By on November 25, 2009

(courtesy:martinklasch.blogspot.com)

Of course, that day could come as soon as next week, when GM’s board holds its monthly meeting. And unless a serious bid shows up post-haste, Saab will most likely be euthanized at that point.  In the meantime, GM’s management is happy to keep the Swedish government hanging on. “I talked to GM last night and my impression is that they have not given up hope,” Joran Hagglund, state secretary at Sweden’s Industry Ministry tells Automotive News [sub].  But after the months of wrangling to get the Koenigsegg deal where it was when it fell apart, Sweden’s government acknowledges that “for every day that passes the challenge gets bigger and bigger.” While we await word on Saab’s uncertain future, and worry about how the boys at Saabsunited are holding up, we’ve dispatched our man in Sweden to sort through the hand-wringing and recrimination in the Swedish press and report some key findings. Frankly though, this is feeling like the end of the line for Saab.

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23 Comments on “Saab To Die Another Day...”


  • avatar
    bill h.

    I would tend to agree.  Nice ride while it lasted.  På taket indeed.

  • avatar
    skor

    Saab: Born from Jets.  Killed by Detroit.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    It’s kind of sad to see that the new 9-5, the most Saaby car they’ve had since GM’s aquisition of the brand, will likely never make it to showrooms. With the new 9-4, 9-5, and some tweaking of the 9-3, they could have a pretty nice lineup moving forward. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of hope. GM’s biggest mistake with Saab was thinking that they were a brand with which to go head-to-head against BMW and the like. Saab was only a niche brand, even at their peak, and GM doesn’t have the money to make them mainstream. Saab is probably going to die, and it’s sad, but at this point it seems to be what’s best.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It’s kind of sad to see that the new 9-5, the most Saaby car they’ve had since GM’s aquisition of the brand, will likely never make it to showrooms.
     
     
    The new 9-5 isn’t any more Saaby than the GM900/9-3 or current 9-5 & 9-3.  All of them are derivatives of European GMs (the 900/9-3 shared bones with the Calibra, the 9-5 and 9-3 with their contemporary Vectras).  The new 9-5 is nothing special in that regard; it’s based on the Insignia.
     
    The last “real” Saab was the 99/OG900.  You could make a case for the 9000, but they partnered with FIAT for that.  Either way, there hasn’t been an autonomous new Saab design since 1992 (and that was the then-fifteen-year-old 900)

  • avatar
    tallguy

    So if GM pulls the plug, does this mean the remaining stock will sell for cheap?  And who would honor the warranties?  I know the brand has declined, but come on!  A cheap XWD SportCombi would suit me just fine…

  • avatar
    MontanaVista

    I had this thought during my commute into work this morning, which, in turn had me angered and embarassed.  As Americans, and especially the brass at Ford and GM, we should be ashamed at what we have done to some of these car brands.  I am no expert at automotive news or history, but I think I know enough to be able to say that I cannot name any worthy brands that Toyota, Honda, Mercedes, BMW, etc. have killed.  Take a brand like Saab, whom I am sure the Swedish hold dear as a Scandinavian car.  A car that was desirable by not only the people and country that produced Saab, but by automotive enthusiasts around the world.  I hope I am correct in saying Saab was something to be proud of.  And now, we have GM who acquired Saab, and like an irresponsible teenager who was given a vintage MG convertible by his father, has destroyed it.  I can say, with full certainty, that I will most likely never purchase a Japanese automobile in my lifetime.  I believe there are many more fellow Americans that have no problem with sending their money to Tokyo, so I will continue to buy American and or European cars (as I am a citizen of the US but come from European ancestry and spend my summers in Europe) because some of them I can be proud of and proud to own.  But now the Swedes have watched GM destroy Saab.  They face a future where they will no longer be able to purchase a Saab.  While it is hard for me to imagine a time where I will no longer be able to purchase a Ford, or a Cadillac, or a VW – it is much easier for me to try to know what it will be like when Saab is a thing of the past, and that is a damn shame.

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      You are right of course, but SAAB fans have had 20(!) years of GM (at least part-) ownership to mourn and get over the inevitable. And many of the models during those years have been pitiful or bland rebadges or shared platforms. Perhaps it would have been better to die a dignified (with their boots on) but earlier death?

  • avatar
    educatordan

    “…but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

  • avatar
    wsn

    This world doesn’t need 100 car brands. I have witnessed the elimination of Oldsmobile, Eagle, Plymouth, Rover, Saturn, Pontiac and now Saab. What’s next? Mitsubishi, Mercury, Chrysler, Dodge, and probably some subsidiaries of VW.
     
     
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      B10er

      Yes, we should all drive a Toyonda/Kyundai – the automotive equivalent of a cattle feedlot.

    • 0 avatar
      Roundel

      The world may not need many brands, but it surely isn’t a worse off place with them.  Cars are not toasters and refridgerators. The more variety the better.
      Surely you can’t blame Toyota for buliding soul less appliances… its what the people want. Whats more sad… is that is what the people want. It was mentioned in another thread how the allure and the desire about cars is long gone, and the death of all these once great brands is ample proof of that.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    Well, BMW killed Rover and many other brands were killed upon being assimilated or bought by the other European manufacturers.
    But back to the point, I am far from sure that another owner of Saab would have done better (not claiming that GM was doing a good job) – maybe Saab was one of the quirky, transitionary brands that just operated at a size, where it is very difficult for a non-premium manufacturer to survive.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I still don’t like the idea of them fading away.
    I would like my chance to buy a XWD 9-3 or Sportcombi.
    And a HSV Commodore :)

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    I have always said that the best outcome would be a combined Saab/Opel/Saturn, independent of GM. The problem is, with the global over capacity in brands and units made, would a GM without that burden be better with a strong competitor in its former brands? Or would it be better for GM in the long run to just wind down the operations and be done with it?

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I like Saabs.  Back in the day, they were about the only performance-oriented 5-passenger FWD 4-cyclinder cars you could find, on this side of the pond anyway.  But that niche is now mainstream, so sayonara Saab.  Been good to know you.

  • avatar
    probert

    To its credit ford did a lot for bothe Aston Martin and Jaguar.  Mercedes all but killed off Chrysler.  And radio killed the video star.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Taking a bit longer view of the loss of brands, hundreds of brands came and went in the early days of the auto industry in Europe as well as the United States. Many of these correlated with the shutting down of factories and loss of jobs such as will be the case with Saab, while others were just brand names of a larger company that continued operations.
    It is undeniably sad to see hallowed brands go by the wayside, and even reasonably well-thought-of ones, but we are in a continuing situation of net loss of auto brands. Those new ones that appear will in turn become well-known if they last at all in the marketplace.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    I’ve almost got pity for the Euros on this one.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    The truth is that about 90% of the carbuyers don´t care if it´s European, Japanese or something else.
    The important factors are cheap and reliable transport.
    For the time being, the Koreans are the preferred choice for the masses.
    I´m afraid that Saab has reached the end of the road.
    There are not enough car entusiasts to support all the quirky, unreliable, odd and expensive cars on the market.
    Many(Most?) young Swedes are not interested in cars, or getting a drivers license.
    We have a very funny politicians in this country.
    They´re doing all they can to make it difficult and expensive to own a car.
    Funny for a country who have 2 car manufacturers
    I consider myself a car entusiast, but i´m thinking of getting a Hyundai diesel as transport just to reduce my costs.(30 000-40 000 km/year)
     
     

  • avatar

    Well, given the previous post about Saab and GM’s idiotic conditions, it’s very sad and upsetting to see these douchebags screw a company because of their ego problems.
    Why is it I feel the need to strangle Fritz Henderson to death with an old belt right about now?
    Oh well, I guess nobody forced Saab to sell to GM in the first place.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    “You’re soo wrong
    5% of car buyers don’t care much. Another 5% care about the car and not the mark. The other 90 % buy a particular  cars for status.”
    Not in Sweden.


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