• Sweden edition
 
Saab: 60 years of love, debt and tears

Saab: 60 years of love, debt and tears

Published: 18 Dec 2009 16:35 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Dec 2009 16:35 GMT+01:00

GM said in a statement Friday it had failed to reach an agreement with Dutch sports car maker Spyker on a sale of the division, just three weeks after another luxury car maker, Koenigsegg of Sweden, withdrew its bid for Saab.

The Detroit auto giant acquired Saab 20 years ago, but the takeover was never much of a success for either party.

In 2008, Saab, which currently employs 3,400 people in Sweden, posted a net loss of 3 billion kronor ($341 million dollars at the time).

It last made a profit in 2001, the only year it was in the black in almost two decades of GM ownership.

An ageing product line and a collapse in demand owing to the tightening of available credit hurt Saab's sales in recent years.

In 2008, Saab made up 1.1 percent of GM's global sales, selling 93,295 cars worldwide, compared to 133,000 two years earlier.

The automaker last brought out a new model eight years ago, the 9-3 in 2001, while its other flagship car, the 9-5, was last replaced in 1997. It is currently in the process of launching its new 9-5 model.

In the highly competitive auto industry, the average life cycle of a new car is five to six years.

Saab started life in 1937 as an aircraft manufacturer -- something which became evident in the aerodynamic, sporty shape of its first concept car designs.

The company built its first prototype cars in 1947 with the first production version rolling off the assembly line two years later.

Its main production headquarters are in Trollhättan, a town of just 55,000 inhabitants in southwest Sweden.

Saab's glory years came in the 1980s when a weak Swedish krona helped boost sales in its export markets, the US and Britain, where it gained a reputation for its turbocharging technology.

GM bought 50 percent of Saab Automobile from Saab-Scania in 1990, snapping up the rest of the company a decade later.

The US auto giant wanted a premium marque to add to its wide range of brands, while Saab would gain better economies of scale by being part of a larger company.

However, Saab employees told AFP earlier this year that their US parent did not invest enough money in new products during its tenure as owner, which impacted on sales.

GM, hit hard by the global economic crisis, needed to either sell or close Saab to shore up its own badly damaged balance sheet.

An iconic brand: Saab's history in pictures

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

17:07 December 18, 2009 by krigeren
Swedish industry is teetering.

The best hope Sweden has to sell is its image.

The worth of a hot Swedish lady marrying a yuppie foreigner and bringing them back to Sweden is worth more to the coffers of this country then an industrial worker by a yardarm.

Sweden maybe has a few decades of this image industry model left. Then its China who will be mass producing "Ulrika Pleasure Androids" and....and then what...............................?
19:14 December 18, 2009 by Faramir
I'm very sorry for Saab's employees, having been made redundant myself recently I know what it's like, many of them (like I've done) will have to start much lower paid jobs.

Unfortunately GM under-investment in Saabs products has made closure inevitable, the new 9-5 isn't enough to keep Saab going. I've very fond memories of the 96, 99 and original 900 but you'd have to be bonkers to choose a Saab from the current range over one from another premium brand.
21:58 December 18, 2009 by AlbionKyle
Current Saab 9-3 2.0T SPORT XWD (All wheel drive) is sold in US $37000. Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero XWD is sold in US $43605. They are much more expensive then BMW 328i ($33000) and Audi A4 2.0T Quattro ($32000), and they drive better with better interior. Oh, the Japanese is cheaper than German cars on the same class...

And this is why Saab has its demise, it can't compete with others. So close it down, and have government found new car company that can compete globally.
23:26 December 18, 2009 by wxman
The picture says it all. A great car, beautiful women and a prosperous economy. Good by 1960s, we'll miss you.
23:38 December 18, 2009 by Stefan1
Today also I hear the known chinese telecom vendor who is backed up financially by the chinese government, is chosen from an operator in Sweden for 4G/LTE deal against Ericsson. Ericsson could not lower the prices more...

You guys let them do whatever they want in your own country! Shame!

Are you commiting suicide , or what?

Why is noone protesting in tis country? Think about that...
06:25 December 19, 2009 by krigeren
@Stefan1

"Why is no one protesting in tis country?"

Swedes don't really protest much. Its more likely to be foreigners protesting against something the Swedes are doing or not doing. If Swedes do protest it is often against other governments (i.e., the USA in Iraq) rather than against their own government.

Swedes are conformists and are not risk takers. The point that the FRA act was passed in Sweden (Like the Patriot Act in the USA) and people did not freak out in part proves that point........now...lots of Swedes I know complained about it and could not beleive it happened but thats a big difference from getting out in the streets and protesting.

Swedes don't realize they have a great deal of potential capped up in them. That if Swedes rallied around important causes to them in their country they could make significant changes......the simple rarity of Swedish protests would attract media attention in and of itself regardless of the issue.

What Swedes should protest is the labor laws that makes it so difficult to fire people and in turn so difficult to hire people. Back those protests up with a social safety net similiar to Denmark and it will help significantly to get this economy rolling.
19:03 December 19, 2009 by izbz
Felt sorry for 3500 employees, bet this is the worse X'mas present anyone can have.

Great car, what a way to go!!!!!
00:46 December 20, 2009 by superturbo
well, that's what happens when you have sold your asses to the Americans :P
17:59 December 21, 2009 by Ruler4You
Obviously there is more than one thing going on here, but when GM bought SAAB in knew SAAB sales numbers weren't large. In my humble but lovable opinion this was always about eliminating competition. Now that 'Government Motors" can be covered, at least partially, for it's losses by tax payers it's the perfect time to flush, what we all knew was a questionable move in the first place, away.
Today's headlines
Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

More and more Swedish boys are born with deformed penises, and researchers are uncertain exactly what's behind the increase. READ  

The Local List
What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet
Photos: Shutterstock/Imagebank Sweden

What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet

The Local Sweden has been asking readers to squeeze their view of Sweden into just 140 characters or less. Here's what you came up with up for #SwedeninaTweet. READ  

Getinge Floods
Swedish floods hit day two as rain continues
Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Swedish floods hit day two as rain continues

UPDATED: The flood in southern Sweden showed no signs of abating on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting that the rains are unlikely to stop any time soon. READ  

Sweden and the Bronx
Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx
The Bronx. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx

What do the Bronx and Sweden have in common? More than an affiliation with the Yankees, it turns out. And one small Swedish town is about to make that abundantly clear. READ  

Bildt: 'We must increase efforts in Iraq'
Bildt in Baghdad on Monday. Photo: Karim Kadim/TT

Bildt: 'We must increase efforts in Iraq'

After meeting with refugees and politicians in Iraq on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said Sweden must increase its efforts to help Iraq reach a lasting solution. READ  

Swedes slam 'racist' art show from Denmark
One of the participants in the art project. Photo: Anna Andrea Malzer, Global Stories

Swedes slam 'racist' art show from Denmark

Swedes have gathered in numbers to protest against a Danish "blackface" art show in Malmö, which organizers say is supposed to give "a deeper understanding of discrimination". READ  

Presented by Stockholm School of Economics
Swedish school with executive appeal
Photo: Stockholm School of Economics

Swedish school with executive appeal

More and more executives are combining work with further education, namely an MBA. The Local explains just how the process works at the Stockholm School of Economics with its Executive MBA program. READ  

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Fastighetsbyrån

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

Ever wanted to live in a loft-like apartment on the hip district of Södermalm, with a view like something out of a colourful children's book? Check out The Local's Property of the Week. READ  

Sweden to get 100,000 refugees in 2014: report
Refugees in Iraq. Photo: Khalid Mohammed/TT

Sweden to get 100,000 refugees in 2014: report

UPDATED: Sweden can expect a record-breaking 100,000 refugees to arrive this year, reported Swedish media on Tuesday. The Migration Board said the prognosis was officially 60,000 in July. READ  

Swedish town on alert over toilet invader
The man pictured is not the Bajsmannen. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedish town on alert over toilet invader

A town in central Sweden is on the lookout after a mystery suspect has repeatedly broken into apartments and defecated in their toilets. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Food agency warns girls: 'Don't eat stinky fish'
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Politics
Swedish politician proposes ban on begging
National
Swede asks for epidural and gets disinfectant
National
Swede reports 'expensive' sex to police
Education
Sweden plans to scrap SFI for adult education
Features
Kiruna residents talk life in a town on the move
TT
Politics
Why is feminism such a hot topic in Sweden?
National
Swedish dad takes kids to Israel to learn about war
National
RIP Åle, the world's oldest eel
Society
Introducing: The Swedish crayfish party
National
Stockholm bus spontaneously combusts
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

662
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se