The automotive landscape tends to be relatively static, these days, mostly dominated by the same players. Generally speaking, they’re industrial behemoths, making money hand over fist. Still, from time to time, they fail. When they do, they tend to fail hard. So here’s a list of some of the dearly departed, by way of a kind of eulogy, in which we look at those who didn’t quite make the cut and whose vehicles have been consigned either to the wealthy collector’s garage or else the scrapheap.
Crosley Motors (1939-1952)
If you haven’t heard of this car company – you’d be forgiven; they were around and producing cars for a mere 13 years. The company was originally a huge success, founded to realise the owner and founder Powell Crosley Jnr’s desire to create a quality car that came at an affordable price. His first creation “The Crosley” was a two door compact and cost $250. The line enjoyed significant success during the war years, but, sadly for Powell Jr. the run was put to an abrupt end when a large competitor came along and pushed the poor Crosley out of the picture.
DeLorean Motor Company (1975 – 1982)
You almost certainly recognise this car brand from the hit “Back to the Future” films (if not what’s wrong with you???), thanks to which it has become an icon for children of the ‘80s and forever a symbol of the era. While the car itself enjoyed legendary status, the manufacturer behind it did not fare so well. John DeLorean was the man responsible for setting up the company, and his initial business plans seemed to make sense. He set up shop in Northern Ireland (where employment levels were low) and had $200 million behind him. However his car models turned out to be too expensive and it wasn’t long before the company was in trouble. DeLorean had to file for bankruptcy. Only 9,000 cars ever rolled from DeLorean’s ill-fated factories.
Jaguar, perhaps one of the most well-known automotive brands, was founded in 1922 in the UK. In the following years, the Jaguar brand become synonymous with the golden age of British sports cars until eventually, in 1989, it was acquired by Ford. After years of deliberating and negotiating prices, Ford finally decided to sell Jaguar after deciding they weren’t profiting enough from their ownership of the brand. However the £1.5 Billion sale recouped less than half of amount originally paid for it by Ford. Jaguar was sold to an Indian company called Tata, meaning that many Ford employees were left without jobs. It was originally feared that Ford would consider selling their other investment Land Rover – but as of yet this has not happened.
General Motors (1908-2009)
General Motors is perhaps the most recent major car company to have fallen victim to the automotive industry’s recent slump. You will most likely know them for their Chevrolet models – which enjoyed huge popularity in the North American and Asian markets. The large American company was responsible for employing over 202,000 people and serviced over 150 countries worldwide. At first, as they saw the financial difficulties rising both Presidents Bush and then subsequently Obama both offered financial aid to help the business succeed. The help was not enough though and when the US government moved to claim back taxes the company was forced to announce bankruptcy.
This huge Automobile company is currently in the process of being transferred to a new owner after the Swedish manufacturer suffered financial difficulties and had to sell. The company had an extremely hard time in 2011, spending most of the year trying to avoid insolvency. However they were forced into a corner when a purchase deal fell through (with a Chinese company) meaning they had to declare bankruptcy as they were left with no other choice. At present, the company is still in existence but ownership is being transferred to a new investor.
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