It's difficult for some companies to withstand the test of time. While certain global phenomenons are well-equipped to face a variety of issues, for others, all it takes is one economic downturn and they're suddenly closing their doors. We see it all the time with retailers, but it isn't something we generally associate with cars.
Regardless of all the manufacturers still available on the market, there are quite a few automobile creators that have gone defunct over the years. Join us as we take a look back at some of the iconic (and lesser-known) manufacturers that no longer exist.
Back in 2003, Toyota hatched a plan to cash in on young drivers, devising a way to capture a market of up-and-coming hip internet-born automobile owners. Their idea focused on the creation of a brand that would offer younger drivers cool new cars with exciting features. Thus, Scion was born.
Unfortunately (at least in our opinion), Toyota wasn't exactly on the cutting-room floor of what "hip and cool" really were. A lot of Scion's vehicles will be remembered as blocky, odd, and off-putting. Still, you can't deny that their marketing campaigns were darn flashy. By 2016, Toyota no longer needed to target a young demographic and ceased production of all Scions.
Here's an alarming thought and a stark reminder that we're all getting older (bummer, we know): Plymouth has been defunct since 2001. That means there are officially soon-t0-be adults that have literally no idea what a Plymouth even is. That's shocking, considering the company had been around for 90 years prior.
For those unaware, this particular brand was owned and produced by Chrysler and focused mainly on sedans, coupes, and vans. Although they did have cult success in the 1970s with a muscle car affectionately dubbed the 'Cuda (Barracuda).
Here's another super popular brand that held steadfast through the 1990s but failed to gain any traction into the millennium. Oldsmobile began its run in 1897, shutting its doors in 2004. There is something so heartbreaking and unbelievable about watching a 121-year-old car manufacturer call it quits.
General Motors owned the rights to Oldsmobile and felt like the company had nowhere else to go. Perhaps it's because many of the company's vehicles looked... well, old. There wasn't a lot of innovation happening on their end and it feels as if they couldn't keep up with the modern demands of vehicle design. Whatever the reason, Oldsmobile owners past and present will always think of them fondly.
A lot of the companies on this list were phased out because they failed to keep with the times. As demands for wild new designs and impressive technological features popped up, many manufacturers folded under the pressure. Saturn was one of the few that actually rose to the challenge and embraced the direction in which automobiles were heading.
This is evident by their impressive design with the Saturn Sky, a convertible with a look and feel that rivals many modern sports cars. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, and Saturn would essentially cease to exist post-2009.
If we asked you to list off the founding countries for famous vehicle brands, you'd likely toss out Germany, Japan, USA, Britain, and even Italy. Those without extended and in-depth knowledge of the car scene are unlikely to throw Sweden into that grouping, but there are actually quite a few Swedish car brands on the road today. Volvo and AMG may be the most recognized but Sweden also had a claim to Saab at one point.
Founded in 1945, the company gained a reputation for its classy vehicles and features. The manufacturer would make it all the way to 2012 before sale problems and legal issues forced General Motors to pull the plug. It's sad to see a company like Saab fall by the wayside.
Like Saturn, Pontiac seemed to embrace the vehicle shift of the early 2000s. The company had been producing an array of top-notch automobiles since 1926, including their widely-beloved Pontiac GTO, a muscle car that tore its way through the late 1960s and early 1970s. Many car fans will remember the Pontiac name for this reason, but the company still had a few flashes of life in the modern age.
Their Solstice and Grand Prix were well-received in the 2000s thanks to their sporty aesthetic. Sadly, Pontiac would close its doors in 2010.
Mercury is one of those car brands that is fondly remembered by those that owned a Mercury vehicle but not much past that. It isn't to say that the company was "bad," they just didn't leave a huge mark on the automobile industry as some others did. They did turn heads in the late 1960s with their Mercury Cougar muscle car, but outside of that, there wasn't much to note.
The Mountaineer SUV could be seen as a solid attempt and impressive accomplishment in the new age, but it wasn't nearly enough to keep the brand afloat.
When they first roared onto the scene in 1992, Hummers were incredibly sought after by a variety of car fanatics. There was something so impressive and alluring about the beefy frame and military-esque design of the Hummer line.
Unfortunately, as time went on and we began to get a better understanding of the environmental impact that certain things were having on our ecosystem, fingers began to point at the Hummer brand. Whether you place the blame on overly-expensive retail costs, a lack of market interest, or a shift in public perception regarding the brand, Hummer ceased manufacturing in 2010.
This one won't necessarily come as much of a surprise to those that follow the car markets closely. Suzuki is one of the top vehicle producers in the world but there's no denying that their name is synonymous with motorcycles. It's difficult to even name a Suzuki car or truck off the top of our heads (the Suzuki Samurai comes to mind).
The company dabbled a bit in passenger vehicles over the years, but never managed to break far enough away from motorcycles to take a sizeable chunk out of a larger vehicle market.
For this last entry, we thought we'd do something a little different, based on how interesting the life of the DeLorean brand really was. In 1975, John DeLorean would open the company and began preparations to unveil a line-up of new and innovative vehicles. Soon after, the DMC-12 would hit the market.
The iconic design was so futuristic that it landed an iconic spot in Back to the Future. Unfortunately, personal legal issues would catch up with John DeLorean and the company would close its doors only 7 years later. The real kicker? The DMC-12 would end up the only vehicle that DeLorean Motors ever produced. In this case, though, there's some good news: as of 2016, some of these issues have been resolved and the company's production efforts have recommenced!