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Sweden could give Saab story a happy ending

The Local · 27 Nov 2008, 16:17

Published: 27 Nov 2008 16:17 GMT+01:00

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Since 1947, Saab Automobile has been inextricably linked with its Swedish roots as an innovative and progressive automobile company. The heritage of Saab Automobile originally began in 1937 as an aircraft company.

The formation of Saab came in response to the immediate requirements of the Swedish Government during the War, so its foundations began as a byproduct of the government's needs.

Saab's connections to its Swedish roots and aircraft heritage have been strengthened over the years. This can be seen during recent ad campaigns which focused on the ties between the aircraft engineers and Swedish design. This branding has become commonplace during the 19 years of ownership of Saab by General Motors.

While there is no question that Saab is a Swedish brand, the dire straits in which parent company General Motors is currently finds itself could mean the end of Saab. This could effectively end 60+ years of uniquely Swedish innovations, engineering and significant contributions to the automotive industry as a whole. Not only will there be an economic void of monumental proportions, there will also be a total loss of national pride and identity for the country of Sweden.

Across Sweden, industry, academia and government will all be affected if Saab were to be relegated to the backburner of the GM portfolio. It is clear that reversing this trend is the best way for Saab to maintain its unique Swedish design, engineering, innovation and identity. While there have been rumours that GM is thinking about potentially selling Saab to another car manufacturer, I believe that nationalizing the brand is the proper and most suitable method in order to continue Saab Automobile.

Having lived in Sweden, I have seen first hand the nationalized public transportation system which is as a critical infrastructure for the Swedish economy to thrive. In this respect, I do not see why a car company like Saab could not be nationalized as well.

The infrastructure in which the vehicles travel has already been paid for by the Swedish government and comprises some of the best roads in the world. In addition, the academic institutions, through governmentally funded programmes, have also been

subsidized by the Swedish Government when collaborating with Saab Automobile's future product development.

Finally, the Swedish government will be at a significant advantage by owning Saab as it will have the full autonomy to design, build, and regulate the next generation of private transportation which will meet their goals of ending fossil fuel driven vehicles by 2020.

If the Swedish government is truly serious about meeting its goals of economic and environmental security, much like it was back in 1937, it will move quickly to nationalize Saab Automobile today.

Ryan Emge, Saab History

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www.saabhistory.com , is owned and managed independently from Saab

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