C’mon, Guys, Is This Tank the Coming Upmarket Saab?

2011 Saab 9-5?

2011 Saab 9-5?

The recent leak of an alleged business plan for Saab coming from owner-to-be Koenigsegg has caused a flurry of interest. We provide some of the details below. But remember, the deal with GM is not yet done, though it got a shot in the arm last week when, as we reported, the European Investment bank put forward a €400 million loan, with the hope of more cash to come from the Swedes.

The ambitious Koenigsegg plan looks to create

an all electric 9-3 on market by 2012, and before that there will also have been established hybrid versions of 9-3 and 9-5, a 9-5 Koenigsegg Edition between 2012 and 2015, and a new 900 (900??) by 2016.

The idea is to drive the brand upmarket, and a new 9-5 estate (wagon) is scheduled for launch. Timelines and break-even points look pretty questionable to me and to others: The plan projects 115,000 cars sold in 2010-2011 for break-even; 80,000 in 2012-2015; and 65,000 sold in the “premium phase,” 2016 and beyond. In other words, as the brand goes upscale, profits per unit increase and, therefore, fewer cars need to be sold.

The upmarket strategy makes a lot of sense. Saab has been straddling this branding fence for a while now, and with the engineering experience of the firm and Koenigsegg’s infusion of performance tech, they should be able to produce a very exciting set of cars. The cars will need to be exciting and different in order to make any inroads against the kind of competition Audi/BMW will be sure to offer.

Saabs have always been different, but rarely (to me) exciting. I’ve never been a Saab fan, though some in my family are. Saabers tend to get passionate about the brand, and will defend to the death such things as the ignition key location, rubbery shifter, ugly interiors, and other quirky things that make Saabs what they are. Someone has said Saab owners are like Macintosh owners, and there is some truth in that.

Opel and GM haven’t done Saab any favors in years past. Let’s hope the new (to-be) owners can inject some pizazz into the languishing brand.

Are you one of those die-hard Saab fans? Do you think the proposed Koenigsegg plan has merit?



  1. Well, 6 years on and it didn’t come to anything after all. I’ve given up ever owning another SAAB. I’ve had a very nice Japanese car for the last three years from one of the smaller of the Japanese manufacturers who has had a fine reputation for many years for innovation and for thinking outside of the box. Their motto of “Defy convention” also has a familiar ring to it. OK it’s a CX-5 and I love it.

  2. It looks like this really is the end of the line for SAAB. It’s sad but inevitable now that SAAB will join Rover as another name that will virtually be forgotten within a couple of decades. I don’t think we will see a Chinese reincarnation of the brand either. How many Chinese Rovers have you seen lately? I’ve had eight SAABs over a thirty eight year period and have no complaints except with the recent flimsy badge engineered GM 93. There’s even a Holden version in Australia! My first SAAB was a 96V4 which I drove all over Norway for three years without a single problem. I’ll remember the good old days SAAB, RIP.

  3. What a difference a few weeks can make. Let’s all wish SAAB Spyker Automobiles NV all the best for the future. It’s not going to be easy or quick but I’m sure it will work out fine. Everything I said previously still stands as far as SAAB’s trendy drift under GM. Let’s hope we see a return to the function leading form philosophy once again instead of the other way around!

  4. 36 years on and SAAB number 9 and I still love SAAB’s. Never had any major problems in all those years. So why should I want to change? Lets hope that Koenigsegg will now steer SAAB away from this stupid drift towards trying to be “trendy” that has been appearing in their brochures of recent years and seriously make those that worship the Teutonic trilogy think again.

  5. I am a die hard Saab fan and I think Konigseggs plan should work. Konigsegg is a small company that will put intention into Saab that GM didn’t.

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