Technology

From Classics to Forgotten: Here are 15 car brands that vanished in the last 25 years

Over the last 25 years, as a slew of new carmakers have popped up —such as Tesla, Lucid, and Rivian while more than a dozen other car brands have disappeared. Here’s a closer look at 15 car brands that disappeared over the past 25 years.

Pontiac and Plymouth are long-standing American car brands that fell victim to corporate restructuring, while Oldsmobile and Mercury failed to generate fresh consumer interest.

Saturn and Scion were created by their corporate owners as experiments to reach new customers that ran their course.

CODA was a novel EV startup that simply ran out of cash.

Regardless of the reason for their failure, each one of these brands still created memorable vehicles that helped move the automotive industry to where it is today.

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Pontiac and Plymouth are long-standing American car brands that fell victim to corporate restructuring, while Oldsmobile and Mercury failed to generate fresh consumer interest.

Saturn and Scion were created by their corporate owners as experiments to reach new customers that ran their course. CODA was a novel EV startup that simply ran out of cash. Regardless of the reason for their failure, each one of these brands still created memorable vehicles that helped move the automotive industry to where it is today.

Here’s a closer look at 15 car brands that disappeared over the past 25 years.

Eagle

Eagle was launched by Chrysler Corporate in 1988 following its acquisition of American Motors Corporation (AMC) one year earlier. The Eagle name was pulled from AMC's eponymous line of crossovers. In the early years, it became a place where Chrysler could sell models developed by AMC such as the Eagle Premier and the still AMC-badged Eagle Wagon. Eagle also sold re-branded Mitsubishis such as the Eagle Talon and Eagle Summit, which were re-badged Mitsubishi Eclipse and Mirages. Chrysler shuttered the brand in 1999 due to lagging sales.
Eagle was launched by Chrysler Corporate in 1988 following its acquisition of American Motors Corporation (AMC) one year earlier. The Eagle name was pulled from AMC’s eponymous line of crossovers. In the early years, it became a place where Chrysler could sell models developed by AMC such as the Eagle Premier and the still AMC-badged Eagle Wagon. Eagle also sold re-branded Mitsubishis such as the Eagle Talon and Eagle Summit, which were re-badged Mitsubishi Eclipse and Mirages. Chrysler shuttered the brand in 1999 due to lagging sales.

Plymouth

Chrysler originally introduced Plymouth in 1928 as an entry-level brand in the marketplace. Over the years, Plymouth was home to a litany of iconic models, including the Barracuda muscle car and Prowler roadster, as well as popular family offerings like the Neon sedan and Voyager minivan. Chrysler shuttered the Plymouth brand in 2001 following its merger with Daimler.Chrysler originally introduced Plymouth in 1928 as an entry-level brand in the marketplace. Over the years, Plymouth was home to a litany of iconic models, including the Barracuda muscle car and Prowler roadster, as well as popular family offerings like the Neon sedan and Voyager minivan. Chrysler shuttered the Plymouth brand in 2001 following its merger with Daimler.

Oldsmobile

Ransom E. Olds brought his original Oldsmobile to the market in 1897. General Motors purchased the automaker in 1908, and it served as one of the company's leading luxury brands for nearly 100 years before it was shuttered in 2004 due to declining sales.Ransom E. Olds brought his original Oldsmobile to the market in 1897. General Motors purchased the automaker in 1908, and it served as one of the company’s leading luxury brands for nearly 100 years before it was shuttered in 2004 due to declining sales.

Rover

For a century, Rover was a consummate presence in the British car industry. However, the Rover brand struggled to compete in the two decades before its demise in 2005.Even though Land Rover continues today as part of India's Tata Group, the Rover name has remained dormant.
For a century, Rover was a consummate presence in the British car industry. However, the Rover brand struggled to compete in the two decades before its demise in 2005.Even though Land Rover continues today as part of India’s Tata Group, the Rover name has remained dormant.

Pontiac

Pontiac, one of America's most storied automotive brands, was first incorporated in 1926. Pontiac was responsible for some unforgettable cars in American lore, such as the Firebird and the GTO. Unfortunately, Pontiac was one of three brands dissolved as part of GM's financial crisis restructuring in 2010.Pontiac, one of America’s most storied automotive brands, was first incorporated in 1926. Pontiac was responsible for some unforgettable cars in American lore, such as the Firebird and the GTO. Unfortunately, Pontiac was one of three brands dissolved as part of GM’s financial crisis restructuring in 2010.

Mercury

Ford Motor Company established Mercury in 1938 to bridge the gap between its mass-market Ford brand and luxury-focused Lincoln line. Ford discontinued the Mercury line in 2010 due to diminished market share.

Hummer

GM launched the Hummer division in 1999 to sell the AM General-made H1, a civilian version of the US military's High Mobility Multipurpose Wheel Vehicle (HMMWV). In the subsequent years, GM introduced the H2 and H3 models before shuttering the Hummer division in 2010.GM revived the Hummer name in 2021, but not as a stand-alone car brand. Instead, it's an EV truck made by GMC.
GM launched the Hummer division in 1999 to sell the AM General-made H1, a civilian version of the US military’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheel Vehicle (HMMWV). In the subsequent years, GM introduced the H2 and H3 models before shuttering the Hummer division in 2010.GM revived the Hummer name in 2021, but not as a stand-alone car brand. Instead, it’s an EV truck made by GMC.

Saturn

Formed in 1982 and branded in the '90s as a different kind of car company, Saturn was created mainly to compete with smaller Japanese brand models. By the early 2000s, GM had stopped developing standalone models for the brand and re-badged existing GM products. After years of lagging sales, production was halted in October 2009.Formed in 1982 and branded in the ’90s as “a different kind of car company,” Saturn was created mainly to compete with smaller Japanese brand models. By the early 2000s, GM had stopped developing standalone models for the brand and re-badged existing GM products. After years of lagging sales, production was halted in October 2009.

Scion

Toyota's Scion experiment attempted to create a smaller car that appealed to younger customers. Its lineup of small, quirky economy cars failed to make as much of an impact as Toyota had originally hoped. Sales declined substantially following the 2008 recession, and the brand was dissolved in 2016.Toyota’s Scion experiment attempted to create a smaller car that appealed to younger customers. Its lineup of small, quirky economy cars failed to make as much of an impact as Toyota had originally hoped. Sales declined substantially following the 2008 recession, and the brand was dissolved in 2016.

Daewoo Motors

Daewoo Motors was once one of South Korea's largest carmakers before a financial scandal at its parent company, followed by a bankruptcy in 1999. General Motors acquired Daewoo Motors in 2002. The company was rebranded as GM Daewoo before becoming GM Korea in 2011. Daewoo vehicles continued to be sold for years after its acquisition by GM, but the brand has been dormant for more than a decade.Daewoo Motors was once one of South Korea’s largest carmakers before a financial scandal at its parent company, followed by a bankruptcy in 1999. General Motors acquired Daewoo Motors in 2002. The company was rebranded as GM Daewoo before becoming GM Korea in 2011. Daewoo vehicles continued to be sold for years after its acquisition by GM, but the brand has been dormant for more than a decade.

Fisker Automotive

Before the current Fisker Inc. there was Fisker Automotive. Fisker Automotive was founded in 2007 and came to market in 2011 with a stylish range-extended EV called Karma. However, slow sales strained the company's finances, which worsened after much of its inventory was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. Fisker Automotive filed for bankruptcy in 2013 before being sold to China's Wanxiang Group in 2014.Before the current Fisker Inc. there was Fisker Automotive. Fisker Automotive was founded in 2007 and came to market in 2011 with a stylish range-extended EV called Karma. However, slow sales strained the company’s finances, which worsened after much of its inventory was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. Fisker Automotive filed for bankruptcy in 2013 before being sold to China’s Wanxiang Group in 2014.

Saab

The Swedish automaker was founded in 1945, and GM took a $600 million stake in 1989, acquiring the remaining shares in 2000. After years of poor financial results and a global recession, GM sold the brand in 2009. A collection of European car companies owned the troubled brand until it dissolved in 2016.Though never considered a stunner in terms of looks, the Saab 900 was perennially considered a capable and comfortable car. Saab 900s were sold for 20 years and came in four-door, coupe, and convertible varieties.

CODA Automotive

CODA Automotive was an American EV startup that was founded in 2009. In 2012, the company launched an affordable EV based on a small Chinese internal combustion economy sedan but fitted with an all-electric drivetrain. CODA Automotive went bankrupt in 2013 after only a handful of customer deliveries.CODA Automotive was an American EV startup that was founded in 2009. In 2012, the company launched an affordable EV based on a small Chinese internal combustion economy sedan but fitted with an all-electric drivetrain. CODA Automotive went bankrupt in 2013 after only a handful of customer deliveries.

Holden

Holden was arguably Australia's most iconic car brand. It was founded in 1856 as a saddlemaker and moved into the car business in 1908 before becoming a part of General Motors in 1931. Holden had a popular lineup of muscle cars and utes, but it wasn't popular enough for GM to keep it in business. GM ended automotive production in Australia in 2017 and shuttered the Holden brand at the end of 2020.Holden was arguably Australia’s most iconic car brand. It was founded in 1856 as a saddlemaker and moved into the car business in 1908 before becoming a part of General Motors in 1931. Holden had a popular lineup of muscle cars and utes, but it wasn’t popular enough for GM to keep it in business. GM ended automotive production in Australia in 2017 and shuttered the Holden brand at the end of 2020.

Borgward

Borgward was once one of Germany’s largest carmakers before going bust in 1961. The Borgward brand remained dormant until Chinese automaker BAIC revived the brand in 2015. The new Borgward proceeded to launch a line of modern crossover SUVs. But the brand struggled to gain traction in the marketplace and filed for bankruptcy in 2022.

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