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Terrible Car Brands That No Longer Exist

You might think that Kias are terrible, but when you compare them to the terrible car brands that no longer exist, you'll be proud of that Fiesta in no time.

By Skunk UzekiPublished 7 years ago 8 min read
Top Story - October 2017

The other day, I was at a parking lot near a friend's house. My friend doesn't live in a good area, and as you can imagine, some of his neighbors have pretty terrible cars. One of his neighbors has a car so terrible, we literally call it the Beater.

The Beater is basically a pile of rust on wheels. It's so poorly maintained, I'm surprised that it hasn't lit itself on fire. It smells like cigarettes from 20 years ago, mixed with gentle notes of soil, metal shavings, and corrosive chemicals. It also had a strange make I had never seen in real life before — a Datsun symbol.

The Beater is a relic of terrible car brands that don't exist anymore, and to a point, that's a great thing. It's historic, and reminds us why said car brands aren't found on parking lots too often.

If you've never heard of a Datsun, don't be shocked. The company went off the markets before most of my friends were even born. It also had a pretty bad reputation.

Curious about car brands of yore? Then this list of the terrible car brands that no longer exist will quench your thirst for knowledge.


Yes, we all adored Back to the Future, but there was a reason why Marty McFly ended up driving through time in a DeLorean. This car brand was known for terrible safety features, faulty wiring that could easily cause someone to get trapped in the car, and for having serious transmission problems.

The DeLorean DMC-12, which was one of the most iconic cars ever featured in a movie, was a particularly bad death trap. Not only was it one of the most dangerous cars ever made, but it also came with a manual that suggested cleaning it with gasoline.

A gasoline-bathed car that lights itself on fire would be enough to sink sales in almost any car company. This is especially true after car prices for DeLoreans went through the roof.

What you don't know about DeLorean's downfall, though, is that it had nothing to do with its safety issues. The car brand died as a result of a lack of funding, and for the owner of the company agreeing to a $25 million cocaine deal on camera.

The FBI raided him, government entrapment was proven, but the brand itself was done for — and that's why it's now on a list of terrible car brands that no longer exist. Manufacturers are working on making new Back to the Future cars, but still, it's probably not the same as getting it from a company that made national headlines for drug dealing.


AMC, also known as the American Motor Corporation, is a name many muscle car fans might recognize. After all, they made some of the best muscle cars of the 70s — including the AMC Javelin.

AMC, which was actually formed through a merger between Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson Motor Car Company, was unusual in that it had no affiliation to the major car companies of the time. Despite that issue, AMC was able to compete with the big names like Ford and Chrysler for quite some time.

However, the market continued to get more competitive. Muscle cars, though, began to wane in popularity. This put AMC at a huge disadvantage, not even counting its lack of "Big Three" affiliation.

AMC cars eventually began to have issues with design and drivability when compared to other car brands. Of particular note was the nightmarish Pacer model, which ended up getting universally panned by drivers.

Slumping sales and an increasingly negative rep hurt AMC irreparably.

Chrysler eventually bought AMC, turning that company's branch into the Jeep-Eagle division that still pumps out cars today. So, while it wasn't one of the most terrible car brands that no longer exist, AMC still wasn't the powerhouse it once was when it was finally bought out in 1988.

(Fun Fact: Eagle brand cars no longer exist either, primarily due to a lack of brand recognition in consumers. That company was shuttered in 1999.)


Mercury was a car brand that was started by Ford as a way to bridge the affordability gap between Ford and Lincoln. So, it was a "starter" luxury car brand. The problem is that Mercury ended up having a crisis of identity.

In the 1930s through 1950s, Mercury was a hip car that knew its market. They were functional and sturdy muscle cars that also could be driven around town. The problem was that Mercury's brand wasn't aging well by the 1980s.

By the 90s, Mercury looked and drove like an archaic relic of a time long gone. Not many young people were willing to buy a Mercury by 1995. Most people knew that it was going to be one of many terrible car brands that no longer exist within 20 years of that time period.

An aging demographic and branding issues caused Ford to close the Mercury branch in 2000. Nowadays, Mercury cars are almost universally owned by people who are almost too old to drive them.


Known for having a "sideways Pepsi" symbol as its logo, Studebaker was a promising car company back in the 1940s and 1950s. Many of the cars they produced are considered to be classic vintage cars worthy of collecting today — so it's not like this was a bad car brand at the time.

With Studebaker, it was Ford that ultimately caused its demise. Ford started a price war with the fledgling car manufacturer, which pressured Studebaker into using cheaper materials and more lackluster manufacturing choices.

Eventually, the company sold most of their cars at a loss. They exited the car sales world by 1966, with the majority of their cars considered to be quality-but-too-risky to buy at the time. Much like with Mercury, the writing was on the wall for decades prior to the company's closure.


Oldsmobile was one of the oldest car companies in America, and it was founded in 1897 as a high-performance car made for ruggedness and sporty driving. For almost 100 years, Oldsmobile kept up a solid reputation for great engineering and awesome power.

However, something changed in the 1980s. At this point, Oldsmobile had two big issues — aging customer bases and a lot of cut corners. Bad engineering, many car releases that had reliability issues, as well as an overall unattractive design caused this car company to tank.

By the 1990s, the brand's image and quality had eroded to the point that Oldsmobiles were unrecognizable from their once-prestigious roots. The brand shuttered in 2004, citing low sales and low customer loyalty.

Sadly, despite it having a good rep in the past, Oldsmobile deserves its rank among terrible car brands that no longer exist.


Now, let's get into really terrible car brands that no longer exist, shall we? Few car brands have as notorious a reputation as Edsel — a brand that made a name for itself due to its nuclear-level marketing failures.

Where can we begin with Edsel? Could it be that its famous three-wheeled offering kept falling over during turns? Could it be that the cars were infamous for being unreliable and cheaply made? Or, could it be that the "elegance" mentioned in Edsel's catchphrase was nowhere to be seen?

Whatever the reason was, these cars were absolute nightmares. They also were some of the most dangerous cars ever made, due to their tipping issue. As such, the bad engineering and awful marketing ended up killing Edsel faster than these stupid cars could turn a corner.


Hummer was basically what happened when 90s excess decided to ramp it up to 11. These massive tank-like gas guzzlers were initially made for the US Army, but later were available for civilian purchase in the early 2000s. When Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to buy one, everyone decided they were cool.

So, for a couple of years, Hummers were sold as a result of their cool factor, plus the roomy interiors they had. However, there was a huge problem with these cars that no one wanted to admit — and we're not talking about excessive hair gel usage by their drivers.

They got the worst gas mileage imaginable.

When the recession hit and gas prices soared, the Hummer stopped being a coveted car. Instead, it became a car that made people wince at the thought of spending rent at the pump.

Sales plummeted, and GMC announced that it would no longer be producing Hummers. Even today, it's hard to find a dealership that is willing to take a Hummer onto its lot due to the unpopularity that they experienced in the mid-00s.


Pontiac was one of those car brands of the 90s and 00s that was clearly destined for failure. Any list of the most terrible car brands that no longer exist will have Pontiac on there — and rightfully so.

The car brand was known for producing some pretty amazing muscle cars of the 80s, but quality took a sharp nosedive during the 90s. They cars produced in the 90s became known for being unreliable, plastic-clad things that could not survive a single fender-bender.

By the mid-00s, the ailing company seemed to already know its fate. Perhaps that's why some of the offerings it made were cited as some of the worst cars ever made, like the Pontiac Aztek. The lemons it put out in its last years sealed the deal, and the company folded before the decade was over.


Rover was a car brand that was never exactly known for quality — even in its home country of the UK. These cars, which were produced on and off throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s, were made to be affordable.

At first glance, they looked cute and boxy. However, they had a serious reputation for falling apart at the seams. Rovers, in particular, became known for having rust problems that would eventually cause motor and suspension issues in the cars.

Due to the bad engineering and quality problems, Rover is one of many terrible car brands that no longer exist. However, that's not the end of Rover's story...

The company folded multiple times, and it started getting traded by other larger companies during bankruptcy. Over the years, it switched between Honda's hands, to British Aerospace's hands, to British Leyland's, to Ford's, and more.

What's left of Rover now belongs to Tata Cars. You might be acquainted with the remnants of this car brand. After all, you have heard of Land Rovers, haven't you?


Datsuns were a poor man's pauper's car — even when they were at their best. Datsuns were originally made by the Nissan company after World War II.

By 1960, Datsuns were being sold in America and had gotten a good name thanks to the iconic 240Z. At one point, the hyper-affordable 240Z was the most popular and highly sold sports car in the world. So, it's not like the car brand had nothing to brag about.

By the 80s, though, Datsun became all about cutting corners, and this showed in the market. They were cheap, but they also were cheaply built. They were the cars that gave Japanese car manufacturers a terrible reputation abroad.

The car company closed in 1986, with the company being rebranded in full as Nissan. Nissan then began working on building reliable luxury cars, and that's how they saved the brand.

Meanwhile, Datsun isn't totally dead anymore, either. Nissan announced they would be doing a Datsun reboot in South Africa, India, and Kazakhstan. Datsun, as it was before, will be a low-cost car company.

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About the Creator

Skunk Uzeki

Skunk Uzeki is an androgynous pothead and a hard partier. When they aren't drinking and causing trouble, they're writing articles about the fun times they have.

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    Skunk UzekiWritten by Skunk Uzeki

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