Saab Joins The Ranks Of Other Now-Defunct Car Companies

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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. 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?

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  1. Crystal.Ritchie

    3 years ago

    Saabs are great. I never got to have one, though! Remember the Geo Storm? Man, I wanted that car so bad back in the day!

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  2. JosefinaLouise

    3 years ago

    Datsun Honeybee! We loved it so much, we had two! One had the giant picture of the bee on the side. AWESOME.

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  3. benjamindsearle

    3 years ago

    Even if GM picks up the rights, the Saab 9000 will never be the same…

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  4. CycleNinja

    3 years ago

    The auto industry is undergoing a great deal of uncertainty right now. My nephew was in the biz for most of 2 decades, and is extremely glad to have put that behind him.

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  5. liilii080ef

    3 years ago

    I loved the Saturn no hassle/no haggle policy and the way they all clapped when I bought my used car. I wish some other company had picked up those qualities.

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  6. Appletini_Lover

    3 years ago

    I feel bad for making fun of my friends who own Saab’s now.

    I was never able to look at those cars as serious cars. The shape and style never sat well with me.

    With GM picking up the rights to Saab you think we will see a Saab Truck come out?

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  7. Dana_Lu

    3 years ago

    My concern is that we are going to wind up with 4 major car manufacturers and a lack of competition that will impact the consumer negatively

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  8. sandsys

    3 years ago

    My then boyfriend’s father had a Saab. It was wonderful for driving in Minnesota winters. Swedes know something about the demands of winter.

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  9. LisaMaloney

    3 years ago

    The first car I learned how to drive was a Saab. It took a lot of effort to run that car into the ground, but after about 15 years and two kids learning to drive on it… we managed it.

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  10. jana0926

    3 years ago

    I’m really sad Saab isn’t around anymore. I always wanted a yellow convertible. I guess I’ll have to wait til they come back from the dead.

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  11. CathiC

    3 years ago

    We had a Saturn – loved it. Never had a Saab, but can understand the appeal. We currently have two Pontiac Vibes; Pontiac is gone now, too. We’ll be sad when they give out because we haven’t come across anything we like as much. Hey GM, how’s about a Vibe-Saab hybrid?

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  12. RachelAre

    3 years ago

    It’s sad to see one iconic thing after another crumble away slowly. Each piece doesn’t seem like a big deal, but overtime it feels like so many things are going away, and quality and customer care with it. I truly hope that new innovators start popping up soon.

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  13. bubbe.moltz

    3 years ago

    While technically not defunct I miss the original Beetle. I was too young to buy one when they were originally being made and I just can’t find the same soft spot for the new version.

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  14. sashalyn

    3 years ago

    Sad news. The SAAB will be missed!

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  15. lucidlotus

    3 years ago

    When I was 15 I had a shrink who owned a DeLorean. Pretty sure that my therapy alone paid for it.
    We had a brown Gran Torino, which was two parts lame, one part totally rad. Not so rad was still having it well into the 80′s.

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  16. ChuckG

    3 years ago

    I must be in the minority, never liked the Saab. Interesting note about the DeLorean.

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  17. susycroft

    3 years ago

    What about those little pre-SUV little jeep-looking cars – cant’ remember what they were called, but they got the rep for flipping terribly. (I went and looked it up….. Suzuki Samurai!)

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  18. Crystal.Ritchie

    3 years ago

    Susy, was that the Geo Trakker?

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  19. akisawana

    3 years ago

    I didn’t know this, and my family is big car people -yay for talking points tomorrow!

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  20. FromTracie

    3 years ago

    I don’t own a Saab, but it is sad that they are going away.

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  21. Buglet

    3 years ago

    I learned how to drive in a Datsun. :) I miss ol’ “Dancy” consistantly. The long epic car trips from our home in Arizona to my uncles Acrage in California… Those were the best years of my youth. This could mean the Saab willl join the rare and collectable catagory, which could be no bad thing.

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  22. seekingelevation

    3 years ago

    Saabs are awesome. I’m genuinely sad.

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  23. OriginalWacky

    3 years ago

    I nearly had the chance to get a DeLorean once, and I so wish I’d gone for it. I’ve not ever been much interested in a Saab, so it probably isn’t a huge deal to me, but I can understand how it might affect others.

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  24. prestonk9

    3 years ago

    I am genuinely sad too! A red convertible SAAB was my dream car for a long time. Those dashboards with all the round dials and gauges and yellow/orange glowing arrows – like an airplane cockpit. Had a friend who drove her white SAAB into the ground, lost her key but could start it with a screwdriver somehow, with the ignition between the seats. They don’t make quirk like that anymore …. sads.

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  25. wombatcentral

    3 years ago

    My mom’s driven a Saab for years. Loves those things. They did used to be a fabulous car–once they became American owned, their reliability took a nose dive. Very sad to see another car company go under–particularly one that was such a safe, reliable manufacturer for so many years. Truly a Saab story. :(

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  26. claymonkey

    3 years ago

    I would love a Saab, but never could afford a new one, and the only used ones I could find were so old that they weren’t good anymore. Saab makes those kinds of cars that people just KEEP. FOREVER. Yeah, now I’ll probably never have one. I have a Pontiac Vibe. I heart that little car, and now Pontiac is gone, so there’s no replacing it with a shinier, newer model. :( Gonna need to get rich so I can buy my Tesla!

    Comment
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