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Saab's Demise for the Car Talk Blog

Anybody want to share some thoughts or maybe a tear or two about the passage of Saab from the earth? Do you have a soft spot for the Swedish carmaker with the key on the floor and the much-invoked aircraft heritage? Any Saab horror or love stories?


  • edited December 2011
    TROLLHATTAN, Sweden (Reuters) - Car maker Saab ran out of room for maneuver on Monday when its Dutch owner filed for bankruptcy, calling time on a nine-month battle to rescue the struggling Swedish marquee.

    Saab's cash problems began in March this year, after 2010 sales fell short of target. It has not made any vehicles since April.

    The end of the road for Saab, which has been making cars for more than 60 years, came at the weekend when General Motors again vetoed a plan involving Chinese investor Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile.
  • While it's too bad they have to go away, there hasn't been much 'Saab' in their cars for many years. And I'm all in favor of GM withholding technology from Z...Y... Lotus, whoever they are.
  • GM took a good brand with unique (if quirky) cars and put it homogenous corporate stamp on Saab. Bland and no longer unique cars resulted in lackluster sales. They dropped a bulletproof engine from the mid-eighties for a crudy GM V6 and otherwise cheapened the car while trying to sell it at premium luxury car prices. Now GM finishes the job with veto on transfer of patents.

    Before GM owned Saab I was a fan, and owned a couple of great Saab cars. After GM I had a 2000 9-3 as a company car, it wasn't a good car anymore. Last Saab for me and most of the other Saab fans have gone elsewhere a long time ago for new cars.
  • GM has owned a part of SAAB since back in the 70s but I agree that GM's takeover of the SAAB line of cars made them a bit more bland. Before GM even Ford and Triumph had an association with SAAB in regards to their engines.

    Maybe one of these days they will be resurrected somehow but my gut feeling is that it won't happen.
  • I got my first saab, a '75 turbo, in 1976. I had 5 in a row after that -- a '79, an '81, an '84 and a '98. Each one I liked a little bit less than the previous one, until the last one I was pretty much seriously disappointed in. It was such a cool car in the beginning. You'd wave at other Saab drivers in the '70's, cause we were few and far between. Those cars saved my life more than once, either in avoiding serious collisions or keeping me safe thru them. I'll miss what they were decades ago, I don't think I'll miss what they've been recently. It's a shame they don't have a chance to recover their old glory.
  • I once dated a guy because he was rebuilding an old Saab. That, and he could cook. But . . . when I found him stalking me, I, well, I still liked his car. So I married a guy who's dad had one that ran.
  • I hate to see any make go away. But it was bound to happen. Getting Saab parts lately has been a real PITB. Lately we have told all Saab customers they will not be scheduled until all parts are in. A couple of customers had to wait about 2 months to have there cars repaired.

    Back in the early 80's I worked with my hunting/fishing buddy. He had a customer out in the shop inspecting the customers Saab. Knowing what my friend would say I walked out into the shop and asked "Whats going on here?" My friend said "This guy is just giving me a Saab story". The customer just stood there with a puzzled look and scratched his head. ( ;
  • edited December 2011
    Uncle, I agree. I owned two SAABs when they were unique with 2 strokes, fwd, fuel injection, aerodynamics, and study bodies in the late 60s and 70s. Every one caught up and passed them especially in reliability. The panache of the SAAB marquis wears thin when it spends lots of time in the shop compared to equally performing cars from just about any other brand. Then GM takes them over and Uncle Turbo's story begins.
  • I have a friend that fixed leaky fuel injectors on a Saab with super glue and duct tape! Well, mostly fixed. At least there wasn't a puddle of fuel anymore.
  • SAAB 96 two stoke seized up at 70 mph on the interstate, 30 miles from the nearest exit in northern Maine.
    Later that same year, My SAAB 99 blew a head gasket at 60k. Moral of the story is, if you own two cars, don't let both of them be SAABs, you will be without transportation at some point in time.
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