Top 5 Greatest Failed U.S. Auto Manufacturers

1953 Studebaker CommanderAt one time, there were thousands of American car companies. Today, there are only three left. It is important to take a look at five of the top greatest failed U.S. companies that may be gone but contributed a great deal to the industry.


1. Studebaker

In 1902, Studebaker began selling small cars. By 1939, it became a major independent competitor that managed to go head-to-head with the “Big Three.” However, the brand suffered many setbacks. Following World War II, the company was out of money and forced to close. Despite the failure, the Lark, Avanti, and Hawk will always be known for great design and performance.


2. Oldsmobile

As America’s oldest car manufacturer, Oldsmobile definitely earns a spot on the top five failed auto companies. At one point, the Oldsmobile Cutlass was rated the most popular U.S. car. As designs became stagnate, sales rapidly declined. Olds was no longer an industry leader for style or innovation. In 2004, GM stopped production in favor of the Saturn line. Looking back, this may have been a poor choice. It is possible that Oldsmobile could have been overhauled to regain its former status.


3. Pontiac

The loss of Pontiac was a big blow to the fans of muscle cars. Pontiac was always a leader in this niche, especially with its Trans Am and GTO. However, when GM faced bankruptcy, the line was dropped. A big part of this decision was due to lack of innovation in the line. After the terrible failure of the Aztek, the manufacturer never regrouped. In the end, the brand will always hold an important place in history. It managed to outlast most others from its inception in 1893.


4. Stutz

Stutz was a lesser-known brand but managed to define the true meaning of a sports car. In 1912, the Bearcat Roadster was introduced. This was a two-seat model that paved the way for the company’s advancements in performance. In 1927, the Black Hawk model became a stock car racing champion. The next year, Stutz created the fastest American production car. Despite closing down, the groundwork of this company opened new doors in the industry.


5. Pierce-Arrow

In 1901, this car company began as a small business. It managed to extend the line with extremely advanced features for the time period. Things like hydraulic lifters and power brakes were used. A trademark of this brand was its “Big Six-Cylinder” engines. The company produced a V12 engine as well. Eventually, the company merged with Studebaker and was phased out in 1938.