Expert: Saab’s independent streak ‘the beginning of the end’

Expert: Saab's independent streak 'the beginning of the end'
Decisions by former Saab owner General Motors weren't the cause of the Swedish automaker's bankruptcy, according to a new study, which also found that former Saab management is partly to blame.

The findings come from Matthias Holweg, a car industry expert at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg and the University of Cambridge in the UK, who is publishing a report on the ailing Swedish automaker’s bankruptcy battle.

“Saab’s reluctant way of holding on to its independence was the beginning of the end,” Holweg stated in the report.

The company was never properly integrated with GM, because of resistance from Saab, according to Holweg.

And GM was never able to overcome that resistance.

Another contributing factor to the demise of Saab was that the brand had a hard time competing with other brands like Audi and BMW.

If GM had been successful in making of Saab what Volkswagen made of Audi, a clearly integrated brand with a clear image, Saab would not have been driven out of the competition, argues Holweg.

“GM handled Saab awkwardly and should have fought harder to integrate the company,” said Holweg.

The attempt by Spyker (now Swedish Automobile, Swan) to save Saab was naïve, according to Holweg, as it didn’t bring any new money, new partners or new ideas to the table.

If GM hadn’t blocked the sale to Pang Da, Saab’s future would have been very uncertain.

“Sales figures in China would have had to increase with an improbable speed for the company to survive,” said Holweg in a statement.

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