With some sadness, we read that GM is killing off Saab, although spare parts will still be made. The BBC’s Jorn Madslien explains how a well-engineered car line died (italics mine):
When its owner GM bought Saab, it was seen as a brand that could become the US automotive group’s European luxury brand.
But the quirky cars did not attract a broad enough following, so it failed to make money.
GM’s solution was to cut costs by sharing ever more parts with Opel while, at the same time, toning down their design.
Such moves alienated traditional Saab customers without gaining new ones. New product development ground to a halt and in the end, there was simply not enough left of Saab to make it worth preserving.
Once again, U.S. car executives screw up something that works. My family owns a 1987 Saab that still runs well. I have driven many different four-door cars, and I have never driven a car that comes close in handling–these were cars built for drivers who like and know how to drive. In some ways, they were engineered far better than Mercedes. It’s no accident (pun intended) that once GM took complete control of Saab in 2000, everything ground to a halt.
Saabs were never ‘luxury’ cars, but cars for people who wanted affordable quality (combined with a distinctive look)–GM never bothered to understand the brand.
More added economic value from U.S. boardrooms [/snark].