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Saab Joins The Ranks Of Other Now-Defunct Car Companies

By (view all posts by BeckyHarks)
at 9:58AM Friday December 23, 2011
under Newsworthy

As the automobile industry radically works to reconstruct itself in order to save itself, the fallout has included the demise of a beloved brand of car or two. While the departure of a major car brand may feel alarming, this is nothing new to manufacturers and consumers.

On Monday, December 19, Saab -- the unconventional, yet charming Swedish car company -- filed for bankruptcy. Saab was a relatively small force in the US market, but it had a fairly militant following of people who appreciated how different and sleek the brand of cars were, as compared to other car companies. The once-proud company is expected to liquidate all remaining inventory.

Thankfully, business analysts do not expect that Saab's bankruptcy filing will create waves in the auto industry, as Saab was one of the smaller car companies -- selling only slightly more than 5,000 cars in the US this past year.

Still, it's sad that Saab is now joining the ranks of other now-defunct automakers.

Back in 1985, Saturn Corporation began an ambitious new project: marketing a "new kind of car company," with new cars, plants, workers, dealerships and manufacturing processes. The models that Saturn produced proved to be very popular among car buyers but, thanks in part to the recession in the 90s, sales never met the projected targets and Saturn Corporation stopped making their cars in 2010.

In the early 1930s, Datsun - a smaller brand of the existing DAT model car - was created, only to be purchased by Nissan Motor Company in 1933. The Datsun name was made famous by several sports cars - the Fairlady roadsters and the Fairlady coupe. Sadly, Nissan phased out these popular cars and discontinued the Datsun car models.

The ubiquitous Checker Marathon - produced by Checker Motors Company - may be one of the most recognizable of all cars. A version of the Checker Marathon became the taxicab of choice for many American cities, most infamously New York City. Nearly all movies and television shows produced in the 1970's and 1980's will show the Checker Marathon tooling around the city. The first Checker Marathon to roll off the assembly line in 1962 looks almost the same as the last one produced in 1982.

The Dusenberg car (often known as "The Dusey") was an American-based luxury automobile company favored by race-car enthusiasts and the very wealthy from 1913 to 1937. The Duesenberg automobile quickly became synonymous with luxury and status, driven by many movie stars and royalty. Despite it's appeal, The Dusey became defunct and ceased production in 1937 after the owner of the car company became bankrupt.

In the 1970s, the DeLorean Motor Company produced the famous DeLorean DMC-12 sports car (generally called "The DeLorean" by most), memorable for it's appearance in the Back To The Future trilogy. DeLorean Motor Company was a short-lived automobile manufacturer, declaring bankruptcy in 1982. Recently, a new company bought the parts and name of the DeLorean Motor Company and will, once again, produce the DeLorean.

While Saab enthusiasts everywhere will (rightly) mourn this day, if history teaches us anything, it's that all that is old will be new again. General Motors is expected to pick up the patent rights for Saab, and, hopefully, use them to produce a new GM car model.

So what about you? Do you drive a Saab? Are you sad that Saab is a now-defunct car company? Which now-defunct car do you miss most?