (1929). The Pontiac Gran Turismo Omologato, also known as the GTO, debuted in 1964. Hoping to get a big loan from the government and avoid collapse, GM decides to exclude Pontiac from its registry in 2010, 84 years after its birth.
Hummer: born in 1992, killed by GM in 2010
Following the same, GM kills another legendary, albeit much younger, Hummer brand. In the early 1990s, the world was fascinated by the big military trucks that fought in Iraq – the M998 Humvee. In order to take advantage of this interest, in 1992 AM General began to produce the civil version of Humvee called Hummer. Seven years later, AM General sold GM’s production rights and continued to assemble them for the Detroit giant. Over the years, the original Hummer became known as H1, followed by H2 and H3. As a humorous brand, Hummer fails to pass the selection when GM tries to save its skin. The sale of the Chinese brand fails and it sinks into oblivion.
Saturn: Born in 1985, killed by GM in 2010
This brand is little known, so it’s definitely not missing anyone. Saturn became another victim of purging and was created as the American counterbalance of European and Asian imports. During its short life, it released a number of more or less successful models, including S-Series (1991), Vue (2002) and Ion (2003). At one time, the Opel Astra is sold in the US under the Saturn brand.