Mike the Mad Biologist

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].

Comments

  1. #1 mo
    December 19, 2009

    In Germany, we were all so happy that GM wanted to sell Opel to Magna, but those cheating fuckers turned on us. In Some years, they will have killed Opel too.

  2. #2 kevin R
    December 19, 2009

    the decision to buy Saab ( and ruin) was made by the same brain trust that bankrupted GM while pocketing millions in executive compensation.

  3. #3 John
    December 19, 2009

    Spare parts will still be made? That’s the most ironic part! The first way they alienated existing customers when they bought Saab was to destroy all of the spare parts for all models produced before the takeover, buy back any and all retrievable previous-model parts on the market to be destroyed, and to destroy all tooling necessary to make parts for those preceding models. Which left every Saab owner on the planet with an unmaintainable (regular maintenance parts were destroyed, too) car.

    Anyone who owned a Saab learned a hard, expensive lesson from GM. No kidding they walked away and never came back.

  4. #4 Nox
    December 20, 2009

    Suuuuure spare parts will still be made. GM promised that when they bought Daewoo (which had only been selling cars in the US for a couple of years) back in 2001 (or 2002?). As the owner of one of those Daewoos I can tell you it was a total lie. They pulled all existing parts off the market and never started making new ones. On the plus side, my inexpensive little car still runs great and has never needed serious work. On the other hand, entropy will win in the end.