SAAB: I Loved You, RIP
This obituary in the NY Times says it all:
Saab, whose stylish yet idiosyncratic cars drew a fiercely loyal customer base over the last six decades, is set to close after last-minute negotiations by General Motors to sell the beleaguered brand collapsed Friday.
The news of Saab’s closure caps a calamitous year for the global auto industry, with G.M. and Chrysler both filing for bankruptcy while foreign carmakers racked up billions in losses.
Saab, with a narrow following focused in Sweden, Britain and the United States Northeast, proved too small to lure the world’s big automakers, many of which are seeking tie-ups to increase economies of scale.
Saab’s last hope proved to be Spyker Cars, a tiny Dutch maker of high-end sports cars, but problems that could not be overcome cropped up as G.M. examined whether Spyker would be a viable partner.
This is really sad. Before 1994, before GM took over a fantastic brand with loyal, if not fanatical customers and turned it into a shadow of itself, Saab was a wonderful car. I drove a 1984 900, a 1990 900S, a 1992 900T Convertible. I loved them. I also drove a 2000 9-3. It had problems, problems I attribute to GM and plastic and cheapness and mostly to GM's never understanding what a Saab was supposed to be like. I didn't buy another Saab. They seemed too expensive, too error prone for what they should have been. And now, they're going to disappear. GM should be given full credit for its stupidity in mismanaging and then killing off this icon.