Checker Motors Corporation was once one of the most visible automakers in the country. The main reason for this was the Checker Taxi Cab, a commercial vehicle sold until 1981. The Checker Cab was synonymous with the taxi cab industry and there wasn’t another car that competed with it for decades (via Car Throttle).
Checker also sold consumer cars but the main vehicle was the Checker Taxi. The brand sold consumer vehicles for a brief period but the commercial offerings were where the profit was at. The company hung on until 2010 when it was a consultant to other Detroit automakers for two decades.
The Oakland Motor Car Company was the precursor to the Pontiac brand. Founded by Edward Murphy who also owned the Pontiac Buggy Company, the brand was off to a great start. The company was named after the assembly plant that GM had in the Bay Area at the time (via Marconi Museum).
Oakland Motor Car Company contributed to the early growth of General Motors, but like all major corporations, the company had to trim certain brands. Oakland Motor Car Company built some of the first mainstream General Motors models.
Many luxury cars have hit the market since the birth of the automobile. But aside from the industry standards like Cadillac, there were also brands like Frazer. The 1949 Frazer Manhattan convertible was the most notable model released and the first prominent convertible on the market (via Richard Langworth).
The 1951 Frazer Vagabond hatchback boasted 50,000 orders within the first year. Founder Henry Kaiser and Joseph Frazer believed the big three Detroit automakers stopped the supply of their materials on purpose.
Stutz Motor Car Company was one of the most exclusive automakers in history for a long period. The brand specialized in high-end luxury cars, the type of vehicle the average person simply couldn’t afford. The build quality was top-notch and the styling was unlike anything else on the road (via Fandom).
Unfortunately, the brand never had enough momentum to stay the course. There was too much competition in the market for high-end luxury cars. There are only 617 cars in existence. Stutz had what it took to succeed had the timing been right.
Saab Automobile AB was a Swedish automaker that designed some of the most fun-to-drive cars on the market. The Saab 900 was a car that won numerous awards for design and innovation. The Saab 9000 changed the game for what a Swedish sports sedan should be. But the styling polarized consumers who otherwise wanted the car (via Autocar).
General Motors purchased Saab in the late 1990s but the brand was not doing well. By the financial crisis of 2008, GM was winding down unnecessary brands. The Saab brand disbanded in 2010 with the final model, the 9-5 sedan. The 9-5 offered excellent performance for the price but the styling did not connect with the consumer. The company tried to build a better car but ultimately failed.