I thought it might be worthwhile expanding the opportunity for people to comment on this.
It started with this:
A guy I know and respect, via email, recently said the following:
….about that “100% GM Free” sticker…. I tried to laugh, but it did not come from very deep inside. I know what nostalgia is all about, and it may feel good for a while. But, in all honesty, there’s also something like a present and a future. Do Saab enthusiasts really, really want to see our brand go the way of MG Rover?
I can see his point. I would have preferred Saab to remain an independant company, but the fact is that they couldn’t. Given the current circumstances I can’t think of a better situation for Saab right now than to have GM invest in it and develop it – provided they do exactly that.
A few of the thoughts in comments:
9x – if the question is, would i rather see the saab brand “die”? the answer is “yes,” if all gm wants to do is make saabarus and saab-blazers. it’s painful witnessing those kinds of travesties. but, gm is becoming more enlightened, so i’ll be hanging in there for the next-gen saabs.
Muz-X – I understand that the car industry tries to cut the costs by uniforming the manufactoring but it will lead to the loss of identity of the more unique cars.
Ben W – I guess the source of most old-skool Saabster frustration with GM is that the Saab brand just seems to be increasingly homogenised, and that the technological innovation and cool new models that should be coming out thanks to GM’s immense resources just haven’t been happening.
CTM – Personally, I think it is pretty amazing that Saab is still around as a brand that 1) is not just a 100% rebadged thing of something else, and 2) build cars in Sweden which is _not_ the cheapest country to have industrial production in.
Saab was mismanaged when GM bought half of it in 1989. They had no product development at all. The two model they sold was old and outdated. All through the 90s, GM and Investor managed it together. The took some really heavy losses, but the only thing they could agree on was a upgrade of the two models the had – and that when they were about 15 years old! When GM took over, I think they had a plan of what to do. But economic reality came in the way. Between 2000-2005, I think they have taken losses at about 2.5 billion US Dollar.
What other owner should still be taken that kind of losses after 15 years, and continue to give the company some room to “play around” and be something different?
And if I can add in my own (again, but hey, it’s my blog), this is part of what I wrote in reply to the original guy via email:
The fact is that there are people against GM’s ownership of Saab.
…… the best way to turn them around is a truly Saab-ish product. The Aero-X indeed goes part of the way there (and lots of people were won over by it) but they need a product that revolutionary in their own hands. If GM-Saab can put a Sonett in their hands, or something as important as one…..they’ll come.
So again, your thoughts are invited in comments…..