backtop


Print 25 comment(s) - last by MightyAA.. on Dec 22 at 10:06 AM


Saab is about to die, with GM killing talks and announcing plans to shutter the brand. The brand's vehicles will live on, at least temporarily in Chinese models based on the 9-3 and 9-5 platforms sold to a Beijing automaker.  (Source: AutoBlog)
There's no storybook ending to this Saab story

The Saab story was a dramatic piece from start to finish.  Saab Automotive launched officially in 1949, bringing its engineers' experience in aircraft aerodynamics to the auto industry.  That high-tech legacy set the company off to a solid start, but couldn't spare it from a downturn in the late 1980s.  Convinced that the company would turn around, GM bought half of the company in 1989.

In 1995, the automaker posted its first profit in seven years.  However, it quickly slid back into losses as its lineup weakened and failed to appeal in the luxury market against the likes of Lincoln, Lexus, Buick, Acura, Infiniti, and Cadillac.  Nonetheless, GM loaded Saab onboard in 2000, buying the remaining half of the shares on the market, in line with its 1989 vision.

The future looked promising.  New models like the 9-3 and 9-5 pleased many luxury buyers and sales started to show signs of life as it entered the turn of the century.  However, the economic downturn that hit starting in 2007 and continued in earnest through 2008 into 2009 would eventually spell doom for the Swedish veteran.

In June of 2009 the seemingly inevitable happened -- GM filed for bankruptcy.  With that filing came talks of selling -- or closing Saab.  A deal was brokered with Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg, but the optimism driven by that deal rapidly evaporated when the final negotiations collapsed last month for unspecified reasons.  That failure, in part, cost GM CEO Fritz Henderson his job.

And it was the beginning of the end of this Saab story.  GM tried to sell Saab to Dutch supercar-maker Spyker, but in the eleventh hour the promising bid fell flat, leaving Saab Automotive with a final ride into the twilight.  GM announced Friday that it would not be selling Saab's remaining assets or continue the brand, but would instead "wind down" its operations.

A blow to the Swedish economy, the decision is a hard pill to swallow, but it was expected.  And for Saab enthusiasts, there's still an extra wrinkle to consider.  GM has reached a deal with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp to sell the Chinese automaker technology and assets behind its popular 9-3 and 9-5 lineup.  That means that while the Saab nameplate may die, its image will live on for some time in Chinese-branded clones.  For some who miss Saab, that's a comforting thought, for others, a final affront in the ill-fated Saab story.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: The nameplate must be worth something
By Penti on 12/19/2009 9:47:13 AM , Rating: 2
Saab didn't have a small car something important (at least in Europe), that's really a reason why they fell so bad. It wouldn't have shielded them from the 30% drop, in sales, but it would at least made them money when they had sales. For example 10% of Volvo's sales in 2007 where C30, 13.6% where V50 (another 13.75% S40). Saab could have easily sold 10-20k more cars with just one small model.

We buy big cars in Sweden, V70 is the most sold. But these companies can't live on Sweden alone. They must understand that and they have not. Saab was only small cars till the 80's... And production in Sweden is actually cheap compare to the states where they need to pay massive health care and pension insurances.


By MightyAA on 12/22/2009 10:06:44 AM , Rating: 2
They actually did have one developed. It started as the 9-X concept and I think eventually became the 9-1. GM killed the project and release.
GM killed a lot of Saab. Just google back to around 2000. Saab had a running prototype variable compression engine which won a bunch of awards; GM accountants killed the development, let go the engineering department, and moved development to Detroit. Way to go!


"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki