What Really KILLED Saab? America, China... Or Bernie Ecclestone?

What Really KILLED Saab? America, China... Or Bernie Ecclestone? 

foreign [Music] course you do the brand that only interminably bore sorry I meant nice people with extensive Polo neck sweater collections seem to buy a legendary company that suffered one of the saddest Falls from prominence in Automotive History thanks to what looks like an ill-fated attempt at global domination here's what happened to one of the industry's most famous brands founded in 1945 Saab Automobile AV was a spin-off of Swedish airplane limited demand for planes was going a bit downhill towards the end of World War II so the Flyboys needed something to work on to keep boarding from the door Saab got to work on a small car the 92 which was an unlikely successor to the 91 a single-engined training plane released in 1949. saab's early cars were quirky to say the least but they sold well and Drew attention in 1969 Scania and subbed joined forces forging a 20-year long 

relationship which resulted in one of the Brand's most well-known cars the 900. chances are when most people think of Saab they think of the 900. it was front-engined front-wheel drive and looked very distinctly like a Saab it was unmistakable and it's really the foundation on which all future Saab design was built it came with big sometimes hilariously turbocharged engines as a hatchback back to them and even an incredibly wobbly convertible in 1989 Saab went through a restructuring and was owned 50 50 by General Motors and investor a b a Swedish investment firm GM put up 600 million dollars into the company and had the option to buy investor a b out within a decade by the way 600 million back then will be worth about 1.4 billion right now which is roughly around half the current market capital of a 


company like Aston Martin today in this era of Saab the range topping 9-5 was developed and the smaller 900 was refreshed and eventually given a new name 9-3 and things were looking good for now GM took its option to buy out investor a b and in 2000 spent over 100 million dollars turning Saab into a Swedish slice of the General's Army General Motors I mean now this should have been a launch pad to success but sadly all the things that made subs subs was slowly but sure fully eroded they made a new 9-3 which used GM based underpinnings and the American Market special 92x came out in 2005 but it wasn't a new sub engineered car it was a Subaru Impreza Wagon with some sub bits glued to it they managed to sell less than 11 000 over two years so not exactly a Smash Hit for model year 2005 the Saab badge found its way onto another not very Saab car the 97X was based on the same platform 

What Really KILLED Saab? America, China... Or Bernie Ecclestone?

as the Chevy Trailblazer SUV you could have it with anything from a 4.2 liter inline 6 all the way to a very unsubish 6 liter LS2 V8 and it was expensive GM's second most expensive car after the Escalade and not many people wanted it it lasted until the 2009 model year with fewer than 20 000 sold not a great look for a planned expansion on GM's home turf GM also dropped the ball somewhat when it came to releasing the 9-3 estate it ditched a hatchback version been the mid decade 9-5 replacement delayed plans for all-wheel drive and announced it was going to move production from saab's home in trollhan to opal's HQ in russelheim the decline was slow but low sales and eroding what made Saab Subs meant the writing was on the wall in 2008 GM did what the world could see was coming it put the brand Under review which meant it was probably gonna ice or sell Saab it went from a business that GM wanted to own wholesale to a problem child in less than a decade lo and behold Administration followed and not even a Swedish government was keen on helping out things looked Bleak despite there being a potentially brand-saving new 9-5 on the way and a 94x SUV waiting in the wings a beam 

of Hope did arrive however from an unlikely corner Koenigsegg the hypercar people in the middle of June 2009 the egg along with Norwegian investors and China's Beijing automotive industry holding Company Limited that's baic announced interest in the brand and it seemed that GM agreed to go ahead with it all except it didn't quite work out like that and it seemed that it was money that was the big issue you see in order to keep the deal afloat it required a loan from the European Investment Bank and while this was approved in October 2009 Koenigsegg pulled out the deal the following month due to the constant delays and difficulties in coordinating everyone involved GM the European Investment Bank the Swedish national debt office and baic that left the deal in limbo but weirdly the AIC didn't bail out completely they'd been trying for years to acquire valuable Western technology previously attempting to buy Volvo and opal it announced it would buy the intellectual property rights and the production equipment for the previous generation Saab 9-3 and Saab 9-5 in a deal worth 197 million dollars that would allow it to build Subs in China without the SAR batch also the cash they provided was enough to keep Saab running for three months while they crossed their fingers and toes looking for another buyer GM put the pressure on though saying that if a buyer wasn't found soon it would stop accepting bids and eliminate the brand completely so the Clock Was ticking but it seemed there might be an unlikely 11th Hour savior billionaire business magnate and former chief executive of Formula One Vernie 


Eccleston yeah I know it sounds nuts but Bernie got together with Luxembourg investment firms and their Capital to put in an offer minutes before GM's January the 8th 10 pm deadline and they weren't alone there was another rival offer from Dutch sports car maker Spiker In Cahoots with a private investment firm from Wyoming called mabanko on January 26 2010 spica was announced as the new owner with the sale going through in late February of that year and it was all looking shiny the brand would carry on and people in turtlenecks everywhere would be well catered For except that didn't happen you see part of the problem was that within the deal General Motors would continue to supply Saab with engines and transmissions and would also complete vehicles in the shape of the new 94x from GM's Mexican Factory and the deal also included a loan from the European Investment Bank guaranteed by the Swedish government this comprised 74 million dollars in cash upfront payable to GM by July 2010 and shares in spica were 320 million US Dollars GM still had some fingers in saab's pie a little over a year after the deal went through though Spiker sold its sports car division the bit that made them cool to concentrate on the problem child Saab that that's where the money started running out and bills went unpaid and production stopped and Saab needed yet another savior this time the plan 


was to sell the brand to China specifically pangda and young men with the Beijing government seemingly on board as well but predictably GM weren't having it they released a statement saying something along the lines of GM is not willing to support a change in the ownership of Saab that could negatively impact GM's existing relationships in China or otherwise adversely affect GM's interests worldwide GM it was reported had expressed concerns about intellectual property they'd licensed the sub falling into the hands of their Chinese competitors it said no thank you to the money block the deal and walked away from Millions possibly billions of dollars bankruptcy and liquidation were the predictable outcome for this famously cursed brand [Music] there was one last hope for Saab though National Electric Vehicle Sweden or nevs which is actually a Chinese Consortium announced in June 2012 that it had bought the powertrain and Tall subsidiaries of sub with the intention of building an electric 9-3 but again GM presumably because of the whole China thing said absolutely not and that 


was a potential shame because Neves were working on some really interesting electrically powered cars ones with enormous battery packs and massive range unfortunately nebs went into hibernation mode in 2023 is that the end of Saab who knows but let's face it probably the brand made some truly cool and very different stuff back in the day but as you've learned misplaced Ambitions questionable management and some really Moon howling decisions basically sow the seeds of its demise long before things eventually went South where would Saab be today if none of that had happened would we all be swimming around in shiny new 9-3s or with the very cool but slightly strange 2006 Aero X concept have been put into production what about 2011's Phoenix I guess we'll never know all we have is memories and some more feet and turtlenecks somewhere in the cupboard thanks for watching guys hope you enjoyed this if you have any questions or comments leave them down below as always I'd 

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