Saab Back From the Dead… Again?


Saab is the zombie of cars.

The company has a convoluted history that has put it among the walking dead since the turn of the century.

Saab was in its prime as an independent Swedish automaker from 1948 to 1989. That’s when it built some of the quirkiest (some might say coolest) automobiles the world has ever seen.

General Motors acquired a 50 percent stake in Saab in 1989, and 100 percent in 2000. Some say that’s when the slow death of Saab began. By 2008 it was clear that the GM/Saab experiment was failing, mostly because the behemoth automaker stripped Saab of its personality and replaced it with rebadged Malibus and Trailblazers.

In 2009, Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg announced plans to buy Saab, but that fell apart a few months later. In 2010, another supercar maker, Spyker, completed the purchase of Saab but then went bankrupt a year later.

In 2012, a Chinese consortium that went by the name of National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) purchased what was left of Saab with the intent of transforming the brand into a line of electric cars. Now we’re on the cusp of 2016 and it appears the once-dead Saab brand is lumbering back to life.

Sort of.

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International Effort Brings Saab Back From Dead

2014 Saab 9-3

How’s this for international teamwork?

A Chinese/Japanese company purchased Saab from a Swedish-based automaker after years of U.S. ownership that led to an eventual bankruptcy.

If any car company epitomizes the idea of the Phoenix, rising, burning down, then rising again, it’s Saab.

There was even a Saab concept called the Phoenix, which never made it to production. Now the Saab 9-3 is rising from the ashes, but not for the Saab-o-philes living in these United States.

Not yet, anyway.

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Will Saab Rise from the Ashes?

2013 Saab 9-3

The odds of Saab ever coming back as a mainstream automaker are not good. The quirky little company thrived as an independent, grew under the (mis)management of General Motors, and then suffered nearly certain death when GM discontinued the brand.

Rather than dying silently like Saturn, Hummer and other victims of GM’s hatchet, Saab refused to give up the ghost and ended up under the ownership of supercar maker Spyker. The intent of Spyker was to revitalize the brand and earn profits it could use to spark development of its supercars.

That didn’t work, of course, and Spyker dumped Saab, which nearly ended up in the hands of a Chinese company but instead went back to an electric carmaker from Sweden.

And now Saab could be on the verge of rising from the ashes.

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