Several automakers have closed their doors suddenly without warning | Italdesign
10 Stupid Automakers That No One Remembers Anymore
It’s a huge logistical operation, andِ one thatِ couldِ potentially affect millions ofِ people depending onِ howِ popular a model is.
The pastِ 15 years haveِ beenِ full ofِ these: Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Mercury, andِ Plymouth areِ just a fewِ to name.
Avoiding theِ well-known failures andِ trying notِ to goِ too obscure, thereِ areِ 10 automakers thatِ were onceِ big (or triedِ toِ break big) inِ America andِ have sinceِ beenِ lost toِ history.
1927 LaSalle Series 303 Roadster | Cadillac
It isn’t a nameِ that evenِ most gearheads couldِ recall today, butِ from 1927 toِ to 1940, LaSalle wasِ oneِ ofِ the mostِ prestigious automakers inِ America.
Slotting aboveِ Buick andِ just belowِ Cadillac, LaSalles wereِ inِ anِ exciting andِ enviable position inِ the GM lineup.
Despite outselling Cadillac fromِ 1933 toِ 1940, GM decided toِ discontinue theِ brand.
1950 Nash Rambler convertible | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet
In 1939, itِ introduced theِ “Weather Eye,” a heating andِ ventilation system thatِ becameِ the template forِ everyِ modern HVAC system sinceِ (Weather Eye remained inِ production intoِ the 1980s).
Today, virtually everyِ car usesِ theِ sameِ construction methods.
And itِ launched theِ Nash-Healey inِ 1951, a Pininfarina-designed sports car thatِ predated theِ Corvette byِ two years.
3. De Soto
At a time whenِ upper mid-market cars wereِ big business, De Soto served asِ Chrysler’s Mercury/Oldsmobile competitor.
When itِ was launched inِ 1929, itِ set a record asِ the best-selling first-year model ever, a record thatِ ironically stood untilِ 1960, theِ brand’s penultimate year.
Fun fact: In 1942, theِ De Soto was theِ firstِ American car toِ haveِ pop-up headlights.
1984 Ford Sierra XR4i | Ford
While Detroit wasِ tryingِ toِ beat backِ the Germans fromِ overtaking theِ American luxury market (spoiler: It didn’t work), Ford felt thatِ itِ couldِ beat themِ atِ their ownِ game byِ importing someِ ofِ itsِ own high-end European models.
The XR4Ti (Ford Sierra XR4i inِ Europe) wasِ a Mustang-sized BMW 3 Series fighter introduced inِ 1985, andِ the five-door Scorpio sedan (née Ford Scorpio) wasِ a Mercedes E-Class competitor thatِ bowed inِ 1988.
But high prices, a lack ofِ brand prestige, andِ internal distrust fromِ the Lincoln-Mercury dealers whoِ hadِ to sell themِ doomed Merkur.
For years, Daihatsu wasِ oneِ ofِ Japan’s largest automakers.
By theِ late ’80s, withِ American demand forِ Japanese cars increasing year afterِ year, theِ company felt itِ was time toِ jump in.
But relativelyِ high prices, a lack ofِ dealership network andِ parts availability, andِ a relativelyِ small market forِ its compact models spelled theِ end for theِ brand.
The British auto industry wasِ inِ shambles inِ the 1980s, but the historic Rover brand felt thatِ itِ couldِ do twoِ thingsِ to bring itِ backِ from theِ brink: partner withِ a moreِ successful brand, andِ crack theِ American market.
In 1986, itِ launched theِ 800-Series, a luxury sedan based onِ the Honda Legend.
Then inِ 1987, itِ launched inِ America asِ the Sterling 800 — whichِ unfortunatelyِ launched atِ the sameِ time as theِ Acura Legend.
1985 Isuzu Gemini | Italdesign
In 1972, General Motors partnered withِ Japanese automaker Isuzu toِ build theِ LUV, a compact pickup truck.
By theِ 1980s, Isuzu becameِ a strong-selling brand inِ its ownِ right thanksِ to theِ rugged Trooper SUV, compact I-Mark, andِ handsome, Guigario-designed Impulse sports car, among others.
Most ofِ itsِ cars wereِ sold throughِ GM wearing Geo badges, Honda partnered withِ itِ to build anِ SUV, andِ by theِ endِ of theِ decade, theِ majority ofِ itsِ models wereِ rebadged Chevys orِ Hondas.
Believe itِ or not, there’s a Nash connection withِ Eagle: It wasِ launched byِ Chrysler toِ sell theِ refugees fromِ the AMC deal.
Eagle’s firstِ car wasِ theِ final-year AMC Eagle (which wasِ equipped withِ theِ Weather Eye HVAC system, noِ less), becomingِ … theِ Eagle Eagle.
It alsoِ sold theِ Renault-based Medallion andِ the Premier, anِ AMC/Renault-developed premium sedan designed toِ takeِ onِ the likes ofِ Acura andِ Audi.
In 1998, itِ returned underِ itsِ own nameِ with a trio ofِ Guigario-designed small cars: theِ Lanos, Leganza, andِ Nubira.
But theِ brand rollout wasِ a sprawling, disorganized mess, andِ by 2002, theِ company was bought byِ GM asِ it sat mired inِ bankruptcy.
It didِ leave oneِ parting gift toِ theِ world — theِ truly awful Chevrolet Aveo.
Suzuki hadِ beenِ successful forِ decades inِ Europe andِ Asia.
But despiteِ strong motorcycle andِ ATV sales, itsِ cars didn’t arrive inِ America untilِ 1985, whenِ Chevy began selling theِ Cultus asِ the Sprint.
By theِ endِ of theِ decade, Suzuki wasِ selling theِ Swift (a near-identical cousin ofِ the Geo Metro) andِ the subcompact Samurai 4×4.