There are so many iconic car brands that are a permanent feature of the collective consciousness, that it seems as if they will always be around. On the other end of the scale, many car brands seem to be here today, gone tomorrow. These cars had very short shelf lives in North America and the UK and are still considered to be the duds of the automotive world, as while their concept may have sounded good in theory, they did not sell for a variety of reasons.

Here are 5 of the shortest-lived cars:

Nissan Axxess

Year of sale in the US: 1990


The Axxess was rebadged in North America from the second-generation Nissan Prairie and served as a replacement and successor to the Nissan Stanza wagon, which was the first-generation Prairie in other markets. It is considered to be one of the strangest cars ever sold in the US and never caught on there, only being sold in 1990 before the Japanese automaker pulled the plug on the model so it could focus on developing the Nissan Quest, which is still available today.

Delorean DMC 12

Years of sale in the UK: 1981 to 1982

While the Delorean DMC 12 has become permanently entrenched in pop culture due to its pivotal role in the Back to the Future trilogy, the car itself was never particularly popular among consumers. While this futuristic-looking car seemed to have everything going for it on paper, it proved to be impractical. Many of the initial design ideas were dropped so that the car could get into production on time and within budget, and resultantly, the car landed up being rather portly and offering average sporting performance. The Delorean motor company ended up folding in 1982, only seven years after coming into existence.

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Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG

Year of sale in the US: 2007

One would normally expect any model released by auto giant Mercedes Benz to be an unqualified success, but this was not the case with the R63 AMG. It wasn’t even marketed in the US when it was released in 2007, and prospective buyers had to specially order it from the dealership if they wanted to purchase it. The idea of a high-performance AMG version of the R-Class was not well-received, as Mercedes-AMG, in general, was accused of stuffing huge engines into a chassis with poor handling dynamics, especially due to the car’s heavy weight.

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Plymouth Cricket

Years of sale in the US: 1972 to 1973

In 1971, Chrysler decided to capitalise on the success of the Volkswagen Beetle by rebranding the Scottish-built Hillman Avenger as the “Plymouth Cricket” and introducing it to the US market. Sales for the car began in 1972, and while there was actually a sharp increase in demand for small cars following the petroleum crisis of 1973, the Plymouth Cricket was discontinued in the US in 1973. This decision was due to the larger sales of the similarly-sized Dodge Colt, which meant that it did not make financial sense to reengineer the cricket to meet new safety emission legislations.

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Studebaker Avanti

Years of sale in the US: 1962 to 1963

The Avanti represented the first time that Studebaker ventured from economy car production and the company marketed it as “America’s only four-passenger high-performance personal car.” It was

described as “one of the more significant milestones of the post-war industry”, offered combined safety and high-speed performance and broke 29 records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. However, despite these impressive credentials, production of the car ceased in 1963 after Studebaker closed its factory in South Bend, Indiana. Today, Avanti cars are considered to be classics.

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