Demise of cars is speeding up

There is a lot of talk recently about dead cars -- models that have existed for years but will no longer be found on new-car lots for the 2010 model year.

Among them are Toyota Solara, a two-door version of the Camry sedan; Honda S2000, one of many roadsters to jump on the Mazda Miata bandwagon; and Mercury Sable, which looked futuristic when it debuted for 1986.

It's not just models that bite the dust. Entire lines of automobiles have been leaving us one by one. Remember Studebaker and AMC? Kaiser and Frazer? Oldsmobile and Plymouth? We can add Imperial, DeSoto, Auburn, Duesenberg, Hupmobile, Nash, Tucker and REO.

General Motors is killing off Pontiac and Saturn and divesting itself of Hummer and Saab. Ford is selling Volvo, there have long been rumors of Mercury's demise and Chrysler's future is unclear after being acquired by Fiat.

Steven Cole Smith, an auto writer for The Orlando Sentinel, recently listed other brands that have left the American market or died off: Peugeot, Daihatsu, Daewoo, Yugo, Eagle, Isuzu, TVR, Bitter, Laforza, Merkur, Renault, Sterling and Alfa-Romeo.

I was reminded of these obituaries this week when I ran across a Charles Addams cartoon. You remember him. He is responsible for decades of macabre magazine cartoons and the concept of The Addams Family on television. He died in 1988.

The cartoon had no caption. It merely showed a cemetery full of tombstones, each bearing the name of a deceased vehicle: Marmon, Stanley, Packard, Cunningham, Essex, Hudson, Pierce, Winton, La Salle, Dort, Maxwell, Mitchell, Edsel and so on.

Such a cartoon today might require an entire page to show all the victims.

Tell me how you feel about the casualties of the auto industry at my e-mail address below or log on to my blog at blogs.augusta.com/blog/21. Thanks.

Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.

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