Francisco Franco Is Still Dead, Saab Still Breathing

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Despite the flood of clumsy eulogies and “don’t worry about the Saab dealer, he owns a Porsche shop” stories making their way into the local media (usually a good sign of a sure thing), Saab may still have some kind of chance at survival (in some form). According to Spyker spokesfolks [via AFP],

Spyker has been in contact with GM today and continues to develop its proposal for the purchase of Saab. Spyker has extended the validity of its proposal therefore until further notice

Merbanco claims to have a new offer as well, as reports that they are working with a Swedish consortium that “does not wish to be identified unless they are successful in the bidding.” GM has not issued a statement about Saab today, perhaps because the release writers were too busy with the announcements of a new CFO and the Chevy Equinox’s victory in an “Urban Truck Of The Year” competition.

In any case, the Swedish government is preparing for the worst, announcing a $74m local job-creation fund for Trollhåtten. Which seems like a good indication that the Swedish government will not underwrite a far more costly renewal. Not that the glaringly obvious is letting Saab’s spokesfolks from doing their best Baghdad Bob impression. “We can still hope as to what the conclusion will be,” they tell AFP. Maybe it’s time to stop hoping.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Majorfrn Majorfrn on Dec 22, 2009

    John, I do get what you are saying. The competition is very tough and I know that in some areas of performance, technology, and features it is very tough for Saab to compete. I have some hope for the all wheel drive models. Perhaps the miracle niche for Saab is not to compete with Audi, BMW, etc., but to stress durability, engineering, comfort, bad weather performance...a car to take skiing, load the family and dog into, etc. But I can just hear someone saying, "Oh, you mean Subaru!" ;-) Woops.

    • See 1 previous
    • Runfromcheney Runfromcheney on Dec 22, 2009

      I think this just further parallels my comment up on the page. Subaru has pretty much taken over Saab's niche; we simply just don't need Saab anymore. I know its fans seem to be grasping at straws looking for reasons to keep the brand alive. They should just accept the fact that Saab is dead and move on; remember, there are plenty of used Saabs to go around.

  • Andy D Andy D on Dec 22, 2009

    I will mourn a company that had the chutzpah to market a car that was so different, even in an era when difference was acceptable. A 2 stroke, 3 cylinder, borrowed from another failed marque. Lashed into a FWD which was really strange. A car to beat in rallys and ice racing. Historically, Saab's only competition was prolly, Volvo. Niche cars built for Swedish road conditions and sensibilities. Saab failed because GM attempted to turn it into something it wasn't by taking it "up mkt" .

  • FromBrazil FromBrazil on Dec 22, 2009

    I really don't understand people cheering and saluting the death of any brand. No, there is space for the little guy and there always will be. When conditions are "normal" almost all companies turn a profit. I think this doesn't benefit consumers at all. I guess some people buy into Jeremy Clarkson's line that everybody should just get a Golf (if everyone were reasonable and bought just using their head and not their heart and soul). Or for American conditions everyone should just get a Civic or a Camry. I mean for most conditions and driving they fit perfectly well. I know I'll never buy into that. Why get a Golf when there are Focuses, Bravos, Méganes available? Why get a Civic when there are Focuses, Sonatas, available? The choice for most is never the choice for all. Keep as much option as possible. Not to mention that the little guys keep the big ones honest. I mean if it weren't for Hyundai or the Focus how much would you be looking to pay for a new Civic? Not to mention the warranty. How long would that be?

  • DaveDFW DaveDFW on Dec 22, 2009

    I also don't understand that giddiness other commenters have for the closure of SAAB. It seems like everyone is ignoring the fact that there are several bidders with money who want to buy SAAB, and GM is stonewalling. Currently, we have Spyker, Merbanco, and an "anonymous" group of Swedish investors. It probably seems incomprehensible to TTAC commenters that these bidders are not consulting TTAC for opinions on the validity of their business enterprise. Why deny these parties their chance to run SAAB? It's the investors' money that is at stake, not TTAC's or any government's. It also seems unlikely that any future steward of the company could do a worse job than GM has. Also remember that there is a substantial cost to wind down SAAB, which is estimated at around $2B, which most definitely is the US taxpayers' money now that we own 60% of GM. A sale at any price is cheaper than a loss of $2B.