As a car-buying website, we have seen our fair share of interesting and unique vehicles. When you offer cash and other payments for any type of vehicle in any condition, you are exposing yourself to the possibility of all sorts of experiences. From extinct car brands to mishmashed vehicles (think boat cars), you never know what is going to be sold.
Overall, we have no limitation on what we will buy and sell. We understand that there are a wide array of vehicles out there, and most of them have become useless to their owners. Even if junked, we will purchase it. That’s our thing, after all.
With our line of work comes a knowledge of the existing. A wide-spreading knowledge of the current and past car markets. Therefore, we know about the ups and downs of all car brands. But what about those brands that no longer exist? What about those strange and eyebrow-raising shots that companies took in order to try something new, ultimately falling directly on their metaphorical face?
We are going to break down (no pun intended) 5 recent car brands that couldn’t stand the test of time.
Pontiacs went through an extremely long and strange history. From top-of-the-line to barely standing, the car brand saw its fair share of successes and blunders. And, out of all the brands on this list, Pontiac may be the one you still see the most on the road.
Started by General Motors (GM) in 1926 as an accompanying brand to Oakland (if you’ve never heard of that, we don’t blame you), Pontiac took off without a hitch. Strapped with a “we build excitement” tagline, the brand was made for performance and high-flying lifestyles. And, for the majority of its career, it lived up to that.
During its heyday, Pontiac created some stellar and legendary vehicles. The GTO and Firebird are still seen as desirable collectibles. Unfortunately, the reign didn’t last. Quality began to dip around the 2000s, and by the recession of 2008, GM noted that the division would be shut down.
Pontiac officially stopped production in 2010.
Like Pontiac, Saturn was a brand created by General Motors. The vehicle juggernaut started the Saturn brand in 1990. Their main goal was to combat America’s fascination with Japanese import vehicles. Fortunately, they succeeded.
Saturn proved to be a decent venture for GM, providing various award-winning vehicles. But, the star burned out fairly quickly, proving that Japanese companies were still the best at what they do.
After going bankrupt in 2009, GM decided to focus on its four major brands: Cadillac, Buick, GMC, and Chevrolet (dropping both Saturn and Pontiac). They attempted to sell Saturn and racecar icon, Roger Penske, attempted to buy it.
Unfortunately, the deal didn’t go through and Saturn was at a loss. GM officially canceled the brand in 2010, just 25 years after being trademarked.
Starting as a Swedish aerospace company in the 30s, Saab looked to bring their aircraft techniques to the car market in the 40s.
Like fighter planes at the time, the technique of creating efficient drag was implemented into their car design. So much so, that a 1:10 scale model of the Saab 92 prototype was tested in a wind tunnel in 1946.
When Saab’s 92 model was finally released in 1949, it had a fair amount of competition in the car market. The post-world-war-II boom generated a plethora of new manufacturers, starting the modern automobile market as we know it.
While Saab Automotive saw years of success with a multitude of different models, the original 900 was their best-selling vehicle (by a long shot).
908,817 Saab 900s were built between 1978 and 1993, with over 48,000 of them being convertibles. Throughout the 13-year stretch, the model was seen as the most creative of the manufacturer’s line.
By 2008, Saab was owned by GM. So, you know where this is going. Though they attempted to continue competing, Saab Automobile AB filed for bankruptcy in December 2011. As of today, they still make military vehicles in Sweden.
Mercury began as a subsector of Ford Motors. In 1938, the legendary goliath decided that it needed to extend its brand recognition. At the time, Ford only had two line brands (Ford and Lincoln) while General Motors had seven.
The now leader and son of Henry Ford, Edsel, decided that the company needed a brand that sat between the affordable Ford and luxury Lincoln. Therefore, Mercury was born.
In 1985, Mercury noticed the popularity of German cars in the American market. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Saab, and Volvo were all gaining massive popularity in the states. To combat this, Mercury started Merkur. Merkur (German for Mercury. Duh) started importing European Ford models to the U.S., labeling them as German imports. This idea only lasted four years due to low sales.
Overall, the brand saw continued success for over 70 years. Unfortunately, due to low sales and the reconstruction following the 2008 recession, Ford canceled the brand in 2010.
Starting to notice a trend? Most of the more recent defunct car brands all fell due to the 2008 market crash.
While there are hundreds of car brands that have gone defunct over the history of the automobile, we are attempting to point out the most recent ones. The aforementioned brands are more common than our last entry, but it’s hard to ignore. This is less important, sure, but we can’t forget about its pop culture history.
The famous, the legendary, and the brave. The Delorean is the car we all know and love. The time-flying vehicle from 1985’s Back to the Future, the wild model has found its way into the forever lexicon of film.
The DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) was an American automotive brand started in 1975. Truly, it is only remembered for its one model, the Delorean DMC-12, the was produced from 1981 to 1983. The vehicle, chrome in color with gull-wing doors, had eyes too big for its stomach. Ultimately, the vehicle’s high price didn’t fit an already turbulent market. It had too much production for its sales, causing the price to dip below profitable within the first year.
Furthermore, DMC’s leadership was terrible. The creator, John DeLorean, was charged with drug trafficking in 1982.
As of 2015, it’s estimated that only 6,500 Deloreans are still on the road.