Daily Telegraph Saab Obituary

Our Old Friend Lance Cole, writer of  “Saab 99 and 900: The Complete Story”, and the forthcoming Saab tribute book,
“Saab Cars The Complete Story” wrote a Saab Obituary in the Daily Telegragh last Saturday. It is now available for all to see on line. Please click onto ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/classiccars/8989929/Saab-the-end-of-the-road.html and take a look. You can log in at the Telegraph web site to add comments or here if you wish.

The new book should be available towards the middle of the year and we will have exclusive snippits for you to read here at SU.

Tilley
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Who died?

Mark
Member
4 years 8 months ago

GM. It’s been a zombie for the past couple of years!

kochje
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Will order the book immediately when it becomes available.
This extract here sounds promising.

alex
Member
4 years 8 months ago

It’s very sad to be reading of the demise of Saab, a name that has stood for quality, reliability and inovation for many decades. The motoring world has lost a name that brought to us so many of the safety features that we take for granted today on our cars as we drive on the evermore conjested roads around the globe. I shall continue to drive my Saabs, both old and new, to show other motorists what has been lost from the world of the motor car.

reindeer
Member
4 years 8 months ago

??

Peter, Sweden
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Isn’t this article a tiny bit too pessimistic, and not to say pre-mature, considering all the work going on in Trollhättan and all? Surely not a text you’ll want to read days before the We are many we are Saab-events.

Jonas Axelsson
Member
4 years 8 months ago
I think the simple facts are just passing us by. Companies like Saab are not killed by GM and yes GM is just too easy a target. People who believe the advertising massage and chase illusions killed Saab, and sadly I think they are gone. Today, all cars pretty much look alike and that illusion and an attractive low price sells. In a bad and faltering world economy companies like Kia and Hyundai sell the illusion of style and low, low price. Face it, nothing is for free. Those free oil and filter changes on our Saabs were built into… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Have you read the news the last two months? General Motors DIRECTLY prevented Saab from continuing life under the purchase by Youngman. General Motors is DIRECTLY responsible for where Saab is at today. So you could rationalize by talking abuot price points and Kia—-but facts are facts. GM obstructed a sale that would have had us talking about the assembly line starting up in a couple weeks. It WAS General Motors. And yes, I agree with you about the pricing—-and the need for an entry level model to compete in today’s market.

Jonas Axelsson
Member
4 years 8 months ago
What are these guys smoking. “Saab makes the turbo work in the mass market”. I put well over 100,000 miles on my GM turbo as did a few hundred thousand Olds and Corvair owners in the 1960’s. What is his definition of mass market? I wish guys like this and Swade would do some research before they set a finger on the keyborard. The problem with the Corvair and it’s handling was that people were not running the proper rear tire pressures. The TRW and Garrett Air turbos ran fine I assure you. And no Swade, it was Caddy, not… Read more »
maanders
Member
4 years 8 months ago

While there were obviously cars that had used turbos prior to Saab, when Saab really began to emphasize the 4 cylinder turbo engine in the 99 and classic 900, they had the mindshare on efficient turbo engines. In that era, when you thought turbo, you thought Saab. (Sort of like IBM did not make the first personal computer, but in the 80’s, when you thought of the PC you thought of the IBM PC.)

rune
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Saab designed a wastegate to control boost. As I understand it, this design helped tamed the turbo and made it much more palatable (less maintenance I believe) to the average driver.

I was born in 1974 so I don’t have first hand experience. My understanding is that the number of cars equipped with turbos in the early 70s was minimal at best.

rune
Member
4 years 8 months ago

“An original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, manufactures products or components that are purchased by a company and retailed under that purchasing company’s brand name.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OEM

Saab was not an OEM. When I’m buying an OEM part for my 9000, I don’t get the Saab logo.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
What did GM do after the Corvair turbo? A few thousand? LOL. LMAO. What did GM do after putting airbags in 1973 Toronados? What did GM do after bringing the EV-1 “Impact” to the roads well before Prius? Nothing. They did nothing. At one point, Saab’s entire line of cars were turbocharged—-every model and every trim level. What percentage of GM’s products were turbocharged? Then and now? How many? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Saab didn’t invent FWD either, but believed in it enough to make all of their cars FWD. As far as being “revisionist” I don’t see that… Read more »
GerritN
Member
4 years 8 months ago
“General Motors stepped in and the rest is recent history – a range of warmed-over Vauxhalls and even Subarus that were devoid of that mystery ingredient that was “Saabism”. ” Uh, I seriously object to Lance Cole delegating 3 of the 4 Saabs that I have owned to the ‘not-real-Saabs’ bin. Our 9-5 is as much a Saab as our old 900, in many ways it is even a far better car. In thrashing the GM-era Saabs he is also thrashing a younger generation of proud Saab drivers. I know I shouldn’t be offended by someone who clearly got stuck… Read more »
Jonas Axelsson
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Good response too! I too went through a pissed at GM phase till I got to spend more and more time with the new generation 9-3’s and am starting to like the car more. About the only regret is that I could not afford the 9-5 Griffin at the dealer. I did not even make him an offer for fear of insulting him (or embarrassing me?), with a tad stiffer suspension it may have been a match made in heaven. One of the things that made me realize how much I like the newer Aero was when I was helping… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

My 2004 GM era 9-5 ARC wagon is a terrifc car too. I agree with your post. These cars are as much Saab as they are GM.

Toby K
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Personally speaking I have always found Mr Cole to be a little off-message but on this point I have to agree. Nobody who bought a new (ish) 9-5 or 9-3 for their obvious and valid practical reasons wants to hear another Saab fan say “Well of course, that new 9-5 you got there-its not a real Saab.” But the fact is something was lost once GM starting playing around with Saab. I am one of the folks that stopped buying Saab’s after the old 9-3 Aero turned into the new Saloon 9-3 Aero which was more expensive, worse quality and… Read more »
3cyl
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Post first generation 900 model SAABs may or may not be real SAABs depending on one’s definition of real SAABs. Unfortunately, as Toby K points out, SAAB and most brands today have had their personalities diluted. Things like shared platform engineering, fuel economy standards, and safety requirements conspire against having a mass produced car stand out as different much beyond the grill design. Regardless of whether they are real SAABs or not, the later cars don’t scream SAAB the way the 2 stroke, V4, 99 and first generation 900 cars do. Nonetheless, I continue to drive SAABs because they offer… Read more »
rune
Member
4 years 8 months ago

As I keep telling people: A real Saab must have Night Panel, BioPower (developed without GM’s knowing or approval — does not get more Saaby than that) and SAHR to mention a few. And as a bonus, it should have a retractable cup holder.

Every Saab model has one or more items that disqualifies it being a true Saab. The 9-5 actually comes close, but… Alas… No hatchback!

And that, IMO, is a true Saab. I.e. one or more crucial feature is missing.

Toby K
Member
4 years 8 months ago

For me the great sadness is I was actually ready to buy back in with the future ng9-3….it just sounded as if they were back on track-I hope I find out oneday soon, it’ll be sad to know they were getting it right and never see the product.

Carlo A
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Lance is a genuine SAAB guy but SAAB is only almost dead, not dead yet ….. fingers crossed!

Griffin Up!

kochje
Member
4 years 8 months ago

+1

fanofsaab
Member
4 years 8 months ago

The fact that the word obituary is used on Saabs United tells me it’s over. Of course, I hope my interpretation is incorrrect. Just no news lately of hope.

jond
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Saab is not dead, it is in receivership. The Receivers obviously think that they have enough interest to sell it as a going concern, as they have stated, as logic suggests as does the fact that they can turn potential bidders down whom they think have not done enough homework on their bid. There is much more chance of a spectacularly successful future than oblivion. What is all this about obituaries?

Allan B
Member
4 years 8 months ago
GerritN posted exactly what I was going to say. This article by Lance Cole completely demolishes his credibility in my view. Yes the company is bankrupt. No, it is not over yet. All the indications are that the administrators are actively seeking a solution that could see someone start building Saab cars again in some from in the future. Even if that does not come to pass and the worst happens, it is totally irresponsibe and premature to be peddling that line now. Except, of course, Mr Cole seems to be determined to conclude the story here because he has… Read more »
rune
Member
4 years 8 months ago
It is my understanding that the last generation 900 was a bit ‘iffy’. Often criticized for using an older Opel platform, making the end result too unlike everything else Saab has produced before or since. Both when it comes to road holding capabilities as well as safety. I suspect this is what Lance was referring to. The GM 900 was a noticable step down from its predecessor. As I understand it, the second generation 9-3 is a completely different beast — one that has served me well. Adjusting to the GM parts bin was a long journey, and it seems… Read more »
Mark
Member
4 years 8 months ago

That obituary doesn’t feel quite right yet. Saab hasn’t quite used up all of of it’s nine lives yet. There are some more chapters to play out and still some hope I think.

Saab Up!

100%Saab
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Whatever.

Just a thought.

mike900
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Yep…. Not a big fan of Lance’s writing to be honest.

Lance Cole
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Thanks everyone. Odd is it not when one says something that differs from perceived and desired wisdom, that one goes from liked to unliked. If you think the term obiturary was wrong, or just mine, you best read all the other obits to Saab published across the British car (and other) magazines, papers, supplements and classic car imprints. Try Classic Car Weekly’s very rational Saab Obit for a start. I would love Saab to have lived, but it no longer lives and Saab as we knew it is gone. You can argue and shout at me until time stands still,… Read more »
rune
Member
4 years 8 months ago
“leather seat trim that was ruined within 3,000 miles” I only held on to my MY08 9-3 SC for 30000 km, but the seats were still pristine at that point. I fear you are still overly critical of the later GM-era Saabs. You mention EuroNCAP as a yardstick for a true Saab, but how do you propose to quantify “quality of Saabism” in newer Saabs? What makes the MY10/11 9-5 less of a Saab than the original 900? My point is that if a Saab engineer found a perfectly good part in the GM bin, why should he instead proceed… Read more »
Toby K
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Mr Cole is correct about the leather I have seen it get very baggy and worn on the squab sides in very short miles. It was a known quality issue especially on ng93 SS/SC variants 2003-2007.

fanofsaab
Member
4 years 8 months ago

I don’t think the seat has changed since 2003…’08-’11 have same as ’03. 75k on my ’08 and seat looks new

fanofsaab
Member
4 years 8 months ago

2011 Saab 9-3- Built in Sweden, designed by Swedish engineers (I presume), German motor, Japanese trans., uses 1% US/Canadadian parts. What’s so GM about it???….what percent of “GMness” does the car have?

GerritN
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Dear Mr. Cole, I had no intention to antagonize you and scare you away from SU, far from it since I _do_ value balanced comments. However, I’ve learned the hard way, working with many people of different cultures and spread over many continents, that one has to be extremely careful with choosing ones words carefully when addressing all those people. It’s easy to, inadvertently, hurt someones feelings and close the door on further dialog. Imho, your remarks about ‘GM Saabs’ was delegating not only those “GM Saabs” but also the people owning them to insignificance with respect to the ‘true’… Read more »
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