Mercury. Saturn. Not the planets, but the cars—whose names felt like we could transport to outer space. Remember them?
Like food trends, hair scrunchies, and friends, cars also come and go. Over the years, the car world has shifted and pivoted with the rise of technology, business deals, and bankruptcy. Ahead, let’s look back at five (once hot) car companies that existed stage right of the showroom.
A brand under Ford Motor Company, Mercury was named after the Roman god of messengers. Some of Mercury’s most well-known cars are the Mercury Eight from the 1940s and ‘50s, the 1963 Marauder, the 1970 Cougar Eliminator, and Mercury’s final version of the Marauder in 2003. Mercury closed up shop in late 2010 after 70 years of service.
Hummer was a brand under General Motors Co. (GM), initially used by the U.S. military during the Gulf War in 1991. While Hummer was known for its larger-than-life SUVs and trucks, this ultimately shortened its shelf life in the automobile industry. Consumers wanted fuel-efficient vehicles, and Hummer was anything but that. 10 years later, Hummer returned in 2020 with two electric models called the Hummer EV SUV and the Hummer EV SUT.
Oldsmobile became another brand under GM in 1908 (they were initially founded by the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in 1897) as the first brand manufacturing fully automatic transmissions. In 1976, Oldsmobile was well-known for their Cutlass series, which was touted as their best-selling car. General Motors shut Oldsmobile down in 2004 because of lack of profitability.
Another brand under GM, Saturn’s stint was pretty short lived. In 2000, Saturn produced its second product with the midsize L-Series in both a sedan and station wagon. Between 2002–2007, Saturn released three new cars. Yet, in 2009 Saturn would end its tenure as GM’s youngest brand—and not too long afterward, GM filed for bankruptcy.
Named after the Chief of the Ottawa Indian tribe, Pontiac originally launched as a companion brand to GM’s Oakland. However, the Pontiac brand took off, and became the sister brand of Chevrolet. Known for making sedans, Pontiac also gained hype for its muscle cars, including the Firebird and the Trans Am. With GM’s bankruptcy leering, Pontiac was one of the brands nixed during their restructuring plan.
While we have bid these car brands goodbye from the showroom, we haven’t necessarily bid them goodbye from our lives. If any of the above cars can be found in your backyard or garage and you’re looking to make space, think about selling your car with Peddle.
In the car world––and our world––that’s considered the circle of life.