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Saab Listed As One Of Ten Brands That Will Disappear In 2012

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On: Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 11:10AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Saab Listed As One Of Ten Brands That Will Disappear In 2012

Now I love me some A&W All-American Food Restaurants and Soap Opera Digest, but when 24/7 Wall Street includes a car company (especially one I like) on its list of “Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2012”, well, it got my attention.

That they couldn’t back it up with a successful pick-rate in their 2011 list of dead brands walking, however, kept me from panicking.

[The car company they predicted that would fold this year—Kia Motors— is doing just fine, thank you.]

But Kia has Hyundai to prop it up (and vice-versa) whereas Saab doesn’t. Could it really be true that, as they say, “Saab is no longer a financially-viable brand”?

In the interest of full disclosure I am the former owner of a 1966 Saab 96/850 Monte Carlo. I owned the little yellow cockroachy-coupe for about six months after it was given to me (in non-running condition) and before I sold it in similarly-fine operating condition to a local NorCal Saab specialist.

I should also say that I’m a Volvo man through-and-through. My first car—a 1981 240 wagon in “DL” trim—was bought new by my folks and became mine ten years later with 100k miles on the clock. It now has 1.1 -million (yes, with an “M”) more miles on it, and remains my one true automotive love.

Anyhoo, what that says to me (and it’s my saying of it, remember) is that I have no real reason to wish Saab success. And, odd as it sounds to me to say outright, I don’t.

Pontiac was more of a loss to me than Saab would be, and don’t get me started on Oldsmobile. But there’s just something about that sassy second-place Swedish sheetmetal sales organization that makes it hard to say goodbye.

Here’s 24/7 Wall St.’s spiel:
“The first Saab car was launched in 1949 by Swedish industrial firm Svenska Aeroplan. The firm produced a series of sedans and coupes, the flagship of which was the 900 series, released in 1978. About one million of these would eventually be sold. Saab’s engineering reputation and the rise in its international sales attracted GM to buy half the company in 1989 and the balance in 2000. Saab’s problem, which grew under the management of the world’s No.1 automobile manufacturer, was that it was never more than a niche brand in an industry dominated by very large players such as Ford and Chevrolet. It did not build very inexpensive cars like VW did or expensive sports cars as Porsche did. Saab’s models were, in price and features, up against models from the world’s largest car companies that sold hundreds of thousands of units each year. Saab also did not have a wide number of models to suit different budgets and driver tastes. GM decided to jettison the brand in late 2008, and the small company quickly became insolvent. Saab finally found a buyer in high-end car maker Spyker which took control of the company last year. Spyker quickly ran low on money because only 32,000 Saabs were sold in 2010. Spyker turned to Chinese industrial investors for money. Pang Da Automobile agreed to take an equity stake in the company. But, the agreement is not binding, and with a potential of global sales which are still below 50,000 a year, based on manufacturing and marketing operations and demand, Saab is no longer a financially viable brand.”

Here’s to hoping they’re wrong. After all, hope is just about all Saab has going for it right now. Speaking of which, think Hyundai might like a brand from the land of Ikea? Like Ikea, it’s very cheap to buy, though successfully putting it all back together might be challenging…



dwalter | 3:58PM (Thu, Jul 7, 2011)

Sad news for dentists and college professors...

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