When Car Should Just Stay Cancelled
In the automotive world we see a massive amount of vehicles that are cancelled each year and sometime these cars are able to make a comeback to have another successful run. Normally cars are cancelled because of sluggish sales and a lack of manufacturer interest in upgrading and improving the model. For some of these vehicles the result is a massive amount of success at the comeback such as what we see the Camaro and Challenger experiencing but at other times the car should be left in the discard pile and not brought back. Let’s take a look at seven cars that should have been left in that discard pile.
Ford Taurus – The Taurus was an excellent midsized sedan for many years. As it replaced the LTD the Taurus offered us style and efficiency that had not be present on its predecessor. This made the Taurus a hot commodity and the car sold in exceptional numbers for a number of years but eventually the car was not renewed and was surpassed by the competition. As it is working to make a comeback the Taurus has already been replaced by the Fusion and has not seen the success it once had as it has been moved up to the full size class where it really doesn’t belong.
Chevrolet Malibu SS – The Malibu has been a steadfast nameplate from Chevrolet for years and when it came back in 1997 the car sold extremely well and has been a strong seller for a number of years even though it’s a basic and simple sedan. When the SS and Maxx SS versions of these cars were made in 2006 they were not what we would have wanted for performance vehicles at only 240 horsepower. This left a pair that would not sell well and certainly did not give us the car we wanted.
Mercury Cougar – The Cougar was the performance cousin of the Mustang which was made to carry the Mercury badge to sporting success. For some reason over the years the Cougar came away from the roots of being a pony car and created more of a luxury car out of the Cougar before it was finally cancelled. In 1998 the car made a comeback and was to be the successor of the Ford Probe but with the setup that was installed this car was doomed to failure from the beginning and should have been left in the trash.
Pontiac GTO – The GTO is one car that was certain to be a huge success as a comeback right? Wrong. Even though it became its own model in 1966 and carried such lore as to even have a song named after it this car of legend did not make a fitting comeback at all and has even been thought of as the car that finally closed the doors for Pontiac for good. The problem, the name was put on the wrong car; instead of offering a car with GTO roots and styling that would maybe be similar to the Camaro Pontiac rebadged a Holden Monaro which did not do the name justice at all.
Ford Thunderbird – The Thunderbird was the answer from Ford to the Corvette, but was never as sporty. Instead this attractive and nearly luxurious car was one that offered a great deal of appeal and sold well until it finally was replaced after 1997. Ford brought it back for 2002 with some retro styling which was great for a bit but certainly lacked a following and finally disappeared in 2005, leaving the Thunderbird to hold a great place in history during its first very long run.
Maybach 57 – The brand was well known for many years, even before World War II, as a company that built luxury models for the wealthy to ride around in. When Daimler-Benz bought the company in 1960 they did nothing with it at all. Finally in response to the Rolls-Royce luxury rides the Maybach 57 was resurrected but it carried such a resemblance to the Mercedes S-Class that it could not get a foothold. Eventually Maybach became a complete part of Mercedes instead of being one that was left as a separate brand and the Maybach 57 and 62 both went back into the hopper where they belonged.
Lincoln Zephyr – Lincoln-Zephyr was a real brand in the days when Lincoln was on top of the luxury car world. This brand was made to offer several smaller, less expensive vehicles to gain a foothold in the mainstream brand market. In 2006 Lincoln attempted to bring back this philosophy by offering a car named the Zephyr which was simply a rebadged Fusion but that certainly did not work out at all and then name eventually went away. The car does continue on as the MKZ that we now know which is certainly a much better overall car than the Fusion.
As you can see several cars should have never made a comeback. As much as it would be good to be able to give an “A for effort” these cars didn’t make it back not because the names were bad, but because the plans were half-hearted and lacked a certain amount of investment from the companies that owned them. The lesson for automakers here is, if you are going to bring back a name, especially one that carried a lot of clout previously, make sure the car is more than capable of carrying the name forward with massive success.