If December 19th marks the announcement of the passing of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, this date also marks the death of an automotive icon, Saab Automotive. Parent owner, General Motors (GM), known for being an American corporate p*ick all the time, has decided to end this Swedish car marque which leads them into bankruptcy. Reason was GM do not want transfers of patent and technology owned by them to the rich Chinese manufacturers who has interest in acquiring Saab. To add salt into wound, Saab America has suspended warranty coverage on all of its vehicles in North America.
Saab Automobile, 1946-2011
The Swedish car manufacturer was well known for their technology and safety innovations that we see in our cars today. People might have flown off through the windscreen like Superman if Saab did not install safety belts as standard in 1958. We won’t be able to enjoy turbocharged cars like the Lancer Evolution and Impreza if Saab did not pioneer turbocharging in engines. They have produced a great number of cars from the Saab 900, 9000, 92001, and on recent times the 9-3 and 9-5.
The struggling Saab, unable to compete with renowned European manufacturers like BMW, Audi and Mercedes, gone worse when GM bought it over in 1989. Since then problems like lack of funding and models plunged Saab into financial ruins. When GM came into administration in 2008, they have decided to offload Saab to a suitable owner. A saga of acquisitions unfolded and companies from Koenigsegg, Spyker, to a numerous Chinese car makers, sought to buy Saab but all the deal fell through. To make matter worse, during that period they have no money to pay their workers and suppliers, and the Swedish government refuses to give aid.
Saab are well known for their innovative concepts, sadly we won’t able to see this one in production
To sum up, the whole situation is best described as an American man, who has an unwanted son with Swedish blood lying on the hospital bed in coma, is selling off his b*stard son to a number of women he slept with before. Numerous Chinese women came and want to claim this Caucasian boy. Fearing his former Chinese mistress will inherit his fortune from this boy, the American decides to pull the plug off the life support machine, and the poor boy dies. That is what happened to Saab now. Basically, everyone’s a b*stard here and the poor innocent boy/Saab is the sad victim.
The Saab 9-3
Ironically, two nights before December 19th, I came across a Saab 900 struggling to start up on a cold night in Uptown, PJ. Minutes later after the resilient driver continued to start his car, the engine came to live and drove off to its next destination and live another day. I do not know how the owner feels when a few days later Saab was declared dead. When that Saab 900 left Uptown, there is already large clouds of uncertainty afloat on that poor car in the coming months.