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Thread: SAAB Dies a Dusty Death

  1. #1

    Default SAAB Dies a Dusty Death

    Ever since Sweden's SAAB Automobilia was spun off from a weakened and failing GM a few years ago, it has been the unwanted, unobtainable-even-if-you-want-it, bastard child of the automobile kingdom.
    A proud nameplate since 1949, Saab has been famous among automobile freaks as one of the better European sporty sedans and one of the more unique front-wheel/all-wheel drive
    cars available. A pioneer in front-wheel drive technology and turbocharging, Saabs have always been thought of as quirky and somehow different from other marques.

    For example, one always starts a SAAB by inserting the key into a slot on the CENTER CONSOLE, and at one time, SAAB's engines were tiny displacement 2-strokes, little OHC 2-bangers that popped and smoked and needed oil added whenever you added gasoline. And there was no mistaking a SAAB for anything else. Their designs were as unique as VW's Beetle, and until GM began cloning SAABs off of other cars, there was nothing like them on the road. It was not a big seller; it was more like an underground secret car, and despite holding its' own in the world market, few bought the car and it was considered sort of a "boutique" model-- but it was always THERE, a proud member of a weakening fraternity.

    Despite their odd personalities, out there in The Wild SAABs could be competitive beasts. They won more rallies and Winter trials than ANY car and they became the prototype for small-displacement, sporty front-wheelers when the genre became popular in the '70s. They were dependable, too, with their smallish turbocharged engines owning a top number in owner reliability polls, and they were well made and exceeded any safety standards that the Government nannies threw out at them. The last generation of SAABs, the clumsily named 9-3s and 9-5s are regarded as among the very best of the European car lines, although in recent years their quality has slipped.

    Once abandoned by GM, SAAB had, um... a Chinaman's Chance of surviving. Since 2005, their sales ( never huge to begin with..)have dropped by half, and the engineering and design of the cars have fallen a generation behind the their competition. The emasculated parent company lost their credit standing this summer and the factory began working week-on, week-off schedules. Recent production was in the 15-20,000 range annually, worldwide. Nothing, really.

    During the past few years, several people have come forward to "rescue" SAAB and presumably, continue to produce them. The billionaire who manufactures the Spyker cars-- a high-end European Supercar-- tried to buy SAAB and found that the expense was beyond his means, and the deep-pockets Malaysian company that makes Lotus jumped in and discovered the same thing.

    SAAB Scania, the parent company, managed to limp along this year, finding Hail Mary financing to keep the assembly lines moving, but eventually their suppliers cut them off and SAAB circled the bowl. A couple Chinese suitors entered the field, but GM, which has a pretty substantial market in China now, did NOT want to compete against a car line in China that they recently discarded and they refused to allow the Chinese company to buy in. GM successfully BLOCKED the sale in the Chinese courts-- so SAAB was finally out there, all alone, twisting in the wind. Production, spotty over the past year, became impossible and SAAB couldn't make payroll for their 3,000 workers, so the management shut the the lights off in their factory and left the building.
    (-- And, I'm sure that most of Sweden did NOT want to see their ENTIRE automobile industry transferred to China. Swedes recoiled at the idea. A matter of national pride, I'd guess).

    Yesterday, SAAB declared bankrupcy and the company will be liquidated. No one knows what will hapen to SAAB; the dusty bones of the company will probably be picked over, the heavy machinery going to China, no doubt, and the nameplate will be retired, like Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Mercury, Saturn and Pontiac have been...

    I never owned a SAAB but I had a few friends who did, and each one of their cars that I drove (or rode around in) led me to highly respect the marque.
    I'll bet that this is the PERFECT time to make a deal on a new SAAB. This moment will never come again.

    Adios, SAAB.
    Too bad.
    Last edited by Hof; February 3rd, 2012 at 10:47 AM.

  2. #2


    SAAB died the minute GM took over ....they quickly turned a great quirky car into a rebadged Opel.

    Even if the latest offerings were improved and tried to get things back on track...too much damage had been done.

    A car once full of personality had became a typical GM turd:

    Last edited by Fabrizio; December 21st, 2011 at 05:23 AM.

  3. #3


    They also badge-engineered a Honda SUV (I think it was a Honda--I don't pay very much attention to SUVs). It was somebody else's truck with a SAAB tri-fold facia grafed on. it didn't fool anyone, even people who pay no attention to SUVs.

  4. #4
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Nairobi Hilton


    Saab was the safety car, then I heard that they became very unreliable in the last years.

  5. #5


    On 23 January, the corporate liquidators hired to sell SAAB's properties--ie; real estate, factories, machinery, parts inventory, etc--will auction off the 120 classic SAABs that were part of it's Trollhaten, Sweden Heritage Museum. The vehicles range from the first post WW II SAAB prototypes to some of it's current models. Among the inventory-- SAAB #1, several of the ultra-rare Sonnet sportscars, a number of winning competition SAABs; the entire group of cars is the only complete collection of ALL the different production SAABs known to exist on Planet Earth. I would have LOVED to have seen it intact, before they all get sold off and sent their different ways.

    --" SAAB-- Born of Jets" ...( A recent SAAB advertising slogan)...

    SAAB's aircraft subsidiary, which produces sophisticated parts and sub-assemblies for private and military aircraft, was spun off (by General Motors) several years ago and is not affected by the auto company's problems. At least the SAAB name will live on...
    Last edited by Hof; January 20th, 2012 at 04:14 PM.

  6. #6
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    That's the way the cookie crumbles.

  7. #7


    -- The latest news from Sweden--The SAAB Museum will not be parted out!!!

    A company named Delphi (--the GM spinoff...or a European conglomerate??) has emerged as an angel and has joined with several European investors to purchase the Heritage Museum in Trollhatten from the bankrupcy recievers for $4 million. The 120-car collection will remain intact and the Museum will become a permanent cultural institution, presumably focusing on Sweden's fading manufacturing economy.

    The Chinese ( as I predicted), through a holding company backed by several car makers, have purchased the heavy machinery and propriatery design information and will move most of it to China, where they will probably begin making SAAB knockoffs with phony "Gucci" interiors and counterfeit Goodyear tires very soon, so they can begin selling them back to us--at a substantial discount--as the "New SAAB".

  8. #8
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003



    Just like Rollox, they gotta be "original" fakes.

  9. #9


    S O B ==Saab of Beijing


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