In Bailout Nation Saab Buys You!

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
in bailout nation saab buys you

Without billions of bailout bucks filling the supposedly-Swedish brand’s corporate coffers, in the middle of a massive market correction, Saab’s a liability looking for one of those “born every minute” types. To that end, Saab’s CEO is doing a very bad job of convincing anyone that anyone wants to take the keys to Trollhättan from GM’s cold, dead hands. “There are about five [buyers] we want to talk to,” Managing Director Jan-Åke Jonsson Automotive News Europe. Huh? Would that be four? Or six? “There are a couple more we are also looking into.” Wait, that’s what? Something between six and eight? Wow! They love Saab! They really love Saab! Note to self: play poker with this guy as soon as possible. And when will Jonsson reveal his cards? “We should see which candidates are serious in the next week and a half.” Automotive News [sub] reveals the reason for all the Saab, lies and bankruptcy talk. “Sweden’s government has offered to consider loan guarantees for Saab if the brand can find a new owner to underwrite its business plan.” Sign here, we get the money, you get money. Sign me up!

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4 of 19 comments
  • Snabster Snabster on Mar 05, 2009

    The 9-7 is a truck. I could be wrong about this, but for the last 20 years the US has been the biggest market for SAABs. Certainly in the last few years the faux 9-2 and 9-7s have bumped up those numbers. GM did force the convertible onto to SAAB, and that was not a bad thing. The NG is a decent compromise between SAAB and Opel, and the 9-5 was a very decent compromise. The real mystery to me is why GM starved SAAB of new models and development-- even back in 2002 when GM was flush with cash. Trying to align a niche car company like SAAB into a global one like GM is always going to result in the niche getting secondhand platforms to build on. The new GM 4 cylinders may be the only surviving legacy of Swedish engineering...

  • Kroum Kroum on Mar 05, 2009

    Snabster, Saab introduced the 900 convertible in 1986 thanks to Bob Sinclair, the Saab-Scania of America chief. It's got nothing to do with GM. In fact, Saab-Scania had asked Sinclair for ideas to increase sales and his answer was a 900 coupe with the roof "chopped off". I'm giving you the story because this is quite unlike how GM shove "products" such as the 9-7X down Saab's throat. "Oh, you think an SUV would help you with sales? Here's a Trailblazer and a couple of million to fix the suspension."

  • Snabster Snabster on Mar 05, 2009

    Korum, I stand corrected: Looks like his title of president of SAAB USA at the time. I do wonder how much of the 9-7 was pressure from SAAB dealers who wanted a SUV, how much was beancounters who wouldn't approve anything but a quick rebadge, and how much pure stupidity of brand managers who thought SAAB owners would go for it. The sad thing is , I sat in a 9-7 and it wasn't a half bad car -- clearly not a saab, but not bad overall.

  • Paul W Paul W on Mar 06, 2009

    The Aero X looks like it would fit great in a Transformers movie. It's very ugly for a concept car and doesn't seem to have any usable design elements.