In a matter of a few weeks both of Sweden’s indigenous car companies have hit big trouble. Admittedly SAAB had it coming for a while, with GM looking to the Swedes for that elusive thing called ‘profit’, at the same time desperately attempting to sell a restyled Chevy as the SAAB 9-7 in the States…..Some would argue that the rot set in years ago when SAAB started using GM platforms to spread the capital investment, but it can’t be that simple; VW/Audi/Seat manage it remarkably well, PSA manage it, as do Nissan and Renault. To put it bluntly, if someone wants a car badly enough they don’t care that it shares an engine with brand X or suspension with brand Y.
As an impressionable car-nut kid I distinctly remember this ad;
It might just be the 80’s style that made this a memorable ad, but to me SAAB never made a car as cool as that 900turbo again…coincidentally that was just before GM came along. Bottom line – I think they lost their identity. SAABs became a little bit forgettable in the 90’s, unremarkable; their idiosyncrasies were gradually ironed out in an attempt to gain more mass-market appeal. Right now there’s a wafer-thin chance they might survive with the tiny Dutch company Spyker buying them out; in some bizarre way it just might work – if they can focus on clever engineering and innovation on a much smaller scale…here’s to hoping.
So in the spirit of celebrating life here are some choice SAAB YouTube snippets;
the tag-line in this one; “to be continued”seems oddly prophetic now….