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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Saab Name Lives On As Brand Dies

Saab Phoenix concept

For all intents and purposes, Saab has died.

Maybe the death sentence began when General Motors acquired the storied Swedish brand. One thing for sure, the brand took its last breath after being taken over by Spyker and then suffering through an extended tug-of-war between American, Swedish and Chinese companies.

So how can the Saab name live if the brand has died?

That’s due to a complicated international consortium formed by Swedish and Chinese stakeholders to build cars using existing resources and Japanese technology. Yes, Saabs will be built again through some worldwide cooperation. But with three really big catches.

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With Saab Officially Bankrupt, What Models Will Become Classics?

1989 Saab 900: A classic?

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.

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Safe Used Cars Under $5,000 (And One Under $2)

Volvo 760

The safest car ever?

Remember the Top Gear episode where Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May had to find a cheap used car, put it through a series of tests and see which vehicle performed the best? One stunt in particular stands out above the rest, which went something like this:

The presenters had to crash their cars at 30mph into a wall. 10 points were lost if the presenter dies, 5 for each broken bone and 1 for each blood injury. The only injury was done to Jeremy, later revealed by Hammond with an X-ray, who broke his thumb. Jeremy had crashed at about 40mph because his speedometer was broken and he incorrectly guessed how fast 30 mph was.

Funny stuff, right?

Regardless of whether or not you see the humor in potential death, blood and broken bones, the issue of safety in used cars is an important topic. If safety is tops on your list when shopping for a used car, keep reading. Just don’t expect cheap safety to also include stellar MPG numbers or even top-notch reliability.

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Five Car Brands Better Off Dead

Have you ever taken the time to flick through a list of every car brand that has ever graced the planet?

To put it simply: There have been a *lot*. Wikipedia has a list broken down by country, with automakers from Angola to Uruguay, past to present. The U.S. alone has its own dedicated page of hundreds of current and former automakers.

There have been so many that only a small percentage exist today. Which of course begs the question: When we look back 50 years from now, which auto brands will exist only as entries in an online encyclopedia? We’ve already witnessed the demise in the last two years of more brands than kicked the bucket in the previous 30.

And I think there are a few more that would be better off dead or at least yanked from U.S. market.

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Cars Coming Soon->Will GM Save Saab Again?

Saab logo

How’s this for irony:

In 2009 General Motors nearly killed off Saab along with Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer. But in the first days of 2010, the General sold Saab to Spyker. Saab fanatics rejoiced. We were skeptical, even back then, about Saab’s long-term prosperity.

Today Spyker is in deep financial trouble with Saab and has one last-ditch plan to save the brand. The plan involves a sketchy Russian billionaire, the Swedish government and, wouldn’t you know it, rests on the approval of General Motors.

We should have Elton John write a song, because this is an incredible example of the Circle of Life in the auto world.

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