Top 10 Car Brands That Don't Exist Anymore

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Top 10 Car Brands That Don't Exist Anymore

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
These car companies ran out of gas. For this list, we'll be ranking the car models or companies that have bitten the dust over the years. Our countdown includes Hummer, Scion, DeLorean, and more!
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Top 10 Car Brands That Don't Exist Anymore


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Car Brands That Don't Exist Anymore.

For this list, we'll be ranking the car models or companies that have bitten the dust over the years.

Are there any of these vehicles you'd like to see make a comeback? Let us know in the comments!

#10: Saturn Corporation

Founded in 1985, this brand was the little GM subsidiary that could... until 2010, that is. That was the year in October that all remaining Saturn franchises closed for good. But before that, Saturn LLC distinguished itself as a “different kind of car company” with its own models of small family-sized vehicles, beginning with the Saturn SC and SL in the early ‘90s. With the imports and transplants of the Japanese automotive industry being GM’s greatest competitor in the compact car market at the time, Saturn didn’t only have a proper Tennessee assembly plant, but also a dealership network to call its own. Following model expansion in the 2000s and an unsuccessful deal to sell the brand to Penske however, Saturn was ultimately discontinued.


#9: Hummer

Let’s call this entry a cheat, as the Hummer is actually in the midst of a revival…although it’s not quite the same vehicle you remember. That’s because the Hummer is being reintroduced as an electric brand by General Motors, which is the exact opposite of its gas guzzling, “bigger is better” pedigree. The classic Hummer brand was a domestic adaptation of a military vehicle known as the Humvee. Its civilian cousin was promoted by action stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, and tapped into muscular and macho stereotypes of the day. The Hummer was officially liquidated in May of 2010, and time will tell if this kinder, gentler Hummer will share the same fate.

#8: Edsel

It’s funny how some car brand names have survived decades, despite being in production for only a couple of years. The Edsel is well remembered as a style indicative of late fifties car culture, despite this Ford subsidiary barely lasting into the 1960s. The car was named after one of Henry Ford’s sons, and was created in order to compete with rivals Chrysler and General Motors. The interior design somewhat mirrored that of an airline cockpit, coinciding with the era’s fascination with air travel. However, the Edsel’s price point couldn’t have arrived at a worse time, since the 1957 recession meant that consumers weren’t in the market for a reportedly “mid-level” car with a luxury price which, adjusted for inflation, was over twenty thousand dollars.


#7: Scion

Hey, who remembers the Toyota Scion? Do you also remember the car brand was so desperate to appeal to young people that it aligned itself with extreme heavy metal, even sponsoring a music festival that bore its name? Yup, the Scion Rock Fest ran from 2009 to 2014, with free admission in the hopes that fans would somehow associate their good times with potentially purchasing an affordable, entry level model Toyota. It didn’t work, obviously, as the Scion was discontinued in August of 2016, but fans can always look to their CD collection bearing the Scion AV label logo to remember the lengths this strange car brand took to compete in the market.


#6: Saab

You could be forgiven in believing that the car company Saab was actually still around, since they seemed to be so intrinsically linked with the Swedish automobile industry. Sadly, the brand went bust around 2012, but they survived for a number of decades as one of the key options for consumers who wanted more choices other than big time American or Japanese manufacturers. It should be said, however, that Saab historically was never able to compete in the entry-level market, and usually played exclusively with high-end buyers who wanted luxury vehicles at a luxury price tag. Saab owners were loyal, however, and the company hung its hat on the “raving fan” mentality until the late 2000s when bankruptcy and litigation effectively ended Saab as a viable brand.


#5: Studebaker

The Studebaker brand is one of the oldest on this list, with a history dating back to the mid-1800s. In the early 20th century, the company produced both electric and gasoline powered models and soon became known for making one of the most popular and reliable cars of the day. The company fought to innovate and compete with changing times, however, with the brand limping along as best it could into the 1960s, finally merging with Wagner Electric in 1967. This takes nothing away from the brand’s legacy, however, as the name Studebaker remains intrinsically linked with classic Americana.


#4: Oldsmobile

There has always been a debate among American car enthusiasts as to whether it’s better to buy foreign or domestic. This was especially true in the 1980s, as the market saw automobiles from countries like Japan exploding in popularity throughout the US. Oldsmobile could perhaps be seen as one of the casualties of these “car wars,” a venerable American auto institution with a history dating back to 1897. Their cars were incredibly popular, especially with those who felt the “need for speed,” [1] as the Oldsmobile Rocket V8 engine was souped up for maximum performance. Tastes change, however, and as fuel economy and size quickly dominated the conversation, the showy bulkiness of classic Oldsmobiles lost appeal. The brand was finally phased out in 2004.

#3: Pontiac

SB [00:25 “Pontiac. We build excitement.”] This was one of the most famous Pontiac slogans, and for quite a while consumers agreed. Pontiac cars prided themselves on performance, while also serving as a comparatively more affordable arm of the General Motors division. High quality V8 engines were the norm for most Pontiac vehicles, although Canadian manufactured models often received Chevy big blocks of comparable power. Despite their popularity, Pontiac - along with Saturn, Hummer and Saab - became a victim of the restructuring of General Motors at the end of the 2000s, with the last of its kind rolling off the assembly line in January of 2010.

#2: Plymouth

The late 1920s saw the introduction of the Plymouth brand of automobiles into the Chrysler Corporation as a viable option for customers that were increasingly looking to Ford and Chevy for affordable cars. This was a smart move, especially during the Great Depression, as Plymouth vehicles sold briskly during this difficult time. However, you may know one particular model of Plymouth more than the rest. We’re talking about the Plymouth Fury, first introduced in 1956, and popularized for many in the John Carpenter horror classic “Christine.” Sales struggled for Plymouth by the late nineties, however, with the brand ultimately biting the dust in 2001.

Before we name our number one pick, here are some honorable mentions!

Mercury
They Strived to be an Affordable Entry-Level Vehicle, but Couldn't Remain Profitable

Isuzu
Early SUV Company Left U.S. Operations in 2009
Isuzu https://youtu.be/b_1ASmweXYs

#1: DeLorean

It’s the most easily recognizable car brand on this list, thanks to its inclusion in one of the most popular film franchises ever made, “Back to the Future.” We’re talking, of course, about the DeLorean Company, who only made one car, the iconic design that bore the name of its founder, John DeLorean. They were notable for their sleek appearance, gull wing doors and poor performance: a total style-over-substance aesthetic that made the car, for better or worse, eternally associated with the excessive 1980s. The company was woefully mismanaged, as well, with cars being assembled in Northern Ireland with a largely inexperienced crew. Meanwhile, John DeLorean himself was arrested in 1982 on drug trafficking charges and DeLorean was a bust by 1982.
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