5 Famous Car Brands That Could Vanish in the Next 10 Years
The automotive industry is heading for massive changes. And some brands we love may not be ready for them.
We love car brands here at the Gear Patrol motoring desk — the more quirkiness and variety on the market the better, as far as we're concerned. But building cars can be a brutal industry in the most table of times, and the industry is entering a time of major transition. Converting from combustion power to battery-electric will be the biggest transportation shift since the world moved from horses to automobiles. And even that substantial change may pale compared to the widespread societal effects of burgeoning autonomous driving technology.
Change will open spaces for new automotive brands to emerge and thrive. But some marques — even long established ones — could be at risk if they get the transition wrong. Here are five automotive brands that may not be around 1o years from now.
Jaguar Land Rover announced its "Reimagine" strategy back in 2021. For Land Rover, it means electrifying. For Jaguar, it means a soup-to-nuts reimagining of the entire brand.
Jaguar plans to be purely electric by 2025. Reportedly, that will happen on a bespoke EV platform and with a dramatic move upmarket to take on the likes of Bentley rather than Volvo and Audi.
The plans feel sweeping — and nebulous. Little information has leaked out since, and the CEO spearheading the aforementioned Jaguar transition just resigned. Jaguar Land Rover will continue to face ongoing financial pressures; if the current plans falter, there aren't many other moves for Jaguar to make.
Independent car manufacturing is a brutal business. So is independent elite-level auto-racing. Despite impressive success at both, cash flow has been a major issue for McLaren. The brand has already sold its headquarters and much of its storied race car collection to raise funds. Moody's recently downgraded McLaren's outlook to negative.
McLaren has not built a practical SUV like the Lamborghini Urus to ramp up revenue. The brand faces a daunting technical challenge to take its engaging, lightweight sports cars fully electric. McLaren has a lot to offer a potential outside investor. But finding one interested in the technical arm and the Formula 1 operation may complicate matters.
Volvo and Geely spun their performance arm, Polestar, into an independent electric car brand. The cars have been great in both concept and production form, and the expansion plans are ambitious. But Polestar has struggled to create a coherent vision independent from Volvo.
Polestar's public offering has not been a runaway, Tesla-like success. And Polestar just took a $1.6 billion handout from its parent company to keep the operation running. If Polestar's financial fortunes don't pick up, it's conceivable that new leadership at Volvo — searching for "a bit of spice" and boundary-pushing in the lineup — rethinks outsourcing much of that spice to Polestar.
FCA and PSA Group merged to form the mega-conglomerate Stellantis in 2021. Instead of culling underperforming brands like most anticipated, Stellantis gave all of them a lease on life. Chrsyler — down to the Pacifica minivan and the truly ancient 300 sedan — was one of the brands that had been expected to go.
Chrysler's future is mostly a blank slate. The brand did release a new Airflow concept, a Ford Mustang Mach-E rival that should arrive by the middle of the decade. And — for now — Stellantis has decided not to import a brand like Peugeot or Citroën that could render Chrysler redundant. But if Stellantis eventually decides to consolidate brands, Chrysler may be one of the first to depart.
Cadillac has undergone several reinventions trying to find its footing for decades. And even GM execs have said the current EV push is the Cadillac brand's last chance. Cadillac has gotten two exciting EVs — the Lyriq and the hand-built Celestiq. And the Escalade will remain a force through the end of the combustion era and beyond. But it's unclear how much the Cadillac branding adds to them.
A recent report from Car and Driver may not be auspicious for Cadillac's long-term future. The outlet reports that GM is considering branching off the Escalade into its own family of Escalade vehicles. And doing that would be an admission that Cadillac branding isn't getting the job done for its premium vehicles.
Fancy new electric cars? Naturally-aspirated sports cars? We're here (and excited) to judge.