Wiesmann is a brand that has disappeared into thin air. But it’s not just small-series manufacturers that are going under.
they built "pure emotion, offered cars in "sporty tailor-made suits or simply "cheaper than ever on – then suddenly they were gone. more than ten brands have disappeared from the german market since 2000. The reasons for this are very different.
So now it’s true: for two decades, the automotive world watched lancia struggle for survival. Until recently when it was reported from italy that they were going to let the brand die in all markets outside their home country. But that’s just the latest death notice. In the past few years, a whole series of brands have been buried. For some, the disappearance is regretted to this day, for others, the end came unnoticed because no one cared about the models anymore. When car brands are discontinued, it’s for a variety of reasons: sometimes potential buyers simply give the showrooms a wide berth, sometimes managers addicted to their own image impose their will without thinking about business realities – but it’s not unusual for carmakers to fall victim to the unbelievable boredom of their products.
false name and imitation
Lancia once built fine cars.
The name proton sounds kind of like detergent, but is the abbreviation for perusahaan otomobil nasional – translated national automobile company. The brand from malaysia was launched in germany in 1995. The promise of a six-year warranty was intended to distract customers from the fact that the company was actually only offering licensed models based on the Mitsubishi model range. What didn’t work: proton gave up again in germany in 2001. "The biggest problem of a brand like proton was the arbitrariness", says automotive expert andreas bremer of the ifa institute for automotive market research. "I can not remember any model of them today." meaningless names like proton 300 or 400 accelerated the forgetting.
All-season tires saab it was the other way round: the brand was famous for the fact that its cars were something special – even the equally meaningless model names like 900, 9000 or 9-3 didn’t change that. "Saab was the brand for individualists – but then came general motors", bremer summarizes the problem. After the start of the so-called partnership with the U.S. company, saab became a shadow of its former self: it built poorly disguised copies of mass-produced models such as the opel vectra – and the customers stayed away. GM later sold saab again, and at the end of 2011 the carmaker filed for insolvency in sweden. Since the fall of 2013, saabs have once again been built in very small series in the factory halls, but the future does not appear to be really secure.
There is still something
Maybach was a brand that no one had called for.
In the fall of 2013, a lancia-spokesman quoted as saying that it would be madness to let this brand die. but lancia hasn’t really existed for years now. What was once synonymous with advanced technology and inspiring design was in the end – with the exception of the ypsilon small car – little more than a nameplate on chrysler sheet metal. Despite the long period of infirmity, expert bremer does not rule out a lancia comeback in the future: "this brand has such a name, such a sound – it won’t disappear forever."
Also maybach was a brand with a great history – but it was long forgotten when daimler decided to revive it as a luxury division in 2002. "It was a brand that no one was calling for.", bremer summarizes. Above all, the design of the cars was disappointing, and they were also presented as a "pimped S-Class" were perceived by mercedes. last cars sold in 2013, that was it. Malicious tongues claim that the origin of the maybach plan can be traced back to the fact that a former company boss wanted to make a monument out of it.
Nonsense to the power of two
Nonsense to the power of two – that’s roughly the story of the Maybach daewoo/chevrolet to summarize, which swept these two brands from the marketplace. in the case of daewoo, andreas bremer diagnoses the same problem as with proton: arbitrary cars without a face, which even a favorable price could not save. Daewoo – korean for big space – sold from 1994 onwards initially grayed technology like the last opel kadett in a reasonably new dress in germany. in 1998, the brand was taken over by general motors, which in 2005 came up with the idea of hawking the typical small cars in europe as chevrolet. "Nobody could understand that. If there’s one thing people in europe associate with the name Chevrolet, it’s definitely not small cars." by 2016, chevrolet now plans to largely withdraw from the european market.
Being a traditional brand, having a reputation that can almost be called historic – that can also have a soporific effect. In the seventies MG rover in the eyes of the public only for bad quality and old technology, in the eighties they kept their head above water only by a cooperation with honda. Then BMW took over the helm and had big plans: they developed the new rover 75 and the roadster MG-F – but that’s all they came up with. "What BMW did was too little and too late", so andreas bremer. in 2000 BMW parted ways with rover. MG rover then found itself in a downward spiral that lasted for years and ended in china. And while the car world waited for the final death news, MG gave a quiet rattle: new designs (developed in china) like MG 3 and MG 6 were offered again in the uk.
Although large corporations also regularly discontinue brands, small manufacturers keep trying to get a piece of the pie – and eventually have to give up. Wiesmann offered luxurious roadsters with BMW technology, artega constructed a porsche competitor, and in the united states fisker showing the world how to shake up the luxury class with an electric car. "The wiesmann was a car to kneel down in at the beginning", raves andreas bremer. "But ten years later, it still looked the same." the brand had indeed found its market niche, exhausted it – then they wanted to grow and had to realize that more was not possible.
Artega, on the other hand, approached the subject of sports car construction in a highly professional manner, but made a miscalculation, among other things, in assuming that buyers would buy a VW engine in an 80.accept 000-euro two-seater. The fisker karma, on the other hand, was highly praised around the world, but its finances got into trouble. It is said that the production of a single car costs more than 600.000 dollars – which, given a selling price of at best 100.000 dollars had to cause problems to say the least. In october 2013, the company was taken over by Chinese investors, future uncertain.