QOTD: Disappearing Models, Vanishing Brands?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Events of the last month (and the foreseeable future) will surely cause more than a few auto manufacturers to reevaluate their portfolios. Numbers for Q1, scheduled to be released this week but potentially delayed for understandable reasons, will surely be quite dismal.

Leaving one’s own personal views about the current economic shutdowns aside, do you think car companies might be forced (or choose to take the opportunity) to scrub a few underperforming models — or even entire brands?

Several brands vanished in 2009, facilitated by corporate sojourns through bankruptcy. For all concerned, your author dearly hopes that scene is not repeated. But, even in the absence of insolvency, the financial strain of these tough times might result in a few nameplates disappearing for good.

Fiat has been in the doldrums for a while, losing even its city-runabout 500 namesake. There’s little to cheer about at the house of Chrysler, either, with essentially just two models: the ancient 300 plus the Pacifica and its various iterations. It wouldn’t take much to rebadge the Pacifica as a Dodge once it’s standing on its own after the 300 disappears.

Will the current world situation hasten decisions such as these? Sound off below. Stay well and stay safe, folks.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Mar 30, 2020

    Yes this does not bode well for many brands and models. I however disagree with many poster's sentiments in that small cars and cars in general will be the hardest hit. The financial implications of this pandemic are going to vary significantly across industries and of course their workers. The people who will be relatively unaffected are those most likely to have the money to buy new cars. The people that will be most affected are those that most likely didn't have money to buy a new car in the first place. Many salaried white collar workers are able to continue working from home and will not see a reduction in pay. So while they may delay their purchase, they are very unlikely to trade in their Pickup/SUV/CUV/Luxury car for a cheap compact car. At the other end you have the people who are paid by the hour and especially those that rely on tips for a significant portion of their income. They will be hardest hit because they work at those businesses that are being closed in many areas. However many of those people do not make the kind of money to be able to buy a new car in the first place. Those that do would have likely been in the market for that low cost car. Those that have been saving money for that new car are likely to quickly burn through that savings. For them that new car purchase just got pushed out indefinitely. Then you have the fleet vehicles. Many segments of the gov't fleet are still rolling. Many fleets replace their vehicles based on mileage or age, which ever comes first, and their current vehicle budgets are already allocated. Ditto for big commercial fleets. So most of those will continue on with a little hiccup. You also have some industries that are doing great in today's economy. Grocery stores are doing booming business, with lots of over time and hiring of new employees. Ditto for Amazon. They have ads running like crazy that no experience or resume is required. If you have a pulse and new fever you can start immediately. Lyft has even told its drivers to contact Amazon Flex as a way to keep the wheels turning and the $$ coming in. So when all is said and done I predict: The F-series will take the #1 title for 2020. Trucks and CUVs will see the least drop in sales. Cars will see the highest drop in sales, with the low end hit hardest.

    • See 3 previous
    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Mar 30, 2020

      @87 Morgan Thank you.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 30, 2020

    @cprescott--Buick is staying because of the Chinese. Anyway Buick is no longer a car company in the US it is a crossover company. @Scoutdude--Agree and there is also room for manufacturers to offer a value model and still make a profit.

  • Apl Apl on Mar 31, 2020

    Way past due for the Buick division to be discontinued by General Motors, at least in North America.

  • Bobdajeep Bobdajeep on Mar 31, 2020

    Sad to see the Fiat 500 go. I loved my Abarth and had almost zero problems but bad dealerships and lack of parts helped kill that car. My next Fiat was a 500 X. Loved it also but totaled it last year and bought my next Fiat a Jeep Renegade Limited. I have a few problems but my dealership.,Ellis Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, has been super in getting them fixed, all in all it's been great.