Monday, 31 May 2010

Automotive ~ Cars In Extinction

When we think of vehicles no longer made, maybe we reminisce about the old Woody station wagon or Willys Jeep. But of late, cars that are still in our driveway are becoming cars of yesterday, that is, they are either no longer being made or slated to being discontinued. Will these vehicles too become collectibles? What vehicles are they?

The first is the Saturn. Saturn Corporation began making their vehicles in 1985 as a subsidiary of General Motors when GM was hoping to keep up in competition with Japanese imports with the creation of the Saturn. Vehicle sales didn't quite do that for GM and they decided to focus on their four core brands Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. In 2009 GM was looking to sell their Saturn products to Penske Automotive. Penske backed out of the purchase and now all production has been halted and operations are expected to shut down by October 2010. Saturn isn't the only vehicle that lost focus for GM, sales slowed for their Pontiac, Hummer and Saab as well. But for now, we will be seeing the last of all the Saturn series this year.

What about the Oldsmobile? This brand of vehicle has been around forever and also a product of GM. The brand was started in 1897 by Ransom Olds and has sold over 35.2 million cars. Oldsmobile is considered the oldest surviving American automobile. Oldsmobile brand vehicles that have been phased out included the Bravada in 2002, Intrigue and Aurora V6 in 2002, Aurora V8 in 2003, Bravada SUV in 2004, Silhouette minivan in 2004 and Alero compact car in 2004.

The Plymouth has been around for some time as well. This vehicle was introduced to the market in 1928. It was the Chrysler Corporation's first shot at providing a low-priced vehicle to its consumers in efforts to compete with Chevrolet and Ford. Plymouths were actually priced a little higher than the competition, but they offered standard features such as internal expanding hydraulic brakes that the competition did not provide. Plymouths were originally sold exclusively through Chrysler dealerships. Plymouth's logo featured a rear view of the Mayflower ship that landed at Plymouth Rock. The last new model sold under the Plymouth marquee was the second generation Neon for 2000-2001.

Plymouth's PT Cruiser was ultimately launched as a Chrysler, and the Prowler and Voyager were absorbed into that make as well. Following the 2001 model year, the Neon was sold only as a Dodge in the US, though it remained available as a Chrysler in Canadian and other markets. After discontinuing the Eagle brand in 1998, Chrysler was planning to expand the Plymouth line with a number of unique models before the corporation's merged with Daimler-Benz AG. With the expansion they created the Plymouth Prowler, a retro looking hot rod sports car. This was followed by the PT Cruiser. Both models had similar retro themed front-end styling. At the time of Daimler's takeover of Plymouth the company didn't have any unique models besides the Prowler. While all Plymouth dealers also sold the Chrysler line of cars, many Dodge dealers sold only Dodge; it would have caused much greater disturbance to the dealer network to discontinue Dodge than Plymouth. Consequently, DaimlerChrysler decided to drop the make after a limited run of 2001 models. This was announced on November 3, 1999.

There are many cars both America and Foreign no longer made that many folks may still have parked in their garages and miss. They include: BMW Riley, BMW Triump, BMW Wolseley, Chrysler Hudson, Chrysler Nash, Chrysler Eagle, Chrysler Willys -Overland, Chrysler Maxwell, De Soto, Fiat Innocenti, Fiat Lancia, Ford Lagonda, Ford Tickford, Ford Edsel, GM Asuna, GM Geo, GM Laselle, GM Passport, MG Rover Austin-Healer, MG Rover Austin, MG Rover, Morris, MG Rover Qvale, MG Rover Standard, Renault Alpine, Datsun, Nissan Prince, Talbot Hillman, Talbot Simca, Talbot Sunbeam, Talbot-Lao, Audi DKW, NSU Wanderer. This list may not even been comprehensive but certainly it may make you recall a few brands you once owned.

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