If you have ever watched the Academy Awards on television, you'll know that each year tribute is paid to any actors, directors, film scorers, costumers and all the rest who passed away during the 12 months between ceremonies. It's always a poignant moment and sad to mark the deaths of individuals who brought joy to millions. The same cannot be said about cars, however, and when a manufacturer decides that enough is enough for a particular model, barely a tear is shed. Unless you happen to work as one of those companies' accountants.
During the eight-and-a-bit months of 2012 so far, quite a few models have been snuffed out but, for one reason or another, these cars have all deserved to die. Take a certain Mercedes-Benz, for instance. When was the last time you saw an R-Class on the roads? You know, that elongated SUV-cum-estate car-cum-something or other. No idea? Seems it's the same situation in America, where sales have been so glacial that the company has pulled the plug, at least on United States sales, despite the fact it's built in Alabama.
But while Merc will try to flog a few more R-Classes to the rest of the world before it's phased out, the company had no choice but to can the entire Maybach brand. Resurrected in 2002 after a 57-year hiatus, Maybach's demise was obvious from the start. Instead of doing what Rolls-Royce did, which was design a new car from the ground up, Mercedes simply tarted up an S-Class, threw every conceivable luxury at it and gave it an inexplicably ugly body. What was it like to drive? No idea, because journalists were never allowed to take the wheel. Instead they were forced to experience the cars while they sat in the back when others were conducting road tests. Barely more than 3,000 have been sold in 10 years and we say good riddance.
Jeep's Liberty has bid adieu, as has Infiniti's G25, Mitsubishi's strange little Eclipse sports car, Mazda's CX-7 SUV, Kia's Sedona and Volvo's ill-fated attempt at a convertible, the C70. Aston Martin has decided to bin the Virage after struggling to sell 1,000 in little more than a year.
What do we have to look forward to over the next few months, though? Imminent arrivals include the perennial bestseller here, BMW's updated 7 Series, Aston Martin's stunning Vanquish (which replaces the DBS), the all-new Range Rover (we'll be driving it next month), Hyundai's eagerly anticipated Veloster Turbo and Alfa Romeo is still rumoured to be readying its gorgeous mid-engined 4C to go on sale before the year's out.
Also due to go on sale in the very near future are a new Maserati Quattroporte, shooting brake versions of Jaguar's XF and Mercedes' CLS, a new Audi R8 and a plethora of new and updated versions of Porsche's 911. But for all that new metal, there's one car above all others that is getting motoring fanatics frothing at the mouth: Jaguar's F-Type.
It's possible to feel sorry for Jaguar, even before the car has been seen or driven, because the weight of expectation from a world that has been denied a true sporting Jag since the demise of the iconic, zeitgeist-defining E-Type could be too much to bear. It will be shown, initially in convertible form, at the Paris motor show in a few weeks' time, but it's the coupe that will no doubt steal the most hearts.
With this car, Jaguar will hopefully have perfected the art of bringing something new to market, which is both totally modern and a nod to models gone by.
It isn't just prestige cars that we're eagerly awaiting, mind you. Have you seen photos of the new Mazda6? It's supposed to hit the road next year and looks superb, moving on Mazda's design language in impeccable style. And you just know that the next generation of Volkswagen Golf will be able to rewrite the hatchback rule book.
Some may mourn the passing of cars gone by, but the truth is that tomorrow's models will make up for their departures in spades.