The A to Z of 26 Discontinued Automakers

Automakers come and go, with hundreds of brands rising and falling over the past century or more. Some of the marques were barely known, while others, such as Oldsmobile, once were strong players in a competitive market. We’ll focus on 26 discontinued automakers, with each letter of the alphabet represented.

American Motors Corporation (AMC)

AMC Javelin

American Motors Corporation (AMC) was an American automaker formed in 1954 by the merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company. AMC produced a variety of notable vehicles over its history, including the AMC Rambler, AMC Javelin, and AMC Pacer. Perhaps its most iconic product was the Jeep CJ-5, a precursor to today’s popular Jeep models, which AMC began producing after acquiring the Jeep brand in 1970. Despite some successes, AMC faced stiff competition from the larger “Big Three” automakers (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) and was burdened by the costs of developing new models and updating its production facilities. In the face of these challenges, AMC partnered with Renault in the late 1970s. However, the partnership struggled due to a variety of factors, including an unfavorable exchange rate and declining sales. In 1987, Chrysler Corporation purchased AMC, primarily for its Jeep brand. The AMC brand was phased out after the 1988 model year, marking the end of AMC as a distinct automaker. Other discontinued “A” automakers: Abbott-Detroit, Armstrong Electric, and Auburn.


Baker Motor Vehicle Company was an American manufacturer of Brass Era electric automobiles founded in 1899 in Cleveland, Ohio. Notable for their luxurious, quiet, and clean vehicles, Baker produced a range of electric cars including the Baker Electric, known for its elegant design in addition to promotion by notable figures such as Thomas Edison. However, despite their early success, the popularity of electric vehicles began to wane with the development of the electric starter, which eliminated the need for the manual hand crank on gasoline vehicles, and the mass production of less expensive gasoline cars by Henry Ford. Baker Motor Vehicle Company merged with fellow electric vehicle producers Rauch and Lang in 1914 to form the Baker, R & L Company. Despite the merger, the company couldn’t compete with the growing popularity and affordability of gasoline-powered vehicles, and by 1916, the production of Baker electric cars had ceased. Others: Baker Electric, Brewster, and Briscoe.


The Cord was an innovative American automobile company founded by E.L. Cord in 1929 as a division of his Auburn Automobile Company. The brand is particularly renowned for its production of the Cord L-29 and the Cord 810/812, models that were groundbreaking in their use of front-wheel drive and unique, stylish designs. Despite the high regard for these vehicles, Cord Corporation faced financial difficulties due to the Great Depression and internal management issues, leading to its discontinuation in 1937. While the brand was not directly merged to form another automaker, the Cord name and associated designs had subsequent limited revival attempts, but none sustained the original company’s influence or success. Others: Checker, Coda, and Cunningham.


DeLorean DMC-12

DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) was an American automobile manufacturer founded by automotive industry executive John DeLorean in 1975. The company is most known for the DeLorean DMC-12, a sports car featuring gull-wing doors and a stainless-steel body, which became iconic after its appearance in the “Back to the Future” film trilogy. However, despite the car’s distinctive design and subsequent pop culture fame, the DMC-12 faced criticism for its performance and high price upon its launch in 1981. The DeLorean Motor Company encountered numerous financial difficulties and legal troubles, including John DeLorean’s high-profile arrest (and subsequent acquittal) for drug trafficking to raise funds for the company. These challenges led to the company’s bankruptcy in late 1982, less than two years after the DMC-12 went into production. While there have been subsequent efforts to revive the brand and even manufacture new DeLorean cars, the original DeLorean Motor Company as a car manufacturer ceased operations in 1982. Others: Detroit Electric, Duesenberg, and Durant.

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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