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The Future of Saab?

chalkpiechalkpie Posts: 21
What is your opinion of the future of this unique Swedish automobile company?
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Comments

  • chalkpiechalkpie Posts: 21
    Yeah, I've been following that thread. But there is much more than the 9-2x Subaru-built vehicle at stake here (which seems to be the predominate focus of discussion there). With the upcoming 9-7x, first production of a Saab in the U.S., increased US market shares, Saab being called the fastest growing European can brand in North America, the 9-3x and 9-3 sport hatch concepts, the (supposedly) firing of 1,200 employees in Sweden, chief designer Michael Maurer leaving Saab to work for Porsche, etc.

    There seems to be a *lot* on Saabs plate right now.

    Wondering what take some of you have on the *whole* picture?
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,593
    I give Saab's future prospects a 4. As a three time Saab owner I see a big pickup in component reliability since the GM takeover that is offset by a drastic diminution of the brand's essence.

    In other words Saab may become a victim of Oldsmobilization.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,745
    Not to say who cares about Saab as a car company but who cares who owns them? Saab, Volvo, Jag, Mini, Nissan all belong to someone else and those companies have every right to do with them as they wish. It is after all their money. GM has a history of buying a company and over the Years that company becomes GM. right or wrong that is how they always do things and I doubt if Saab will escape the fate of other companies. So what has Saab lost? A quirky car that only quirky people ever bought in the first place. Not that many quirky people bought them to keep them independent and not they are considered more dependable than they ever were as old Saabs. Ford has made Jag a car worth buying even if it is your only car. Before Ford you better have a backup car if you had a Jag. I just don't see anything GM has done to Saab as being a negative if we simply look at a car as a machine.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    http://www2.saabusa.com/concepts/

    I've read in several places that the Saab Hatch in the lower right corner is a done deal. Unfortunately, I've seen no formal launch announcement.

    Volvo had to increase productions plans for its V50 compact sport wagon. A lot of people want little wagons. The auto makers seem not to have figured the existing little wagons do not sell because they are low end.

    I also like the two door hatch on the concept page as well. I understand that the next 9-2 will be built on a platform shared with the Opel Astra. The concept may be a form the new 9-2 will take.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,593
    I don't care who owns Saab, but I do care if the owner disrespects the brand to the point of making it irrelevant.

    Slapping the Saab name on a Trailblazer is just such a step towards the typical GM philosophy of having something for everyone for each brand. That's the opposite of what Saab has been.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,745
    Maybe that is what Saab stood for. But with sales the way they were their stand would only lead to extinction. Some in the past have suggested that going out of business would be better that becoming something mainstream. But that may be because we as enthusiasts tend to anthropomorphize cars to the point we lose sight that they are toasters we ride in. Yes, I enjoy vehicles as much as the next guy but with very few exceptions can manufacturers have to answer to stock holders and those people don't care how the profit is made, they only care how it is lost. I may not agree with the direction a company might take, as is the case with old time Saab enthusiasts, but I understand the reasoning behind it.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,173
    Nope. Took Isuzu's superiority in Diesel engine's and managed to suck the life out of Isuzu for their own benefit. Took away an excellent IMO Trooper, and stuck them with the Rodeo, Axiom (Based on Rodeo) and ascender (yet another Trailblazer clone). Look where they are now...

    SIDE NOTE: I don't know what options are at the local Isuzu lot's now, but back in 91 or so I could've bought a Trooper with a Isuzu 4 or a GM 6-cyl (2.8 i believe) And I'm about 95% sure that the 94 - current Rodeo shares alot of components with the last generation Blazer/Jimmy, including the motor.

    Give it a few more years, I believe the same thing will happen to Saab. GM will reap the benefits of Saabs safety experience (Since they show little intrest in passenger safty on their own) and just keep them on support with there re-bageing methods that are GM. "Minimal effort for maximum profit" Proof is in the current mix: Trailblazer clone (9-7), a WRX clone (9-2), a Pontiac GP clone (9-5) and a Quasi Malibu/Vectra clone (9-3). Take away the trademark hatchback and your left with a glorified Chevy.

    Oh, and just so I'm not charged with making random/irrational bashings, my wife and I had an unfortunate accident last Monday, and she ended up with a 9-3 as an Enterprise rental. Has 9000 miles on it and already radio dies intermittently, check engine light comes on and stays on at start-up, and just today, all dashboard lighting died twice after driving through rainsoaked New England (Came back on about 10 mins later when electrical dried out???) Match that with some really cheap bits on the interior, and I'm reminded that Yes, this is a GM product.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,173
    Nope. Took Isuzu's superiority in Diesel engine's and managed to suck the life out of Isuzu for their own benefit. Took away an excellent IMO Trooper, and stuck them with the Rodeo, Axiom (Based on Rodeo) and ascender (yet another Trailblazer clone). Look where they are now...

    SIDE NOTE: I don't know what options are at the local Isuzu lot's now, but back in 91 or so I could've bought a Trooper with a Isuzu 4 or a GM 6-cyl (2.8 i believe) And I'm about 95% sure that the 94 - current Rodeo shares alot of components with the last generation Blazer/Jimmy, including the motor.

    Give it a few more years, I believe the same thing will happen to Saab. GM will reap the benefits of Saabs safety experience (Since they show little intrest in passenger safety on their own) and just keep them on support with their re-badging methods that are typical GM "Minimal effort for maximum profit". Proof is in the current mix: Trailblazer clone (9-7), a WRX clone (9-2), a Pontiac GP clone (9-5) and a Quasi Malibu/Vectra clone (9-3). Take away the trademark hatchback and your left with a glorified Chevy.

    Oh, and just so I'm not charged with making random/irrational bashings, my wife and I had an unfortunate accident last Monday, and she ended up with a 9-3 as an Enterprise rental. Has 9000 miles on it and already radio dies intermittently, check engine light comes on and stays on at start-up, and just today, all dashboard lighting died twice after driving through rainsoaked New England (Came back on about 10 mins later when electrical dried out???) Match that with some really cheap bits on the interior, and I'm reminded that Yes, this is a GM product.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,745
    are as bad as all that they must have been horrid when they were 900s. Edmunds review indicated that now they are better cars. But to the point, so what if GM bleeds them for profit? That is what products are for. Saab was in a death spiral and all that was left was to pick the bones. Same with Isuzu. If you would have bought a Trooper you would still have been stuck with a vehicle very few people wanted. They stopped making cars in the US because people simply didn't buy them. In the case of companies like Isuzu and Saab you simply take the bones and make soup, they were dead anyway. Sometimes car companies die, that is part of the fact of industrial life. All that is left of Alliance is Jeep and Chrysler has used them for all they are worth. They are still remembered and even enjoyed in this country, can the same be said for renault?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    this was a smart move for GM - they deleted an old-people brand, Oldsmobile, which had been irrelevant for years and totally populated by badge-engineered clones, then they bought a younger-person's brand, Saab, to replace it. And Saab even has a little bit of premium-brand cachet to the ten people out there who don't know that GM now owns it and runs the show with other car companies' models...

    If they keep any of the Saab design and engineering staff more than a few years I will be very surprised. What is more likely is that rather than letting them all go they will merge them all with the Opel people into one grand GM design studio Europe, where they will badge-engineer all the models for that side of the ocean, bringing the Saabs stateside as well, along with the Opels to be rebranded as Saturns here, in one last desperate attempt to keep Saturn alive.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    at Isuzu. Isuzu shot itself in the foot.

    In fact, Isuzu's mistakes were what allowed GM to rework its share stake in the company taking full control of the diesel facilities and letting Isuzu have the rest.

    I rented a Mazda6 with 9.5k miles over the weekends. There were several things not working in it. Do I blame Mazda or Ford? No, after that many miles with careless renters, I blame Hertz and the renters.

    The new 9-3 is the best thing out of Saab since the Sonnet. The 9-2x and 9-7 may be stop gaps, but were necessary to fill holes that years of Saab/Opel neglect had dug. With the planned closer realignment of Saab and Opel, you will see more European high end product under the Saab name here in the States.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,173
    "rented a Mazda6 with 9.5k miles over the weekends. There were several things not working in it. Do I blame Mazda or Ford? No, after that many miles with careless renters, I blame Hertz and the renters."

    While I respect your opinion that rental cars don't get the same treatment as one's own vehicle, I don't know how much a customer can do to affect electrical gremlins in a vehicle.
    I haven't seen a vehicle's electrical system blink out since my dad's old Cutlass Ciera back in '87. Wouldn't expect it to happen on a late model vehicle, much less a 30k dollar Saab.

    The new 9-3 is the best thing out of Saab since "the Sonnet."

    Well, I'll have about a month to a month and a half of seat time with the 9-3 and that should be a good test to me of whether it's all that great. As of now, I'm not too impressed.

    I really wanted to like the vehicle. It looks sharp on the outside, the interior is warm and inviting at first glance, and the engine has some real power for a 4 cylinder. But there's some chintzy controls, vague steering, and all the electrical issues that have plagued the car which have really soured the experience. Unfortunately, checking with the consumer ratings/writups on the 03 vehicles here at Edmunds, the issues I have are not limited to just our vehicle. We'll see what happens over the course of the month.
  • chalkpiechalkpie Posts: 21
    >With the planned closer realignment of Saab and Opel, you will see more European high end product under the Saab name here in the States.

    A few questions here -

    a) Does Saab share any platforms with Opel currently?

    b) Are the 9-5 and 9-3 the only two models that will continue to be built in Sweden?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    the 9-3 and 9-5 will continue to be built in Sweden? GM already reportedly has plans to move 9-3 production stateside and use Saab's former facilities in Europe for something else.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    First, the platform, seats and base engine for the new 9-3 are pure shared GM components.

    The platform is the epsilon with slight modifications to the suspension than on the Vectra or new Malibu. The seats are from the same French maker that supplies Opel and the Malibu. The engine is the 2.0 ecotec.

    The dash components are pure Saab. They clearly continue the fighter jet theme Saabs have always had (the former parent making fighter jets and all) The turbo and the electronic trionic engine management system also are updates of pre-GM Saab technology. The rental is a base model if the steering is vague. The steering is pretty good for a FWD in the sporting Aero model.

    The prior 9-3 was built on a very modified platform Opel stopped using long before. The current 9-5 uses a very modified version of the platform that based the prior Vectra and the now discontinued Saturn L Series.

    Nippon is correct. Trollhatten is a very expensive place to make cars. GM will probably move base 9-3 production to the huge Opel facility in Belgium or possibly even to Spring Hill in the US. GM will then use the Swedish plant to make the upmarket Saabs like the 9-3 hatch, luxe Opels, and maybe even a European Cadillac.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,745
    Oh I agree there. Saab needed a new market and GM will use the name if nothing else to get some of that market.
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  • chalkpiechalkpie Posts: 21
    Any word on when ( or if) the 9-3 Sport Hatch will see production?

    Will this be the next newest vehicle produced by Saab after the 9-7x?
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    the 9-3 Hatch will be around sometime next summer.

    I've not seen anything firm about it anywhere else.

    I am hopeful that Saab is starting to act like the rest of GM and keeping the big announcement under wraps for one of the autoshows.

    Maybe Geneva or the NAIAS?

    Saab really needs it to bring the doubters back to the fold. (plus, it would be a great way to keep Volvo honest on pricing the V50)
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