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Saab lovers to GM: don't shut Saab down

David Landes · 4 Jan 2010, 15:54

Published: 04 Jan 2010 15:54 GMT+01:00

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“We hope the event will help send a message to GM to get serious about selling Saab,” Ryan Emge, editor of SaabHistory.com, an independent website about Saab, told The Local.

Emge hatched the idea of getting dedicated Saab owners to show their support for the Swedish automaker after learning of similar efforts being planned by Saab clubs in Europe.

The Saab meet-up in Detroit is set to take place less than 48 hours before the expiration of GM’s extended January 7th deadline for offers to buy Saab.

“We want to let people and GM know that we're here to save Saab. It's the right time and the right place,” said Emge.

“Maybe we can step in and take the initiative and cut through a lot of the mixed messages from GM.”

On Monday, Spyker CEO Victor Muller said his company was in the process of revising a final bid and plans to submit the offer by January 7th.

“We have gotten time for a final offer. Nothing has been rejected," Muller told the Reuters news agency on Monday.

A group including US-based Merbanco investment firm, as well as a unnamed investors from Sweden, is also rumoured to be among the remaining bidders, although GM declined to name any bidders besides Spyker.

A statement from Emge on SaabHistory.com, instructs Saab loyalists from the US and Canada to descend on GM headquarters in Detroit at 1pm local time on Tuesday to show their “unwavering Saab spirit” for the company.

“If there are enough Saab owners and enthusiasts parked outside of the GM Renaissance center in Detroit, perhaps we could really show them how serious we are in wanting Saab Automobile to have a bright future and be sold,” Emge said.

In addition, another independent Saab enthusiast website, SaabsUnited.com, is urging Saab owners to write to their elected representatives to emphasize the importance of Saab dealerships to local economies.

Saab car owners, many of whom remain passionate about the troubled Swedish brand, are hoping that their display of citizen action will help sway GM management toward finding a buyer for Saab.

Emge emphasized that the event was “not a demonstration” but a “gathering” intended to “show our Saab spirit in support of Saab being sold”.

Plans for the “Save Saab” campaign were drawn up in the days following a decision by Saab lovers in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Belgium to travel to Saab Automobile’s headquarters in Tröllhatten in western Sweden on January 17th in another show of support for the loss-making car maker.

"I thought, what can we do in the US, and gathering near GM's Renaissance Centre in Detroit seemed like the perfect backdrop," Emge told The Local.

Saab, which has barely turned a profit in two decades under GM management, employs about 3,400 people in Sweden, although media reports suggest more than 8,000 jobs, many among subcontractors, would be lost if the automaker shut down.

Despite Saab's dwindling sales, Emge remained optimistic about the brand's future, blaming much of the sales slump on the economic crisis and GM's lack of effort to market and promote Saab.

"You can't use recent sales figures as a gauge for Saab's popularity," he said.

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Emge added that GM would have a lot to gain by selling Saab rather than simply winding the company down, as any new owner would likely work closely with GM for several years to come.

"GM stands to earn a lot of money if they can find the right buyer to help bring Saab back to where it should be," he said.

Emge had no estimates on how many Saab lovers may turn up in Detroit on Tuesday, noting it is a workday and the rally was organized on rather short notice.

"It's sort of last minute, but it's important," he said.

"We would hate for GM to think that no one really cares about Saab and that it's therefore OK to shut it down."

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:56 January 4, 2010 by Henckel
Don't hold your breath. When GM makes a decision, it's usually the wrong one.
18:26 January 4, 2010 by SAABsister
I bought my first SAAB in 1987 after having driven Volvos for the previous 14 years. That SAAB was the best car I have ever had. It was more than an automobile...it became a part of me whenever I drove it. The handling was superb, the ride dynamite, the experience joyous! I passed it on to my daughter after her return from the Peace Corps in 1999, she passed it on to my grandson when he got his first drivers license in 2003, he sold it to a buddy in 2006 with 265,000 miles on it. Somehow I get the feeling that it is still on the road somewhere giving some very lucky person the joy of knowing what a REAL car should drive like. SAVE THE SAAB!!!!!!
22:12 January 4, 2010 by AlbionKyle
Why not? 6 billion dollars lost in this brand since GM acquisition. SAAB has always in the history, making cars that not much people want to (or able to afford to) buy.
23:55 January 4, 2010 by michalino
GM why not? Don't take wrong way. I drove SAABs since 1980. It was my first and best car 96V4DeLuxe from all. I drive 4th SAAB today and I have to tell SAAB is really THE CAR! Don't shut it down.
17:42 January 5, 2010 by Rennsport
Why can't GM get a sale done ? Badly managed ? Ford handled the Volvo sale better. Why doesn't the Swedish government support one of their most iconic companies ? SAAB still makes very nice cars, and the all new 2010 9-5, and soon to be 9-4X look awesome ! I want to be able to buy my 3rd new SAAB Turbo in a couple of years ! My 2008 9-3 Aero V6 turbo rocks ! Wish I could be there for the SAAB owners rally in Detroit today, but it was planned last minute and I'm in Dallas. I hope there is a good turn out. Either way, there are a lot of loyal SAAB supporters out there who will be very upset if SAAB closes.
02:21 January 6, 2010 by repat_xpat
Anyone hear anything on this? How many showed up? I've checked the Detroit news sites and it hasn't been mentioned.
12:45 January 6, 2010 by Eagle63
Saab always used to be way above Volvo, they where more hi-tech, sportier and different. Compare the classic Saab 900 with the Volvo 244, or the 9000 with the 940/960.. But when GM took over Saab things started to change...; Volvo quietly developed the mighty T6 twin-turbo engine, powerfull T5 engines and smart 4-wheel drive systems AND a capable modern SUV, the XC90 while Saab was stuck with the 9-7X based on the mediocre Chevy Trailblazer... All thanks to the bad management of 'General Morons'..!

Despite GM, the huge potential and capability of the Saab engineers is still there, waiting to hopefully get a chance to design and built world-class cars again... instead of GM-clones, although even with the limited GM basics they still did an amazing job of producing great cars.

Maybe if Saab and Volvo had teamed up in whatever way many years ago the situation would look a lot better than it is now...
13:49 January 6, 2010 by spy

Agree fully!
15:53 January 6, 2010 by millionmileman
I was there yesterday in -5c weather, with the GM headquarters in the background. As the owner of the "Million Mile Saab," I just could not believe that the fate of this company has come down to this. I certainly hope that the GM management was paying attention. In spite of the fact that we were there with our 27 cars, our enthusiasm more than made up for the event.

I was surprised how many members of the press enthusiastically showed up from every corner of the world, including Danish TV and even Australia. for a full account of all these links with radio interviews and pictures, the Local is also included, go to

www.saabhistory .com
16:50 January 6, 2010 by Scotsaab

How true! Sadly Saab has been placed in an impossible position by GM. If only the Saab car marque could be enjoying the success of the entirely separate Saab aviation wing

I understand tomorrow could bring a final response from GM. If the axe falls let's hope Swedes and Saab enthusiats worldwide will continue to decry the decision and call for a "new" Saab car to be created beyond the current business.
02:28 January 7, 2010 by Eagle63
Lets indeed hope that in such a worst case scenario a 'New Saab' can be created, totally independant of GM.

Any ideas..??
17:17 January 7, 2010 by Scotsaab
Complicated, but it could be done. Key would be access to 'Saab' name, rock-solid financing from an equally rock-solid management team and securing Swedish Government assistance - they may be more inclined to help build a new home-grown car manufacturer rather than "save" a GM company.

But I see Spyker has come back with a third bid and a allegedly a Luxembourg concern has joined with a fresh bid.

So Saab is not dead yet - despite what GM CEO Ed Whitacre may say.
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