By on December 19, 2011

Sweden’s Aftonbladet reports that Victor Muller filed for bankruptcy of Saab this morning at the court in Vänersborg.

Dagens Industri writes that with Saab having declared bankruptcy itself, the matter will be resolved quickly. A bankruptcy order is expected during the day.

The actual verdict had been handed down by GM over the weekend. GM refused to agree to any of the deals presented.

Today, the court in Vänersborg was scheduled to decide whether to lift creditors protection, which would have opened the doors to much messier bankruptcy proceedings. Over the weekend, Muller was in closed session with Rachel Pang of Youngman to hammer out yat another last minute deal. At one point, Rachel Pang became gravely ill, and unable to attend the court proceedings. After a little while and more talk, she regained her health. Now, any court appearances are no longer necessary.

Youngman had no other choice than to realize that without the cooperation of GM, the matter was way beyond salvage. This morning, Victor Muller reached into his hat, found it devoid of bunny-rabbits, and did what he should have done much earlier.

Both dealer group Pang Da and Youngman have sunk considerable amounts of money into keeping zombie Saab at least clinically alive. Wasting your own money is seen as a grave sin in China, and the disastrous end of the Saab adventure most likely will negatively influence foreign asset purchases by Chinese entities for a while.

Muller, his out-on-bail friend Antonov, and any Chinese suitors should have realized much earlier that GM had no interest in Saab’s survival if it would be at the expense of GM’s sizable activities in China. GM agreed to sell Saab to Muller because that spared GM the messy and expensive business to shut down Saab themselves.

As expected, Saabinistas vent their anger on GM’s Facebook page. Many vow to never buy a GM product. A hollow threat: Most of them are used-car drivers anyway. Case in point: Saab’s über-flagwaver Steven Wade. Before he sold Saabsunited to take on a (shortlived) PR job at Saab, he drove a 1999 Saab 9-3, canary-yellow. Wade is already bac k in Australia, looking for a job.

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83 Comments on “Muller Gives Up, Files For Saab Bankruptcy...”


  • avatar
    Tstag

    I bet Saab aerospace now sells the brand to the Chinese or Indians……

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    According to DN, Youngman didn’t want to put in any more money into the company, after GM having categorically said no. According to DN, Youngman have already put in about a hundred million dollars, and PangDa have invested as much yet again. So, that’s about 200 million dollars? That’s an awful lot of money. Are those figures really accurate?

    http://www.dn.se/ekonomi/youngman-vill-inte-betala-mer-till-saab

    • 0 avatar
      mallthus

      They are…

      Truthfully, the whole thing went Quixotic when Lofalk pitched a 100% sale to Geely. GM threw down a flag on that play and just wasn’t interested in resuming play after that for fear of spooking SAIC.

  • avatar
    mallthus

    Well, I’ll bet TTAC is pretty pleased with itself about now, right?

  • avatar

    “GM agreed to sell Saab to Muller because that spared GM the messy and expensive business to shut down Saab themselves.” By fooling anyone else about the chances of convincing GM, Muller fooled himself in the first place. The bottom line is that what’s worth nothing to GM is worth hundreds of millions to the Chinese. Wasn’t there a way for all parties involved to work something out? Autonewschina.com featured an interesting article on the subject “why the Chinese want Saab”.

    “Because of their poor images, domestic brands are losing market share in China to global rivals such as Volkswagen and GM. Moreover, they are years away from competing successfully in Europe and the United States. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.’s acquisition of Volvo has shown that a Chinese automaker can manage a foreign brand.”

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    So what Chinese automaker will buy all the tooling for a song, ship it all to China, and then re-badge it?

    Maybe they can even buy the name!!

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Not so fast. I’d bet that the tooling is associated with the current cars… which IP belongs to GM. So it would still be linked to some messy licensing affairs.

      Someone, somewhere is going to get a really cheap car factory, pack it in containers and ship who knows where.

      In the same line, much of the engineering talent will go to either Volvo and its supplier, to support the new factory commissioning or to whoever gets the “Phoenix” platform. Hopefully.

    • 0 avatar
      Seán Moloney

      Nobody. GM owns all the technology behind it, so I doubt that GM will allow it to be liquidated to the Chinese when it wouldn’t allow it to be sold as part of the company. As for the name. Saab AB would have something to say about that, and I doubt they would allow their name to be further tarnished by the automotive industry.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t be surprised if a license for the PhoeniX platform won’t suddenly show up at Youngman, pledged as security for some of the money that had been paid. Then, GM will say that Phoenix IP is mostly theirs, and there will be a protracted and messy lawsuit.

      • 0 avatar
        Seán Moloney

        Actually I think I remember hearing something about that. But, I’m not sure if the transaction went through or not. You’d want to think it did. I mean Youngman would not have wanted to invest as much as it did and come out with nothing to show.

  • avatar
    moosex

    Saab – a brand which could have been, but never was.

    One can blame GM/Lofalk/Victor Muller all he wants, but the truth is that Saab had been going downhill for the past 25 years. Saab hasn’t produced a “best-seller” since the classic 900 and this lead to degrading market shares, and constant losses.

    If only Saab could have lived up to it’s brand potential…

    • 0 avatar
      drivebywire

      Agree that the classic 900 was the last good product, but the reason is that GM #@$%$#’d it up by renaming their Opels as 900, 9000, 9-5 and 9-3, then Subarus as 9-2, Chevy Trailblazers as 9-4x…etc. Crap == crap, no matter what name is on it.

    • 0 avatar

      Do you really think GM/Detroit would have EVER allowed Saab “living up to its brand potential”??? Look why it went down. GMs only GLOBAL upscale brand. Now replaced by Buick? Opel/Vauxhall? Cadillak? Chevrolet? Gud luck wit dat. FUGM

      • 0 avatar
        moedaman

        And don’t forget that Saab was doing great before GM bought any interest in it, NOT.

        Saab was making crap vehicles of ancient design. GM buying it actually kept it alive longer than it deserved to.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    RIP SAAB

  • avatar
    retrogrouch

    General Motors: failing since 1908

  • avatar
    dejal1

    Thank god Rachel Pang is ok!!!! Nothing like a 48 hour life threatening illness. I’m sure we’ve all been there ourselves.

    Now, who would do business in the future with someone whose “health” is so fragile.

    Hey Rachel. You lost “face”. You lost. You have been embarrassed. Hiding behind an illness doesn’t change those facts.

    I’m surprised no one made a last minute call to North Street Capital. I’m surprised TimR didn’t bring that up.

    Sobs United (sorry) saabsunited isn’t currently taking comments. Too Bad.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Saab over 7 billion kronor in debt. That’s about a billion dollars and change. Assets and debts:

    http://di.se/Artiklar/2011/12/19/254036/Inte-mycket-att-hamta-i-belanat-Saab/

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    And the blaming game is up. Lars Carlström, Spokesperson for Vladimir Antonov, blames Swedish government:

    http://www.aftonbladet.se/debatt/article14099957.ab

    • 0 avatar
      moosex

      … and this is the spokesperson of a guy who is currently being accused of embezzling money from his bank, and would have pumped the very same embezzled money to Saab.

      • 0 avatar
        Ingvar

        So I guess Antonovs conclusion is that if the Swedish government had poured in money in Saab in Antonovs name, he wouldn’t have been forced to embezzle any money in the first place. Blame the government!

  • avatar
    dejal1

    The GM boardroom today

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PQ6335puOc

    It ain’t tiddly winks.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    So is the story finally over? or will we see some zombiefied SAAB running around for the next 6 months??

  • avatar
    spyked

    Why the personal attacks on an “official” automotive blog? I expect it on VW and Asian car-specific websites, but on an “industry” blog, not so much.

    Not sure what’s more sad…SAAB and it’s rich history, cars, and workers being laid to rest, or the fact that there are people in the industry, who claim to love cars, being so short-sighted and nasty.

    • 0 avatar
      dejal1

      Because I had a Saab in the late 70′s. Considered to the glory years of Saab. It was a POS. Dealer and company didn’t give a damn. The believers want to go back to the glory days. For me, the glory days of Saab sucked. There’s most likely some guy still (or was) on the line who built my POS. Hope he has the house paid off.

      I was against the bailout of GM. But that is a done deal. I want GM to succeed now so the US can get the money back. If that means that someone in the US may get a job in US at the expense of a Swede so be it. I don’t live there. No, we can’t all just get along.

      VM and company signed an agreement with GM. They knew what was in it. To blame GM is ridiculous. Not very honorable. Thought they could be masters of the universe on the cheap. Oh well.

      • 0 avatar
        drivebywire

        So you had a Saab in the 70′s with problems and a poor dealer experience. That’s fine, but it’s hardly representative of an entire Saab story and product assessment.
        If you want to cheer for GM, that’s your right, but they’ve hardly avoided crap products and experiences themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        @ drivebywire: I think it’s absolutely representative. Going back 20+ years, I can’t think of a single Saab owner I’ve known that has had good luck with their car. All either ran away screaming, usually to something from Japan, or lived in a state of complete delusion, continuously throwing good money after bad every time their Saab malfunctioned.

        My uncle’s orange 99 EMS is still a source of ridicule, decades later. The only good thing about that car was that it forced him into a Honda Civic, which quickly converted the rest of my diehard GM extended family – even my stubborn, Pacific Theater veteran grandfather – to early Honda evangelists, within about three years.

        Saab is and always was crap.

    • 0 avatar
      GMLCountry

      You must be new here. Allow me to explain. About two years ago, Mr. Schmitt found out that if you troll, you’ll generate a lot of comments and page views. So for the past two years it’s been ttac’s mission to give a “fair and balanced” view of the events at Saab to counteract the optimism at saabsunited.com–an enthusiasts’ site for Saabs. Of course they would be optimistic.

      So this copy writer and self-proclaimed expert of all things automotive has been crapping on Victor Muller in an effort to counterbalance any good news from Saab. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have much faith that this company could be turned around, but the site’s methods of reporting and putting down any descending voice is what really annoys me–including banning anyone that accuses the site of bias.

      In summary, a troll is someone that gets someone all worked up for the sake of page hits and comments.

      Problem?

      • 0 avatar
        Ingvar

        So, you really think TTAC is doing this for the lulz? Meanwhile, in the real world, the banks in Latvia are collapsing because Vladimir Antonov embezzled a couple of hundred million dollars to pour into Saab.

      • 0 avatar
        GMLCountry

        Ingvar,

        For the lulz? No. To get piss off the Saabista and to get a rise out of those who are sick of Saab? Yes.

      • 0 avatar
        Ingvar

        How fortunate then, that people can weigh the different sources and make up their own mind. Ain’t freedom of the press a great thing?

      • 0 avatar

        So this copy writer and self-proclaimed expert of all things automotive

        Some great authors have worked writing copy.

        You’d be hard pressed to find any proclamation by Bertel that he’s an expert of all things automotive. In person he’s a pretty humble guy.

        You have an open mic here. If Bertel and TTAC are such cheerleaders for Saab’s impending doom, go ahead and give us your balanced account of the Saab saga.

        In any case, while you claim Bertel is a troll chasing after pageviews, I’ll simply note that you read the post and commented upon it, increasing the number of pageviews. If he is a troll, he got you to read the story.

        I don’t understand folks who expect writers and publishers to not try and attract readers with controversial or counter-intuitive posts. If the idea is to engage the reader, and that’s indeed the idea (well, next to selling advertising) you need a little bit of spice to stir into the pot.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    So in the end it was GM playing a typical corporate game that ended SAAB and not the opinions expressed on this website?
    Imagine that.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Regardless, the liquidation of Saab is way overdue! Putting any failed auto manufacturer on indefinite life support is just bad investment. They either sell or they don’t. They’re either profitable or they’re not. Saab was not.

      The market had declared Saab dead a long time ago because of lack of sales, no matter how great Saabs had been, are or were promised to be in the future.

      And the same holds true for GM. Its liquidation is also way overdue. Saab couldn’t stand on its own. GM cannot make it on its own. No playing of any corporate games here.

      Both Saab and GM should have been pimped to anyone who would take them for a bribe, just like we did with defunct Chrysler by bribing Fiat to take its carcass of our hands. It worked! Look at Chrysler and its UAW employees now! WOW!

      The ramifications of Saab’s liquidation are plentiful with several unintended consequences that will affect taxpayers, as in PBGC in the US.

      The Swedes weren’t going to put any more money into this failed auto maker and now they get to pay for the unemployment bennies for the former workers, et al. Retraining anyone?

  • avatar
    ajla

    Saab is Tommy Salo.

    GM is Belarus.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “Muller…Antonov, and any Chinese suitors should have realized much earlier that GM had no interest in Saab’s survival if it would be at the expense of GM’s sizable activities in China.”

    Here’s the crux. Why didn’t the Chinese suitors put themselves in GM’s shoes? Let’s say it was Youngman, not GM, that put proprietary automotive technology into a brand they later dumped due to unprofitability.

    Why would Youngman allow an American rival to snatch that brand up – for the express purpose of acquiring that tech – if they’re well within their legal rights to block such a deal?

    • 0 avatar
      Ingvar

      Because they were living a pipe dream? Or because Muller duped them into believing GM:s approval was just a matter of triviality?

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      Maybe they were thinking a “special relationship” somewhere would convince GM to allow another company to build a competing product. This is how JVs get in trouble in China and end up being left behind.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    And since we’re on the Apocalypse Now theme, I’ll end as the movie did…

    “The horror…the horror…”

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      “I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That’s my dream, it’s my nightmare. Crawling, slipping along the edge of a straight razor and surviving….”
      Kinda what Saab’s existence has been for the past couple of years… until now.

  • avatar

    TTAC sees reality and called it once again like it was. Saab fans were just as delusional as GM fans were for years until GM went bankrupt a few years ago.

    I have no regrets picking up a new 2010 9-5 Aero for greater than 20k off MSRP. Now that bankruptcy has finally come I might even pick up another one, I anticipate the prices will get even cheaper.

    It’s the best new GM sedan on the market right now, even better than Cadillacs in every respect.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The 9-5 might be a better deal…the CTS is a better car.

      • 0 avatar

        After spending considerable seat time in both, my answer is unequivocably no. I actually owned a new Cadillac for the last three years and decided to sell it after driving numerous 9-5 Aeros (the 300hp AWD model) and settling on one.

        The CTS lags (and in some cases badly) in nearly every area compared to the 9-5 Aero. From the seat shape to what it is trimmed with to the workmanship inside and out to how it handles and the ride damping to features to it’s performance and overall refinment the CTS 3.6 is really showing it’s age and I’m amazed people buy them.

        The Saab wasn’t just a better deal, it is a vastly better car in every respect and now rare and unique to boot.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Whatever you say.

  • avatar
    Patriotic_wish

    It’s actually hard to understand the naivete demonstrated by Muller and/or his would-be Chinese partners. GM’s management has a fiduciary duty to prosecute the interests of GM — to the extent that there was no goal congruence between GM and the interests of SAAB, there really was no deal to be had. Muller might have been playing out the optionality of a home-run had the Swedish government stepped in with capital (to save jobs) or hoping that the Chinese would, after pitching in $100 million+ swallow hard and ante-up for an incomplete deal rather than losing face and failing altogether. However one feels about Saab the company, it’s nevertheless sad that 3000+ people stand to lose their livelihoods. Too many of us right here in the USA know how awful that feels. Sweden is a small country and when considered proportionately, it’s like 125,000 people losing their jobs (a week before Christmas I might add) in the U.S. There’s really no good news in any of this…

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      SAAB hasn’t built a car since, what, August? For all intents & purposes those workers haven’t had a “job” (as defined by being paid for useful work) for months. They stuck around because that kept them on the books and checks continued to come. What’s Swedish for “jobs bank”? Only thing that changes is the welfare check will come from Stockholm and not SAAB.

      • 0 avatar
        Its_Magic

        Since August? I think you mean since April(!).

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        I would imagine most of the workers are either doing another job or have at least given it some thought. There will be severance paid to some but generally speaking (pardon the pun) this is not a surprise to the workers. Or it should not be.
        Contrast that to the violent loss of jobs people go through when everything is reported as fine right up until they lock the front doors. No one at SAAB has turned a wrench since April.

  • avatar
    another_pleb

    I heard that Saab actually had loads of money.

    It’s just that the key-hole for their safe wasn’t located where you would expect to find it.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Please tell me Saab is really dead. Saab kept coming back from the dead so often that I thought they’d have to change the name to Michael Myers.

    I used to like Saab, but after six months of “I’m not dead” stories, I was ready to put the lame horse down myself.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Any advice for approaching a dealer that still has 9-5′s? Any thoughts on a fair price for a 2011 model, both the 4cyl and 6cyl versions?

    To Trishield’s point, these are likely going to be smoking deals.

    Then there’s the looming question – are parts available for this car if/when things go wrong?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Then there’s the looming question – are parts available for this car if/when things go wrong?

      If there’s no one around to make the part, then the question isn’t looming — the answer is obviously “no.”

      The stuff that comes out of the shared GM parts bin should be available. But otherwise, good luck.

      And if you have a wreck, you had better hope that the body panels, etc. can be found in a junkyard. (Then again, with low residual values, the car is more likely to be totaled out, anyway.)

      That doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be completely avoided. But the idea of spending new car money on a car with dodgy reliability and no real warranty coverage should make you pause. The thing should be discounted accordingly, and I’d have them throw in some spare parts and a shop manual into the deal, as you might need them.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “The stuff that comes out of the shared GM parts bin should be available. But otherwise, good luck.”

        That’s what I was trying to ask, but you did a better job at raising the point. Anyone know how much of the mechanicals are GM vs. some Saab specific part?

        Body panels are another issue, but if bought at the right price, it may be worth the risk.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Personally, I wouldn’t buy a car like this unless (a) I could live with the car being a complete financial bust, and (b) I could maintain it as a beloved, low-mileage garage queen. (Then again, I would apply part (b) to just about any other European car, including the one that I own right now.)

        For kicks, I checked my area dealer’s inventory, and they had very little left. And most of those were 9-5′s with automatics. If I was to consider anything, it would be a (steeply discounted) 9-3 with a stick, but they don’t seem to have such an animal. Even if I was interested in the idea of it, they don’t have anything that I’d want.

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      Treat it like any classic car. Not many body panels are made for antique cars these days, just the favorites like Mustangs and other cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        It will quietly soldier on in aftermarket like Triumphs and MGs.

      • 0 avatar
        DweezilSFV

        There’s a guy featured in the latest Hemmings Classic Car who makes body panels for his Crosleys out of old household appliance sheet metal.

        If anything happened to the panels on a current Saab 10 years from now, if you really wanted it fixed…..

        You’d be surprised at what you can find being reproduced for the most common of cars, GS650G,not just Mustangs and muscle cars.

        And just recently I saw an 81 Citation 4 door hatchback drive by…with “Historic Vehicle” plates on it. Lots of different “enthusiasts” out there operating under the radar.
        Someone would be happy to work on that Saab years from now.

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      I wouldn’t touch one for more than half the original MSRP. All the GM parts bin components should keep them running for a long time…just drive very carefully and start taking up multiple parking spaces.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The 9-4x seems to be the most mechanically compatible with its former GM stablemates.

      However, IIRC, the only engines unique to Saab from the last decade are the 2.3t and 3.0t from the last generation 9-5.

    • 0 avatar

      Go to saabusa.com, click on Find Dealers, pick your state or any state in the drop down and use the provided links to Google the dealer names or bring up the inventory straight from saabusa.com. Inquire through a dealer’s internet dept and you’ll get an internet sales rep writing you back.

      I emailed dealers literally all over the country asking their best prices on the 9-5s I was interested in. That’s how I started. The car I actually ended up with was local. I first drove it back in June and the sticker was 48,800. They said they would make me a “deal” and sell it for 39,900. I already knew that other dealers in other parts of the nation were taking more off similar cars so I walked.

      I drove this car two other times, the last time being at the end of Oct and the sales rep let me take it home for the weekend because nobody was looking at it and at this point the dealer didn’t care. I took it back after a few days and they shot me a much lower price and to that I lowballed them a few thousand under. To my surprise they accepted it. It is a new 9-5 Aero with no extra options and I got it for 32k+TTL.

      The owner of the dealer also had the sales manager write-up an agreement on dealer letterhead that if Saab no longer is able to warranty the car that they would purchase aftermarket coverage for it. I don’t know if it’s enforceable or how bad I might have to fight them if that happens but it was a nice gesture.

      It is a very high quality car in every respect with no real shortcomings at all other than the brand is bankrupt, I feel it is GM’s best new sedan on the market. If you drive it back to back with 3.6L CTS, Buick LaCrosse 3.6L, etc you will come away extremely impressed by it’s comfort, performance and refinement. It also has the best front seats of any car I’ve ever sat in. Even the four cylinder model is impressive to drive and can likely be had even cheaper if you can accept a four in a car that large.

      Basically, just find what’s out there you really want and email everyone that has one for their best prices. Once you have a bunch of quotes you can go ahead and make offers you are comfortable with from there. It’s vastly more pleasant than actually going to a dealer and being harassed to buy a car when you just want to look. It also makes the haggling process much easier and you don’t have a building to escape from.

      I was fully prepared to have one shipped in if the price was right but ended up not having to do that this time. This same process is what I used to get my new Pontiac G8 GXP and Pontiac Vibe GT cheap when GM was in the throughs of bankruptcy and Pontiac dealers were losing their franchises.

      Good luck.

      • 0 avatar
        romanjetfighter

        Any idea what the resale value of that car will be in 5-6 years? Pontiac Vibe’s resale is okay, but that’s because it is a Toyota twin.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Any idea what the resale value of that car will be in 5-6 years?

        Nobody can know for certain, of course. But Saab is closing shop because the cars weren’t popular, and the residuals sucked before this.

        Accordingly, I wouldn’t expect resale values to improve, and I would allow for the possibility of them being even worse. They’re only rare in the sense that nobody wanted them when they were around, so the lack of supply shouldn’t favorably impact the values; there isn’t much demand, either.

      • 0 avatar

        The Vibe I bought for 11k+TTL new and I sold it two weeks ago for 16k with 25k miles on it. The used car market is seriously overheated right now and people still love and miss the Pontiac brand as funny as that may seem to many here. I don’t expect to be able to pull that trick with any new Saab.

        Even with Saab going out of business and some models like the 9-4X and new 9-5 being relatively rare I don’t think they will retain their value quite as well as rarer late model Pontiacs or other orphan brands. Saab doesn’t seem to have the brand awareness, the consumer demand or the same type of wider fan audience that Pontiac has. At least not that I can see translating into an easy resell a few years down the road.

        Still, with the prices that can be had on new ones the dealers are basically eating your first year or two of depreciation on the car for you so you never know but I’m not counting on it personally.

        I like the 9-5 enough that I don’t plan on it going anywhere. The Vibe was a great looking car inside and out but suffered from booming road noise as well as interior rattles despite it’s Toyota engineering so I took the opportunity to sell it while it was still under warranty with relatively low miles and in cherry condition.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    GM owns not only the IP and platform, it’s owed money by Saab. I can only assume GM now has head of the line privileges in bankruptcy and will take the tooling as final payment. If GM’s lawyers didn’t set up the IP/platform agreement that way, they’re incompetent.

    That would leave the question of what GM will do with the tooling to make Saabs. Will they use it to make lightly restyled Buick/Chevrolet/Cadillac “new” models, or destroy it? It seems like an easy way to introduce another “new” model, just by reworking the front/rear clips and a few interior changes.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    I always liked sobs. I never owned one. I think the two preceding statements more or less encapsulate the problem of sob.

    In the past 10 years, I was several times to the Saab dealer to look at the vehicles but never brought myself to buy one. I just thought that there was just better values on the market. The last new designs coming out of sob were wonderful and beautiful and technologically advanced problem was they should’ve come 10 years earlier. The previous two statements encapsulates what was wrong with GM and sob and why both had to go bankrupt.

    The key difference between GM and sob and both entities ability to survive bankruptcy is the bad portions of General Motors could be split off and shut down, nGM still have the economies of scale to continue forward into better shape, but sob was a bad portion with nothing unique enough or strong enough, And definitely without the necessary scale effects, to redeem it once separated from a larger company.

    That said, sob was a hell of a plucky little car company making very interesting little cars and by the end very beautiful sophisticated cars, and I’m going to miss it.

    Oh and by the way, thanks to TT AC for keeping us abreast of the story and not trying to spin it. And I’m sure going to miss the Swedish Chef.

  • avatar
    SilverHawk

    “GM agreed to sell Saab to Muller because that spared GM the messy and expensive business to shut down Saab themselves”. Just as BMW escaped blame for the demise of Longbridge by selling the rump of the Rover Group to the under capitalized Phoenix Venture Holdings. Because the current Saabs are all based on GM IP, there were only 2 possibilities for Saab’s continuation; Shanghai Auto (SAIC), or First Auto Works (FAW). Both are GM JV partners in China, and if they were interested, could have made this work. Alas, only Beijing Auto (BAIC) was interested in buying old Saab technology for the use of their own brand. Without interest from the Chinese JV partners, there was no way that Saab could fund itself, and there was never any chance that GM would allow a sale to a non-GM partner. The end was inevitable. My sympathies to all those associated with Saab, and to the loyal fans.

  • avatar
    mat0137

    As a Saab owner, I’ve come to TTAC to see the commentary, and read Bertel’s words. Sometimes I agree, and sometimes I don’t, but here’s what I know…

    I am a Saab driver. I’m not a university professor, or an architect, nor do I wear elbow patches on my sleeves, or fit some of the stereotypes out there. I’m a guy in my early 30′s who has driven a few Saabs now, always new, and currently love the fun, reliability, and driving pleasure in my Turbo X. My Saabs have been better than the other brand new cars I’ve owned, including Acuras, Hondas, BMWs, Subarus, and one very awful Mercedes. Maybe I’ve been lucky with the Saabs I’ve owned, but I’ve never had reliability issues, electrical problems, or anything that kept me from hopping in the car and driving away.

    I drive the car because it’s different. I won’t see a million of them in my parking garage, I won’t fumble with tiny black buttons on every German car, and I like it when the parking valet tells me how much they like my car too. It’s not for everyone, and that’s what makes it fun.

    Saab needed more folks like me to buy their cars, and desperately needed new product. The 9-4x is nice, but too little, too late. It doesn’t matter who points fingers at where they are pointed, there are a lot of disappointed people in the auto world today, myself included. I really would have liked to see what Jason Castriota would have done for the next 9-3, and would have purchased it.

    Bertel has been predicting the demise of Saab in much the same way a weatherman predicts rain. It got tiring, but at least there is some closure, and it’s been an entertaining ride, just like my Turbo X. :)

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Saab Automotive unfortunately has just -finally- died a slow death, and not just due to recent developments. A couple decades worth of neglect, platform sharing/rebadging, and beyond poor management have brought it down to this.

    I think its sad whenever an automaker (especially a ‘major’ one) goes away. Hell, i’m still a sucker for AMCs.

    Sure, if I could get a new 9-3X for, say, about $12k now, i’d probably do it. And it’s running gear would probably (DESPITE MY LOATHING OF THE EPSILON GM PLATFORM!!!) last a while to make it worth it, consider these pertinent points:

    1- It is increasingly difficult to finance a car with the impending world financial collapse as it is; add the fact the automaker is now officially in bankruptcy, good luck getting a loan.

    2- As mentioned, yes, good luck getting crash parts in event of a collision. At least new. And even more luck would be needed finding a newer Saab at a salvage yard that hasn’t been turned into Chinese beer cans.
    I checked the Certifit catalog, they DO NOT supply re-pro Saab parts. Well, at least until some Chinese or Taiwanese company buy the molds.

    Growing up my next door neighbor had TWO Saab 9000 turbos, and their image and overpowering gasoline interior smell are ingrained in my memory forever.

    I think this proves one thing, Socialism doesn’t work. (Sorry non-ideologues, had to throw that in there.)

    RIP Saab.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Are they still going to make the 9 4x CUV?

  • avatar
    jeff_vader

    Well in news that ranks right up there with “Rain falls in winter, shock! horror! probe!” sweet little Rachal Pang has announced that Youngman would like to buy what remains of Saab from the administrator tonight.

    Well no dung Sherlock as most commentators accept that this was probably been their game plan along. But I would have thought that she might be able to earn a fortune selling her body to medical science because for girl who was critically ill earlier in the week she seems to be making a huge contribution to her companies plans to feast on the bones.

    As ever, the true disciples over at The Church Of The One True Saab continue to believe in the sainted Mr Muller and his statement yesterday that five other parties are interested in buying the remains of the company.
    (Quick question, Victor? Why weren’t you talking to them instead of the Chinese if they were that keen?)
    But I have to say I am impressed with the number of believers who are scrawling their anger over the GM FB page and the article over at the Church about how this will sadly affect the people of Trollhatten especially during the holiday season. The passion for such a ‘normal’ brand is remarkable to see.
    Unfortuntley I think it is probably miss placed. I would have thought that SAAB AB will now be asking for the brandname back thank you very much and any new buyer for what has been Saab will end up with a production line and a few cars but there will be no actual ‘Saab’ brand anymore. All of it will be then packed up to China to become the Youngman Excelsior or something similar.

    As we all suspected in the UK, just like Rover. The question is now will Muller turn out to have employed the same ‘interesting’ accounts procedures as Mr Towers?

    & speaking of the UK, Renault have announced that they are axing 70% of their UK range; no more Espace, Kangoo, Modus or Laguna. They will only be selling Megane, Clio and Twingo.
    Renault have realised the basic truth about the car industry not only in the UK or Europe but worldwide and it is the basic truth that has killed Saab.

    There are too many cars chasing too few customers.

    There will be more brands to follow into that dark night with Saab, although most of them will not be ruined by an egotist like Muller. Now big manufacturing groups can see that its not the end of the world for them if a brand goes, who’s next?
    If I worked for Seat or Vauxhall/Opel I would be a very worried man this morning…


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