By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
Our local PBS station used to produce a program called “Things that aren’t there anymore.” It was a wonderful look back at earlier times in the greater Philadelphia area and included pictures and film of once-famous buildings, trolleys, public sites, events (historic or otherwise), newsmakers and many other slice of life topics.
Watching the annual programs was always a treat and brought back memories of going into the city to see Santa, or taking a train trip on a rail line that’s now a hiking trail. The program fell out of production when the TV station itself came perilously close to not being there anymore one year and they haven’t done one since.
Looking back, particularly at the end of a year is a national pastime, and you’ll be inundated this weekend with all manor of Top Ten, Best, Worst, and Who Cares lists from 2011. If you’re looking back from within the automotive world, take a good look now because some of what you see won’t be there in the new year.
Several manufacturers are discontinuing models at least in the U.S., and one manufacturer (SAAB) has just about discontinued itself entirely as well. Still another manufacturer is changing some names around, and you may have to update your shop computer to keep up with all this. Whether any of these fall into the Best, Worst, or Who Cares categories depends on your point of view.
First, an upcoming and redesigned SRT Viper will be along shortly, but without the name Dodge attached. The parent company has said that it wants the car to be its own brand and the SRT name will so note the high-performance identity. The company’s trucks are already sold under the brand “Ram,” leaving the venerable Dodge name rather empty of marquee products, particularly since they’re cutting the Dakota for 2012.
Earlier this year, Ford’s Crown Victoria and the Lincoln Grand Marquis went out of production, leading to no little hand wringing in both police circles and many retirement communities. Ford is also chopping its Ranger, again reducing the number of small pickups available in the U.S.
GM cleans house, or at least a few rooms, by seeing off the Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS and STS, and the Chevrolet HHR. Various reasons are given for each model including low sales or internal competition with another product.
Honda will cut its once very popular Element and Nissan takes aim at the Altima Hybrid. The latter never lived up to expectations sales-wise although it was a solid first hybrid step for Nissan. The Mitsubishi Eclipse and Endeavor both ended in August, and you won’t see any more Mazda Tributes for 2012.
Lotus is discontinuing the Elise as the company moves towards stated production of bigger and more luxurious cars. Lastly, Volvo calls an end to the S40 and V50 models, both moderately successful but not enough to guarantee a new generation.
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