Infographic: 14 Defunct Car Brands, and How They Failed
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Automotive

14 Defunct Car Brands, and How They Failed

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Automobile enthusiasts around the world know brands like Studebaker, Plymouth and Packard, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any of these on the roads today. Former powerhouses in the American auto market – they have since become beloved by collectors, but lost to the general public.

Today’s infographic comes from TitleMax and it looks at 14 now-defunct car brands and the circumstances that took them from highways to bygones.

14 Defunct Car Brands, and How They Failed

These are only a selection of a much longer list of car brands that have not survived to see the present day. What accounts for the churn rate of these brands?

Bold Experiments, Boondoggles, and Burnouts

Some car brands, like Tucker and Saturn, introduced new ideas that the market simply didn’t care for, didn’t perform as well as the competition, or were too ambitious for the industry climate.

Others, like Edsel and DeLorean, met swift ends as they hemorrhaged money far faster than their owners anticipated. Even more brands were simply folded into the ever-expanding portfolios of either Ford or General Motors, the two biggest auto conglomerates ever to rule the roads.

Bad Timing, or Worse Economy?

Car sales rise and fall with broader economic trends because they are tied into so many different variables: raw materials, production costs, labor costs, oil prices, and interest rates among others.

We can look at two time periods in which the combination of these conditions caused many of the brands on this list to fail.

Post-war Doldrums (1950-1958)

Based on the timeline above, we can see that 1950s were a terrible time for the smaller players in the auto industry. The explanation as to why so many brands declined over this decade has to do with the highly competitive, oligopolistic business practices of market leaders Ford and General Motors. Both of these market titans were locked in a battle to lower prices by taking advantage of economies of scale, while wooing customers who were feeling the economic pressures of a postwar recession.

Smaller volume manufacturers like Packard and Studebaker could not keep up, even when they attempted to merge. As a result, these and many other smaller brands were forced out, or absorbed into the portfolios of one of the “big two.”

Same Car, Different Name (1998-2008)

A similar stretch of declining sales plagued the late 1990s and early 2000s, as the trend of “badge engineering” caught up with manufacturers.

Rather than designing new models at high cost, conglomerates like GM simply engineered new brand “badges” and marketed the same basic models under a variety of names like Pontiac, Plymouth, Mercury, or Oldsmobile. The same tactic was later used to take mid-market designs, such as the Ford Fusion, and style them for a luxury audience as a new model – in this case, the Lincoln Mk. Z.

Badge engineering curbed the appeal of a number of American brands under the GM and Ford portfolios. The nail in many of their coffins was the major auto industry downturn in 2008. That year, GM restructured as it underwent Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

As a result, GM removed the majority of its badge engineered brands, including many of those listed above, from dealerships in the following years.

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Markets

The Best Selling Vehicles in America, By State

From Fords in the Midwest to Toyotas on the coasts, here are the best selling vehicles in America, visualized by state.

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The Best Selling Cars in America, By State Share

The Best Selling Vehicles in America, By State

From Ford trucks in the Midwest to Toyotas on the coasts, the best selling vehicles in America reveal a lot about the country.

Compared to other countries with fewer highways or narrower roads, the U.S. is very much a truck-friendly country. Across the U.S., the most sold vehicle in 2019 was the Ford F-Series of trucks, primarily the F-150.

As the home of the world’s pioneer automotive manufacturers, including Ford and GM, consumers primarily purchase local brands. But that hasn’t stopped Toyota, the largest foreign manufacturer in the world, from also gaining a foothold.

This graphic uses 2020 sales data from automotive information resource Edmunds.com, breaking down the best selling vehicles in each state through new vehicle retail registration.

What Are the Best Selling Vehicles in Each State?

Despite a slowdown in vehicle sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a global chip shortage, Americans still bought plenty of trucks last year.

In fact, 48 out of the 50 states had a truck or SUV as the top selling vehicle in 2020—and most states actually had trucks taking all of the top three spots. The only two with a car topping the leaderboard were California and Florida.

Top Selling Vehicle By State (2020)#1#2#3
AlabamaFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoToyota Camry
AlaskaRam 1500-3500Ford F-SeriesChevrolet Silverado
ArizonaRam 1500-3500Ford F-SeriesChevrolet Silverado
ArkansasRam 1500-3500Ford F-SeriesChevrolet Silverado
CaliforniaHonda CivicToyota RAV4Toyota Camry
ColoradoFord F-SeriesRam 1500-3500Toyota RAV4
ConnecticutHonda CR-VToyota RAV4Subaru Forester
D.C.Toyota RAV4Honda CR-VSubaru Forester
DelawareFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
FloridaToyota CorollaFord F-SeriesToyota RAV4
GeorgiaFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
HawaiiToyota TacomaToyota 4RunnerToyota RAV4
IdahoFord F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500Chevrolet Silverado
IllinoisFord F-SeriesHonda CR-VChevrolet Silverado
IndianaChevrolet SilveradoFord F-SeriesChevrolet Equinox
IowaChevrolet SilveradoFord F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500
KansasFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
KentuckyChevrolet SilveradoFord F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500
LouisianaFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
MaineFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
MarylandToyota RAV4Ford F-SeriesHonda CR-V
MassachusettsToyota RAV4Honda CR-VFord F-Series
MichiganFord F-SeriesChevrolet EquinoxRAM 1500-3500
MinnesotaChevrolet SilveradoFord F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500
MississippiFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
MissouriFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
MontanaFord F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500Chevrolet Silverado
NebraskaFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
NevadaRam 1500-3500Ford F-SeriesToyota RAV4
New HampshireFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoToyota RAV4
New JerseyHonda CR-VHonda CivicToyota RAV4
New MexicoFord F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500Chevrolet Silverado
New YorkHonda CR-VToyota RAV4Jeep Cherokee
North CarolinaFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
North DakotaFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
OhioFord F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500Chevrolet Silverado
OklahomaFord F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500Chevrolet Silverado
OregonToyota RAV4Ford F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500
PennsylvaniaFord F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500Honda CR-V
Puerto RicoToyota RAV4Toyota YarisToyota Corolla
Rhode IslandToyota RAV4Honda CR-VFord F-Series
South CarolinaFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
South DakotaFord F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500Chevrolet Silverado
TennesseeFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
TexasFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRAM 1500-3500
UtahFord F-SeriesRAM 1500-3500Chevrolet Silverado
VermontFord F-SeriesToyota RAV4RAM 1500-3500
VirginiaFord F-SeriesToyota RAV4Honda CR-V
WashingtonToyota RAV4Ford F-SeriesRam 1500-3500
West VirginiaFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRam 1500-3500
WisconsinFord F-SeriesChevrolet SilveradoRam 1500-3500
WyomingRam 1500-3500Ford F-SeriesChevrolet Silverado

The Ford F-Series was the clear leader in sales, primarily in the Midwest. With a top-selling spot in 60% of U.S. states, the F-Series was the best selling vehicle in America.

Combined with the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500-3500 series, the big three American truck brands accounted for 73% of the top three selling vehicles across all American states and territories.

Japanese Automakers in the Mix

Though American manufacturers had the best selling cars in most states, they had some overseas competition.

Japanese manufacturers Toyota and Honda had the top-selling vehicle in 11 states (and D.C.). They primarily captured car sales along the coastlines, including in California, Florida, New York and Washington, some of the most populated states in the country.

America's Best Selling Vehicles (2020)Type# Times in Top 3
Ford F-SeriesTruck45
Ram 1500-3500Truck36
Chevrolet SilveradoTruck33
Toyota RAV4SUV18
Honda CR-VSUV10
Chevrolet EquinoxSUV2
Honda CivicCar2
Subaru ForesterSUV2
Toyota CamryCar2
Toyota CorollaCar2
Jeep CherokeeSUV1
Toyota 4RunnerSUV1
Toyota TacomaTruck1
Toyota YarisCar1

Despite many cars being available for sale in the U.S., only seven manufacturers made the top-selling vehicles list in 2020.

  • Ford
  • Ram
  • Chevrolet
  • Toyota
  • Honda
  • Subaru
  • Jeep

With the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic yet to be reflected in the sales, and electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla on the rise, how will the best selling vehicles in America evolve?

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Automotive

The Best-Selling Vehicles in the World By Country

From American trucks to European sedans, this map shows the best-selling vehicles in the world.

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Map Best-Selling Vehicles in the World Share

The Best-Selling Vehicles in the World By Country

Each country has different preferences for goods, and vehicles are no different.

Consumers in a dense country might prefer smaller cars, while countries with wide expanses (and parking spots) open the way for larger trucks. Likewise, rugged terrain might call for vehicles that can adapt and scale quickly.

And it’s also a question of which manufacturer invested in the country. As the world’s largest automakers have raced to attract consumers in every corner of the globe, they built factories, renamed models, and even built specific cars to fit the tastes of individual countries.

This infographic from Budget Direct Car Insurance highlights the best-selling vehicles in the world, using 2019 year-end sales data.

What is the Most Popular Vehicle in Each Country?

Though the map might vary across the board, one thing is certain: Toyota’s dominance.

The Japanese automaker—which was also the most valuable automaker in the world for many years before being overtaken by Tesla—had the best-selling vehicle in 41 countries of the 104 countries tallied.

It also had the world’s best-selling vehicle in 2019, the Toyota Corolla, though the sedan only took the top spot itself in five countries.

CountryBest-Selling VehicleType
AlgeriaDacia SanderoSubcompact
American SamoaToyota TacomaTruck
AngolaToyota Land Cruiser J70SUV
ArgentinaToyota HiluxTruck
AustraliaToyota HiluxTruck
AustriaSkoda OctaviaSedan
AzerbaijanKhazar SD/LDSedan
BahrainToyota Land CruiserSUV
BelarusLada VestaSedan
BelgiumVW GolfHatchback
Bosnia and HerzegovinaSkoda OctaviaSedan
BotswanaToyota HiluxTruck
BrazilChevrolet OnixSubcompact
CanadaFord F-SeriesTruck
ChileMitsubishi L-200Truck
ChinaVW LavidaSedan
ColombiaRenault SanderoSubcompact
Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)Toyota HiluxTruck
CroatiaSkoda OctaviaSedan
CyprusToyota YarisSubcompact
Czech RepublicSkoda OctaviaSedan
DenmarkNissan QashqaiSUV
EcuadorChevrolet SparkSubcompact
EgyptChevrolet T-SeriesTruck
EstoniaToyota Rav4SUV
FijiToyota HiluxTruck
FinlandSkoda OctaviaSedan
FrancePeugeot 208 ISubcompact
GeorgiaRenault/Dacia DusterSUV
GermanyVW GolfHatchback
GreeceToyota YarisSubcompact
HungarySuzuki VitaraSUV
IcelandToyota Rav4SUV
IndiaMaruti AltoHatchback
IndonesiaToyota AvanzaVan
IranSaipa PrideSedan
IraqKia FrontierTruck
IrelandToyota CorollaSedan
IsraelToyota CorollaSedan
ItalyFiat PandaSubcompact
JapanHonda N-BOXSubcompact
JordanHyundai TucsonSUV
KazakhstanToyota CamrySedan
KenyaToyota HiluxTruck
KosovoDacia SanderoSubcompact
KuwaitToyota Land CruiserSUV
LatviaToyota CorollaSedan
LebanonToyota Land CruiserSUV
LesothoToyota HiluxTruck
LiechtensteinVW GolfHatchback
LithuaniaFiat 500Subcompact
LuxembourgVW GolfHatchback
MacedoniaKia SportageSUV
MalawiToyota HiluxTruck
MalaysiaPerodua MyviHatchback
MexicoNissan VersaSedan
MoldovaDacia LoganSedan
MonacoSmart FortwoSubcompact
MoroccoDacia DokkerVan
NamibiaToyota HiluxTruck
NetherlandsTesla Model 3Sedan
New ZealandFord RangerTruck
NorwayTesla Model 3Sedan
OmanToyota Land CruiserSUV
PakistanToyota CorollaSedan
PanamaToyota HiluxTruck
Papua New GuineaToyota Land Cruiser J70SUV
ParaguayChevrolet OnixSubcompact
PeruToyota HiluxTruck
PhilippinesToyota ViosSubcompact
PolandSkoda OctaviaSedan
PortugalRenault ClioHatchback
QatarToyota Land CruiserSUV
RomaniaDacia LoganSedan
RussiaLada GrantaSubcompact
SamoaToyota HiaceVan
Saudi ArabiaHyundai AccentSubcompact
SenegalMitsubishi L200Truck
SerbiaSkoda OctaviaSedan
SingaporeHonda Vezel/HR-VSUV
SlovakiaSkoda FabiaSubcompact
SloveniaRenault ClioHatchback
Solomon IslandsToyota HiluxTruck
South AfricaToyota HiluxTruck
South KoreaHyundai GrandeurSedan
SpainSEAT LeonHatchback
Sri LankaSuzuki AltoHatchback
Swaziland (Eswatini)Toyota HiluxTruck
SwedenVolvo S/V60Sedan/Wagon
SwitzerlandSkoda OctaviaSedan
SyriaHyundai TucsonSUV
TaiwanToyota CorollaSedan
ThailandToyota HiluxTruck
TongaToyota HiluxTruck
TunisiaRenault ClioHatchback
TurkeyFiat EgeaSedan
UkraineKia SportageSUV
United Arab EmiratesToyota Land CruiserSUV
United KingdomFord FiestaSubcompact
United StatesFord F-150Truck
UruguayRenault KwidHatchback
VenezuelaToyota FortunerSUV
VietnamToyota ViosSubcompact
YemenToyota Land CruiserSUV

As the best-seller in 16 countries, the Toyota Hilux truck (also known as the Toyota Pickup in North America) was the top vehicle in the most countries. It has a noticeably strong market share in the Southern Hemisphere, including in Argentina, South Africa, and Australia.

The other consistent factor was the strength of local manufacturers. Many countries with large automakers had local models as the best-selling vehicles, especially in Europe.

Country with Local Best-SellerVehicle
Czech RepublicŠkoda Octavia
FrancePeugeot 208 I
GermanyVW Golf
IndiaMaruti Alto
IranSAIPA Pride
ItalyFiat Panda
JapanHonda N-BOX
MalaysiaPerodua Myvi
RomaniaDacia Logan
RussiaLada Granta
South KoreaHyundai Grandeur
SpainSEAT León
SwedenVolvo S/V60
U.S.Ford F-150

Cars are the Best-Selling Vehicles in the World

So what do car consumers currently prefer? Currently, cars have a slight edge over trucks as the best-selling vehicles in the world.

Of the 104 countries with sales tallied for the study, smaller cars often classified as “passenger vehicles” (including sedans, hatchbacks, and subcompacts) made up the majority of best-sellers, with 57 of the best-selling vehicles by country.

Meanwhile, “light trucks” or “light commercial vehicles,” which include trucks, SUVs, and vans, were best-sellers in 47 countries.

Best-Selling Vehicles by Type

  • Hatchback: 12
  • Sedan: 25
  • Sedan/Wagon: 1
  • Subcompact: 19
  • SUV: 20
  • Truck: 24
  • Van: 3

But changing car consumption preferences are already making their mark. The electric vehicle (EV) Tesla Model 3 was already the best-selling vehicle in both the Netherlands and Norway, and other countries like China are increasing incentives for consumers to purchase EVs.

That’s not even factoring in the slowdown of travel during the COVID pandemic, more workers going remote, and the semiconductor strain on automakers. A truly post-COVID world will likely transform the map even further.

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