Saab Brand Analysis and why GM failed with Saab

We have two separate article here that make for compelling reading when it comes to Saab’s past and future.


The Past – Why GM failed with Saab.

Automotive News has a great historical piece today looking at why a large company like GM failed to sustain such a small operation like Saab.

It’s a comprehensive look at “the GM years” – how GM helped Saab clean up its act in the beginning and how GM totally lost its way with Saab from then on.

Why couldn’t the world’s largest automaker help one of the world’s smallest to succeed? The conventional wisdom is that U.S. executives in the 1990s didn’t understand the brand, bungled the product strategy, allowed quality to slip and couldn’t settle on a marketing plan.

But the blame went further, say several managers who toiled for Saab in the early years of GM ownership. Many of Saab’s staunchest Swedish loyalists — and GM critics — actually praise two Americans who took turns as CEO in the 1990s, Dave Herman and Bob Hendry.

The problem, they say, was the way GM rotated executives, leaving the Swedish company with CEOs who could not be farsighted. Beyond that, Saab was forced to share parts and platforms with Opel. And GM was reluctant to fund the expensive task of building a prestige brand.

It’s a must read for Saab historians. My thanks to Oddjob for the link to it.


The future: Saab Brand Analysis

My thanks to Robert P for pointing me towards this very interesting and insightful article examining Saab’s brand awareness and some of the steps Saab can take to build it.

The article appears on Bizcommunity and it’s a very thoughtful insight into what makes the Saab ‘brand’ tick, the potential for growth as well as some potential obstacles to that growth.

Here’s a taster. Saab are the blue line in this brand awareness survey. Click to enlarge….

The writer not only analyses some of the brand weaknesses, he also gives seven ‘action steps’ showing how Saab can begin to rebuild some of what the last few years have taken away.

I particularly liked this one….

Enable Saab’s existing brand advocates. Saab has an unusually loyal core of brand advocates who promote the brand through word of mouth and numerous blogs (numerous given Saab’s small market share).

This is an area that Saab can do a lot more in, in order to connect with their customers and give them excellent experiences.


I think these two articles should give you plenty to chew on today.

My thanks again to Oddjob and Robert for the links.

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