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We will have to wait and see

February 21, 2012 in Editorial

Today we announced a rumor that has been confirmed by several independent sources that we believe to have good insight, I use the word believe because in todays world of secrecy it is more or less impossible to confirm anything before it actually happens. I think most of the commenters took this the right way as a rumor, but also as a very good rumor, probably the best one in a long time. Talk about a major German bidder has been in the talks for a very long time on several other blogs but as Ivo mentioned in the comments, never gone beyond that. Several articles in the media have also floated the idea for some time of a major European auto-maker showing interest in Saab, we’ve never picked it up until now because I felt that today the time was right to do so.

If BMW actually is the bidder we have been getting info about, I think this would be the best thing that could happen to Saab. As Gregg wrote BMW has the reputation, a simple headline would save the face of Saab while other bidders would have to spend millions of dollars in order to tell everyone that Saab is back, BMW’s announcement would be free of charge.

In the end, the only way we will find out if BMW actually is a bidder is if they are actually able to win the process, otherwise it will remain a good rumor and fade into history.

I must say that I think BMW is in a better position than any other bidder. I have consulted with some “friends” and come to the conclusion based on the statement made today by the bankruptcy administrators that BMW is probably working with Magna to meet their goals. The administrators stated that several of the bidders are working together to finance their goals, in total there are about 14 bidders that are grouped in to 6-7 groups.

I prefer BMW because they have what it takes to succeed, anyone else would be a fresh start but with a lot of “buts” to account for. Any other bidder would have many issues to deal with that BMW does not, a lot of things to “clear up” before a serious aim for re-start of production could be achieved. Like we heard with Youngman yesterday, they need to rebuild the current 9-3 in order to produce it. Rebuilding an almost 10 year old car in order to start selling it is no good way to start, even though the 9-3 still is a truly great car.

BMW also has the expertise to make Saab work, they can put some people in their place, they can promote others to succeed, they have the experience of buying other brands before and have learned some valuable lessons from that which can be applied to Saab.

Upper medium class or lower luxury class, the definition in the end doesn’t matter, BMW, AUDI, Mercedes are all in the upper luxury class and Saab couldn’t and shouldn’t try to move to that region. Saab is a nice, sporty car for average people which is exactly what it should be. The 9-5 I believe was a step away from that, just like Volvo tried to play with the big boys when the S80 was launched. It turned out to be an addition to the brand but didn’t in any way establish it self as the main part of the brand. Volvo and Saab has always built cars for the average type of people who want to have something special. This is the market where Saab could do wonders for BMW. Saab would become a direct competitor with the medium and upper-medium range of the VW group. Saab could even give Audi a run for their money but for the past years, Audi has clearly had a lot that Saab did not which has made them step up a notch above Saab’s league.

BMW I think could offer Saab as a step below BMW’s, I think it would be the best place for Saab…

Saab as a brand that offers great cars, affordable for average people, fun to drive and the packed with usefulness and smart technology but also with a serious insight into road safety is the perfect brand for me…

225 responses to We will have to wait and see

  1. I coudn’t agree more, Tim

    • 100% with you, and fully behind BMW as a buyer.

      Nobody else can offer what they can – from engineering to dealer network to an instant-cure of consumer perception, it’s a total package. BMW are smart enough to see the advantage a mid-high tier brand like Saab could offer. For anyone with doubts, wake up. Saab couldn’t get a better suitor.

      I’m extremely excited and crossing everything for this to not only be true, but for THE DEAL (for real this time!) to go ahead.

      • If this happens – there needs to be a huge “thank you” campaign from Saab loyalists letting BMW know they just picked up the absolutely most supportive customers in the world. Its been such a roller-coaster the past few years, but look at all the people that log into SU everyday just looking for a little hope and good news. What a great testament to the Saab brand value.

  2. I thoroughly disagree.

    BMW, Mercedes, Audi and even MINI, all the “fashionable” brands are for average people who want something special – to escape their mediocrity and follow the herd at the same time.

    Saabs are for people who are anything that average, regardless of income, profession, social position etc. (though Saab drivers always tend to be outside of the rigid social frameworks, that’s why we bond so well together). And for people who want a really good car, and are prepared to pay for it – and for the emblem.

    • Sorry:

      Saabs are for people who are anything BUT average

      • You know I see myself as an average person, there is in the end nothing special about me, but I do want to drive something different, something special, that’s why I drive Saab. But just because I drive a Saab, it doesn’t make me a better or more special person than anyone else…

        • Tim, did you apply Jante’s law to yourself? You are an airliner pilot and you run a blog that is a major institution in the automotive world, with hundreds of thousands of readers…

          You are a special person, and you chose Saab. You would have been all that driving a Fiat Panda as well, but you are a special person. And if we look around, people who drive Saabs tend to be, and have long been before they started driving Saabs.

          PS. Not to say there aren’t many special people driving Fiat Pandas. Some people simply don’t care much for the creature comforts, features and qualities we get in Saabs, and that’s OK as well. Hence the second addition below.

          • I’ve owned three Pandas one was a 4×4, a car which made me smile each time I drove it.

          • Tim, Here, Bravada is right : you are a special guy ! ha ha! 😉

            Seriously I think Saab’s marketing depends on the country where we live. In France, Saab is just under BMW when we talk about marketing, but whatever country – except Sweden maybe where Saab are as popular as VW in Germany – a Saab driver will tell you that his car is certainly “better than a BMW” (which is not necesseraly , well certainly not true in every points of view).

        • You are a SAAB driver :)

      • Saab’s drivers are average poeple who evolved to be special poeple because they are driving a special car, a Saab! Is it a good definition to get everybody happy? :)

    • And for people who want a really good car, and are prepared to pay for it – and NOT for the emblem.

      • Freudian slip? I think a lot of Saab drivers pride themselves as “not wanting to prove anything with an emblem” yet by choosing Saab, aren’t they showing something with THAT emblem? The “I don’t go along with the flow” that is a component of a Saab purchase is just a different choice than the “I’ve made it” that leads to a Mercedes purchase. When we make a choice of a brand, we are in fact saying something to the world with our emblem.

        • Oh we sure do, but we pay less for it. At least I did, I would have paid more for a comparable Skoda, and I did pay list price!

        • >not wanting to prove anything with an emblem<
          Must be true becuase all too often the emblems I see on Saabs are just a round silver disks stuck on the hood. :-)

          • And wait long enough the emblem on the back will peel off too. That’s how I knew the 9-2 was a real saab. The emblem peeled off.

            • The emblems are what keep Saab Parts in business.

            • Mine peeled off but was under warranty so they put a new one on. I actually sort of liked the silver on silver after the color was gone!

              • Peeled off under warranty!
                You guys in NA were spoiled… 😉
                We in Europe mostly had two years (no mileage restrictions) and then you were on your own -and doing fine.

              • Still have the original emblems (front & back) on my 2002 9-3 SE. Not being my first SAAB I knew what to expect so I removed them and clear-coated them.
                Of course, now that I write this, they’re probably going to peel off in the next couple of days. :-]

              • Ironically enough, down here in Kiwi land the BMW emblams come off too… and even more ironically, my emblem came off a week after i took the avatar photo. :(

    • Guys, I like that roumor, but… it’s still a roumor. There’s one thing we’ve learnt since Dec 2009 – waiting. In this tough time – it’s the only thing lasts for us – turbo freaks – waiting. In next week, or two, everything should be solved (I hope).

      with all respect for the knowledge from your posts, thanks for the news and infos :)


    • +100

      Totally agree. I could have bought a BMW, but BMW is so to common people that’s why I have Saab.

      Owning a Saab is really COOL compared to a BMW.

      • I almost bought an ’06 Acura TL before I hapily chose my 9-5 SC. I think that model year TL is the best designed car that Acura has made so far and they ruined it with the new model. Getting to my point, I see them EVERYWHERE!! I love that my heart almost skips a beat every time I see a Saab driving down the road, especially when I pull up next to one. They are a great and special car. I’ve never wanted to have a car that is just a dime-a-dozen. Saabs are unique and when you buy a Saab, you don’t just buy a car, you join a family! Yes there may be some groups of BMW, Mini or VW fans out there but they nothing on the network of Saab lovers. I’m so glad I joined the family just 18 months ago and I’m already looking to replace my wife’s Honda Accord with another Saab!

    • All fine points, but there just isn’t enough of us to sustain the brand.
      (Oh, the later year GM influence to water down that difference also didn;t help)

      • I think there are enough of us if Saab managed to sell in excess of 120K cars in its best years (and record profits at that – and that happened in the GM years!). It’s just a question of keeping the lineup crisp and attractive.

    • I can easily purchase any of your luxury three…BMW/ Mercedes/Audi but I find them like the gold tooth on a bad taste.

  3. LIKE, Never ever give up!

    • 6 to 7 serious bidders…apparently there’s one half-serious bidder and 6 serious ones? :-)

    • If you follow some of the links at that autoblog story, there is a March 2010 autoblog story reporting that BMW will build front-wheel-drive automobiles and it highlights as well as provides the speech by Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW, at the Annual Accounts Press Conference for 2010. Here’s a quick excerpt from the end of the speech…

      In early March (2010), the BMW Group was ranked by Fortune Magazine as the most admired automotive company in the world. This distinction was given to us because we are not only the leading premium automaker with regard to sales volume, but we also managed to use our resources efficiently and reduce our fleet emissions significantly in a very short period of time.

      You can be certain: We have a clear path forward.

      We will remain an independent company that takes a long-term approach and acts in the best interest of all stakeholders. This year marks the turning point toward long-term profitability as we remain focused on achieving our 2012 targets.

  4. I agree that BMW would be the most suitable owner. They know how to run a car company and I am pretty sure they know that the only way to let SAAB be successful under BMW is by not turning a SAAB into a BMW. Finding engines for the Phoenix-cars would suddenly not be a problem anymore. There are so many thing said about whether SAAB is premium or not, I think it will be of great importance to understand that SAAB in Sweden is completely different than in the rest of the world. They might be for average people in Sweden but I can only say that it is a completely different case for Belgium. Where SAAB are more for people who don’t want a 4th BMW or 5th AUDI. That’s where SAAB perfectly fits in as they are also “premium-enough”. (In fact, I don’t think that the interior quality of the 9-5 wagon and 9-4x were below Audi standards). Maybe Belgium and Sweden are complete opposites when it comes to “brand perception” and that will be a part of the success with any owner: how much brand value is there left in each country?

  5. “…but for the past years, Audi has clearly had a lot that Saab did not which has made them step up a notch above Saab’s league.”

    A kick in the balls, Tim! :)

  6. If BMW becomes owner, I still say GM will not license to them, which means no new Saabs for at least a couple of years. However, BMW could produce cars in THN until the new Saabs are launched, therefore, helping the city and the region.

  7. I love the idea of a winning bid from BMW. I know it brings some baggage with it—-but the laundry list of problems it solves dwarf the risk of Saab becoming BMW, which I think is really a small risk. Why would BMW want Saab? Someone asked on a previous thread, why BMW would want this headache and their point was that it can’t be true—it’s just a rumor. Actually, I can answer their question: BMW would want this headache because BMW sees a path to growing and making money. A headache? Yes. But there is a lot of good that comes with that headache—-things we’ve been over numerous times, including newly developed platform, rabid customer base, declining but still viable dealer network already in place for the brand, state of the art factory, etc. BMW didn’t get to where they are by making stupid decisions. If they bid, it will be because they see a value here and they see a way to increase revenue and as I said, grow and diversify. BMW seems to be a very well run business with principles that have stood the test of time—-several decades of growth and success. There can’t possibly be a doubt that they are the most qualified among the bidders we’ve speculated on. Does being “most qualified” make them “the best?” I don’t know. I don’t know what their intentions are. But I’d jump at the chance to find out. I would say “YES” to BMW fast than the blink of an eye. And I love the possibility of Mahindra—-I think they’d be capable of great things with Saab—-but I think the future would be more certain with BMW.

  8. Its unfortunate that we don’t get a vote. I loved the comment about positioning Saab directly against VW – I think this is Saab’s space in the market, perhaps just a bit more upscale. Its Saab’s sophistication, safety, uniqueness, and driving dynamics that will pull customers away from VW to Saab. Let’s also remember that BMW needs to hedge its bets against Hyundai/Kia which is considering a high-end “Genesis” marquee.

    BMW could also better position Saab against Acura, Lexus, and Volvo but I see that as a losing proposition. Build a Saab GTI fighter, Jetta fighter, and Passat fighter.

  9. I thought SU, was not the place for GOSSIP……….

  10. For me the most important thing is that Saab as we all know it will be able to re-start but defenitively; not for a coupe of years, and that Saab can be an individual brand within ahatever company that is able to “purchase” it.
    If it is Youngman, BMW , or any other real car-manufacturer; all right.
    As long as the purhcase Saab te have the brand continue his own and known way as it has done so long.
    No preference; as long as the buy Saab for being Saab.

    • Yes, I agree.
      Another advantage would be that a Saab in quiet water also finally allows me a much lower frequency of SaabsUnited visits…

  11. I think many people are forgetting the fact that GM and BMW have been in talks for cooperative agreements/efforts in various areas. Here is an example:

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    BMW, General Motors Seek To Cooperate On Fuel Cells – Report

    FRANKFURT -(Dow Jones)- German car maker BMW AG (BMW.XE) and General Motors Co. (GM) seek to co-operate on fuel cell technology, Wirtschaftswoche magazine says in a report posted on its website.

    BMW will in future get access to GM’s fuel cell technology and the German automaker will contribute to the costs of development in return, the magazine says.

    Talks between GM and BMW are at an advanced stage and the partnership will be announced after the motor show in Detroit in January, the report says.

    “We are in talks with GM on different topics on next-generation technologies,” a BMW spokesman said.

    GM declined to comment on a potential partnership with BMW to develop fuel- cells. A company spokesman, however, said the companies are in talks over future technologies.

    In a strategy key to the auto maker’s post-bankruptcy turnaround, GM is seeking tieups with auto makers and other companies as a way to develop new technologies more quickly and will less financial risk.

    Last week, GM said it would jointly develop carbon fiber components with a Japan-based maker or carbon fiber. It has partnerships with other companies on projects from battery-powered busses to wireless phone chargers for vehicles.

    BMW co-operates with Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) on battery research, and Wirtschaftswoche says BMW is on the lookout for co-operation with companies that aren’t direct competitors in order to control the high costs of the research and development.

    Magazine website:

    -By Harriet Torry and Sharon Terlep, Dow Jones Newswires; 49-69-29725-500.

    Another example:

    Spiegel Online set the rumormill ablaze with an unconfirmed report that General Motors is seeking some sort of cooperative deal with German automaker BMW. Speigel says The General’s interest in BMW is primarily related to the German firm’s gasoline and diesel engine technology.

    Beyond that, Spiegel reports that Stephen Girsky, GM’s board member in charge of strategy, has started discussions with BMW on “far-reaching joint projects.”

    BMW chairman Dr. Norbert Reithofer previously went on record saying the German automaker was open to the idea of selling engines to other companies so long as such a move – like the recent agreement BMW made with Fisker Automotive – wouldn’t strengthen a direct competitor’s position or damage BMW’s reputation.

    In exchange, Spiegel reports that BMW is intrigued by the technology behind the Opel Ampera. This should come as no surprise considering that former Opel exec Frank Weber (pictured) now heads research and development at BMW. Weber is known as the leader of the team that transformed the Chevrolet Volt from a wild-eyed concept to a production vehicle.

    Dow Jones says neither General Motors nor BMW were immediately available for comment on this alleged deal, not that we’d expect them to have much to say at this point, anyway. We’ll keep our eyes peeled.


    The bottom line: BMW *may* have leverage with GM that the others do not when it comes to obtaining the licenses.

  12. I couldn’t help adding a few notes here, as I’ve owned 15 BMW’s (mostly 5 series) and have loved and enjoyed them all, great cars, but everyone drives them. This, however isn’t a mark agaisnt them, I truly believe SAAB’s are more of an enjoyable car to drive and own, a car for the independent mind.

    I would love it if this rumour were true, SAAB would get the kind of foundation they need to take the brand where it needs to go, just as long as it doesn’t become another BMW, as much as I love them, I’d hate that to happen.

    Also, besides a few finishing issues, i’d put SAAB down as just as much of a luxury car next to the 3 / 5 series – the seats are still far superior and the quality of drive is still stunning. I picked my new 9-3 TTiD against a 325d, and I would again and again, it really is a stunning car, and with the addition of some Hirsch parts, it feels absolutely ‘of now’, and looks gorgeous still too.

  13. The problem with BMW is that they will develop Saabs in Munich and Sweden will just be a factory. However, this is the least of Saab’s worries. In the medium term, there would be some design and engineering in Sweden.

    We’ll also see Saabs with run flat tires and no oil dipstick. I’m not sure if Saab would keep it’s great green dash illumination or go with BMW’s inferior orange/red. This is bad but better than the other problems associated with the other bidders. Just let me buy a new next generation 9-3/900 with (ugh) runflat tires, no oil dipstick, and orange illumination of the speedometer. Where’s the sales contract to sign?

    • Really, do you want to see a private equity firm with questionable funding take over or someone from an allegedly communist nation? One thing with BMW, they know how to keep a BMW dash looking like a BMW dash over the years. Something that I still admire when getting in one. Maybe they can bring back the Saab look and not just replace GM’s with their own. Something tells me they learned from the Rover debacle. Just spare us from the electronic auto gearbox. As far as run flats go, the NG 9-5 did not come with a spare nor run-flats, now that’s stupid.

    • I wouldn’t really call the orange/red inferior. I understand if you don’t like it, but due to how the human eye works that red orange is basically the easiest color for people to see. Take for example blue dashes, blue is the most difficult wavelength to see and while it looks “pretty” and “cool” the eye has trouble distinguishing the contrast between the black unlit dash and the blue lettering. Green is much much better, but red is truly the easiest to see. Taking into consideration Saab has always been about safety it wouldn’t be a horrible move… also I associate green dash lighting with my father’s Ford Ranger more than my Saabs :(

      • Nope, green is the easiest to look at for prolonged periods. That’s why airplanes have green instrumentation. Red is inferior with regard to that, it irritates the eye.

        I really don’t think BMW would go as far as change the instrumentation colour just to make Saabs BMWs. BTW, they are quite good at preserving the unique character of a brand, look at MINI, it’s anything but BMW. Oh, and MINI had a separate development centre created for it in the UK. If anything, Saabs could partially be developed there (FWD expertise), rather than Munich. Munich and other BMW centres could perhaps take over some functions previously done by “GM mothership”, such as engine design.

        • I doubt they would change the instrument color either, but I believe if they did change it to orange/red it wouldn’t be horrible either. Also with airplanes I can understand looking at instruments, but with a car shouldn’t you be watching the road? Think that’s why they designed Night Panel 😉

          • Red IS horrible at night. I will never buy a car with red instrumentation, ever. Even it would have the Griffin badge on it.

            Maybe I should change my user name to Grumpy RS?

      • it’s a small and ridiculous thing, but I love the green/orange instruments and would be quite distraught if they were replaced with another colour – particularly blue! Blue is so try-hard cool. Yuck.

  14. “BMW I think could offer Saab as a step below BMW’s, I think it would be the best place for Saab…”
    Corrected. Should be ….offer Saab as a step beyond BMW´s in matter of attitude and integrity. Period Stop Finito.
    I mean, BMW are buses. You know Coaches.
    Are they not? I see them every morning in the bus lane. Wouldn’t want to be associated with that kind of behavior.

  15. What I find best about this deal is BMW’s history with smaller, quicky brands. Mini, Land Rover, and Rolls Royce were all small, antiquated, and struggling brands when BMW bought them. BMW developed the new Range Rover, the new Mini Cooper, and the Phantom and Ghost. All of these vehicles essentially saved their respective brands, while keeping each brand’s unique identity intact. If BMW wins the bid, and is serious about developing the brand, Saab is poised to make a great comeback.

  16. If BMW is the one..
    What is the benefit for BMW? Only production capacity? A partner to use the platform of the Mini? Is Phoenix interesting for BMW?
    How should Saab be placed to BMW?
    Saab could benefit to get the 93-II GM IP free very quickly (Engine (gasoline/ diesel) and electronic components), but the 93-II needs a couple of homologation tests be done in this case.

    • What is the benefit for BMW? : an extremely loyal customer base. A Saab driver is not likely to buy a BMW and vice versa. Plus technology (e-AAM, electric Saab, PhoeniX …).

      • OK. I’ve seen no smileys in the answer.
        e-AAM OK. electric Saab, maybe (think they’e something similar).
        Phoenix, really not sure about. BMW is not in a bad situation. So they don’t need this platform.
        Customer base is only interesting while building Saabs. BMW itself has not a benefit as a brand only as an supplier of components (where Saab is with figures of the last 10 years very small).
        I don’t see the business case. Only as a partner together with youngman/ PangDa to get better access to the chinese market (less restrictions, higher volumes, not to be someone to be taken by an other big one).

        • in the article about the press conference it was stated, that the bidding companies want to continue building Saabs. If this is true, than the customer base is interesting.

          Yes, the figures were small, but there are many old Saabs on the roads, a 6-digit number for sure. These will need spare parts and sooner or later there will be need for new cars. Most probably Saabs, if production would continue. In IT you would call this large installed base on which you can build on. I understand this like a vendor lock-in, in positive meaning (i want instead of i must).

          As a partner with an chinese company because of the chinese market ? Fine. Increased marketshare of the new owner is always good.

    • My guess; BMW needs a factory for its i3.

  17. I trully don’t understand the inferiority complex towards german cars. I really don’t. Maybe the lack of money did stop continuous improvement in some areas such as built quality, but from the rides I get from those germans brands, I don’t think they are better. They just have an inferior life span that what we are used to (for obvious reasons). I love(d) SAAB because they weren’t affraid to compete with the “big boys” and achieve so much in engineering, safety and so one. In my opinion that’s how it should be, even just selling 100000 per year. SAAB as an entry level BMW ? That won’t work (for me). I’d rather go Alfa Romeo, Lancia or a second or third hand Jaguar owner instead! I love the brand to much to see it as a second grade one for some huge manufacturer. That would be a tremendous lack of respect for such an iconic brand. Go Brightwell, Mahindra and who knows who else, I just want it to be someone completely focused on SAAB. If not…there’s not much to lose by now…

    • I couldn’t agree more strongly with your statement, dave (and with Bravada and a few others). Let’s stop the Jante mindset and the cowering. And to think we criticized the Swedish press for such!

      There were some mistakes in execution of the 9-5 (and 9-3). Frankly, minor ones–and so easily rectified (I’ve put forth the list many times here…and the marketing mis-cues…anyone remember “we are not going BMW hunting…”). But to suggest that the proper response be that Saab, like some chastised miscreant, fall into line, “below” Audi and BMW, according to some god-given mythical automotive hierarchy boggles…

      • +1 a thousand timesssss!

        I don’t know what has gotten into SU comments section today, but people are thinking its okay to be second to a company we compete against. I just dont get it, why would this be a good fit. The average consumer doesnt even know Saab is FWD/AWD and not RWD like BMW. And honestly, consumers don’t care. They just want a nice looking car that is a joy to drive and own. All this nonsense about what drivetrain is in the car is irrelevant, so thinking BMW and Saab wont compete under the same umbrella is ludicrous to me. They are both priced within a few $1000 dollars from each other on each model, and if the new 9-3 is as good as it is said to be, then could one expect BMW to decontent it to further remove it from 3series territory?
        Ahh well, I guess the automotive world will need another Rover reminder i guess.

        • Where are we now? Not second. Not third. More like on the bench or semi-retired. Second sounds delicious right now.

          • Angelo,
            But we have the choice of being several companies 1st. FIRST.

            Why would you choose 2nd instead of 1st?

            • And you nailed it :)

            • I’d rather be the back-up QB on a Super Bowl winning team than the starter on a team that is in last place and never makes the playoffs—-and they’re talking about eliminating it.

              • Really? But there are people who prefer to fight their own battles than having others deciding their faith. Its better to play and lose than to me a mere observer.

                • I understand that. But in this case, Saab is gone. The short list of suitors doesn’t include anyone resembling Saab’s previous owner—-it will be Chinese with low experience, Turkish with NO experience, Inidan with truck experience (a good bet by the way—Mahindra would be wonderful) but now BMW? Car makers. Extraordinarily successful. Been there, done that. This seems like a good fit to me.

      • Wow. Just wow. Some mistakes were made in the execution of the 9-5 and 9-3. Minor ones, and so easily rectified. Really? Well, unfortunately Saabs potential customers felt quite differently. They compared Saab’s offerings to the holy trinity of elite germans using their eyes, fingers, ears and brains. Evidence suggests that they found Saab’s product lacking. Perhaps their eyes or fingers told them that the materials used in the last Saabs were inferior to BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. Could their ears have suggested that the 2.8 and 3.0 V6 engines were unrefined and underpowered compared to a BMW straight six (or god forbid a BMW turbo 6)? Possibly, their brains told them that this product, when priced within a few thousand dollars of BMW / Audi / Mercedes, was an insult to their good sense. There was and is a reason people pay near sticker for Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. It is the same reason that they wouldn’t pay anywhere near sticker for a Saab. They choose. No, it isn’t a god-given mythical automotive hierarchy. It is consumer preference.

        Yes, Saab was priced within a few thousand dollars of the German power trio. That actually says something. Sadly though, if Saab wanted to give that game a try they should have showed up at that party wearing a much nicer gown. The experiment ended in bankruptcy, but still people go on about how Saab was right in the thick of the fight the entire time, giving as good as they got. If an unfinished flagship flanked by a 9 year old entry-level model and a new CUV designed with exactly one market in mind (hint: assembled just south of that market) constitutes a competitive model lineup–no wait. It doesn’t. Perhaps bankruptcy does chastise Saab. I won’t call it a miscreant though. Deluded, but not depraved. Feel the way you will, but understand that there are real reasons that an apparent majority of (apparently) confused visitors to these forums tonight do think that Saab could fit nicely “below” Audi and BMW. If that position chaffs, then perhaps when Saab has something material to present again it will make its case for superiority. Until then, I am happy to think that Saab might get another chance with a partner it can–at present–learn quite a bit from.

        • Too bad many of those German customers didn’t get in a really bad wreck so that they could appreciate a Saab. Too bad they didn’t get to learn that you can replace a straight six but you can’t replace yourself.

          Unfortunately, you can’t see safety. You can’t rub it with your fingers, you can’t smell it with your nose, and you can’t see it with your eyes.

          All that interior bullshit you guys are constantly talking about and fit and finish is like paint on a house. Looks pretty. But inside the walls, the construction is cheap.

          Too bad safety is so hard to sell and Saab never knew how to do it.

          • Volvo established their brand, in the U.S. as the “safe” car. In the early 1970s, when others were focused on speed and then economy, luxury, style or value—-Volvo’s ad agency stuck with one message, one virtue: Safety. The critics thought showing safety tests with wrecked Volvos would fail—that a wreck is a negative—it would scare people. As it turned out, Volvo was right and their critics were wrong. Here we are almost 40 years later and that image of Volvo is still locked in the minds of Americans at least—Volvo=Safety. We know that Saab is also a very safe car (as well as doing a lot of things better than Volvo). But “Born from Jets” didn’t quite resonate with young families or people looking for value and practicality. In fact, it didn’t really resonate with enough people to sell enough cars, did it? If Saab comes back, they need to strike a new chord with potential buyers—a totally new direction in how they advertise and market their cars—and how they position them.

        • @Quixcube: As one who criticized the Muller Regime (and Predecessors) as strongly as any other poster here, you’re waving your finger at the wrong person Mate.

          The Sad Fact: Yes, these were easily addressed issues (and Saab’s ‘unrefined’ 6 cylinder wouldn’t be on that list — ever driven a Hirsched/Maptuned/or VTuned Turbo X?)

          As regards the ‘dressing gown': Dash finish on the 9-5 could have been quickly remedied with greater co-operation via Hirsch; Sat-Nav should have been standard…and Sunroof. If we want to broaden the discussion: The appointment of an incompetent distrubutor in Canada ( Leaseing anybody?) . I could go on: 2 years passed before Hirsch came to North America…and as per David Mills bodily integrity was never at question and more than equal to any comers.

          As an ex-BMW driver (dare ,I say, of ‘The Enemy’) and knowing full the capabilities (and shortfalls) of the competitiion, I’m well aware ‘The Game’ is won or lost in decimal tenths.

          And now what are we left with: Not to tread on the toes of Pater BMW … lest we encroach on 3 and 5 series sales? Auto-cannibalism? Or would you pefer that Saab drop prices and magically ramp up production 10x to face-off with Subaru? And then who’s being Quixotic?

          For sake of the good people of Trollhattan, I sincerely hope it works out for The Best.

          • +1. God bless you, you nailed it.

            I think many Saab drivers never really experienced BMW, so they really think BMW will be a saving grace just because they have a serious attention to detail and perfectionists, and are charged with a successful restart of the MINI brand. However may i remind them, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

            We all know that Saabs are packed with standard features. But my guess is the next 9-3 will be decontented to make room for the 3 series.

            • Grass isn’t always greener? Right now, we’re not standing on grass. Saab is drowning in quicksand. The issue isn’t whether we can find greener grass, it’s whether we can find solid ground to stand on again. I’m willing to allow anyone to try to help—-but it appears the choices are a few well meaning people who’ve never saved someone from quicksand—-and now arriving, someone who big and strong, has done it before and is carrying a backpack full of equipment. If that person is willing to help, that should maybe be our first choice.

              • Angelo we meet again :)

                SSangyong was saved by Mahindra, and they are in the process of being turned around, so I believe Mahindra is the best option.

                I didnt realize my cliche analogy of grass would be interpreted further, but I might as well go in:
                The grass is isnt always greener meaning, just to be apart of BMW group because of their success. Saab has the CHOICE between what grass they can stand on as the administrators will certainly do, its just the matter of picking the right grass.
                Thats what I meant. I dont care about Saabs status right now nearly as much as tomorrow and the next day and on into the future.

          • It wasn’t a matter of decimal tenths. It was a complete mismatch of product to reality. The 9-5 needed a Griffin Edition upgrade before it went on sale. The 9-3 needed so much more. Sadly, neither got a damn thing, which really is unfortunate, but also is reality.

            That reality leaves Saab standing today well below the best in class. It isn’t cowering to stand where you are. Its bravado to claim a place where you aren’t and it turns off customers who aren’t impressed with false pretenses.

            A Subaru owner who cross-shops a 9-3 at the same price today would be intrigued. A BMW owner who cross-shops a 9-3 at a 3 series price would want their 30 minutes back.

            • Rubbish. The interior of the 9-5 is not all that bad. The seats are still beyond fantastic and it is a good place to live for a spirited 12-16 hour drive.

              Other brands has occasionally passed me on the highway when the asphalt is dry and warm. In the wet, on the ice or in the snow, I think I can count on one hand when that has happened. More often than that have I driven in the snow while the one I am overtaking is accelerating on dry asphalt.

              Feel free to list the cars you feel can be had at the same (or lower) price than the 9-5 that either match or excel it as a driver’s car. (and at the same time fit a 2 meter long bed in the back)

              As for the 9-3… It makes sense in Scandinavia. You can’t pay me enough to convince me to take a 3-series RWD car out on a typical winter road.

        • I agree with one aspect of the post: Pricing. Saab is perceived by most as a near luxury brand—quirky, unique, NEAR luxury. It’s not even worth getting into the details of whether this perception is right or wrong—most important, that IS the perception. If the price for NEAR luxury is at or above “LUXURY” it’s a consumer turn-off. If the price for NEAR luxury is at or below NEAR luxury, consumers will buy. The key for any future restart of Saab is to exploit the perception as a near luxury brand and offer an entry level model and a decontented higher end model that stickers for LESS than people expect it to. With the right planning, Saab can execute a nice entry level car (Hatchback please) and price it to make a good profit—and young buyers will say “It’s only a couple thousand more than (fill in the blank) and it’s a Saab.” Ditto the decontented larger model.

    • Finally, someone says what I’ve been thinking. Thought I might be the only one. I want Saab to have the freedom to develop independently, not trying to build something Saab-like on a donated platform.

      • As you can see you’re not alone 😉

      • I think most of us want that—-but the question is, how do you get from point A to point B? Is there any realistic scenario where someone with deep enough pockets buys Saab and then “lets” Saab do their own thing? I don’t see it. I haven’t heard of it. It doesn’t seem the least bit plausible. Question #2: If the choices are a “donated” platform with engineering and styling changes to make a “Saab-like” car or the end of Saab—-shouldn’t we take a chance on the donated platform? Why not, if the altnernative is death? Any bidder has one thing in mind: That is, what benefits them. Whether it’s a factory, technology, a partially completed new FWD platform—an image, a brand, potential customers—this is about what the remains of Saab can do for THEM, not what they can do for the remains of Saab. Personally, I think BMW would be the best steward of the brand. I think Mahindra would develop more affordable Saabs and some unexpected vehicles sold in Saab showrooms. I think Youngman has shown the most tenacity—they’d probably pour the most money in over time and not give up on trying to make a go of this. Brightwell—-not sure what they bring to the table, but if they’re the winning bidder, I’m supporting them.

  18. Here is some great news ,here is west palm beach florida ,saabs are been used as loaner cars for infinity brand cars ,during that time the female customers would turn there big brand Infinity vehicles for the 9-3’s even without warranty ,had a chance to speak with two of them & they both said that they prefer how the saabs drive when compared with there 60-70k dollar cars ,note INFINITY IS RAISING HELL RIGHT NOW . HA HA HAAAA, GO SAAB GO .

  19. There are of course both good and bad sides in this BMW track, but one thing I love the most: BMW will be able to show the finger to GM and telling them to put the licenses and IPs in one place!!!! This would finally put the end on all suffering SAAB had with GM!!! And that in big style!!!!
    That would be the biggest satisfaction at least for me, even if SAAB becomes design/fashion accessory big brother to Mini.

  20. Been a while since I’ve posted. Have been loving my NG 9-5 but a little depressed about Saab. This is the best news I have heard since this whole sage began.

    I feel a little sorry for Youngman though as Karmically they have really put in a lot, have shown imagination and dedication. Even so, BMW would be a FABULOUS parent.

    • I shed no tears for Youngman. They had several opportunities to close a deal with Saab, and backed off looking for a better deal or for more leverage. If the rumor is true, or if another bidder gets Saab, they waited too long and it’s their own fault they end up with nothing.

      You could argue, in fact, that much of the drama over the last six months was due to Youngman’s indecisiveness, or due to their obstinate/obscure approach to honoring their written promises, or both.

      • Well Greg, you are right and wrong… the story is much more complex than that. In my eye’s Pang Da is the greedy guys who destroyed most of the deals. From what I’ve heard they were always the ones causing trouble, wanting more but they did manage in some degree to bring YM with them. But like I said, its a lot more complex, actually when studying the volvo situation a bit today it is extremely more complex…

      • 27 million euro…….is alot of money to put into Saab, with promises & a ‘bit’ of a non complete platform [which BM might, if they proceed, not use anyway].

        I read the interview with YM MD, and could see his point.

  21. average…average…average…I don’t wanna be an average person. That’s why I purchased my Saab.

    • Yes… Agree…. :)))) i am an ambitious guy, and i want to have a car who represents me…. Otherwise vw is cheaper :))))

    • Everyone is special, at least that’s what they have been telling my kids in their American schools……barf….sorry.

      Can we please stop trying to figure out what’s so special about us that we’re driving Saabs! It’s very simple, Saabs are fun to drive! But so are BMW’s (although the drivers are ‘censored’), Ferrari’s, Porsche’s, and so on. There is a car for everyone, even Toyota appliances get enjoyed in some weird, distorted way.

  22. IF this rumour about BMW is true and they would win the bid, then interesting days are awaiting.

    But I don’t really see the need of positioning SAAB below / equal / above BMW.
    From the owners perspective does it matter if a customer buys a BMW or a SAAB or a Mini?

    SAAB would bring a slightly different crowd of customers to the Bawarian party. People that for various reasons would not go BMW, people that prefer FWD and great handling in winter conditions.

    Thus it is not necessary to keep a strict division in premium or not. As long as each brand brings money to the table at a reasonable investment all is good.

    I think that a friendly competition between Thn and Munich could benefit both brands. In some areas they could do joint efforts and in others be allowed to go their own way.
    Sharing technology in a good way and not going the GM way where some brands where delayed in launches in consideration of other brands. GM clearly showed that such behaviour is not prosperous.

    Letting the children of a new family of brands compete and yet share could be a sign of great management.

    But as this is yet only a rumour we will have to wait and see. But I think the arguments are usable for other candidates as well

    • GM’s problem was that it had too many brands. In the US it had nine. In Europe there is Opel and Vauxhall and Australia has Holden. Each one of these brands felt like GM was mistreating it. There was huge competition between them and many got left out. And all were competing for generally the same market segment from high end to low end. GM was mostly front wheel drive sedans, at least in the US and mostly midsize to large.

      At least with BMW, Saab would not be competing with all of these other brands for attention in a certain market segment. There is a nice slot for it at BMW that no other brand fills.

      • GM’s problem, long term, was that the competition (partuclarly imports) ate their lunch. David, in the 1970s, GM had a ridiculously high market share (well over 50% as I recall). They were the biggest corporation in the world—no, not the biggest CAR corporation, but the largest company, period. Bigger than the oil companies, IBM, etc. They had 5 car divisions and GMC trucks. 4 of the 5 car divisions made lines of cars that were basically the same, except for different fascias and interior treatments as well as trim. Cadillac was the only one who had their own cars and didn’t share engines with the others in most cases. With all of those divisions, GM was wildly successful. What happened? Well, their management became arrogant. Their union crippled them with strikes and later, crippled them with the gains they made negotiating to end the strikes (like the pensions and platinum healthcare plans that have savaged them financially). Their assembly lines became lazy and sloppy, building garbage. EPA and CAFE standards forced them to try to change their business model too quickly—-and the resulting products were often garbage. Imports from Japan became the car of choice for people on the lower and middle ends. Luxury cars from Europe became the car of choice for buyers on the high end. Later, luxury cars from Japan took even MORE sales. This wasn’t simply a case of shared platforms and too many divisions—-it was a case of a bloated corporation who sailed for decades without foreign competition or meddling from the U.S. government—-then got caught with their pants down and rolled by better prepared companies. Ford is run far better than GM is and the other “domestic,” Chrysler, is making superior products to GM now, largely due to FIATs influence. The FIAT interior treatments are very nice.

  23. I’m afraid that under BMW , SAAB will not be a premium car. SAAB will fight with alfa romeo, opel,peugeot, renault, vw, honda, toyota. I remember that gm wanted cadillac to be the best in gm group … I always thought that SAAB is premium , NOT a different car for average people
    But I must agree that BMW is one of the best choices.

    • Saab is different, has very clear hints of luxury, ergonomic design, and is a spirited drive – especially tuned! It could be the top of the pile in the segment with Alfa, VW, Volvo & possibly Honda. Way above Toyota and Opel, above the French manufacturers, and possibly stealing Audi coupe buyers… A great position that BMW currently doesn’t own, except in the second hand market.

      They’d also shift a lot of fleet cars.

    • Well you are wrong. Saab only went ‘premium’ mostly under GM’s misguided direction.

      Saab had been functional, practical cars for those who don’t want to follow the crowd, not a badge to show off their money.

      • Umm, no? Saab 900s were more expensive than BMW 3ers long before GM took over. Saab went “premium” from the 900 Classic upwards. The 9000 was decisively a premium car.

        • Agreed. I’ve been saying for YEARS, not months, that Saab made a crucial mistake when they abandoned their original mission. Back in the 50s and 60s, Saabs sold in the U.S. were about the same price as the Volkswagen Beetle. At one point, they were advertised as “The $2000.00 Car” at a time when many cars cost twice that much. The 96 was a unique compact that was much roomier than it looked, great in snow, economical to buy and to own, frugal with gas—and owners enjoyed them. I remember seeing these cars when I was about 7 years old—-because our cottage was located near a Saab dealership and people living in that snowy area (on a lake) liked the FWD (Kunkle Motors near Harvey’s Lake, PA). The 99 represented an upward move—a faster and in many ways, more competent car than the 96 was. Pricing went up significantly, but it was still comparable to buying an average domestic car in the U.S. With the 900, Saab entered a new stratosphere. Now, the competition (at least the price point) was fixed on BMW, Audi, perhaps Peugeot’s highest end models. Saab was no longer an affordable, practical car. Practical maybe—-but no longer attainable as a new car unless a person was doing much better than average. As well, used 900s gained a reputation for being too expensive to fix. Was Saab wrong to introduce more upscale, “better” cars? Of course not. But they were wrong in not keeping an affordable, value priced, smaller model at the entry level. I maintain that any “comeback” attempt will fail without a lower priced Saab introduced. The only thing close was the Saabaru 9-2 and that wasn’t around long enough to help.

  24. I am agree and disagree. Average, average, average…….yes, but….why?? Saab was considered during many years, something special, the famous quirckness and here in Spain when it was distributed by Porsche many people, also nowadays thought it has a Porsche engine or Porsche technollogy, you cannot imagine what did to it’s brand image as something beyond conventional and very special and incredibly advanced in technollogy to be distributed by Porsche, but also the distribution, marketing and so was rubbish, also the product range was also very small and the product with a long long lifes cycles, and that was always a big big handycap to its competitiveness, check now, we are now the 9-3ss in the same history as the 9-5, the 9000, the 9-3/900, delay after delay, long life cycle and “restyling” after restyling, how it could competitive and profitable a brand with this product position and range??, and the worst thing, after GM ownership Saab brand was considered always as a simple “modified Opel”, if Youngman take ownership or Mahindra, what it would be?? “it has Chinesse parts, is not reliable”….or something like that. Saab needs a good base, to recover it’s old spirit and confidence and what offered to GM, a big big bunch of technollogy and Swedish Knowledge and beyond conventional thinking, check what it was known for……Turbo tecnollogy, Safety, advanced production methods, Electrical engineering, Enviromental friendly tech….All this things are basic and everybrand are looking to be good on this!! SAAB has this on its genes, its the SAAB moment, but we are seeing that SAAB has no resources and capacity to empower it’s strong points. Saab needs someone that understands this and has resources(tech, Capital and so), marketing, sales network and capacity to empower that, to generate a win-win situation that benefits both. And I think with the players we have here, BMW it’s perfect, it could positionate Saab in something to fight and create a headache to Audi, Volvo and differentiate and being complementary to BMW product range. If BMW has enough vision, controls it’s ego and has some humility, in the same way that Saab recognisy it needs to share tecnollogy and not being always and everything with it’s “quirckness”, then……what better to shut up some mouths……..let’s say, well now SAAB has a BMW Engine, and uses BMW technollogy in the same way BMW benefits from Saab Turbo technollogy and AWD tech. and so……then, what will be the issue with SAAB???, that’s an incredible base to begin with…… they will say its a Mini with more bhp?? jaa!! like a Porsche 911 it’s a beetle??….I think that now with the adequate philosophy and Business Plan, and prduct range position in BMW group it’s the best opportunity for Saab to become superb and show it’s power tech. and knowledge to the Automotive world.

    • well said, agree with everything you said. BMW would strengthen the brand in the eyes of consumers in a immeasurable way.

  25. This is so exciting!!! I really hope this goes through.

    Two premium brands that I love, I couldn’t be happier.

  26. This is a bit of topic, but I’d nearly want to “pop off” Mr Marcione of Fiat, when I discovered today what he’s doing with the Lancia brand! Really terrible, even worse than what GM tried with 9-2X and 9-7X! They are also making a Lancia “grand voyager”. My goodness! Haven’t Fiat learnt anything about how to decisively destroy a beautiful brand with heritage?

    Over to SAAB;
    As others have expressed here, I would not be pleased with a downward repositioning of the brand. As a SAAB salesman, I could clearly see how the NG 9-5 was really helpful in pushing the brand to its “rightful” place in the automotive world. Need to mention that we had several BMW/Audi customers who signed up to the new SportCombi, as late as August 2011. Most of them didn’t even need a “try” with the Sedan. Just the design (and of course the nice seating/smart U-rail in the rear) closed them.

    The 9-3 Griffin TTiD with 130 HP 119g CO2 was also very competitive in terms of “bang for the buck” so to speak. It was cheaper than a comparably equipped Passat 2.0 TDI 140 – highline range (In Norway). I believe that the Griffin could have taken a considerable chunk of the fleet market as well, with that engine.

  27. I still have a 1997 copy of What Car? Magazine covering the “new” Saab 9-5, somewhere in my garage. The headline on the front cover reads something like “SAAB Hits BMW…” It compared the 9-5, BMW 5series and the an equivalent Audi. Result was close BMW -1st, SAAB 2nd, Audi 3rd. They were all on the same playing field in those days. I am saddened at the disrespect shown to SAAB in this SAAB forum. It appears that the vast majority of people think that BMW would make a good parent for 2nd rate SAAB. So I am in pretty poor company when I see the “essence” of SAAB being lost in such a relationship – something started by GM. But then again, I always seem to have gone against the grain, that’s why I drive a SAAB.

    • “Started” by GM? Didn’t GM buy in over 20 years ago? That’s quite a start, I’d say. I find it astonishing that we’re talking about a bankrupt car company that is in jeapordy of being parsed out—gone forever—-and we’re squabbling about “lost essence” if they are rescued by BMW. Make no mistake about it: This is a rescue attempt, regardless of who gets Saab (if anyone). I’m also trying to imagine, among realistic scenarios, which suitor might preseve the “essence” of Saab better: A group of investors from Turkey, with no car experience. A Chinese company without mass market experience or sales success in most of the world. A company from India who specializes in trucks? Don’t get me wrong: I will support any company who tries to produce and sell Saab cars (if they sell them in the U.S.). But the rage against BMW is fascinating to me—considering how well they’ve done for themselves and with Mini—I would think we’d all be eager to see them work some magic with Saab after so many years of GM and the downward spiral the last two years.

      • I completely agree with you Angelo, we are way past having any other wishes that to get the production rolling again in any way shape or form… To be 100% honest I don’t even care what brand the car has that rolls off the production line as long as all my friends and those great people get their jobs back. No 2 on my list is to have any kind of Saab brand brought back to life… when that is done and it works, we can start wishing for more…

        • In terms of getting the SAAB staff working again: 100% with you – the business world has no consideration for the human suffering sometimes caused by their “business” decisions. I am personally becoming really hacked off by lack of accountability in the world we inhabit. Would BMW produce a car I could associate with and be comfortable with and spend hard earned money on: honestly, from experience – absolutely not. At least they will have all of you to support them. Anyway, it is all guesswork at present.

        • TimR,

          I’ll agree regarding the workers….As for any ‘new Saab’ later on, that will be too late.

          I simply cannot see BM, letting the/a Saab ‘team’ getting on with it & making a car that hurts them, which it would if the investment was there.

        • In the meantime, I will just enjoy the two Saabs sitting in my garage tonight. Just tell me who wins the bid and soon.

    • But those core values had already been heavily diluted or replaced by genericness that was GM for the past decade (or longer).

      What is the point of dwelling on past glory, the best course of action is to start from the basics, and re-build the reputation from step one. Like Audi did after the 80’s.

      Those who can face the reality and work to overcome the difficulties and short-comes have a bright future , those who blindly believes they are still at the top of the game and can do no wrong will suffer the fall eventually.

    • I am saddened too because the NG 9-5 is such a great car. Even under GM (with all the GM bashers here) both the 9-3s and the 9-5s have held their own against BMW, Audi and Mercedes in the opinion of US customers.

      Saabs don’t get bashed in the US. They are pretty darn well regarded, regardless of vintage. Most people in the US have no clue about which Saabs are pre-GM and which are not. A lot of people here don’t even know that GM ever owned Saab. And since we don’t have Opels here, no one compares them to Opel.

      Saab bashing must be a European thing.

    • Turbo_Charged

      I’m with you on this one….!!

    • This is a ridiculous argument. There’s plenty of room for another premium brand, and plenty of room for Saab to sell Linear models at a lower price point. For BMW, why not be the owner of the brand that can do that, instead of it’s competitor?

      There is absolutely no reason to throw away all of Saab’s heritage and the market position it holds. It won’t damage BMW to sell some Saab’s to the people that would a) buy a Saab anyway or b) buy an Audi or a Volvo or similar if there is no Saab. With the right push Saab can fill the void.

      Don’t think of it as being “below” BMW. It’s alongside, it’s nearby, and it’s taking market from other brands like VW with the base models.

    • its not just to go against the grain – that’s just being a rebel.. Its choosing the grain you like despite what the masses do – being independent.

  28. Now, it’s just 2 use F5 a couple more times until the end of February 😉

  29. The skeptics prefer to mention Rover at this point to show that this eventual alliance may mean another death for Saab, but I’m not so sure. I’m not even certain that this kind of parallel can be made. Saab has impressed BMW with the engine improvements they made, it was a BMW-engine if I remember it right. What’s more interesting when it comes to Saab is the interest of the brand, it’s like no other, I haven’t seen any other fan base that’s so enthusiastic. Swade sums it up very well and mentions all the pros with BMW as an owner.

    The most notable thing he commented on is that the Swedish press will have a hard time whining about BMW as a Saab owner..

  30. I like the idea of BMW buying Saab. 11 years ago I was shearching for a new used car. I wanted a BMW 5series but couldn’t afford one. Then I looked for other cars not specifying a brand. I got three results: 2 Alfa 164 and a Saab 9000. So I ended up searching for my first Saab. Half a year later I bought my first Saab 9000 and the rest is history.
    Saab can be a great addition to BMW. BMW has so many modells to offer but for the ones that favor front wheel drive it is probably Audi or Saab not BMW vs. Saab. I hope that Saabs will remain affordable. They don’t need to become the new Jaguar. Saabs are practical cars with big trunks, pulling boots or trailers, carrying ski-boxes on top… and are fun and save to drive.
    I hope the few remaining Saab dealers will survive BMW ownership. Here in Austria GM cancelled most of the contracts with old and established Saab dealers. I bought my first used Saab at a Saab-Dealer who was prodly presenting if I remember correctly about 7 awards “Austrian Saab Dealer of the Year” in his show-room but he lost Saab to the local Opel Dealer in 2002.
    So he started selling Jags, Land Rovers etc. to the former Saab costumers. Within a year and a half all long time Saab mechanics left the shop. I am sure BMW will do better. I don’t think many Saab drivers liked the idea to shop for a new Saab at the Opels’. A BMW dealership will be nicer but they should keep the few remaining Saab Dealers.

  31. Lets be honest, a well capitialized car company like Bayerishe Moteren Work Ag coming in and buying saab out of bankruptcy would be a dream come true.

    BMW understand brands, and the value of them. They must see value in Saab for that reason alone, and that value is:

    Its already a global brand
    It’s has a small but loyal base globally
    It has typically done best in the premium mainstream ground below the iconic german trio of BMW , Benz and Audi, and would play against VW.
    It is also an established brand that’s not BMW, because some people will not consider them, but can be executed for little more than the cost of new ‘top hats’ or variant bodystyles that are already multiplying off their platforms even within the BMW brand, eg 5, 5GT,6, 6-series 4 door, X5 etc. BMW sees VW managing a big portfolio of brands rather well, and even (slightly arrogantly) goading Fiat/Marchionne over Alfa Romeo, basically saying let us take it and run that brand properly as well. BMW is envious of the market share they have gained plus embarrassed by their failure to make it work with Rover. I could see them copying VW and trying again.

    Of course BMW was burned by the Rover acquisition and won’t make that mistakes twice. There it bought mainstream volume producer capacity and marketshare, but that came with the weak Europe only Rover brand (apart from Mini and Landrover, which were kept or sold for a big pricetag) and a dismal product pipeline/aged factories. Add some misteps of BMWs own, letting the enterprise be run at arms length too long, and few platform/powertrain shares, plus currency issues with a high pound in the UK production base at a time of uncertainty over the coming euro and it all fell apart.

    I would see BMW taking on saab and restarting the brand with licenses, which GM will grant rather than risk the many active co-operations it has with BMW all over the map, from hybrids to hydrogen, plus 4 year old GM IP is not really of interest or help to BMW beyond resuming production quickly. It has its own arguably far superior IP anyway. Expect excellent BMW engines filling the bays of 9-3s and 9-5s in short order. 9-4x may fall by the wayside?
    Longer term, I would see a 9-1 based on mini platform and engines, a 9-3 based on new FWD BMW platforms already underway, and probably 9-3x type CUVs. I wonder about a 5 series sized 9-5, but again VW has the Passat and Audi A6 and that works.
    These will be made wherever in the world BMW chooses, and sold globally at VW price levels. You can expect a lot of saab brand DNA and style overlaid on lower cost BMW platforms and tech, no bad thing.

    I would expect saabs to be produced in Sweden for a while but long term who knows. They won’t be made in Germany though.

    Alternatively they may just take the brand and restart with all new cars on their platforms made wherever they see fit, with new dealers a la mini launch. Could be done on a 3-4 year timeline? That’s hardly happy news to current workers, owners, dealers but again it’s still by far the best bet compared to the curious assembly of alternatives, and beggars cannot be choosers.

  32. My SAAB Dealer has made their remaining inventory available as loners and rentals for the other brands of the dealership, including BMW.

    I just heard how surprised and delighted a BMW 750 owner was when he drove a SAAB 9-5 Aero until his Bimmer was ready. BMW is such a good choice for the way we have to built up our reputation all over again because of their’s

    • I have been saying on this board for a long time that the NG 9-5 makes for a very cheap 7 series. Its dimensions are nearly identical in the interior and trunk.

      • Wheelbase is a bit shorter and not as wide but yes, overall length is very close ~ 197 inches.

        • Interior dimensions are very close and 9-5 trunk is bigger (although the dimensions may be due to lack of a spare — not sure)

          front: headroom 38 inches, legroom 42.2 inches, shoulder 57 inches

          rear: headroom 36.2inches, legroom 38.8 inches, shoulder 56.4 inches

          Trunk: 18.2 cubic feet

          7 series

          front: headroom, 40.6 inches, legroom 41.3 inches, shoulder 59.2 inches

          rear: headroom 38.5 inches, legroom 38.9 inches, shoulder 57.4 inches

          Trunk 14.0 cubic feet

          • For my 2010 9-5 I just bought and installed the spare tire kit. It takes none of the 18.2 cubic feet of trunk space away.

            That trunk is amazing. I wish it didn’t have that little bump towards the back of the trunk, but if you know it it there, you just angle up whatever your are pushing all the way back.

            • Not coming with a spare makes no sense to me. That is the only deficiency I find with mine. Easy to remedy, but why should a consumer have to do so? (I haven’t done it yet and with my luck I will probably have a blow out someplace where I will rue the day I didn’t get one).

              • They probably did it to make a car a little lighter, which theorectically increases gas mileage (but by how much?), and save (a little) money off the sticker…I think a replacement kit for the one that came with the car is in the $100s and a spare tire kit is in the $300s.

            • For most of my cars, I carry a full-sized spare tire. I go on E-Bay and buy a used rim and then I usually pick the best of my discarded tires when I’m getting new tires—and have it mounted—and then have a full sized spare. I don’t like the idea of only having a donut space saver spare tire, especially if I’m traveling any distance.

  33. Overall, I think BMW should be a good buyer for Saab. I don’t see Saab below BMW, Audi or Mercedez but in a dfferent category because it is a so small player with loyal customers. But because most BMW are rear drive car and Saab front drive car, I guess they want a brand to do competion againt Audi who are front drive car. For BMW’s lovers, a front drive car is not a BMW. For sure, BMW doesn’t want to buy Saab to close it and they know the car industry well enough to keep the swedish character found in a Saab.

    Many potentials buyers. The future is looking good for Saab!!!

  34. I always thought that BMW could use a turbo charged sport hatchback with front wheel drive in three and five door variations for its portfolio. Is there a better maker of such an automobile than Saab?

  35. Currently BMW have a gap in there Product line up between the Mini & BMW. When the idea was first floated about the “0” I believe this would damage the BMW Brand, BMW = rear wheel drive! So SAAB which = front wheel drive, has a brand presents of its own (as do Mini, BMW RR) could fit this bill nicely. BMW also gain one of the most flexible car factories in Europe hence some of their low volume models could be brought in house instead of being sub contacted out. So what’s in it for the SAAB brand that we love? Firstly, credibility, no supplier would think twice about dealing with BWM, the same would go for the purchasing public. Secondly, I believe that BMW have learnt the value of branding with Mini & RR, these had to be British built, so I see no reason it would be different with SAAB. Thirdly, SAAB would be able to take components and make them their’s, after all SAAB has always brought in their engines and then adapted them to suit their needs, often more successfully than the original. Final, there is some thing about the Swedish innervation that I am sure BMW would retain to the benefit of all the brands.
    So would BMW be the perfect parent? I don’t know, certainly credibility would return over night and the fit would be better than that of Rover, from which BWM seemed to have learned so much!

    • Rover had no US presence at all.

      • Well…yes and no. Rover as in the marque or brands that fell under that British Leyland banner that would later become Austin Rover then Rover and then Rover MG Group & Land Rover? Certainly if you are of a certain age you remember the final and dark days of both Triumph and MG in the United States in the 70’s and early 80’s. Jag survived alone in the US (barley) and was spun off back home when BL became Austin Rover sans Jag. Range Rovers didn’t start officially for sale in the US until later in the 80’s which was followed by Sterling which were rebranded Rover sedans (which some might argue were rebranded British built Hondas). Sterling/Rover was a complete failure in the US while Range Rover did later thrive. It was those 70’s and 80’s era Jags, MGs and Triumphs that made British automobiles synonymous with terrible build quality and even worse reliability in the US (and this was during Detroit’s darkest days mind you). Add to that the US hadn’t seen any Mini Coopers since the 60’s and one has to tip their hat to BMW for reestablishing Mini and making it a success in the US. It was certainly an accomplishment.

        • The Triumph, the MG and the Mini are not Rovers, at least not to me. The Rover was a four/five door sedan. Not an off-road SUV either.

    • When mentioning Rover, BM, designed the 75 and purposely made it smaller than previous large Rover’s, simply because they did NOT want a direct comparison with their own 5 series & there is the problem.

      As Peter Gilbert says above, when BM see a 7 series driver being impressed by the 9.5, they simply have to accept that a a warning.

      BM would not take such a risk in putting Saab & BM in the same dealership, they would be competing with themselves.

      • I just don’t see a problem here as long as BMW sticks to its roots with rear-wheel drive. There will always be people who want rear-wheel drive and those who want front wheel drive. The problem will be if both cars need all-wheel drive if that is what the market demands.

        But so far all-wheel drive remains very fuel thirsty compared to either front or rear drive and fuel prices are not going down. I think all-wheel drive is going to continue to move up market in both initial cost and operating cost.

        Because of RR, BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar staying with rear-wheel drive when so many other companies abandoned it, it has the mystique of “luxury.” And front-wheel drive has the reputation of being more utilitarian and better in bad conditions.

        And Mini will certainly not compete with Saab, so I think if BMW really wants Saab, this makes sense, and Saab is a very shrewd buy.

        • davidgmills

          But of course it is known BM are entering the FWD market, already…..

          • You gotta be joking, right? You can’t have a front-wheel ultimate driving machine can you? Imagine what that would do to millions of $$$$ of marketing?

            • That’s my point! SAAB is known as a Bl****y good front wheel drive brand.

              A Drivers cars that’s a bit different, it fills the gap between Mini & BMW with a little overlap. This does not seem to have hurt the VW group, where the overlap between brands is far greater!

            • “You can’t have a front-wheel ultimate driving machine can you?”

              That was a bit of sarcasm for those of you whose native tongue is not English and who gave me a thumbs down.

  36. really? i see quite a few of them in and around New York.

  37. In the time I have been cogitating this post, a few others have already articulated what I was going to say. Our wavelengths are converging. Is this a sign from the Saab god?

    The options as regards market positioning are open. As has been said, the current 9-3 and new 9-5 are, to any objective observer, nigh-quality cars. The trouble is, brand identity is subjective, which is again why a shot of BMW adrenaline would be welcome.

    The question now is, where to position Saabs in the future. Going forward, Saab can either be refurbished as a full premium brand that would be distinct from BMW (and there is plenty of scope for that if you think about it) or it can be restored as a quality mid-market brand as it was up to the 1980s; ie, the days before the 900 Turbo/Cabriolet/9000. There is no shame in being in either market, and either could be very successful if enacted the right way, in my view.

    The third option is that you ignore, to an extent, these market pigeonholes and try to set Saab apart as something altogether unique. To an extent, BMW have already done that with Mini, which seems to me to attract a wide range of women in their late 20s upwards from all walks of life. Given that Saab already has that sense of being set apart from the herd as part of its DNA, then it could really plough its own furrow in an interesting way if BMW manage it sensitively. As I have said before, you can think of cars more laterally as different flavours. I think a lot of buyers think that way. I know a couple living in rural parts with plenty of money to buy an Audi Allroad if they wanted it, but they prefer a Skoda 4×4 estate.

    As to Rover and Saab, it is all too easy to make comparisons but much harder to make convincing ones in my opinion. The situations are so different. Rover was the once classic but later crumbling core of a lumbering automotive monolith that lost its way in the 1970s and never really recovered. Saab has always been tight and compact. Sure, it had its ups and downs, both before and after GM, but by the mid-2000s was engineering (in partnership with Opel), designing and building cars that were again highly regarded by many and did in reality turn a profit – alas the negative image, creative accounting practices and bankrupt (intellectually and fiscally) management of GM pulled the rug out from under it.

    Sure, there are at least six other companies in the frame and any one of them could make a go of it. But it is legitimate to be enthusiastic about a manufacturer with BMW’s clout and proven track record being interested.

    Even if it is just a very well-founded rumour 😉

    • “Automotive monolith”? Perhaps “a motley mamooth Frankenstein monster”, there was little monolithic about British Leyland, it was a patchwork kept alive by organ donations by Honda.

      • Granted, you could use that metaphor and argue that by the 80s the range of brands and vehicles in BL/Rover was a frayed and confused patchwork held together with fresh scraps of material from Honda.

        But throughout the late 60s and 70s the management structure certainly was monolithic. Mountainous, implacable, impervious, rigid. So too was the range of cars, with several ancient models and a number that were exactly the same car badge-engineered to pretend they were different marques and competing against each other in the same marketplace.

        Hence various attempts through those decades at using figurative blasting equipment to restructure and rationalise it until eventually it split into aggregates that either went to better homes (Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini) or sank into the sediment of failure.

        On the bright side, since Tata now own the rights to the Rover name, and seem to have made a good job with J/LR, there may be life in the old dog yet.

  38. If BMW is indeed a bidder/player for Saab & gets them, then BMW can due away w/their FWD program of their own cars, which I think was a very bad idea to begin with, & let Saab take care of that drive train of cars w/Mini under Saab & BMW.

    I would be fine w/BMW getting Saab.
    I am ok w/Brightwell getting them.
    Not so keen on Youngman anymore.
    Not sure about M&M.


  39. You know now that I’m thinking about it, why did Saab (and! BMW) ditch the hood that opens backwards? My 900 had some leaking issues last summer, so sometimes I’d pull in somewhere and pop the hood to make sure things were looking good still, can’t tell you how many people stopped to look at the backward opening hood. Also, could we bring back double wishbone suspension? Those are two Saab features I miss the most…
    I don’t know if it’s appropriate of me, but I don’t really care where in the lineup Saab falls compared to a BMW. To me it’s apples and oranges… so I’m not sure why everyone thinks BMW would want to dumb down Saab to sub-par materials or something like that. To me I have always loved Saabs for their quirkiness and features for the money yes, but I think most it’s about the quality of materials. More features or less (I could live without reverse backup cameras and auto correcting cruise controls and that kind of thing) what really makes me like Saab is how well the fit and finish is. I’m an amateur gear head, and being under the hood of my Saab is my favorite place to be, the craftsmanship and quality is really wonderful.
    Besides, with BMW as a parent can’t we have two versions of the same car? Say a high technology pack with the features like GPS and fancy speakers, cornering headlights, and ACC, and then a simpler version with maybe just air conditioning and power windows? Same high quality material, but with multiple thousands of dollars less technology. Same excellent powertrain, same high quality internal components, just not as many luxuries. With my old 900 I loved that it didn’t have a cup holder, because I felt like it was a statement about being in the car, I was in the car to drive it, for the love of driving my Saab, not just to use it as a way to get from point a to point b. More than the gadgets I love the pure experience and je ne sais quoi of driving a Saab, not the amenities. Also this would give Saab a chance to see which they sell more of, if you sell a significant portion with high technology packs you’ll have found which segment of the market you should aim for.

    • This “technology” costs one or two thousand dollars less in reality, and building two versions of the same car could perhaps cost more. The number of people prepared to pay new car prices for a car without ACC and all other modern creature comforts is very small, otherwise everybody would have been doing that. The 900 Classic is a great youngtimer, but the 1980s aren’t coming back.

      Have a great time with your 900, why would you need Saab to build it again if they already did it for you?

      • I think there might be some missunderstanding with my statement. What I mean is more like packages for a particular model. Take BMW for example, they have a “luxury level” and “sport level” as well as a baseline. Anything but the baseline costs 2,100 USD extra. There are also packages, almost exactly like I’m describing, which is called the “premium package” which is 3,600 USD. This means you could pay for a base series, or a luxury equipped premium packaged car for 5,700 USD more. This modular design would allow Saab to sell a base 9-3 without such amenities, but still appeal to those who desire creature comforts. Also as far as ACC goes I’ve never liked any of the ones I’ve used, and with my Saab I rather just change a dial and select a fan speed than have it try to automatically do it for me, so I wouldn’t say people wouldn’t desire a more basic climate control. Basically almost all car companies do packages, which is what I’m describing, so I don’t see why Saab couldn’t as well. It’s been talked about here on SU that Saabs downfall was charging too high of an MSRP, and I think a diversified package system would allow for this.
        The suspension and hood aren’t a request to rebuild the 900, wishbone suspension is widely used in F1 racing, so it’s obviously a very good system. Audi uses a multilink system which is similar to a wihsbone design as well, and they are known for being good handling cars as well. The backwards hood is still used by Corvettes, so it must be partially feasible, and besides it was part of Saabs heritage for decades, I see no reason why they couldn’t get it back, it’s just one more quirky character that was removed in the GM era. As far as needing Saab to build me a “new 900″, that’s a bit snide. Do you still drive your first car? If not why? Cars age, become worn out, and this facilitates the need for new cars. I don’t think an idea about making packages or adding back an acclaimed Saab suspension design (updated of course), or a liked design feature is too much of a pipe dream to make happen. Plus, Saab is bankrupt for a reason, changes need to be made, I was just suggesting a few.

        • I love the automatic fan control. I set the temperature to 19-20 degrees in the winter, and 23-24 degrees in the summer. Then the ACC takes care of the rest. Tried another brand a year ago that featured a psycothic ACC system that I ended up having to babysit while driving. No fun.

          I’m a bit curious how the ACC bothers you? :)

          • Well when I typically set it to “High” now that it’s winter, and because it’s so cold it automatically turns the fan all the way up and blows cold air through the cabin, I guess I wouldn’t mind it if I could get it to NOT do that, but as it is I’m always having to turn the car on and have my finger on the button to lower the speed of the fan. If I could keep it on High and it would just stay on the second or third notch up I’d probably be fine with it. Also it irks me that it always wants to turn on the rear defroster even when the window is clear…

            • Hi Jesse,
              I you have an ACC, why do you set it to “High”?
              With a normal Climate Control you change the mixture from very hot air to normal air or cooled air. It is normal to put the CC to full warn (the equivalent to “High”)in the winter.
              With an Automatic Climate Control you choose the interior temperature, the system will try to reach this temperature ASAP, but it has some sensors to make this in an intelligent manner. If you go to “High” or “Low” you just override any intelligence in the system, and tell the system to blow hot/cold air NOW.

              Using a temperature the system (at least on my 9-3 I worked that way, and on my 9-5 also works that way) will wait till the engine is warmer so it can then deliver warm air into the cabin. But it could also be that newer ACC-systems are more intelligent than the system in your 900, and I’m not saying that your ACC is bad.

              • I’ll echo what Red J just said for the 2010 9-5 and 2011 9-4X … you dial in a temperature and the car waits until it is warmed up enough to start blowing in whatever kind of air (hot/cold) your ordered up. In the winter, we fire up the heat seaters to get near instant heat until the car can deliver warm air into the cabin.

              • I feel silly now. I looked through my manual and found out how to turn off the defrost so that it only turns on manually, and I now comprehend from your help how the system achieves the temperature. I thought the car would try to blow 74f/23c air into the car, I didn’t understand it would use the high setting for air until it reached 74f/23c (after the engine was warm enough to do so) then turn the fan down.
                I do see where everyone is coming from, and thinking about it I do appreciate that Saab offers great features no matter which vehicle you purchase. I look through used cars for fun often times, and I always have to check what options a model has, but with a Saab the feature set is great and on every vehicle.
                Technology wise the only thing I wish would truly be an option is a satnav, I really have never seen a satnav I’ve liked, and in 10 years it would be pretty outdated. Also things like iPod compatibility, those kinds of adapters will surely change in 10 years.

                • Well, this is one of the reasons why Saab is also known as an “Engineer’s car”. They endeavour to put in smart technology that helps the driver, often ahead of the competitors. As I understand it, the ACC system introduced together with the 9000 many moons ago is a darn good one and has been improved even further since.

                  Living in a rather damp city near the biggest lake in Sweden, I do admit I often fiddle with the ACC to get some defroster action going, but once the windshield is clear it is back to the Auto setting.

        • my pet best piece of tech on the car is rain sensing windshield wipers. On a long drive with constantly changing amounts of rain and periods with no rain, it’s wonderful.

          • Everybody has one. I love the auto wipers too, they can go haywire sometimes, but overall Saab has procured one of the better and most efficient systems I have experienced. At the same time, I rarely if ever use the cruise control, but perhaps there are people for whom it’s indispensable.

            I do hope Saab will continue to be packed with useful technology and, unlike BMW, Saab won’t charge extra for every bit of it and have you specify your car with a myriad options and mutually-exclusive packages and whatnot. If a feature is useful and worth it, every Saab should have it, even if only some drivers will use it. If it’s worthless, don’t bother.

            • I think the cost of putting them in standard probably costs less overall than to try to leave items out or make special packages. Anything that is not standard just makes it easier to have an error in production and the cost of checking to be sure the “right” options were put in place probably outweighs any reduction in the cost of the items.

            • I was a bit luke-warm towards the cruise control at first too, but it grew on me. It lets me set a constant speed and then maintains that speed. I often go long stretches of road with light traffic and no changes in the speed limit. On my 3 hour 45 minute ride to work, I am thus able to hit my target arrival time within +/- 10 minutes with a minimum of fuzz.

              I still accelerate to overtake, but then simply lets it slip back into marching speed on its own.

              It is also useful on days like today where I only need to drive a short distance to get to the shop or similar. Still a bit speed-blind from yesterday’s driving stint on the highways, I now set the cruise control to 50 for the 50 kph zones so I don’t accidentally speed. (I go a bit faster on 90 and 110 roads, but 50 zones command my deepest respect as there’s usually more pedestrians and kids around the slow roads)

  40. Bayerische Motoren Werke + Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget = WOW !!!!!!!!!

  41. I have owned SAABs since the 60’s. I have never seriously considered buying a BMW automobile, and at first I was skeptical of how SAAB might fare under BMW ownership. However, I have also owned BMW R series motorcycles since the 60’s. These bikes are different from most bikes on the market. They are relatively simple machines (no water cooling and an opposed two cylinder engine). Other intersting design features include shaft drive and and a unique front suspension system. The R bikes are dependable, easy to work on and relatively economical to own. They don’t have state of the art performance (BMW has another series of bikes for that market), but the latest R models are sporty. If BMW made SAAB cars the equivalent in the auto world to what their R series bikes are in the bike world, I think we would would have what we are hoping for.

    • I agree 3cyl, I think this could be a good partnership. I get the feeling even with this good new people are too concerned about how it could go wrong, but if BMW did buy Saab I think they would let them do their thing (minus what made Saab bankrupt the first time, whatever that may entail), which would be wonderful. In combination with BMWs good name the masses would be aware that Saab was about to see a new day, and this great company could be back on it’s feet again.
      For now I’m not really worried about details, I just honestly hope BMW is a bidder and that the Administrators feel it’s a good fit. For the sake of Saab’s future, and the future of thousands of deserving Swedish workers :)

  42. If BMW helps Saab be the best Saab it can be building on each others strengths (like Fiat seems to be doing with Chrysler), life would be good. If BMW goes to Trollhattan as they did to Longbridge, with a chip on their shoulder knowing that Munich knows best (which by dumb luck worked in Oxford with Mini), we’re in trouble.

  43. All this talk if SAAB being above or below BMW is silly. It is clear if BMW buys SAAB, BMW will be the top brand in the company. The sales volumes of the 3 series alone a huge compared to ALL of SAAB wildest aspirations. But SAAB would be the way for BMW to target AUDI. They may even get SAAB to build and design a FWD/AWD platform. Phoenix is designed to be integrated with BMW tech…so it is ready to go. If it is relevant for BMW, if not it will be scrapped and the 9-3 will be on a 1 series platform… who knows…BWM will be a great buyer for SAAB. They have treated every brand they acquired (including Rover) with respect.

  44. I’m a little dumbfounded by this rating system — and all of these thumbs down on this thread. Half of the threads that got thumbs down were jokes that the rater apparently misunderstood. Maybe the rating system isn’t such a good idea when English is not the native tongue of so many.

  45. Sure, a rumour it probably is. But, dislike BMW’s as I do, (except for 2 wheeled ones, MINI and Roller) I think that they would be the best folk to own SAAB. Just look at the way they operate the MINI brand. They convinced me … Funkify the Saab range and let it soarrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. If you really think about SAAB and BMW share similar philosophies at their core. Build cars that are meant to be driven with specific driving characteristics, but in entirely discrete segments. BMW is clearly in the luxury segments and are definitely known for their RWD, sporty gearboxes, and normally aspirated engines. By acquiring SAAB, BMW would be able to offer FWD vehicles with more affordable turbo charged engines to a younger demographic, while at the same time having to worry about diluting its strong brand. A properly run BMW-owned SAAB could complete nicely with VW and the cheaper 2.0T Audis. However, unlike the brand overlap that VW/Audi has created for itself, there will be no confusing a BMW and SAAB. By doing so, BMW can offer an alternative to Audi, while at the sametime not offering an alternative to itself. Don’t know if it is going to happen, but I think there is some potential here.

  47. I cannot disagree more on your emphasis that SAAB is an average persons car, maybe you like to classify yourself as average, or maybe in Sweden SAAB’s are average with various trim choices available, but here in the US an average car would be a Camary or maybe a Malibu. SAAB here has always been a sporty luxury car without the pretentiousness.
    SAAB’s have always been purchased by intelligent individuals and definitely not average!

    • I think those of us that buy them in the states don’t think there is a pretentiousness however those that don’t own them sure seem to feel like they are. Haven’t you ever been labeled as driving a Snaab? I did the day I brought my new 9-3 to work.

  48. If Saab has always built cars for average people then prices would have been different. 72k for a 9-5 Aero in Canada?! Slash off 30 and we’re talking. I really hope BMW picks them up. I’m pretty tired of all these Mickey mouse companies showing interest (face it, Spyker was one of them)… it’s time for a company that has the means to successfully take over Saab.

    • If you want a 9-5 for $40 Canadian there wont be a Canadian market for Saab full stop.

      • For $40.000 Canadian (or US) for a 9-5 Aero there can be a great market but there can’t be a Saab brand. An enterprise must make a profit to remain in business. It probably costs $40.000 just to build a 9-5 Aero.


        • Oh, but folks want a new 9-5 for $30k -infested with low quality parts.
          It would be sooo nice to be able to buy an affordable Saab that’s not reliable…
          I wonder how a car like that would take a 70-80k km/year commute?
          We have a saying that goes something like this: Pour people can’t afford cheap things.
          Low quality will always cost TWICE in the end.

          The day SAAB turns into a Nissan or an Opel it has no true value as a car brand. Period.

          • I’m not familiar with Opel, but Nissan’s reliability is consistently rated considerably higher than Saab’s—-expensive most definitley does not equate to reliable. Pedestrian makes like Honda and Toyota are far more reliable than Mercedes, BMW or Cadillac (on average).

            • I can tell with 100% certainty Nissan’s quality has gone down dramatically over the last 15 years. In the 80’s and 90’s it was as good or better than Toyota but cost cutting measures killed it.
              People who bought Nissan for its reliability have gone elsewhere. In fact a few months ago a Primera that unfortunately ended up in the family with only 70k miles on it, blew its manual gearbox to pieces.

              Maybe the difference in perception also come where you live. With 70 degrees C temperature changes and salty roads the cars are tested on an other level.
              I’m sure Nissan does fine in warm climate as does Opel/Buick and I’ve been around a quite a few.
              It’s strange how “the same” diesel engine suddenly becomes extremely reliably in a Saab, when the Opel guys seem to have all kind of trouble with a 2.2 L.
              Trying to make the car less expensive cut down the quality. There is no way around it.
              BTW I’ve also seen what time does to six Opels and lets just say I would not buy a used one for its reliability.

              • …or driving pleasure compared to a real car.

                Has anyone ever even hear of a warm VW in the winter? Cracking windscreens in Ford/Volvo’s seems also to be the norm…
                Quality cost, but also saves money later on.

          • I live my life by the saying “Buy the best and only cry once.” I have yet to have it fail me. Last year I pulled in to a local oil change shop (he’s not Saab specific but he is indie so he takes great pride in his work), a brand new Toyota Camry pulled in next to me. My car had that delightful Saab burble and no other sounds, his car was screeching and squealing and when he turned the wheels you could hear his power steering groan… made me laugh that my 20 year old Saab purred like a kitten and his Toyota sputtered and strained. Don’t buy junk and then treat it with respect and you can’t go wrong! (I’m not saying Toyota is junk, it was just a general statement for any product)

        • An enterprise must sell goods or services to make a profit. They need to add an entry level Saab if they ever come back. Without a lower priced model, we’ll have a repeating cycle of what we witnessed with Spyker.