Saab, the brand everyone loves, but no one drives, has filed for bankruptcy (subscription).
Since being relegated to the scrap heap by General Motors two years ago, Saab has been on a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs while teetering on the edge of complete collapse under its current owners, Swedish Automobile. With this week’s bankruptcy filing, it seems the fabled car company has finally fallen off the tracks. At this point, does anybody really care?
Saab execs have courted Chinese companies, most recently Zhejiang Youngman, but serious cash flow problems and a recent veto from GM killed that deal before it had any hope for success. It may seem like GM vetoed the deal only out of spite for the brand it wanted to kill, but I think it was a valid business decision.
China is GM’s biggest market, and most of Saab’s current engineering, and many of its parts, come thanks to the American automaker. Why would GM approve sending trade secrets to a direct competitor?
The fact that Saab even asked shows desperation. The company hasn’t produced a new car since spring of this year and still owes some employees their paychecks from November.
While bankruptcy may mark the final chapter of Saab’s death, the story began all the way back in 1990, when GM bought 51 percent of the company. Thanks to badge engineering, the brand rotted on the vine only to finally be done in by this week’s rejection of any Chinese investment.
Saab’s soul began to die in the 1990s, only now the body follows suit.
The good news in all of this is that Saab will live on through the used market. Pre-GM Saabs, while becoming more rare and, dare I say, even collectible, are still available through DealFinder. The time might be right to secure your piece of Swedish automobile history.
Do you think pre-GM-era Saabs will become more collectible now that the company is bankrupt?