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2010 Saab 9-5  (Source: AutoBlog)

1950 Saab 92  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
One of Sweden's top two auto brand may be headed the way of Saturn

In its 9 years of full ownership of Saab Automobile AB, GM never once saw its investment turn a profit (Saab did post a rare profit in 1995; GM owned roughly half of the company at the time).  However, Saab seemed destined for better things when Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg vowed to salvage the brand, purchasing it from GM.

However, earlier this week it was announced that the deal had fallen through.  Koenigsegg refused to go into specifics, but some speculated that the company was scared off by dealership closures and that some of its investors might have backed out.

Now it appears that Saab may share the same fate as GM's Saturn brand -- it may be shuttered.  A GM source, speaking to The Detroit News, says that GM's board will meet next Wednesday to decide on the brand's fate and that they may decide to shut it down.  While Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings, a previous bidder, had voiced some interest in a new deal after the Koenigsegg deal fall-through, the GM source said that GM has been in no further talks with other parties, yet.

There are approximately 4,500 jobs on the line, much of which are in Sweden and the U.S.  Saab's employees must wait as GM weighs three options: closing the brand, selling the brand to another bidder, or keeping the struggling subsidiary.  Keeping Saab seems unlikely, but not out of the question, as GM was supposed to sell its two other European subsidiaries -- Opel and Vauxhall -- as well, but decided to keep them after talks stalled.

One factor that makes GM less likely to want to keep Saab is the fact that it's a luxury brand.  Opel and Vauxhall are more mainstream brands, which helped spare them from closure.  However, GM is determined to make Cadillac its international luxury brand, with Buick filling in the remaining entry-level gaps in its higher-end offerings.  Thus finding a way to fit Saab, another high-end brand, into its new business plan will be difficult, to say the least.

Saab produced its first vehicle in 1949: the 1950 Saab 92.  The car featured an impressive industry best drag coefficient of 0.30 at the time, aided by the company's aerodynamic expertise.  The company still has some valuable properties, namely its promising new 2010 Saab 9-5 sedan, its 9-3 sedan, and its 9-3x XUV.

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Not even the Chinese want it?
By wingless on 11/27/2009 7:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
Surely the Chinese would have bought them by now. Saabs must be hated universally. Heck, I'd buy a hatch since they are luxury Subaru WRXs.

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By Brandon Hill on 11/27/2009 7:32:47 PM , Rating: 5
They really don't offer anything appealing these days and their resale value is HORRENDOUS!

There is absolutely no reason to pick a Saab over a competitor within the same price range.

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By spread on 11/27/09, Rating: -1
RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By Brandon Hill on 11/27/2009 8:24:21 PM , Rating: 3
Saab. GM's other brands actually have some quite compelling vehicles.

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By siuol11 on 11/27/09, Rating: 0
RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By Brandon Hill on 11/27/2009 9:29:48 PM , Rating: 4

Chevy Malibu
Chevy Camaro
Chevy Equinox (new model)
Chevy Traverse (crossover)
Full-size trucks
Buick Enclave (crossover)
Buick Lacrosse (new model)
Buick Regal (new model)
Cadillac CTS/CTS-V/CTS Coupe/CTS Sportwagen

I know it's cool to **** all over GM these days, but they ARE trying and their new products prove that. Change doesn't happen overnight.

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By quiksilvr on 11/27/09, Rating: -1
RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By NA1NSXR on 11/28/2009 2:30:55 AM , Rating: 5
If you have any understanding of foreign affairs or especially economics, you know the changes he is proposing will likely doom the nation if a republican opposition isn't voted into congress next year. Some of us have the flexibility of moving overseas if things go bad, but most people don't.

Cash for clunkers was stupid. Health care reform is a meaningless phrase in itself, and the kind of reform they are pushing for is just devastating if implemented (not to mention completely undo-able).

America is at a crossroads and runs the risk of looking absolutely retarded in future history books. We are on a course to commit mistakes we vehemently fought against only one and two generations ago.

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By quiksilvr on 11/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By axias41 on 11/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By hyvonen on 11/30/2009 7:34:04 AM , Rating: 2
And you had to make it into a political argument...
Trolls like you should be burned.

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By erple2 on 11/30/2009 5:31:10 PM , Rating: 2
Acid also stops regeneration.

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By bryanW1995 on 11/28/2009 12:42:30 AM , Rating: 2
that's just stupid. I own a competing franchise, but my wife refuses to give up her buick enclave (that we are paying for) to get into a free demo. How's that for compelling???

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By fcx56 on 11/28/2009 1:42:31 PM , Rating: 5
Depends, is it a Chrysler dealership you own?

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By Operandi on 11/27/2009 8:58:53 PM , Rating: 2
They do actually have some class leading vehicles like the Malibu, CTS, and the Vette. As far as an entire lineup however they have a ways to go.

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By BZDTemp on 11/29/2009 4:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
It is not because they do not offer anything it is because they are different. It is the same effect with cars in special colours just even more with cars that are altogether special.

Buying a SAAB is a choice which makes you stand out and many people are not willing to do that. Sure we all say we are individuals but only want to be more individual that the next guy.

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By BikeDude on 11/28/2009 4:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
GM doesn't want to sell to the Chinese.

Koenigsegg spent a lot of time negotiating the terms between BAIC and GM, before they had to give up. That negotiation won't become easier if BAIC tries to buy the whole thing.

Saabs happen to manufacture the safest vehicles available to man. And what is more: They're fun to drive, comfortable and practical. Saabs are like a safer version of Audi and BMW.

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By MrWho on 11/28/2009 2:50:21 PM , Rating: 2
"Saabs are like a safer version of Audi and BMW"

Oh, perhaps you meant to say "Volvos are like a safer version of Audi and BMW"?

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By BikeDude on 11/29/2009 10:00:20 AM , Rating: 2
Folksam, an insurance company in Sweden, investigates many serious accidents in Sweden and every year publishes their ratings based on how vehicles perform in real-life accidents.

Saab 9-5 has consistently scored their highest rating for a decade now. In its class, it is the only vehicle awarded the 30%+ safer than average rating. Only this year was it joined by a different brand for this rating. Last year I could have said the same about Saab 9-3, but this year it was bumped down a notch for some unspecified reason. The 9-5 however remains solid as a rock, and the new 9-5 is said to be even safer.

So no, I did not think of Volvo. Volvo being the safest vehicle around is a popular myth, at least when you compare it to a Saab. If you check out what happened when Volvo joined the world of racing, you'll notice that they had to fit a safety cage, whereas the competing Saab model already had one built in. Even historically speaking, you do not seem very knowledgable.

Do your homework. Albeit Volvo and Saabs both subject their cars to moose collision tests, only Saabs pass with flying colours every time. Volvo is a good second though.

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By mydogfarted on 11/30/2009 10:22:54 AM , Rating: 3
GM doesn't want to sell to the Chinese.

Who did they sell Hummer to?

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By BikeDude on 12/3/2009 3:48:32 AM , Rating: 2
The new 9-5 is jam-packed with new and fresh technology. XWD, HyperStrut suspension, pedestrian safety, moose safe, and many interior bits and pieces that showcases the best of what GM can currently offer.

I would be very surprised if it can be compared to the Hummer at all. How old is that design? 10? 20 years?

The Hummer is a big slab of metal on top of some big wheels. GM doesn't intend to compete with that, so the Chinese are welcome to it. Big difference, no?

RE: Not even the Chinese want it?
By mars2k on 11/28/2009 12:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
The pity is that GM bought SAAB when it actually had something to offer then turned it into the lifeless hulk we see today. GM is in the difficulty it is today because of its braindead corporate culture. You could look at this SAAB problem as another example of GM's ineptness.
I say these things not because its popular to bash GM but because its the truth.
Compare Ford's purchase of Volvo. Ford incorporated the good things Volvo had going for it into its product line up. The current and past Taurus models would be good examples and there are other.
GM on the other hand made SAAB more GM-like and now they can't give the company away.

Cadillac, the international brand of luxury?
By BikeDude on 11/28/2009 5:05:57 AM , Rating: 3
However, GM is determined to make Cadillac its international luxury brand

So nothing has changed. GM tried to produce Cadillacs in Saab's factory in Sweden. The result was abysmal and a huge drain on Saab's finances (thx GM). Europeans do not want Cadillacs. That has not changed and will not change.

That said, your story is old. There are now many companies that have approached GM and showing an interest in buying Saab. Merbanco was quoted recently saying they are absolutely still interested, but not if the negotiations turn into a 6 month odyssey.

If GM want to sell Saab, they can. But they can't fuzz with each and every detail as if they really, deep down inside, want to keep their little toy all by themselves.

I used to own a 2008 9-3 SportCombi. I am trying to find a way to wait for the new 9-5, or maybe just buy a 9-3 Aero TX (which I have been told will take some months to deliver too).

RE: Cadillac, the international brand of luxury?
By Pneumothorax on 11/28/2009 9:55:41 AM , Rating: 2
The current crop of Cadillac cars have a few winners, but they sure are UGLY. (IMHO, of course) If it's ever made, the upcoming 9-5x is a much better looking car than the CTS.

By MarcLeFou on 11/29/2009 10:50:57 AM , Rating: 2
I find the CTS sexy. Its one of GM's best design IMO.

By MrWho on 11/28/2009 2:53:34 PM , Rating: 2
I'd very much prefer to buy european (exept italian) or japanese cars than anything american - talking about mainstream cars, forget exotic or luxury. So, yeah, cadillac doesn't appeal to me. Even ford, which is mainstream around here, isn't in my plans to buy. IMHO, only fiat is worse than ford.

By DigitalFreak on 11/27/2009 9:21:40 PM , Rating: 2
Drove by a Saturn dealer yesterday. They had one new car in the back. Everything else was used and mostly non-Saturn.

RE: Saturn
By sieistganzfett on 11/27/2009 10:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
really? the one in NJ 2 miles from my house went from lot full of new to an empty lot of maybe 10 cars with a huge sign just saying "service center open" since the brand was killed. No idea where the cars went, I don't recall a huge sale. Pitty since they just replaced the saturn sign out in front along the highway right before the brand was killed. :o

Yeah, yeah,..
By chagrinnin on 11/28/2009 1:57:18 AM , Rating: 4
..everybody's got a saab story. :P

By mmatis on 11/30/2009 9:06:22 PM , Rating: 2
riddance. Now if they can only do the same for the REST of GM (and Chrysler)...

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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