It saddens me that there are a number of people who work for Saab, in several countries, who don’t like me much. The main reason for that is probably because I’ve been critical of the way Saab’s been (or not been) supported in their jurisdiction – and often that’s been because the country they work in wanted to push Cadillac.
It saddens me, but I’ll live with it.
The reason I took that line and was so vehement about it is because I’m a Saab fan. I’m not a GM fan, I’m a Saab fan. I was so critical because I could see GM money that could have gone into building great new Saabs (or marketing the current ones a whole lot better) going into making crap Cadillacs that didn’t sell to anyone regardless of the bottomless bucket of money GM threw at them. If Saab had have received that support it would have yielded a much greater return.
I’ve long believed that the Saab philosophy on building cars was the perfect philosophy for the times we’re moving into. Small cars that act like much bigger cars in terms of performance, space, utility and of course, safety. People have said for years that Saab were ahead of their time with many of the features on their early models and it’s true, which is why Saab’s philosophy from the 1970s is still so appropriate today. How many other companies could build to the recipe they were using back then and have it still be relevant? Maybe Porsche, Ferrari et al. and that’s about it.
Considering all this, the story at Automobile Magazine that I received a link to overnight should cause steam to come out of my ears…..thought it doesn’t. I’m not that surprised at all, really.
The most important of GM’s upcoming models will be an all-new sub-CTS entry, a small car that will “reach the market probably in 24 to 30 months,” Shannon says. The baby Caddy has to ride on a flexible platform, as GM is looking to get the biggest bang for its buck: it is considering sedan, wagon, 3-door hatchback and convertible variants for the new car.
And yes, that’s Steve Shannon, the guy in charge of Saab until they bought in The Cat In The Hat and combined Saab, Cadillac and Hummer in order to justifiably increase Caddy’s budget by just a little bit more.
So what we have here is GM doing two things:
1) They’re damning themselves with their own decisions
Saab had a full range of cars for the 9-3 model line back in 2003 and I’m led to believe that range included a hatch model. What we got was the sedan in 03, the convertible in 04 and the combi released for 06.
Saab also had the 9-3x variant canned around this time because someone (believed to be Bob “we’re-designing-the-most-Saabish-vehicles-ever” Lutz) had the idea that a vehicle like the 9-3x wouldn’t sell in America. Subaru couldn’t have been more pleased.
And now GM want to introduce a small Caddy that basically has 80% of the variants the 9-3 should have had – sedan, hatch, convertible, wagon. The only thing missing is the allroader version.
2) GM are missing the point with Cadillac and will shoot it in the foot (again)
Cadillac are meant to be large, steroid-injecting, luxo-barges for the conspicuous consumer. The only new developments we seem to see at Cadillac are at the smaller end of the market. The mid-size CTS that everyone’s fawning over (good, but not that good – and yes, I’ve driven it), the SRX that’s to be built alongside Saab’s 9-4x and now this baby Caddy they’re talking about.
They’re selling the brand’s heritage down the crapper, which I guess is a case of what else is new?
It’s not like I give a damn about the future of Cadillac. They can wreck it any way they like.
The main point is the first one – the fact that they wrecked Saab prior to all this and now they’re thinking of moving Cadillac right into the segment that Saab should have been occupying. It’s a backflip of monumental proportions and should really condemn them for the mistreatment of the brand they already had in that space.
And that point brings me back to the one I started with, about certain Saab people not liking what I do so much.
All you Saab folks at GM in countries around the world who didn’t like what I was saying over the last few years – this example with Cadillac is a good case to show why I did it.
You were sticking up for the company that puts food on your table, while I was sticking up for the brand they were choking. Neither of us is essentially wrong, but please don’t think that I made your life as a Saab person any more difficult.
Your GM bosses did that. Not me.
Thanks to Karen for the link!
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