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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. BMW could be a good owner I think, but should they become one, I hope they don’t see Saab as a brand that is inferior to their core BMW cars but rather as a niche producer of cars that are unique, sporty and make better use of technology than Audis for instance. Not necessarily pitched directly against them, but still an alternative.

    I never saw Saab as a brand that is below any of the big german three and I certainly don’t have an inferiority complex when I encounter any of those on the road. Ok, their cars may be more expensive, fancifull and overall more complex. Mine has better seats, is more practical to use and can pretty much beat all of them (minus 4 wheel driven versions)when it starts to snow. Also owning a Saab shows some independence of mind.

  2. “The machine” in my head begin to work again.

    - There are now rumours about that BMW will buy SAAB.
    - There were some time rumours about that SAAB’s would been build at NEDCAR in Born in the Netherlands.
    - MITSUBISHI is stopping from the end of this year/begininning next year with the produtction by NEDCAR.
    - There were last, some weeks, perhaps some months ago a lot of big(ger) BMW’s at NEDECAR, on a parkingspace where no other cars may been parked as cars produced in the factory, at that and this moment that are “only” MITSUBISHI’s and the rumours are that the dirocters of BMW have been there.
    - BMW has/had a contract with SAAB for delivering engines.
    - There are/have been rumours that BMW wuold build MINI’s at NEDCAR.
    - There are/have been rumours that there will be build a small(er) SAAB on bases of the MINI.

    All together i think that it could be a possibilaty that all this points are/can been combined together, but that still been a thought.

    • It would be grand if BMW saved both Saab and NedCar, there is a special place in my heart for both. And eat YOUR heart out Volvo for dumping the former DAF factory that you owe so much to!

      I hoped NedCar would have been used as an extra Saab plant for e.g. MINI-based 9-1s back when I still believed in Spyker…

  3. For most people in Sweden Saab is an average car like many other. My experience from abroad is Spain and I do not think that Spanish people see Saab as an average car. Maybe Saab was more special before 2004 when Porsche España was the importer of Saab. It looked of course better to see Saab in the same showroom as Porsche than with Opel. However, I see Saab as special and do not compare it to any other brand. Saab is as Saab. Other brands are cars. I do not think any other brand has a site like SaabsUnited and no other brand has so devoted owner as Saab.

  4. today news in French Press about PSA which are in talks with GM since several months !
    could PSA want Saab now ?
    http://www.latribune.fr/entreprises-finance/industrie/automobile/20120221trib000684192/psa-et-general-motors-negocient-leurs-fiancailles.html

  5. Not so sure about BMW. They made a right pig’s ear of Rover/MG when they owned that! Having developed some really good cars, they failed to follow it up, eventually washing their hands of it and walking away. They sold the company to a group of investors for a nominal £1 (IIRC). Rover/MG staggered on for a few years, but without the necessary investment to keep up development, it was never going to survive.

    I think the problem was that the Rover/MGs they developed were starting to hurt BMW sales in the UK, and I can see the same happening with SAAB.

    When I bought my first SAAB 96, back in 1969, the local agents were both BMW and SAAB dealers. Shortly after the 99 came out, they dropped the SAAB franchise – apparently on the instructions of BMW – because it was seen as too much of a competitor.

    My mother owned a BMW for a while, which I drove quite a bit, and after that, I find it hard to believe that anyone serious about SAABs would be interested in BMWs. But I doubt that BMW would see it that way…..


    Pete

  6. I would classify these rumours as wishful thinking. Sorry guys.

  7. Interesting that Saab and BMW both have heritages in aeronautics. (I believe the quadrants in the BMW emblem are supposed to represent the sky and a propellor, and incorporates the Bavarian blue and white diamonds in the coat of arms).

  8. A Panda eh? That makes you special in a different way ;-)

    • In a way – you have to be quite petite to fit in one. I was on the border of chronic knee injury.

      • I’m not exactly petite :-) . And the latest Panda fits me perfectly, as long as the trip doesn’t take any longer than like 20 kilometres. To have to drive it for a thousand km’s must be a highly refined kind of torture. Whoever designed that little gem must be related by blood to the inventor of the Inquisition. I would recommend it to all departments of justice to use as the toughest possible punishment measure for the worst offenders.

        Ivo

  9. Damn reply to button didn’t work -Anyway BMW-Wow.
    That will make GM eceptionally nervous about their crappy old licensing applied to the latest line-up and mean not a hope of a re-start without serious fettling to probably only the 9-3. If anyone can carry it off though it is BMW. And the PhoeniX with BMW behind it could not be anything other than a worldwide success. Fingers crossed, infact cross everything!!

  10. OK folks. I understand the excitement of a possible BMW purchase, and like some of you here, I view it as a win-win situation with BMW positioning Saab as “another flavor” more than as brand between Mini and BMW, although surely without the very highest end stuff. But lets not too carried away. BMW could be a bidder, but not be awarded Saab. But more than that, is BMW even really a bidder? I’ve scoured the internet and so far have found a handful of articles, but they all attribute their stories to Saabs United. Are there any independent sources for this rumor? Could TimR elaborate on the rumor and how he comes by it?

  11. OT but this could have some serious impact on how the brand is perceived (for better or for worse) in the coming weeks: the Top Gear Saab tribute, BBC2 Sunday 26 at 20.00 GMT – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01cytpx

  12. All this excitement is understandable, but who knows if BMW will win the bid even if they are a bidder. But more importantly, are they a bidder? I’ve scoured the internet and the few stories that I’ve seen all attribute the rumor to SaabsUnited. Are there any independent sources for the rumor? Can TimR divulge a bit on the roots of the rumor?

  13. SAAB – The Original Turbo Machine

  14. I for one am not excited to see BMW as a bidder or possible owner of SAAB. I remember all too well how they messed up MG/Rover. They could have easily done to MG what they did to Mini, but left them for dead. They took what they wanted (Mini and Range Rover) sent MG off to the Phoenix Group, eventually went bankrupt and are now owned by a Chinese manufacture that has no understanding of their history. Mini is a good fit for BMW as neither compete, but SAAB would. I am afraid the SAAB we know and love would be no more if BMW took over. Don’t think l would buy another SAAB if they did.

  15. This’s been a dream of mine, SAAB 91, based on Mini platform and BMW engin

    http://www.autoguide.com/gallery/gallery.php/d/222482-6/saab-91-concept-the-mini-saab-medium_9.jpg

    I’ll put in an order NOW!

  16. New member to the forum, I came over to see if I could get any info about a potential buyer for Saab after receiving an email from my online parts supplier stating that their parts availability issues are a thing of the past; it made me wonder if there was news on the bankruptcy front.

    I bought my 9-5 a year ago to replace a 1997 BMW 318i, having fond memories of my mom’s 1982 Saab 900s and being very pleased when taking it out for a test drive. Comparing BMWs and Saabs is, to use a trite phrase, a little like comparing apples to oranges. They aren’t marketed to the same audience and they are not the same kind of car; “better” or “worse” are useless adjectives. They’re different, and the people who drive them are (usually!) different. Beyond that, it’s just semantics, IMHO.

    I’m hoping this rumor of BMW’s interest in Saab is true, for many of the same reasons already discussed above, but mostly because a potential alternative is – no more Saabs. BMW is a fantastic company, they’ve shown that they are capable of taking over another brand without that brand losing it’s niche (see Mini), and they know how to market. In my opinion, Saab would be a good fit, since (whether it’s true or not) Saab’s brand of luxury is seen as somehow different than BMW’s – whether it is lower tier or less pretentious, I couldn’t say. They do sort of compete, but under the same parent company, they wouldn’t. Saab doesn’t really take market share away from BMW now, and could potentially expand BMW’s market by continuing to appeal to people who might not normally consider a BMW. As far as I’m concerned, it would be a win/win, but I admit, I’m no expert in these matters.

    I like Saabs because they are beautifully made cars, the FWD and weather handling are awesome, and holy crap is that thing fast! No one who hasn’t driven a Saab expects a 4 door sedan to have get up and go like that, and I don’t get nearly as much attitude from other drivers as I did driving the Ticket-Me-Red BMW. It’s no Porsche, and I don’t drive it like it is, but I like having a little something under the hood without rubbing anyone’s nose in it. It’s fun to drive, and I’d hate to see the brand die.

    Anyway. Ramble over, glad to have found this forum, and here’s to good news.

  17. welcome aboard the roller coaster

  18. Can I ‘like’ the fact that this thread about a potentially very serious buyer is more popular than the news about Volvo/Geely wanting to buy a few lathes, a couple of office chairs and the coffee machine?

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