Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Lies in Saab’s Future

Saab is in trouble. With mounting debts and limited capital investment, the Swedish company is a prime candidate to go the way of the dinosaurs. The troubled automaker has not built a single vehicle since the 1st of April, and a much touted deal with China’s Hawtai Motor Group has fallen through. They did however sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with another Chinese company called Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. Ltd, earlier this week, but we will have to wait and see if the deal goes through.

In light of this, I’ve thought up four plausible (though unlikely) scenarios for Saab. These range from the hugely cynical all the way to the brazenly optimistic. After all, isn’t it better than Saab has some future rather than no future at all? Without further ado, here are your options:

· Saab Becomes Chinese: Saab rebadges a Chinese-built sedan (think of the Great Wall Tengyi C30) as the new 9-3. The world’s motoring press find it to be poorly built, unpowered and overpriced. It is a massive flop in its native Europe, and Saab is declared bankrupt once again.

· Saab Is Bought By Tata: Ratan Tata of the Tata Group buys them and somehow manages to turn the brand’s fortunes around. Ian Callum reworks the 9-3 into a stylish, A5 Sportback-imitating sedan, which receives high praise but continues to be a poor seller for the Swedish brand. Despite this, Saab’s renewed focus on customer service and top-notch engineering is winning a lot of fans.

· Saab Is Bought By Fiat: Sergio Marchionne of Fiat buys Saab and immediately begins rebadging Chrysler 300s as the Saab 9-9. The brand’s 200 becomes the new 9-3 and an entry-level 9-1 model based on the Fiat Punto appears at the 2012 New York Auto Show. Saab’s future looks bright...but only as a cynical tool concocted by a soul-sucking, Italian businessman.

· Saab Becomes The New Audi: With backing from a group of concerned businessmen a la Premier Automotive Group, Saab builds a Nouveau 900 that wins the hearts and minds of journalists and automotive enthusiasts everywhere in a valiant return to its glory days. The Nouveau 900 Turbo is voted Best Performance Car and goes on to outsell Volkswagen’s Golf GTI.

· Saab Saves Itself: Against all odds, Saab manages to reorganise itself by cutting its losses, hiring a new executive management team and producing a truly world-class vehicle in the form of the new 9-3. Though it continues to lag behind its Germanic competitors, sales are returning to 2003 levels and the brand is regaining respect in both Europe and the United States.

So there are your choices. Admittedly these are very fanciful, but I think they’re better than the (what I consider very likely) future of, “Saab bumbles along for a few more desperate years before shutting up shop for good”.

Soure: Car Scoop

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