Vive la Saab?

I guess where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  I’d never seen a report about Renault being interested in Saab, though I’ve read people commenting about it and reproduced those comments here.

Now there’s this, from Auto Industry:

Renault is said to have approached Ford Motor Company with an offer to buy Volvo Cars out of Ford’s PAG brand group, in order to compete with German premium brands as it has been unable to do with its own large models. Ford is said to have declined the offer, but Renault, according to a Vehicle News report, has not abandoned the idea of acquiring a premium brand, such as Saab, since alliance partner Nissan’s premium Infiti brand has no profile in the European market.

One to watch, eh?

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  1. Especially considering in today’s New York Times, it hints that Kirk Kerkorian, who has just bought a 10% stake in GM, believes according to analysts, that both Hummer and Saab should not receive any more funding from GM.

  2. It may be a case of “the grass being greener on the other side”, but this to me sounds like an ideal deal. GM needs to shed SAAB from draining its finances and all of GM’s moves with SAAB to date have flopped.

    Renault is a willing buyer who needs a brand like SAAB in their product offering.

    Maybe if a sale actually happens Trollhattan won’t lose manufacturing to Germany?

  3. I wonder what it would do to cars currently being developed on GM platforms though…maybe Saab-Renault could strike up a deal so that Saab wouln’t have to restart their development cycle.

    Can anybody say LPT-Nissan-VQ engines?

  4. Renault would be a great buyer for Saab. FWD heritage, turbo experience, great safety and, most importantly, design led. Renault are (or at least were until recently) one of the few car companies where a designer sits on the board.

  5. Ben,

    I think there’s a lot of silent prayer going on at the moment. Not about anything particular, but it’s happening out there in the Saab community.

  6. Wouldn’t have thought Volvo or Saab “premium” enough to compete squarely with BMW, Mercedes (although their star has faded). To me they’ve been second rung alternatives that are chosen on passion, style or price rather than quality. Kinda like Alfa 🙂

  7. A the moment I’d be inclined to agree, but things can change, especially if they’re done right. I wouldn’t have put Audi in the ballpark either 10 years or so ago, but they’re kicking butt right now.

    Love them Alfas :-). Saw my first 147 GTA the other day and it looked cooooool. I had a Sprint once. unreliable as heck, but fun.

  8. Quite interesting to note that rumors are out regarding Renault and Saab. I had no idea that this was going on, but, no later than yesterday, I happen to mention how great a move it would be for Saab to tie in to Renault. I sell Saabs in the USA and I know Renault … very well. I was involved with the R5 Turbo and Alpine importation for the U.S. back in the 80’s. Thank goodness the old crew is gone, believe me! In my view, GM needs to make a serious commitment to Saab. The Swedes know how to build cars and can do so as well as anyone else out there. With the proper support, Saab could and should become GM’s prime European company. It cannot be regarded as an afterthought. A Saab has to remain true to its heritage and cannot become a Subaru or a Chevy with a Saab Logo! I must say that it is mind boggling to think that a 9.2X or a Saablazer have actually been permitted to reach development. Americans and GM have powerful marketing skills – probably the best in the world. But today, the public is a bit more informed and intelligent … (with the exception of political matters). A growing population seeks exclusivity and higher standards. If GM can support a true evolution of Saab, then it should return to the drawing board and do so quickly. A generic Saab is not wanted. If GM cannot return identity to this Swedish company, I believe that Renault is probably more capable of doing so financially, and more importantly, philosophically. So, in my view, and at this stage, don’t waste any more time. If Renault wants and can take over Saab, great for us all!

  9. The problem with GM is that it has never had a consistent approach to Saab (and many other things), and with hostile stockholders and the prospect of bankruptcy looming, further see-saw changes may be expected.

    Saab is a little company that needs a stable and patient investor to develop, and today’s GM is anything but stable or patient. Chevrolet may be big enough to withstand repeated indecisive stops and starts but Saab is not.

    As far as the 9-2x and 9-7x, they would have been OK if Saab had fresh product in the pipeline, full of Swedish goodness, to offset the generic impact of the brand. Instead we have yet another re-badge of the 9-5, and a SportCombi which is great but 3 years late and in the overall scheme of things hardly a dramatic extension of the brand.

    If GM had more time I think it would work out OK, but the Delphi bankruptcy in particular (which added billions to GM’s pension and health costs) makes me pessimistic about GM having the staying power to do right by Saab.

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