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A Requiem For Saab

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-call-me-baab dept.

Businesses 438

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that auto enthusiasts across the country are dismayed by the news that General Motors is planning to shut down Saab, the Swedish carmaker it bought two decades ago, after a deal to sell it fell apart. Even with its modest and steadily declining sales, Saab, an acronym for Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, or Swedish Airplane Company, long stood out as a powerful brand in spite of itself. 'It wasn't designed to be a fashion statement,' says Ron Pinelli, president of Autodata, which tracks industry statistics. 'It was designed to provide transportation under miserable weather conditions.' Many Saab owners consider the brand's glory days to be the 1980s, when Americans began buying cars again after a recession and energy crisis. 'The cars were communicative,' says Pinelli. 'They didn't try to numb the experience like cars do today.' The cars had odd touches and appealed to those who appreciate the unconventional. Swedish engineers assumed drivers would be wearing gloves, so they designed big buttons for the dashboard. Though the cars were compact, with long hoods and short rear ends, there was plenty of headroom inside. Now Saab, a brand that once had one of the clearest identities in the industry, seems headed for extinction just as automakers are searching for more distinctive designs to help set them apart. 'It's a shame that Saab is a victim,' adds Pinelli."

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I guess you could call it a ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503420)

Saab Story.

*rimshot*

Re:I guess you could call it a ... (2, Informative)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503458)

Latest news is that Spyker haven't given up completely yet. They are right now handing in a new bid and it's up to GM to decide if they want to sell.

Re:I guess you could call it a ... (0, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503728)

Let's hope so. This would be a bit of a sad Christmas present from Obama to all the workers.

Re:I guess you could call it a ... (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503958)

If Spyker buys Saab it will only be killed more slowly. Spyker's financial management team is not too competent IMO.

Re:I guess you could call it a ... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504076)

I'm not intimate with the details, but the mere fact that modern Spyker still exists despite their far-below-average cars seems to indicate genius on the financial management side. Buying Saab, which actually does have good cars, might even save Spyker itself.

Re:I guess you could call it a ... (2, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504070)

Latest news is that Spyker haven't given up completely yet. They are right now handing in a new bid and it's up to GM to decide if they want to sell.

I wouldn't hold your breath. Vauxhall in Britain and Opel in Germany were all set to be sold, with German government money there no less, and GM did a sleight-of-hand and changed their minds.

Near-Death Experience of Saab (5, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503680)

In the middle of this decade, General Motors (GM) owned part of both Saab and Subaru and attempted to save some money by re-badging a Subaru as a Saab and calling the finished product "Saab 9-2X". This single act signaled the end of Saab. Though Subaru has acceptable quality, the re-badging destroys the Saab mystique. You would encounter the same problem if Ford had re-badged the Mazda RX-8 as a "Mustang".

Nonetheless, you need not cry for Saab. It will live again. According to a news report [wsj.com] just issued by the "Wall Street Journal", Spyker has made another offer to buy Saab. This time, we have the real deal.

Re:Near-Death Experience of Saab (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504016)

You would encounter the same problem if Ford had re-badged the Mazda RX-8 as a "Mustang".

I don't know. Ford rebranded an F-150 truck chassis as a "Lincoln", and it didn't seem to hurt them.

Re:Near-Death Experience of Saab (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504132)

The customers of today really don't care about brand - too many identical products are provided under the same brand with just some differences in styling.

And the latest version of the Subaru Legacy has some visual similarities to the Saab 9-5. But that's hardly surprising - since many different car brands do share the same style - even if the owners are different. In the end it's the designers that are hired that share ideas. Just look at how tail lights look on various cars from different years.

Re:Near-Death Experience of Saab (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504092)

I hadn't heard about that re-badging - I suspect we don't see those models here in Australia. We mostly see Subaru as a replacement for the Volvo as the weapon of choice for incompetent suburban drivers. At least Volvo made sense as an acronym: Voluntarily OverLoaded with Vile Offspring.

Re:Near-Death Experience of Saab (1)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504154)

Gad. I hated the Saabarus and what GM did.

The quote in this story, "(SAAB) wasn't designed to be a fashion statement, it was designed to provide transportation under miserable weather conditions." tells the story of when Saab was at its best. In the GM years, at least in the US, Saab took the path of expensive Euro car. Saabs and Volvos both used to drive a bit like trucks, but they felt secure and solid. Trying to market Saabs as a Swedish BMW failed - people looking for the cachet of BMW will buy BMW.

Let's just be clear on what they mean here (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503422)

'It wasn't designed to be a fashion statement,' says Ron Pinelli, president of Autodata, which tracks industry statistics. 'It was designed to provide transportation under miserable weather conditions.'

Is that why they built a bunch of intensely front-heavy FWD vehicles with atrocious understeer?

Many Saab owners consider the brand's glory days to be the 1980s, when Americans began buying cars again after a recession and energy crisis. 'The cars were communicative,' says Pinelli. 'They didn't try to numb the experience like cars do today.'

They also had reverse-mounted engines (well, in the 900) which do little to nothing to improve driving but which make them more difficult to maintain, and expensive parts. You need special parts just to do a brake pad replacement in a Saab 900. Fuck you Saab, you deserve to be dead.

Your argument is over 20 years out of date (3, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503512)

"Is that why they built a bunch of intensely front-heavy FWD vehicles with atrocious understeer?"
"They also had reverse-mounted engines"

They stopped making these cars in the mid 80's.

Neither of those criticisms applies to the cars that they make today.

Re:Your argument is over 20 years out of date (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503568)

Neither of those criticisms applies to the cars that they make today.

Unfortunately for you, the quotes that I attacked were about how great Saab was back in the Eighties. My point was that it was NEVER great. So your criticism does not apply to my comment. The Saab autos of today are just like anyone else's, and they are not the leader in any class — they have always been mediocre autos at best. Why should they survive?

Re:Your argument is over 20 years out of date (2, Interesting)

udippel (562132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503706)

I attacked were about how great Saab was back in the Eighties. My point was that it was NEVER great.

[I wonder how this was modded Insightful? - Not by an owner of SAAB, in any case]

Actually, sitting in our Volvo 240 GLE comes only second to sitting in a(n old) SAAB. Front-wheel drive, safety, it was a great car; and greatly missed here. Except of its price, by then. No, not everyone feels great sitting in a bumpy 4WD Jeep (that includes Range Rover at al).

Re:Your argument is over 20 years out of date (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503724)

Actually, sitting in our Volvo 240 GLE comes only second to sitting in a(n old) SAAB. Front-wheel drive, safety, it was a great car; and greatly missed here.

It's easy for me to be jaded, because I own a 1982 Mercedes 300SD. 100% high-strength steel, crumple zones, available airbag (Standard on all non-diesel models, which can easily do over 100mph... unlike the diesel) PLUS actually being fairly sizable makes it one of the safest cars of its day. It also outhandles Saabs which come in at a fraction of its mass. I ALSO own a lifted 1992 F250 XLT Diesel with an added turbo, which is one of those bumpy things. In fact, it makes the ride on anything that comes from the Jeep factory feel downright posh. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't need a work truck, because of the bumpy ride. But what I really want to know is, how did you even decide to bring Jeeps into the conversation? We're talking about cars here, and Saabs blow compared to the much cheaper competition. A Honda or a Nissan is a better-handling, cheaper, easier-to-repair vehicle which gets better mileage and is definitely in the same ballpark when it comes to safety, let's make THAT comparison. People want the Saab because they don't want to buy something everyone else has. Everything else is just apologia.

Your opinion (3, Informative)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503806)

"My point was that it was NEVER great."

What does "great" mean? They were not high performance in the manner of Porsche. They were not high reliability like a Japanese car. They were not luxurious like a Rolls. That's not the point.

But they were "great" at their original design goal as stated: a good car in bad weather.

Re:Your opinion (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504128)

But they were "great" at their original design goal as stated: a good car in bad weather.

Even the old Citroen 2CV was/is good in snow and ice. I dare say you could probably say the same about a lot of front-wheel-drive cars, though I wouldn't care to trust my life to a Daewoo.

Re:Your argument is over 20 years out of date (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504074)

"Why should they survive?"

Evidently not enough people wanted them to maintain the company, therefore it should be dumped and let whoever buys it play with the wreckage.

Re:Let's just be clear on what they mean here (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503610)

You are obviously not much of an engineer.

Front-heavy front-wheel-drive cars had great traction in the snow. The reverse-engine placement made a reliable and compact power-plant. Nothing special about it, and I worked on them for years, models from the '70s through the '06. There were no special parts required for brake pad replacement, just a simple tool to rotate the piston which is quite common these days (see VW for instance.) This system has become more widely because of its superiority - the emergency brake uses disk brake pads and is integrated with the caliper, offering reliable and the best possible hand-brake.

Saab will be missed - engineering that was obviously superior, with other manufacturers later following suit with surprisingly similar designs. Such as the now-common front wheel drive arrangement Saab began using in 1948. How about cold-rolled steel body frames with crumple zones, heated seats, the hatchback, how about a standard-production turbo? - the list goes on and on. They may not have invented each one of those items but stuck with the good stuff throughout. I am driving a '93 9000 with >195k miles for a winter rat this year. That kind of mileage is not uncommon, in fact almost expected in a Saab. What companies can suggest that kind of longevity today?

It would be a shame to see a great engineering company fail.

Re:Let's just be clear on what they mean here (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503664)

Front-wheel drive arrangement: Predated Saab by a lot, and Saab's first front wheel drive drivetrains were a 1930s DKW design. (That DKW design's successors evolved into the current Audi lineup, BTW, and I believe that 1930s DKW design may have been exhumed as the (very loose) basis of the original 1974 VW Golf's drivetrain.)

Hatchback: Arguably, the first hatchbacks were in the 1930s. Saab's first hatchbacks were in the late 60s.

Standard production turbocharger: 1978 for the Saab 99, 1962 for the Oldsmobile Turbo Jetfire.

Not sure about the others, though.

Re:Let's just be clear on what they mean here (-1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503674)

You are obviously not much of an engineer.

You're obviously not much of a driver.

Front-heavy front-wheel-drive cars had great traction in the snow.

Over about 60% it all goes to hell.

The reverse-engine placement made a reliable and compact power-plant.

Reversing the engine did nothing to improve reliability or compactness.

There were no special parts required for brake pad replacement, just a simple tool to rotate the piston which is quite common these days (see VW for instance.)

Sorry, I meant tool. Because Saab integrated the emergency/parking brakes into the front brakes on the Saab 900 (a horrible, terrible mistake) and used an unusually fucked up floating caliper design, it has literally the most difficult-to-service disc brakes I have seen in my life. I would prefer to service drums.

This system has become more widely because of its superiority - the emergency brake uses disk brake pads and is integrated with the caliper, offering reliable and the best possible hand-brake.

Uh, what? The "emergency brake" on the Saab 900 was the front brakes; it was simply a cable-operated mechanism for engagement rather than hydraulic. On most vehicles I've owned, this functionality is integrated into the rear brakes, but you still don't need any special tool to push the pistons in, beyond a C-Clamp.

Such as the now-common front wheel drive arrangement Saab began using in 1948.

Predated in production autos by Audi, Citroen, and BSA. Try harder.

How about cold-rolled steel body frames with crumple zones

What is a "body frame"?

heated seats

You're fucking kidding, right? They didn't invent those either.

the hatchback

Citroen, Holden, Austin, and even Aston-Martin have a better claim to invention of the hatchback, try even harder!

how about a standard-production turbo?

Yet the first two production cars with a turbo model available from the factory were both Chevrolets.

I am driving a '93 9000 with >195k miles for a winter rat this year. That kind of mileage is not uncommon, in fact almost expected in a Saab. What companies can suggest that kind of longevity today?

Saab can't, they're going under. Let's see how long the 200x Saabs last without warranty service, eh?

Re:Let's just be clear on what they mean here (1)

endocrantz (451169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503722)

Front brakes are always superior to rear. An everyday regular-production turbo - not special one-off model - were a Saab first. Saab mainstreamed all those ideas, many that were previously blips in production (we don't have a lot of DKWs in the US) No mention was made of inventing any of it - using the best ideas in their regular production cars, everyday driver. That's what I'm tankful for. GM has already sold some of Saab's technology to China, seems there is still a market for things Saab. I'll be driving mine in comfort and safety during "The Blizzard of 2009" today. A lot of cars and trucks around me aren't going anywhere.

Back in the day at the commune (3, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503938)

There was always the rivalry going on between the saab two stroke guys and the VW beetle guys over which car had the best traction in the snow. So we had the great drive off until you can't get any further contest (we had a tractor to get the cars unstuck). We got the good blizzard needed, can't recall exactly but around knee deep. Lined up the VW and the 900 next to each other on the old country gravel road and off they went.

The air cooled rear engine VW kept going around one hundred yards further, albeit with not much in the way of practical steering, it rode up on the pan as it mushed the snow underneath, changing the angle, pushing the rear wheels down even harder. At least that is how we all analyzed what happened watching this "race".

Lawn, saber toothed badgers, etc, just my recollection of the real world results with snow traction and two popular alternative cars then for all of us woods hippies.

As to winter *heat* in the cabin, well, the saab won there of course. As to overall rough road combined mud, snow etc get from point A to B day to day practicality, the VeeDubbs took it for the rural hipsters, the saabs more for the townie boys who came out to visit.

What trounced both of them was an old Model A Ford one of the guys had that still cranked and ran. I thought that was funny. They used to use that thing to drag logs out of the woods. It was the closest thing to a combined sedan/truck/tractor in functionality I have ever seen.

Re:Let's just be clear on what they mean here (1)

onionman (975962) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503696)

Please mod parent up.

(The post provides informative rationale for design decisions.)

Re:Let's just be clear on what they mean here (1)

RasputinAXP (12807) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503740)

How about cold-rolled steel body frames with crumple zones, heated seats, the hatchback, how about a standard-production turbo? - the list goes on and on. They may not have invented each one of those items but stuck with the good stuff throughout. I am driving a '93 9000 with >195k miles for a winter rat this year. That kind of mileage is not uncommon, in fact almost expected in a Saab. What companies can suggest that kind of longevity today?

Not to jump all over the Saabs, but my family of mid 80's through early 90s Volvos (an '85 240DL wagon, an '88 740 wagon and a '91 740 Turbo sedan) would beg to disagree. Crumple zones, safety cages, 3-point safety belts, childproof doors...Volvo. :)

Re:Let's just be clear on what they mean here (1)

RasputinAXP (12807) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503748)

also, they each went to their next owners with 175K, 265K, and 190K miles respectively.

Re:Let's just be clear on what they mean here (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504050)

also, they each went to their next owners with 175K, 265K, and 190K miles respectively.

So they'd barely got past the running-in period then?

Re:Let's just be clear on what they mean here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30504020)

One of the major reasons for why Volvo is seen as such a reliable and safe car is because of the rivalry with SAAB. The smaller brand SAAB kept pushing Volvo to innovate and become better.

Re:Let's just be clear on what they mean here (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504144)

"That kind of mileage is not uncommon, in fact almost expected in a Saab. What companies can suggest that kind of longevity today?"

Many of them.
Toyota, Volkswagen and Honda often last that long (and are gobbled up when they do make it to salvage to keep the rest running).
Those brands were just as tough even in the late 1980s. Turning well over 200K is even routine for domestic pickup trucks and (barf) Jeep Cherokees.

I feast on the dead in salvage yards and know their secrets. :)

Re:Let's just be clear on what they mean here (3, Insightful)

grolaw (670747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503862)

Oh, come on....

The reverse-mounted engine made replacing a clutch in my '82 900 T something a neophyte could do. Yes, the Haynes manual suggested using a belt to hold the clutch pressure plate compressed, but that doesn't work - yes, you do need the two special tools SAAB made to compress the pressure plate fingers and then a spring-steel c-shaped ring expands to hold the fingers compressed... But, having borrowed the tools from the dealership for an hour - at no cost - I was able to complete the job with just a small set of metric sockets.

The brakes did need a "special tool" because the brake activator had a hydraulic cylinder with back-facing notches - it ratcheted forward as the pad wore down and had to be screwed back up to the new pad position. The face of the cylinder had two depressions in it and a flat wrench with two prongs was called for to screw in the cylinder. I made one with a flat, metal ruler and two pop-rivets. It took only a few minutes to create and worked until a jerk in a 3/4 tom pickup ran a redlight and hit me in the left-front quarter-panel - spinning my SAAB more than 360 degrees... the truck's bed came up and over and the truck that hit me wound up landing on its cab roof and skidding 45 yards upside down down a city street.

My 6 year-old son and I, both belted in, were completely unharmed.

I have one of the last SAAB 900 Turbos manufactured out of Trollhatten - with mostly SAAB parts - albeit that GM changed the window / cab profile. It is at 160k and doing very, very well today - averaging 32 mi/gal and just passed the CA emissions test (not too bad for a 14 year-old car that never seems to age). Compared to my twin-turbo Volvo S-80 '01 vintage (also with 160k) I've put far more money into repairing the Volvo than I ever did that SAAB.

Understeer can happen in any vehicle with even weight distribution (mid-engine) or front-heavy design. The famous Porsche 911 has massive understeer - big deal.

All that you do to deal with understeer is to accelerate and brake as you enter a curve forcing the front tires (drive & steering on the 900) down to greater road contact, then accelerate out of the turn. Easy and solid turning control with the tight and well crafted SAAB steering & brakes. Yes, you do need good tires - Pirelli, Yokohama & Michelin have been my go-to brands - with the Michelins winning the wear/performance battle.

Two questions from ignorance (3, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503424)

1. Who owned SAAB before?
2. If it is such a good brand, why don't those previous owners buy it back?

Re:Two questions from ignorance (5, Informative)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503454)

It was owned by an investment company called Investor. And they were just interested in cashing in money.

It seems like GM was mostly interested in technology and mot much in brand identity. The last decade of Saab has really went from something with at least some identity to something very average that can't compete with Toyota or other brands.

And since Saab was just another brand in the GM portfolio - and a small one - they weren't too keen on promoting it. Selling an Opel or Chevrolet would add more to the GM identity.

Re:Two questions from ignorance (3, Insightful)

cyclocommuter (762131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503510)

This is not much different from a big company like Microsoft acquiring/buying a smaller company... sooner or later the smaller company gets its life suck out of it.

Re:Two questions from ignorance (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503548)

Agreed. I owned a 1994 900S for years. I liked it but the repair costs were atrocious. That said, it had nearly 200k miles on it and was still very dependable when I got rid of it.

In the later years GM tried to rework Saab as a traditional luxury brand a la Audi/Infinity/Lexus by watering down Saab's classic quirkiness. Loyal fans were alienated and there were too few advantages to win over fans of the competing brands. It's death is not surprising.

Re:Two questions from ignorance (2, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503714)

Selling an Opel or Chevrolet would add more to the GM identity.

If only GM would sell a decent Opel here. I have owned the Vectra and loved it, and spent a lot of time in Italy with a rented Astra - 1.8l 4 speed 200km/hr on the flat.

Re:Two questions from ignorance (2, Informative)

alder (31602) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504046)

If only GM would sell a decent Opel here.

Rejoice! ;-) It is coming. Buick regal 2010 [insideline.com] is actually the Opel Insignia with swapped grille and logo. Initially it will be even built in Germany [74.125.95.132] moving later to Canada [gm.com] .

Re:Two questions from ignorance (0, Troll)

dlt074 (548126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504090)

Atlas Shrugged. GM is no longer interested in anything other then being a social experiment for the government and the unions. it stopped being a company interested in technology, innovation, profits and being the best in its field the second Obama confiscated it.

Speaking for myself as a Swedish brick driver, (5, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503502)

I lose any interest in the brand the moment an American company buys it, because I know that the quality of the "American version" isn't going to hold a candle to the Swedish version. Once the Americans get their grubby little hands on it and start to try to integrate it into their manufacturing and supply chain and QC practices, the car's gonna just be another Chevy.

If I wanted a Chevy, I'd buy a chevy.

I'm finally getting ready to replace my '84 with 300k miles on it. When I do, I'm buying used, and I'm buying the "last Swedish year." I'm not touching any GM Saabs or Ford Volvos.

Re:Speaking for myself as a Swedish brick driver, (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503572)

At some point it will be quite hard to find those in good condition; or registration of vehicles not abhorring to some emission norms will be impossible (you will be only able to continue owning them) - that last part quite soon in Sweden when compared even to rest of Europe, I imagine.

What then? ;/

Re:Speaking for myself as a Swedish brick driver, (0, Troll)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503596)

Toyota/Honda, I suppose. Something reliable and of reasonable quality. Certainly not American.

Anyong haseo! (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504038)

Unlike you, I don't want to push all of the Americans into the sea, but I have to admit I haven't had much with American cars. In addition to Japanese cars, though, consider Korean ones. I love my 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe, it's just as good a car and it was at a noticeably better price than its rivals. And it has a feature that I never realized I'd appreciate so much -- a tight turning radius.

Re:Two questions from ignorance (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503550)

1. Who owned SAAB before?
2. If it is such a good brand, why don't those previous owners buy it back?

The Swedish defence company Saab AB.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab

They don't need to buy it back, as both companies have brand/naming rights.

Re:Two questions from ignorance (2, Insightful)

maestroX (1061960) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503698)

Among other cars, I've owned Saabs from the 80s. Till the 80s, Saab delivered innovation, comfort, ergonomics and durability. At a price though, because comparable cars (i.e. Volvo's, BMW 5 series) were cheaper and in some respects, better; I think this is the major reason for decline in sales until 1989 en the sell-out to GM in 1989.

IMO Saab is dead since 1989. The innovation, comfort and ergonomics just didn't improve at the rate competitors did, and seemed bad rehashes of existing stuff; the 9-7x was a Subaru, 9-5 refurbished 9000, 9-3 refurbished 900 and later Aero's just muscle versions instead of special versions. I miss the Saab touch of the 70s and 80s

Competition learned and moved beyond (just look at Audi); the common 2L engine has seen very little improvements over the last decade, despite efforts towards bio-ethanol etc.
Too bad, I haven't experienced car seats as good since I owned a 9000 and worse were available in later models.
I'm still fond of the 96,99 and 900's and black sheep 9000 which were special in their days. After that, nothing really special setting it apart from the competition.
Thanks Saab for the fond memories, money well spent.

And why do I care? (4, Informative)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503446)

Really? Does this belong on /.? Where is all the fanfare for Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth & Saturn? Companies come and go. New ones will come along and replace them.

I've got an idea... how about everybody who liked Saabs go out and order a Fisker Karma [fiskerautomotive.com] or the Tesla Model S [teslamotors.com] !

Bill

Um... Because Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503508)

and Saturn suck? (Saturn to a lesser degree at first, but eventually it was of course ruined by Detroit.)

Re:And why do I care? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503676)

"Where is all the fanfare for Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth & Saturn?"

It's safe to presume that most of us who hang out on Slashdot don't have an interest in
cars which had mediocre engineering and even worse than mediocre build quality.

Frankly, if you cannot discern that SAAB was very different from the above brands,
you don't know much about cars. But then you've already demonstrated that by your
absurd suggestions regarding the Fisker Karma or the Tesla. Has anyone ever told
you that sometimes it's best just to remain silent and in so doing not confirm suspicions
that you are a fool ?

Re:And why do I care? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503804)

Yeah, because those piece of shit cars, that can’t get further than five miles without needing half a year of reload time, and weigh a megaton because of the batteries, are useful in heavy snow and with nearly no sunlight.... you know... what Saab cars were made for, according to TFA! ;)

Re:And why do I care? (1)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504018)

Really? Does this belong on /.? Where is all the fanfare for Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth & Saturn? Companies come and go. New ones will come along and replace them.

I've got an idea... how about everybody who liked Saabs go out and order a Fisker Karma or the Tesla Model S!

Bill

This is news for nerds for a few reasons:
      SAABs are in some ways the Slashdot user of the car world: geeky, high tech, innovative, uncommon...

Though I'm not sure which car you would be, suggesting that SAAB lovers go plonk down $100,000 for a replacement.

A few of SAABs innovations, cut and pasted from:
http://www.saabmuseum.com/innovations/index.html [saabmuseum.com]

1947 The Saab 92 is presented, with a streamlined, stressed-skin steel body. Thanks in part to a completely smooth underside; the Cd value for the Saab 92.001 is no more than 0.32. The engine is a two-cylinder two-stroke, transversely mounted ahead of the front axle.

1953 Preheating of the induction air, to prevent icing in the carburettor, is introduced in December on the 1954 models.

1958 The GT 750 is Saab's first model to have factory fitted seat belts.

1960 Ventilation system of through-flow type with effective extraction behind the side windows.

1961 An air "slicer", intended to keep the rear window clear, is introduced on the Saab 95 in March.

1962 From January, all cars for Sweden are fitted with seat belts in front.

1963 Diagonally divided brake system with double brake circuits on all Saabs of 1964 models.

1967 The Saab 99 is presented, among other things with a double-jointed steering column of safety type, a safety body with crumple zones at front and rear and the starter switch on the floor between the front seats.

1969 As the 1970 model, the Company releases the 99E Automatic, the first Saab with an automatic gearbox and electronic fuel injection. Head restraints, of a unique Saab design, are offered as an extra on all models.

1970 Headlamp wipers and washers, a world "first", are introduced on the 1971 models.

1971 Two unique Saab innovations are presented on the 1972 models: an electrically heated driving seat and self-repairing (up to 8 kph, 5 mph) bumpers.

1972 Protecting members in the doors and glass-fibre headlinings as crash protection are introduced on the "99s" of 1973.

1973 Front seats with integrated head restraints are introduced on the 1974 models.

1976 Exhaust cleaning with a 3-way catalytic converter and a lambda sensor are introduced on cars for the U.S. Saab unveils its turbo concept in August, the first Saab 99 Turbo goes on sale a year later as a 1978 model.

1978 Yet another world "first" is introduced with the Saab 900: the unique compartment air filter. The Saab 900 also has a safety-type steering column with a telescopically collapsible steering shaft and a sheet-steel crumple bellows.

1980 The APC system protects the engine from injurious knocking due to uneven fuel quality and enables the engine to be run on petrol of various octane ratings. The APC system goes in production on the 1982 Saab 900 Turbo.

1981 A wide-angle rear-view mirror is introduced on the driver's side of the 1982 models.

1982 Beginning with the 1983 models, Saab fits all its cars with asbestos-free brake linings.

1983 In March Saab presents a new development of the 2-litre engine, with double overhead camshafts, 16 valves and domed combustion chambers having centrally sited sparking plugs. With a turbo and intercooler, the engine is capable of 200 hp (160 hp in series production) - while still burning 10% less fuel than the corresponding turbo car with two valves per cylinder.

1985 At the Stockholm Motor Show Saab presents the direct-ignition system, Saab DI, with an ignition coil for each cylinder. Automatic belt tensioners are introduced on the 1986 models of the Saab 9000.

1986 The Saab 9000 of the 1987 model becomes the first front-wheel-drive car to offer ABS brakes.

1988 Airbag on the driver's side, Saab Traction Control and climate-adapted exhaust cleaning.

1989 Plastic parts are marked for recycling.

1990 The term "light-pressure turbo' enters the automotive language when Saab launches a new way to use turbo-charging.

1991 Saab is the first carmaker to present a freon-free (CFC-free) air-conditioning system.

1992 Saab presents its Trionic engine-control system with a 32-bit microprocessor.

1993 Automatic clutch: the Saab Sensonic is offered on the Saab 900 Turbo.

1995 Saab launches the idea of Ecopower as an overall concept for all turbo-charged engines. At the Motor Show in Frankfurt it presents an engine-development project featuring asymmetric turbo-charging of a V6.

1996 Saab presents an active head restraint (SAHR, Saab Active Head Restraint) that is in course of development and goes in production with the new Saab 9-5.

1997 Yet another Saab innovation: ventilated front seats. It is the first time a passenger car, the new Saab 9-5, is offered with this feature.

Saab cannot die! (4, Funny)

someme2 (670523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503464)

It's GPL! If you like it that much, just fork it and the community will... wait, oh, I see. Sorry, never mind.

Cars is a thing of the past (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503470)

I really hope this isn't the last car maker biting it. Car makers have spent the last 100 years not inventing anything new. It's about bloody time we, or the market or whatever your belief system dictates, punish them for their lack of progress.

Personally though, I hoped a lot on the chinese bying the swedish car legacy (both SAAB and Volvo Cars) and turn it into crappy chinese stuff.

Re:forgot something... (2, Insightful)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503518)

Car makers have spent the last 100 years not inventing anything new

You forgot one thing: Car makers have spent the last 100 years not inventing anything new... and strong-arming everyone who was trying to invent something new out of the market.

Re:Cars is a thing of the past (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503756)

Car makers have spent the last 100 years not inventing anything new

Yes, I know [wordpress.com] what you mean [online-carro.com] .

Re:Cars is a thing of the past (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503780)

That's a very narrow definition of new. What would it take for you to declare their product new, a flying car?

New bid.. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503486)

It was GM themselves that turned down the offer from Spyker - seemingly a company that is in financial difficulty doesnt need the money. The timing of the decision speaks volumes as well.

the latest news is that there is another bid as of today from Spyker, so the nail isnt quite in the coffin just yet.

http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article6321526.ab

GM has woefully mismanaged SAAB, played accounting games and not used the company in the way it should.

SAAB has come up with fantastic technology over the years especially around safety, I think the engineers there have alot to offer in the future for environmental cars.

They feel fine (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503906)

Let me guess Liquidate your company, liquidate your company GM - Here's one -- nine pence. Saab - DEAD PERSON: I'm not bankrupt! Bankrupcy court - What? GM - Nothing -- here's your nine pence. Saab - I'm not Bankrupt! BC - Here -- he says he's not bankrupt! GM - Yes, he is. Saab - I'm not! (And so on, I hear Saab feels fine)

Re:They feel fine(Let me make it more readable (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504118)

Let me guess

Liquidate your company, liquidate your company

GM - Here's one -- nine pence.

Saab - I'm not bankrupt!

Bankrupcy court - What?

GM - Nothing -- here's your nine pence.

Saab - I'm not Bankrupt!

BC - Here -- he says he's not bankrupt!

GM - Yes, he is.

Saab - I'm not! (And so on, I hear Saab feels fine)

Re:New bid.. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504162)

If GM wants to retain the IP, it makes sense to let the physical company die.

Over here companies can fail (1, Troll)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503490)

Just as in the US they tried to get the government to bail them out using taxpayer's money, arguing it would save jobs, but the government rightly refused saying it was up to the companies themselves to sort out their finances.

Just goes to show. Even Sweden will let the free market actually do its job. Kinda ironic seeing how the neocons of other governments like to describe us.

Oh and while we're on the topic of governments acting sensibly, our presently rigth-wing government has lowered taxes AND cut carbon emissions. They basically reduced income tax and started taxing fossil fuels instead with the overall effect being a net reduction in tax revenue. So much for global warming just being a scam to tax us...

Re:Over here companies can fail (0, Troll)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503574)

Oh and while we're on the topic of governments acting sensibly, our presently rigth-wing government has lowered taxes AND cut carbon emissions. They basically reduced income tax and started taxing fossil fuels instead with the overall effect being a net reduction in tax revenue. So much for global warming just being a scam to tax us...

Plus, you're doing your part to drive the camel-fuckers and post-bolsheviks into penury, and for that I for one am appreciative.

Re:Over here companies can fail (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503640)

Don't worry about losing your socialist reputation, we still remember very well the Swedish 'women's shelter' case where a government minister and government money funded training courses where distressed women were taugh that the vast majority of men raped their girlfriends, except for "maybe some very few".

Re:Over here companies can fail (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503826)

Even Sweden will let the free market actually do its job. Kinda ironic seeing how the neocons of other governments like to describe us.

http://www.autoblog.com/2009/12/19/report-swedish-government-to-meet-with-gm-officials-could-saa/

You were saying?

numb driving experience (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503494)

I've never driven a Saab and have no opinion on how they fared in this way.

But what is it with Americans preferring numb cars that totally insulate them from what the car is doing? They all seem to like very mushy suspensions where the car tips around corners, and automatic transmissions. Then, because they drive very tippy cars with very high centre of gravity, they're deathly afraid of corners, and they nearly stop every time there's the slightest bend in the road.

It seems the automotive equivalent of removing all the taste from one's food. Sure, it'll still keep you alive, but you go through your life eating bland and boring food.

Re:numb driving experience (2, Insightful)

onionman (975962) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503762)

Have you examined the typical American diet? It's very bland; flavored only with fat, sugar, and salt.

Eh, you give the answer. Food (1, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504008)

Compare an american pizza with an italian one. A real hamburger with anything from any american restaurant. American beer? Coffee? We got Starbucks in holland now and frankly, their coffee sucks. I can get better from an espresso machine. Ben&Jerry icecream? For the price, not nearly as good as you would think.

That is not to say everything american is bad, it is just that when you have to appeal to 360 million people, you end up becoming distinctly average. The US HAS got local restaurants, even chains of them, that provide something different, something with a taste that dares not to appeal to everyone. To be unique, but they will always be local affairs that don't make it out of their local area, let alone across the ocean.

The big american cars you know are aimed at the general US population. They require a car NOT for local travel but for long distance travel (or at least, they think they do). The world is filled with car-buyers who buy a car for the situation they might one day be in that they seen in the movies and not the one they need every single day of their real lives. Every american dreams of driving along a long highway into the sunset. For that you need a 3-ton car with soft suspension. And you want plenty of room on an 12 hour ride. Oh sure, it is hell on the short daily trips, but one day you might drive away from it all and you will be glad for it then.

What amuses me most is the episodes of myth-busters where they test fuel-efficiency myths in 3 ton gas guzzlers. That is because no american can drive anything less then a v8. Because you need those extra horsepowers if you ever need to accelarate fast for some idiotic safety reason (that you would accelerate faster in a lighter car with a better power to weight ratio is something no american can understand).

There is a reason every famous car comes from europe. The same reason Michelin guide is french. Americans do big and succesful, europeans do financial failure but do it beautifully.

Re:numb driving experience (2, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504108)

Quite a lot of roads in the US are poor quality, and straight.

So, you don't care about handling, and you want something that soaks up the bumps.

They can't die fast enough... (5, Informative)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503524)

From the linked article, Saab had a highlight of sales at 48,000 and change in 1986, when they were a post-recession yuppie fad. They were always bad cars, and articles like this one reminiscing about the "glory days" of Saab are a bit myopic. They rusted out in key places, like where the control arms for the front suspension bolts to the body. They're a nightmare to work on, with the engine spun backwards in the engine bay. The "tight steering" meant nothing when coupled with a body that flexed terribly, especially on the convertible models. Big buttons for people wearing gloves? That's the best contribution the author can come up with in his requiem? The fact is that people don't want to spend huge money on mediocre cars. Saab was purchased to be placed in GM's lineup as a luxury foreign brand, much like Volvo's purchase by Ford. The new cars were built on better platforms than the ones Saab could engineer, with all the quirkiness still intact for buyers with too much money and not enough common sense. That GM can't give the company away, and can't make money selling weird cars is proof of this. The year GM purchased Saab they killed off Oldsmobile. Saab was selling ~40,000 cars per year, Olds was selling 250,000 cars per year. They killed a brand that made them far more money in order to have a more upscale image, only to find out what people really imagined the cars to be. They made a Saab out of a Blazer, they made a Saab out of a Subaru, and I'm sure if some marketing doofus thought it was a good idea they would have done the same with a Daewoo as well. Saab had some interesting ideas over the years, but they were cars that were constantly broken and difficult to work on. I've spent many years as an auto tech and diagnostician fixing these things. I'll always have many fond memories of working on Saabs. They've brought me so much laughter over the years.

Slaabs can't die fast enough... (3, Funny)

aoeu (532208) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503926)

Strongly concur, I refuse to work on these POS. The owners also tend to be pieces of work. Kudos to GM for doing us all a favor by buying the brand and putting it down. No offense to the workers in Trollheim. Peace?

Re:They can't die fast enough... (2, Informative)

maestroX (1061960) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503944)

That GM can't give the company away, and can't make money selling weird cars is proof of this. The year GM purchased Saab they killed off Oldsmobile. Saab was selling ~40,000 cars per year, Olds was selling 250,000 cars per year.

GM had a majority in Saab in 1990 (51%) and bought it completely in 2000. Olds was killed in 2004. GM offers unisex cars that no one wants, both brands do not fit the bill.

Victim of its own success (sorta) (4, Insightful)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503534)

SAAB was once quirky and bizarre, the choice of folks who needed some particular features. Then people started buying it, not for the suitability for cold weather or whatever, but precisely because it was quirky. Then the customers even stopped caring about the quirkiness and started buying them for the nameplate. Sure, there were a few folks who needed some strange features, but for the most part, people only cared about the name. GM, though not having the brightest business acumen, sought to capitalize. Instead of quirkiness they sold the brand on its name. Alas, in circles of people who cared about these things, GM and exclusivity are mutually - ahh - exclusive. The cars stopped selling.

There's a right way and a wrong way to capitalize on quirkiness, I think. Apple used to sell their products as the choice of the minority. Their "Think Different" campaign was not so much about suitability but about the mere fact of being different than the masses. That campaign might not have worked a few years later when nationalism and homogenized thinking was seen as patriotic, but it was perfect for the times.

So here was GM peddling SAAB as the choice of the oddball right during the time when it was gauche to be different. Then when that failed they started talking about SAAB's roots in a foreign military when US patriotism was near a peak. I suppose if they had survived, GM would have marketed it as the choice of banking executives. "Look! SAAB is the number one choice among failed banking executives!"

Re:Victim of its own success (sorta) (2, Interesting)

Johnno74 (252399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503684)

And what is it with Doctors and Saabs? In Australia and New Zealand at least, probably 3/4ths of the Saab drivers you'll meet are Doctors! How does that work?

Re:Victim of its own success (sorta) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503686)

SAAB,just another victim of the American(jewish) corporate criminals and wall street banksters.

everything these greed ridden bastards have touched ,they mismanaged,polluted and looted.

Re:Victim of its own success (sorta) (1)

wagr (1070120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503736)

And when they started putting not-quite-right GM parts in them, they destroyed their reliability. Or maybe it was an attempt to bring the traditional 250k mileage cars back down to a respectable 80k. A GM 6-cylinder engine in a Saab ... how rude!

SUBARU (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503540)

YAZZZ!! SUBARU PWNS J00! East coast snow aint no nuthing plow tru that in ma wagon with my three toddlers and ma lezbian wife rawr!

Before SAAB was bought up (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503542)

by GM they made beautiful and wonderful cars. After GM got their dirty gready little mints on the maker Saab cars started looking more like most american cars: UGLY!

What sort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503642)

of fighter jets will the swedish air force have to buy now? Don't tell me they have to get the JSF ?

What about the Saab Defence division? (2, Funny)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503648)

Can Gripens be had cheap?

Re:What about the Saab Defence division? (2, Informative)

bjomape (1534745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503754)

Saab Automobile and the rest of Saab (the parts that make military aircraft, radar systems, sattellite equipment, etc) split into two separate companies with a common trademark a long time ago. GM was only involved with Saab Automobile. That means no bargains on Gripens this time. On the other hand, if you decide to buy one, the support will continue.

Horrifyingly poor management (4, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503672)

Back before they developed the yuppie image and the high prices, they were just a nice solid car that was unstoppable in bad weather. Certainly they were more expensive than the typical car, but not so much so that they were unaffordable.

But GM really destroyed them by pushing them into a market that they were designed for.

We New Englanders still need a nice winter car, and Saab is not there for that purpose any more because they are just too darned expensive now. I only have one because I bought it used, there's no way I'm going to pay $40K for a car.

Saab was a modest company making a modest profit on a modest sales. GM came along and doubled their production and raised the prices. In the process they made the company much more fragile because now they had to maintain sales levels to pay down the expenses of expanding.

Really the story is not all that different from the typical failed high-tech company: crash and burn while attempting to grow out of the initial successful market. The projected sales increases don't happen. This failure pattern happens over and over again so many times, you'd think managers would learn.

A lesson to be learned and yet another reason for Europeans to be annoyed at Americans.

Re:Horrifyingly poor management (1)

laing (303349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503766)

Yes indeed. GM's cars cost much more than they should. If you consider the inferior quality, they should cost LESS than the competition instead of more. GM should by all rights have gone into bankruptcy. Their union contracts have strangled their ability to compete in a fair market. Instead of BK, they are now largely owned by the US Government! When there are no consequences to failure, poor management will continue. Expect more bad things from GM in the future.

Re:Horrifyingly poor management (4, Insightful)

TarPitt (217247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503882)

Their union contracts have strangled their ability to compete in a fair market.

You mean the same United Auto Workers union that the very successful Ford has worked with for decades? Amazing how that union has brought down GM, but somehow the same union represents workers at the successful Ford.

Scott Adams made fun of the tendency of management to blame the least powerful individuals for management failing. [wikipedia.org] . The UAW is a convenient scapegoat for right-wing talking heads, but the decision to manufacture poorly-made cars that do not meet a market need is purely management's.

Re:Horrifyingly poor management (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30504032)

Their union contracts have strangled their ability to compete in a fair market.

You mean the same United Auto Workers union that the very successful Ford has worked with for decades? Amazing how that union has brought down GM, but somehow the same union represents workers at the successful Ford.

Scott Adams made fun of the tendency of management to blame the least powerful individuals for management failing. [wikipedia.org] . The UAW is a convenient scapegoat for right-wing talking heads, but the decision to manufacture poorly-made cars that do not meet a market need is purely management's.

It's not the current union contracts. It's the retirees.

Ford has pretty much maintained their smaller-to-being-with market share. So because of market growth worldwide, Ford is selling more cars than they used to.

Unlike GM. GM is a shodow of its former self. They're selling a lot fewer cars than they used to. The company is a lot smaller, with much smaller cash flow. But GM has huge numbers of retirees from its heyday, along with probably a huge number of early-retirees from the days GM was shrinking and laying off workers.

And all those retirees are on defined-benefit retirement plans.

So, GM is fucked.

Their loss of market share made their union retirement plans the millstone around their neck that sunk them. Just because that didn't happen to Ford doesn't make it false.

God, what horrendously weak "logic" you used there.

Re:Horrifyingly poor management (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503928)

Well, it doesn't stop at "bad management". Basically they let Opel stab SAAB in the back by letting them use the company as a dumping ground for old unwanted parts (for instance stuff from the Ascona) that could be sold for outrageous prices via intercorporate transfers, in general overcharge the company like for instance the same engine in a SAAB would cost the car manufacturer 3-5 times more than if it was going to an Opel, they let SAAB pay wages and benefits for quite a few people who were working *exclusively* for GM and *any* venture - like for instance releasing a small, fuel efficient car was effectively stopped, because that would have competed with Opel's offerings. Also GM didn't let SAAB sell their cars directly to customers abroad, but rather had them sell them to other companies within the corporation like SAAB USA, which is a separate company, for self cost or below cost, and then have *that* company sell the car and pocket the profit.

Opel stabbed them in the back by using it's leverage within GM, GM let them. GM drained the money away, and presented it as SAAB losing money, and since that's what people want to believe the myth is quickly getting set in stone. I realize that this story is nothing unusual, but it's the real story, and it makes "mismanagement" seem like a rather bland description. "Deliberately running it aground" seems more reasonable.

Re:Horrifyingly poor management (1)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503948)

Yes indeed. The same sort of thing happened to Volvo and VW too. They were mid-level basic transportation for the average person in Europe. Nothing fancy. Then American yuppies found out about them and they became another commodity of SWPL [stuffwhitepeoplelike.com] and that was the end of them as comfortable, sturdy and economical automobiles for middle income earners. Their prices ballooned and they became just another toy for the yuppsters and their ilk.

Re:Horrifyingly poor management (1)

wtbname (926051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504114)

Really? Another reason for Europeans to be annoyed at Americans? /sigh

Oh wait, do you speak for all of Europe? No seriously, which one of you speaks for all of Europe, cause there's five of you in every damn thread. Maybe you guys should coordinate your message. Form a Slashdotopean Union or some stupid shit like that.

It will probably take you longer to get your message out having to come to a consensus and all, but at least we wouldn't be subjected to your better-than-thou bullshit every five minutes.

part of our family is dead (5, Interesting)

spywhere (824072) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503712)

My mother's father was the second Saab dealer in North America.
My father and I worked on every Saab in the southern half of our state from the '60s until 1980. My dad was known for converting '65-up models from the 3-cylinder engines to the later V4's, and he also did special effects for the one Bond film in which 007 drove a Saab. Saab offered to build a dealership for my father, but he was ready to retire... so they sold the franchise to a real loser, and stopped selling us parts.

The Saab 96 was so far ahead of its time that nobody has yet caught up to it. It was the stiffest, strongest & safest 2000-lb. car ever built.

Re:part of our family is dead (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503838)

Didn’t they say: Put a cannon on a Saab 96, and you got a tank? ^^

A current owner, not dismayed (2, Interesting)

wagr (1070120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503716)

I'm currently on my third Saab. A couple decades ago, I scattered my old Chevy Citation along a guardrail during a snowstorm (one of the few guardrails in these Colorado mountains). I decided to get a safe winter vehicle, and found a used '83 Saab. Quirky, yes; cold, yes; but great control with a crash-cage disguised as a passenger compartment. Turbo is great for getting around trucks in the mountains.

My current Saab 93 is much more comfortable to drive, though their great handling means feeling every bump in the road.

The most recent models (I've driven them as loaners when mine is in for service) have moved the dashboard away from the driver by a few centimeters; enough to make reaching many controls annoying to me. I already knew my next car would not be a Saab. Since I haven't driven anything other than Saabs (and my father's Subaru Forester) for all these years, I don't know what I'll get. Hopefully by the time this one costs too much to maintain, nothing current will be sold anymore.

Re:A current owner, not dismayed (1)

bdsesq (515351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503790)

GM killed Saab some years ago.
I enjoyed the Saabs I have owned. I bought them new and put 200k miles on both of them. Three years ago I needed a new car and found out they were not making real Saabs any more. The new Saabs were turned into just another GM piece of crap.
I bought an Acura. It is not as good as Saab used to be but it is a lot better than Saab is now.

Sell It to an Electric Company (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503774)

There might possibly be some kind of good business reason to shut down Saab rather than sell it. But it seems to me that there are several startup electric car companies that need a brand to sell cars to "normal people" who just want a more efficient vehicle that's "just a car". Companies that also need factories and workers to build lots of cars when they scale up. Saab has both. It seems that the next generation of car tech is taking just slightly too long to recycle what the dying old generation needs to cast off.

In 20 years time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503820)

... all the car industry will shutdown as today is known.

GM is the Computer Associates of the car industry (4, Insightful)

TarPitt (217247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503836)

They take brands past their prime and run them into the ground

(damn, a computer analogy for a car story. A first for Slashdot?)

Re:GM is the Computer Associates of the car indust (1)

Anonymous Poodle (15365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504068)

More than likely a horse analogy (when you think about it), but I have no firm proof.

If anyone has solid evidence of the etiology of the phrase, please do share.

Bailout imminent (1, Troll)

variable26 (254802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503846)

This just in from CNN -Tiger's ex-wife Elin Nordegren is consulting with a high-powered Hollywood divorce attorney to work on a bailout for the beleaguered Swedish company.

Movie at eleven

Quirky? (3, Insightful)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503868)

Remember the 9-2X? It was a re-badged Subaru Impreza. Even by SAAB standards it was a flop. You can't keep a niche brand going with re-brands!

Saturn went out pretty much the same way, and that's why I traded my Saturn SL2 for a Subaru Impreza, rather than a Saturn ION. The Subaru has lots of unique things about it. Saturns became typical, boring, unreliable American cars.

Way to kill all the interesting brands, but keep Buick on life support.

Government Effects--Trolling for Votes (0)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503872)

Saab of all the auto companies out there should have stayed small and survived & could have done so. They had concepts that suited their market and kept advancing. My guess is someone will buy the brand name, model rights and maybe a facility or two and try to keep it alive by sharing more components with other auto component parts and auto makers. You can buy engine and drive train parts, instead of making them, thus keeping up with the big guys. But the profitability of small volume mfgr as a business is REALLY TOUGH. In the late 1990s I recall auto analysts saying there was twice as much auto production capacity as their were buyers. Something has to give and now the closures are starting. The train wreck has been a long time coming. The overall interference by the governmental entities that push large auto companies in their design, fuels, safety, unions and other choices has resulted in the mess today where it should have been GM that was sold off for parts, except for the politics. In the late 1990s I recall auto analysts saying there was twice as much auto production capacity as their were buyers. Something has to give and now the closures are starting. Rather than our government improving the business conditions so our US auto companies could continue to compete on the global markets, it is easily seen that the state and federal governments hindered auto companies in so many ways. That includes pressure to roll over to union demands. I really don't give GM a chance of surviving long term, because of the innefficiencies in place. The U.S. did NOT get to be a great country by having Presidents & Congress, inexperienced in business, telling companies what they have to do, resulting in inefficient business conditions for the companies within their borders, who then can't compete in the global market that the politicians themselves push as desirable for export conditions and hopefully increased employment. It is just sick. It is a tax on us all to support these "to big to fail" companies merely because senators, congressmen and the President want votes.

Gloves? (0)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503984)

Gloves? As a discriminating consumer I prefer to purchase vehicles that have working heaters.

What about the Spyker purchase offer? (1)

Kizeh (71312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503986)

Any more news on the new offer Spyker just made for the Saab assets? Not guaranteed to be dead yet.

What this thread needs . . . . (4, Funny)

Anonymous Poodle (15365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503990)

Is a decent car analogy.

My Saab Story (5, Interesting)

anorlunda (311253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30504006)

This is probably my last chance to tell my Saab story in public.

In 1973 I was living in Sweden. Just before returning to the USA I bought a new Saab Combi Coupe. That is the hatchback model that later became the famous Saab 900. 73 was the first model year and they were not marketing them to the USA yet. I had mine shipped to the USA when it was only 2 weeks old. My oh my. Remember the adage about not buying version 1.0 of anything? I should have remembered that.

On the very first day of driving the manual shift lever jumped out of 2nd gear, hit me in the wrist and cracked a bone.

Back in the USA, my clutch failed. I took it to the Saab dealer for a free warranty replacement. The new one failed; and the next and the next... That car went through 7 clutches in one year. Once, the new clutch failed only 6 miles from the dealer. It wasn't me. I have long experience with manual transmissions and I don't ride the clutch.

About a year and a day from new (with a 12 month warranty) I drove through a puddle. The car stopped instantly. The engine refused to turn. Upon taking the engine apart, we found water in the pistons and all the connecting rods bent like pretzels. It turns out that the air intake was low to the ground with a 90 degree elbow. Mine was mounted with the elbow facing forward, like a water scoop if one ever hit a puddle. There was a factory bulletin to rotate that elbow 180 degrees, but my dealer just shrugged. After 7 visits to the dealer he didn't feel responsible for doing the work or for informing me about the bulletins.

Still more. Upon further inspection we found that there were no retaining rings on the piston king pins. The pins had been wearing grooves in the side of the engine block. If I hadn't driven into the puddle, the block would have exploded soon; probably while I was speeding down the interstate.

The Saab regional office refused to talk to me or even listen to my story. I sold that Saab, 13 months old for 10% of my purchase price leaving me with nothing to do but Saab saab saab.

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