Well, that’s it then: Saab is dead. Or at least it will be very dead soon. GM couldn’t make the numbers work with selling a brand they had no business buying in the first place, and seemingly had no idea how to run or market, and now a very good an innovative car company, that was also one of the people that put international rallying on the map, is dead.
The title of the General Motors press statement tells you more than you need to know: “Saab Sale Cannot Be Concluded”
What the hell does that even mean? Could you guys sound any more like a much of mealy-mouthed, corporate-speak soul-less dorks? Yeah, you probably could, but you couldn’t even gin up the energy for that, now could you?
And why? Really, honestly, why did Saab have to go this way? Sure, they were quirky, like having the ignition key down there between the seats. And yes, they did have some glaring reliability issues (transmissions, mainly, if not solely). But it’s not like being a little on the quirky side is a death sentence (Subaru is still here, right?) and reliability issues can be overcome. Or at least you think they could be overcome by somebody with the engineering might of GM… but no.
You can look at this as yet another sign that General Motors is a pathetic and lazy giant, and has been for some time. Yeah, they’ve been able to have great successes when all they had to do was manufacture cars that were more based on style and marketing and catchy advertising campaigns than any real substance.
When it came to tail fins on popular new colors or making bigger, more opulently well appointed SUVs, GM was always at the top of their game. But make them have to hit a fuel economy standard, or build a car that was smaller than Camaro, and they were out of their element entirely.
And that’s only in the cases of government regulation. Give them some real, free market competition from the likes of Toyota or Honda or, shoot, seemingly anyone else, and we know how that story ends.
The General had first tired to unload Saab to Koenigsegg last month, but that fell through. And then it seemed as if Spyker was going to be able pick up Saab (hey, Spyker is Dutch, that’s pretty close to Scandinavia), but, as GM puts it, “During the due diligence, certain issues arose that both parties believe could not be resolved.’
Details? None, up to this point … but you have to figure it’s either Spyker not having enough cash on hand, or GM asking for too much of it (or maybe both, if I want to continue speculating on a hypotheses)
\”Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time. In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution. We regret that we were not able to complete this transaction with Spyker Cars. We will work closely with the Saab organization to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner. This is not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation process. Consequently, we expect Saab to satisfy debts including supplier payments, and to wind down production and the distribution channel in an orderly manner while looking after our customers,\” said GM Europe President Nick Reilly. \”
Yeah, blah blah blah Nick.
Saab will continue to honor warranties, while providing service and spare parts to current Saab owners around the world.
Photo from Flickr user: saaby