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Saab - Going, going, gone?

By BenCee on 22 Dec 2011

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The news that Saab has declared bankruptcy must have sent a tinge of sadness through any petrolhead's veins. After all, any car lover worth his salt wouldn't like to see a carmaker die, let alone one with the heritage of Saab.

The Swedish brand has had a tumultuous year, with more ups and downs than a Taiwanese serial drama. But the latest news unfortunately seems to mark the end of this marque with almost 65 years of history.

The sad bit is, it wasn't really Saab's fault in the first place.

Most of the damage was done when Saab was under the ownership of General Motors, whose American corporate mismanagement in the 90s and early 2000s left the poor Swedes to soldier on with one main model for over a decade, the 9-5.

Then it tried to rectify things by hastily offering rebadged versions of other GM cars, which was a ploy that failed terribly, and further eroded consumer confidence in the brand.

By the time GM disposed of Saab in 2009, the brand was already on its last legs, as it struggled to seek new buyers and funding.

The new 9-5, launched in 2010, offered a glimmer of hope, but new owners Spyker simply could not cope with the financial burden, and once again, tried to entice investors into the brand.

After plenty of to-ing and fro-ing between several parties, Saab looked to have been handed a lifeline when two Chinese companies showed their interest.

But just when it looked like sunny days were back again in Trollhättan, former owners GM (they seem to be the villians in this story), who still had shares in their former entity, stuck the final boot in when they refused to allow Saab to fall into Chinese hands.

And so, it has come to be, that Saab has now declared bankruptcy, and is now on the verge of closure.

There is a (remote) chance that a saviour may come in at the last minute, but looking at how things have panned out, it seems unlikely now, despite the many near escapes Saab has had over the last few years.

This is a story of a valiant company who tried to be different, but succumbed to the greed and incompetence of corporate America.

It is a great shame to be honest.

Rest in Peace Saab. And may you one day rise again, like the Phoenix concept car you've once ambitiously shown us.

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