They say nothing lasts forever, and that is certainly true in the case of the highly competitive automotive industry. While today we have the Big Three U.S. automakers in Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, there have, in fact, been hundreds of automotive manufacturers in the U.S. over the last century. Sadly, many of the most iconic carmakers failed due to poor management, shifting consumer sentiments, badly received vehicles or failure to keep up with new technologies. But many of these automakers are worth remembering as they built some of the best and most valuable vehicles ever. Here’s a list of 10 once great car companies that failed and have been relegated to the dustbin of history.
There was a time when Studebaker was a proud American brand. The cars made by Studebaker were parked in driveways across the country in the 1940s and early 1950s. The company actually began as horse-drawn wagon builders, but switched to making electric and small gas cars in central Indiana in 1902. By 1910, Studebaker was selling larger cars and limousines that had four-cylinder engines under the hood. By 1927, Studebaker graduated to large six-cylinder engines, with two-tone paint, rumble seats and the name Dictator as a model, preceding other popular models such as Commander and President. However, after World War II, Studebaker issued a series of vehicles that were not well-received by the public. The company floundered until it came out with a smaller vehicle, the Lark, in 1958, which restored Studebaker’s cash flow position. After the Lark, Studebaker issued the Avanti hardtop, which today has many fans in car clubs around the U.S. Nevertheless, Studebaker failed for good in 1967 due to declining sales. Today, many of its cars are considered classics.