Rumour Thursday: Mahindra No Longer Interested?

Today SVD ran an article basically stating that Mahindra already backed out of the negotiations with Saab last November. Just a day after the reconstruction was prolonged this again looks like bad news but even though I regard Jonas Fröberg as one of the better informed authors when it comes to Saab some of the statements in the article make me wonder.

The theory that the article builds up is based on a source that seems to be from among the consultants that work(ed) in the reconstruction process. One key statement is that while Saab AB wanted to get fees for the right to use their brand name Mahindra had expected to get it for free. This is said to have ended the discussions because Mahindra (and their business plan) was not prepared for that. It is hard to believe that and I doubt that Mahindra would be that blue eyed. Nothing in the business world is for free and the right to use a brand name ususally costs serious money.

The other rather strange statement is that Mahindra only signed the non-binding agreement with NEVS to help them enter reconstruction and avoid instant bankrupcy. Again, I find it very hard, if not even harder, to believe that. What should drive Mahindra to sign a paper like that when not intending to act accordingly. It might even put them in danger of legal actions since this was one main reason the reconstruction was granted.

When SvD contacted Mikael Östlund he declined to comment on rumors but stated clearly that “negotiations with two automotive manufacturers are ongoing”. Saab AB did not want to comment on the article either.

I’m afraid we will have to wait and see (again) until more info sheds more light on this. But still, with this being the second article from SvD that attacks the credibility of NEVS and others in the process I feel like using a loose quote: something smells in the state of Sweden…

86 thoughts on “Rumour Thursday: Mahindra No Longer Interested?”

  1. Yes, I find it hard to believe that the reconstuctor would risk being expunged from the bar. The article also reiterates the same claim that Nevs lied that according to saabtatas interview with Sebastian Carlsson was a false statement. Which means that only one of SvD or saabtata can be telling the truth. And, from circumstantial evidence, everything points to saabtata being right ant SvD being wrong. The statement that Mahindra should have written a fraudulent Letter Of Intent with the intent to mislead the court is very hard to believe (the articles Swedish verbatim text actually says this, and also adds that Saab AB was informed of that the were misleading the court and/or creditors, something that I find even more surprising), to say the least.

    I really can’t regard this article as credible at all. But of course, there are most likely some described problems that are correct, but the base story is unlikely to be.

  2. It would certainly be mind bending if Mahindra assumed no fees would be attached to using the Saab name—-or if they had no provisions in their business plan for the possibility of fees. That seems crazy to me. Still, if it’s true that they’ve backed out, it certainly supports what Doug R. has been predicting/saying. Truly, if the Saab story ends this way, it will be tragic. I would have rathered see them go out with Muller—-on a product high note and money troubles—then going out with NEVS, with complete stupidity. Considering the product line of the Muller days, they went out with a roar. If it ends this way, they’re going out with less than a whimper with the NEVS-nots.

  3. SvD, a serious Newspaper that still uses pictures of Saab cars when talking about SAAB AB!!

    I don’t have nothing against the Swedish Press, but sometimes I feel like they only try to sell newspapers no matter the effects of the text they publish.

  4. This is one of those times I wish I was wrong about prior statements I made about Mahindra. Far as Mahindra being sued for signing a letter of intent highly unlikely… An intent is just that. Mahindra may have proposed use of the brand name and was willing to pay a royalty per unit.. In this case per vehicle. Incentives and volume based etc. If x was reached Saab AB would receive a minimum annual fee plus royalties . Just a simple deal, money would be made for SAAB AB dependent on success no guarantees.

    If Mahindra did propose something like I suggested is it really that absurd? The simple fact Saab has been inept since 2009 or 6 years (really longer even under GM). That is a lifetime in the Car business.. I would venture to say with the last two owners the Saab brand for vehicles devalued its worth in true dollars greatly. The task on hand to reintroduce the brand increased by huge margins maybe billions because of the last 5 years. Ask ourselves what is it that someone is buying???? or paying for,, Tech, market share etc?. Every passing day since 2009 the customer base and confidence of said brand devalued..and depleted. Many if not most Saab buyers have moved on. This does not mean that the Saab brand doesn’t have value,,, but to reach that value its a huge risk and undertaking.

    I think Mahindra position was hey Saab AB if we buy in we are spending large sums of money,,, “we don’t do things half assed” If we succeed you make money and become more visible. Saab AB in reality didn’t want to go through the reintroduction process without huge license fees and demands. look at it from potential licensee point a view, the value doesn’t exist, for up front demands On the other hand Saab AB may realizes that Mahindra in the big picture isn’t really that big for (Saab AB) to go for such a deal. The simple truth Mahindra isn’t that financially strong for this venture.. Maybe if was VW,, BMW etc, Saab AB would go for a incentive based deal.

    The real legal issue may be with Nevs who knew the fact that Mahindra’s Negotiations broke down with Saab AB… if there is any truth in this article Nevs must have known.

    • Well said Doug. I continue to hope for the best, but the longer this goes on without a resolution announced, the greater the likelihood is that you have been right for many months now. I had a strong belief (and I still do) in what Mahindra can do with the Saab name—-I see it as a perfect fit—a medium sized company—-a small upstart car company, but established enough in some markets that they are making decent little runabouts—-wanting a global expansion and knowing it would be far easier to accomplish that with an established, familiar, European luxury sport name, Saab. So as far as global expansion plans go, Mahindra having the Saab name in their portfolio would give them a big bounce in places like North America—-as opposed to coming in with the Mahindra name and starting from virtually zero—-a name known for tractors here, not cars. I also felt that Mahindra, knowing what’s on the line—-would be 100% focused on building the Saab brand and taking it somewhere positive. They are not so big that it would be “a neglected division.” This would be a massive investment for them and they would need to take great care to do things well. They would care about Saab far more than GM ever did. They would have the clout to hang in there longer than Muller did. It just seemed like it would be good for Saab and good for Mahindra. But Saab AB has their fingers on the lever—-and they are in control of the name apparently. For that reason, it does seem as though when this ends (and it might end soon—-and might end badly) you will have sniffed out what’s really happened behind closed doors. I was projecting onto this process, what I want to see and perhaps you have nailed what really is. Time will tell but it’s not looking good right now.

  5. Someone is not telling the truth….and I suspect it’s SVD…at least not the whole truth. It would truly boggle the mind that the court and the various attorneys would go along with this charade regarding reconstruction if Mahindra has been gone for months…SVD demonstrably didn’t get the story right about the negotiations…they probably screwed up this one also. Stay tuned…this should be interesting about who ends up eating their hat.

  6. What’s really sad is an indication of how far Saab has sunk is that so far there have been only 8 comments to what’s arguably significant news, true or not…years ago, there would have been a hundred by now.

  7. hughw,,, Its pretty much it,, its indicative of my above statement… The real question how many would come back? The cost to bring back the brand in marketing dollars has tripled since 2011 for any serious Oem It can be done with the right cars and business philosophy. It still comes back to Saab AB.. How bad do they want to be attached to the car business and willingness to make it work… Also a OEM who is willing to spend billions and believes it can succeed and needs the SAAB name to do so… AS time passes the name means less.. The window is closing fast… Its a shame how things have gone for so many years.

      • I guess he got frustrated because of the state of affairs.

        I’m still committed to SAAB, sincerely hope NEVS could be able to produce SAAB cars in the near future but just couple of days ago I did something I would’ve never dreamt of 3-4 years ago: I ordered a Volvo V70 Classic as my next company car. As a die-hard SAAB fan I always sweared I’d never order & drive Volvo but the salesman made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So in the future I’ll be driving both SAAB and Volvo but I’ll keep my thumbs up that there would be new SAAB cars in the near future. When there were changes of ownership (both with SAAB and Volvo), Volvo got lucky, SAAB didn’t 🙁 Hopefully that’ll change.

        • Volvo’s are still made in Sweden and by the looks of their upcoming XC90 and the amazing reviews it has had here in the UK looks to be ‘on the up’. My next car will probably be a Volvo or, dare I say, a BMW but thats a long way off as my baby only has 69000 miles on her and will last for ages yet!

  8. This is where Koenigsegg should step in and buy what is left. Last time there was too much for him to be interested since he never wanted the whole package. Things have changef when saab parts was sold off. I think the saab brand would be no problem if he wanted to use it since his own brand has always been of pure premium sport quality and they never do things half way. Also he stated in press that koenigsegg might start building “regular” cars in the coming 5-10 years. He could really need the factoty for that and develop the phoenix platform even further with his knowledge and highly skilled engineers!

    That would rock!

    • At this stage with no dealer network it would cost Koenigsegg to much money to bring back Saab. It really would be great if Koenigsegg would like to cooperate with the new owner of Nevs (what a silly name this is) and bring technology in to Saab and for Koenigsegg to get some help from the skilled engineers at Saab to develop things to go into Koenigsegg’s cars.

      I’m still dreaming of a bright future for Saab… but my dreams are getting cloudier and darker… I guess they soon will transform into nightmares.

      • Imagine a first step with a small car (9-2x size) and a badge that says “SAAB – by Koenigsegg”

        It would sell like ice cream in a sunny day.

  9. Maybe bringing back SAAB to what it once was is too much of a effort for anyone. I was more thinking in terms of Christian stepping in and building up something new from scratch using what is left of Saab combined with his current staff. Starting small and taking his time by doing it step by step. There would be plenty of synergies for the Koenigsegg supercars and a lot of knowledge and tech to be put into the “regular” cars to make them more attractive to customers with a large wallet.

  10. Just a thought….. Is Qoros one of the OEMS in discussion with Nevs? Either for manufacturing their cars at Trollhattan or (now this is a way out thought) to badge their cars Saab in Europe?

    Qoros have lots of ex Saab working for them so they have good links with Nevs.

    • Peter95 That is my thought,, 25 to 30 top engineers from previous Saab was hired to design their cars…. This may be the deal or other manufacturer..

      • I had the opportunity to go but China isnt the same as Sweden

        Also I suspect BAIC are also trying to buy or are standing by to buy the line / tooling if NEVS does go bust

        • Peter 95 if Nevs comes out of reorganization I assume they can pursue any business model they see fit. Sell buy etc. contract production for other makers, Sell the 93 estate tooling etc… Remember as of now they are not Saab so certainly they can try to regroup losses etc.

  11. Look, let’s keep this simple and above all, in perspective. This is reportedly a rumour and may be just that. Mahindra is a talented front office pair who are a very capable ivy league educated team of MBA’s, which does carry some merit and credibility. This is a slow process and likely more in favor than an expedited shift to immediate engineering and re-structuring. My speculation is that if the dialogue between NEVS, M and M, and Saab AB completely halted, we would know at this point.
    The critical questions and issues are dealer networks in the US, as most of us would like to see, as well as a updated tech laden 21st century car (s). Note the plural, as one or two models will not market as well as offering an SUV, wagon, sedan, and possibly a convertible. However, starting small and slow may be instrumental in transition.
    This will happen

  12. This is like a soap opera (well, the ones on US TV at least) where there are secret liaisons and rumors of who is with whom and cloak and dagger deceptions. This is pretty disturbing information, even if it is hard to tell who is telling the truth (or the whole truth). But it does align with the comments from SAAB AB reps that no licensing negotiations with a manufacturer are still continuing, so it does lend some credence to that statement. Again, however, its hard to know what is really going on, and it is hard to believe that Mahindra would take action just to postpone NEVS’ bankruptcy if it had no further interest. It could be that Mahindra could not reach what it thought was a decent deal with SAAB AB and decided enough was enough, but on what is the court then basing its decision to extend the reorganization? You would think that the court would require substantiation of ongoing negotiations and not some speculative assertions.

    One bright spot is that the creditors seem to be supporting the debt restructure plan, so they apparently feel there is something worthwhile waiting in the wings. If there was no hope, they would not accept a restructure that had essentially “half now, half later” payment arrangements. But they are banking on the two birds that are in the bush rather than the one in hand they could get if they forced liquidation. At some point, they will want it in their hand. Fingers crossed meantime.

    • Paul maybe Reality TV would be a better way to describe it… Remember Mahindra wasn’t the only OEM… I think they did walk,,, they may have realized the financial requirements for the venture may have been out of their league.

      Long as Nevs has something in play for future business, whatever that may be with some sort of cash infusion pending it doesn’t have to be Saab related. The Creditors figure a chance at half of repayment maybe is better than 10 percent in a fire sale.

  13. Dont get me wrong I LOVE my Saab but this whole situation has damaged Saab beyond any possible revival. Far too many customers went to Audi over the past 25 years and there just isnt room in the market anymore. Unfortunately. 🙁

    • Zippy: There’s always room—-the markets keep growing and around the world, more people than ever are buying cars. And if there’s not much room—creative minds can squeeze others out. There’s room and there’s opportunity—-but NEVS was the wrong group to try to harness any of it. Simply stated, it wasn’t just financial in nature—-it was a lack of common sense and a total lack of business acumen and ability in the 21st century. Another way of saying it: NEVS had no idea what they were doing. Saab is damaged for sure and NEVS is a big part of that damage—-but again, in the right hands, anything is possible, including a revival. It’s just that with the added complication of Saab AB being a layer of anxiety, I believe more and more players with the money and ability to step in are deciding the risk isn’t worth it.

  14. I think there is a way to (kind of) make sense of everything all the different parties are saying without running into serious contradictions and without wondering who is lying. First of all, I, like probably most, don’t think this last article by SvD makes a lot of sense, so if we are to accept that it is based on something actual, we shouldn’t take it in its literal description as it’s in the article. So let’s see what we’ve got. On the one hand, there is the info that there haven’t been negotiations about the brand name for months and on the other, we have Nevs who are saying the brand talks are hindering the progress of the negotiations. On first sight this seems to be a contradiction, but it is not if we think of this in the following way: There were negotiations for the brand name between SAAB AB and Mahindra until certain point of time, let’s say mid November, which resulted in SAAB AB agreeing to grand the brand name but only if a number of conditions is met. Let’s give an example (a simplified and hypothetical one): one of the conditions SAAB AB raises is for Mahindra to show them an X amount of money, which will be used to support their business plan, but to actually show them, not to say “We will have it in 14 months time”. The problem is that Mahindra don’t have the X amount of money in their pocket, so they have to find alternative sources to collect the money, like taking loans etc. But of course banks and financial institutions have their own conditions to be met when issuing a loan, so this creates a chain of different parties that have to do different things so the whole thing could move on. And of course this takes time. One can imagine what happens when the number of conditions and parties involved becomes bigger.
    So SAAB AB could be absolutely honest when saying there are no current negotiations for the brand name and Nevs could be absolutely honest in saying that the resolution of the brand problem takes longer than expected, because it takes long time for Mahindra and the other involved parties to meet all the necessary conditions. What is happening behind the scene might be that all the parties are struggling to find the best way of meeting those conditions raised by SAAB AB and to adjust their interests to them. Nevs have said that them being in reorganization makes the dealings with different parties much harder and the decision to exit reorganization might be dictated exactly by the desire to put themselves in a more favorable situation for meeting certain conditions.
    Now let’s return to the SvD article. It says that Mahindra have left the negotiations, stating a fairly stupid reason for that. If we ignore the exact description of the article it is possible that at some point of time (or points of time) Mahindra had taken a step back because they considered certain conditions unreasonable, but for some reasons had returned back. I find it very hard to believe that Mahindra is not in the game, because supporting the illusion that they are there for so long in front of so many people would be harder than we imagine.

    • Avelik,, interesting post,,,

      If you look at Mahindra & Mahindra’s Numbers (online) their working capital or cash on hand is like 750 million us dollars. the debt is 5.5 billion,, total sales 15 billion.. That is all companies under the group.

      Certainy if Saab AB had certain demands that Tim mentioned ,, The investment would be in the billions. If one looks at the numbers Mahindra is not big enough without major risk to absorb it. They say it takes one billion dollars for a major car maker to introduce and develop one car new car. The key word Established company… Take it from there,

      • It’s just hard to believe that in 2012, Saab AB evidently had no such Draconian conditions to allow use of their name. For Pete’s sake, they turned their name over to NEVS. NEVS for crying out loud, NEVS!!! Now, suddenly they want a commitment for Space Shuttle development money or no one can sell Saabs? That just seems crazy to me. I guess one possibility is that after the NEVS fiasco, Saab AB is overcompensating and weeding out smaller companies by demanding something unreasonable. If that’s the case, Saab cars is dead in the water because at this point, the bigger players—-FIAT, VW, BMW, etc., aren’t showing an inkling of interest in developing Saabs. It seems that at this point at least—-the only interested parties are small and in need of that name to build a following. So we might have a quandary—-anyone big enough to play ball on this field isn’t interested and the ones who do want to play are being told they aren’t big enough for this field. No mans land. It’s sad. NEVS might have sucked the life out of Saab.

        • Just curious Angelo do we know how much it cost Nevs??? GM ?, Spyker?. GM gave it life in perverted way and then slowly sucked its life out slowly..

          GM could’ve taken Saab far with the right motive…Spyker and Nevs and GM contributed to its demise..I wounder why GM let Saab fall slowly and never put 100 percent into it.. To me that is really mind boggling. Than again GM really built some real junk for many years… The whole company was a mess.

          • Doug, take your pick:
            -GM could not handle SAAB
            -GM did not understand SAAB.
            -GM put the wrong people in charge
            -GM did not realise what investments were involved to compete with eg. Audi.
            -The SAAB board was too distant from Detroit
            -Some GM directors saw SAAB as a competitor for investments to eg. Cadillac.
            -Opel was told “hands off SAAB” up to 2005, and hence did not give much help.

            • Thanks Rolf great analogy. GM was huge and had excess to some of the most brilliant minds in the industry,,, highly educated, marketing genius,, so much for that,, like said dumb.

              • Doug: GM had the resources for sure. Remember, as recently as the late 70s and maybe into the 80s, GM had OVER 50% market share!!! GM was selling more cars than everyone else combined. Sure, it’s unrealistic to believe they could do that forever—-but my point is that their demise was worse than it should have been. The fell faster and further than many thought possible, beginning with the reign of Roger Smith. Each successive CEO has seemed to be worse than the last. They got lazy at GM. They promoted from within—-bean counters. Instead of appointing the brightest and the best to the highest positions, they rewarded the slugs who had been around the longest. They strangled creativity and boldness. They had the life sucked out of them by their own mediocrity. Think about it—-they picked up Saab as they were beginning to slide badly. Their motives for wanting Saab might have had something to do with Ford getting Jaguar—-an impulsive reaction to an American competitor—not a well thought out business plan. I agree with everything Rolf wrote but I’ll add—-Saab themselves were already in decline, already slipping badly and losing money. GM didn’t do a lot of good things with Saab, but they did pump in a lot of money. It’s very unfortunate that the money wasn’t deployed in a way to raise Saab up, but they did feed money in for a long time, suffering losses but continuing to fund Saab. If they would have kept Saab around in 2008, they could have folded the Saturn line into Saab—-and suddenly, Saab would have the Astra (9-1 or 9-2 hatchback) and they’d have the Saturn Sky as their new Sonnet—-they’d have a compact SUV—-they’d suddenly have newer dealerships with larger, nicer buildings and better locations (the old Saturn dealers)—-they would have a European luxury nameplate with a bunch of new models from Saturn—-a name that never caught on and never distinguished itself, but did have some pretty good cars at the end. You take those great locations for dealers and nice buildings—-a full line of cars and SUVs—-and put that money into promoting “THE NEW SAAB” and you could have scored a big win for GM. They had no vision and at the time, they didn’t have enough money.

                • Angelo, first thing GM did was to kill a SAAB proposal for a new architecture with AWD, IRS and SLA front suspension – in favour of a – then – 17 year old Opel platform – the second gen. 900 – the worst vehicle ever- unwillingly – engineered by SAAB.
                  The reason for GM buying SAAB – and FORD buying Jaguar- was Lexus – introduced in Detroit 1989 – I was there and watched it happen.

                  SAAB was not in decline in 1989 – it was waiting for decisions – and money, which the Wallenberg family was reluctant to supply.

                  • Rolf: Saab’s financials before GM stepped in were awful—life support status. Also, even the biggest fans of Saab here have acknowledged that Saab engineers were fixated on spending inordinate amounts of money on things like door handle designs, etc.—they had to be saved from themselves. Was GM a good steward of Saab? No, of course not. But there weren’t a lot of people banging down the door to “Save Saab.” And by the way, if someone at GM had the notion that buying Saab would stop any bleeding from the punch in the nose Lexus (and Acura) gave American luxury cars—they are even dumber than I thought. I never heard that there was a connection between GM wanting Saab and the emergence of Lexus. Knowing the limited intellectual capacity of GM’s leadership, it makes perfect sense though.

                    • That’s the first I’ve ever heard/read of Lexus factoring in either. I’ve talked to a few ex-GM and ex-dealer people who all, to a man, say the same things. Those people haven’t 1) known of my Saab fandom and 2) have no reason to lie. They all say:
                      – GM bought Saab because they thought luxury lines were the future for profit (not wrong) and because they thought they could get European prestige cheap
                      – They all admit that GM in many ways botched Saab…
                      – But they ALL say no one else was interested in buying Saab, that it was GM or close…
                      – Because they ALL also say stuff like, “We were a mess, sure, but we’ve never seen any clusterf**k remotely approaching the hot mess that was Saab.” Like Angelo said, they report that everything – the financials, the systems, the planning, everything – was awful.
                      – They all also said things like, while Saab had some really good people, somehow the whole was far, far less than the sum of the parts…
                      – They say too that everything GM tried, hands-off, hands-on, no-hands, all-hands… Every approach failed.
                      – They all say it was kind of a synergy disaster. Saab’s strengths and messes and GM’s strengths and messes meshed in a way that made the end result 100 times worse…
                      – All the ex-dealer folk I have talked with had the most viscous criticism, mosted aimed at Saab USA, which they portrayed as less than incompetent.
                      – One person I talked to who used to be involved in planning told me that the Swedish home office just was never really able to define for them with crystal clarity just what a Saab *really was* in the market, which frustrated him to no end…

                      Again, all points I’m sure many would debate, but it was clear to me there we no “good guys” or “bad guys” here but just people and groups with strengths and weakness that just were probably fatally incompatible.

                      And, for as much as I love Saab, the reason I think they’re not coming back is that I’m not sure in the late 2000-teens how one would define Saab exactly in a way that’s novel for the marketplace. Forget how Volvo’s doing in China, they’re nosediving in the US and, while that new XC90 is gettin great reviews, I want to see how many people will really pay the kind of money it will command instead of buying higher prestige metal.

                    • liari: All very well stated and I’ve heard similar things. One theme I’ve heard repeated—as I pointed out in my post—is that some of the Saab engineers and executives refused to make even practical concessions on cost cutting measures. Everyone here might stand up and say “GM was trying to cheap out on Saab, we want great Saabs, not GM Saabs.” Well the problem with that is most of these people are driving old, used Saabs and wouldn’t lay out the extravagant money that the cars started to cost. Cutting things that really wouldn’t make a difference in safety and performance—-and pricing the cars lower—-might have been a necessary evil. Like I said, I heard they were obsessing over stupidity—and fighting with GM for more and more money to develop things that most drivers/owners and more importantly, prospective new customers—would even notice. That’s just stupid. You ask about the XC90 and my guess is that those will sell in August, with dealers dropping the price by almost ten thousand dollars. That has always been the pattern with Saab and Volvo—-once the thousands start to shed and the car is at least $6000.00 below sticker, customers come out in greater numbers. Meanwhile, BMW is getting full sticker and in some cases over sticker for their cars. And yes, “hot mess” describes pre-GM Saab in the last couple years. They were in deep, deep trouble and there’s no real evidence that anyone else had the money AND interest to step in as GM did. Then GM kept things running year after year. Muller couldn’t step up enough to save Saab—and NEVS just made things much, much worse.

                    • Mark, Lexus LS 400 shocked both GM and Ford – they realised they could not compete with Lincoln nor Cadillac. Ford was quickest and bought Jaguar- GM had to make do with SAAB. In parallell with the infamous 900 Gen.2, SAAB was told to develop a Lexus killer with a V8 from Porsche or Yamaha. SAAB did not have the experience, nor partsbin (architecture) and the project was closed.
                      FIAT had – for good and bad – probably bought SAAB if not Bob Eaton had stepped in and bought SAAB in less than a couple of months.

                    • Iiari, the statement that no one else was interested in SAAB is just not correct. A deal with FIAT was very close to being finalized when GM stepped in. The reason GM and not FIAT got the deal was because they were thought to be for SAAB.

                      I would say that the likely reason that inability to define what a Saab *really was* is likely to be mindset. I guess the same people where unlikely to comprehend just why Saab was able to win in Monte Carlo 1952 and 1953, because when comparing features it would most likely seem totally impossible.

                      “Move your mind” is actually a good slogan for Saab.

    • Angelo forgets that GM saved Saab from the clutches of Fiat at the 11th hour. Fiat wanted 100% of Saab but GM was initially happy to take only a 50% stake. Something that Saab-Scania was happier with and a deal was struck. Personally I think Fait would’ve sold Saab again within a decade. Saab could have benefitted somewhat from Fiat, but Fiat definitley would have benefitted from Saab’s knowledge as GM eventually did. GM then had the cheek to call it it’s own intellectual property!

      As to GM ownership, I doubt that there’s a single incidence of a company truly surviving being owned by GM. It either drives it into the ground or what’s left is barely worth selling off again. A single exception was Lotus perhaps?
      As to Saab, GM displayed grandiose plans during the nineties of which very little ever materialized. It was then very slow buying the remaining 50%. It left that almost to the last minute and then let the brand languish after that.

      I don’t think GM ever had the knowledge, the resources or perhaps even the intention to properly develop what Saab could have become. Many have said tha GM buying Saab was a knee-jerk reaction to Ford buying Jaguar. It simply wanted to play “me too” by buying a premium European car brand. I still beleive there is more than a grain of truth in that.

      • Mark: Agree and disagree. I do agree with you that GM’s purchase of Saab was an impulse to match Ford—a “me too” decision after Ford made headlines getting Jaguar. I’m not sure why either of these purchases would be looked at as a way to curtail Lexus’s success but that’s possible too. I had never heard that theory but I guess there could be some truth in there. As for FIAT—-I didn’t forget that. I’ve read about it. Look, I’d like to buy Saab too and if I offer $5000.00 and my collection of baseball cards, can I get in? Probably not. So FIAT wanting Saab but not having the moolah to make it happen—-is about the same as me wanting Saab and not having the moolah to make it happen. If somehow it was FIAT instead of GM, if anything, the outcome would have been worse for Saab. GM did some pretty good things. My 2004 9-5 might be the best car I’ve ever owned. The “current” 9-3 is a fine car too. They made some mistakes—-but they had a couple hits to go along with their misses. And I’m not one of these people losing my mind over the 9-7. If anything, they were too late to the party with that. They should have done something like that years earlier. Platform sharing is a reality and that was a very decent vehicle. Their issues included not marketing Saab enough and of course, the pathetically poor “Born From Jets” campaign. When they did spend money on marketing, it missed badly. They didn’t seem to know who their potential buyers were. Save for the short lived 9-2, there was never a small hatch in the line-up, another monumental blunder. Yes, GM sucked. We get that. But again, what were the alternatives? And again, they pumped millions of dollars into Saab to keep them hobbling along past the expiration date most other companies would have enforced. in 2012, if things had gone differently and if a real automaker—even a bit player like Mahindra—-had gotten Saab—-I think we’d be on the road to a decent recovery by now. No, it wouldn’t be pleasing everyone, but there would be Saab cars being sold in some markets at this point, in the thousands and not the dozens. But for reasons that are unclear (aside from unsubstantiated theories/rumors) Saab was turned over to people who had no idea whatsoever of how to make positive things happen. Beginning with the name, this was a stink bomb—-a major disaster that had no chance of getting off the ground. Some of us read a few sentences in early 2012 when we were introduced to NEVS for the first time—and based on two or three sentences, we immediately knew this was going to be an unmitigated disaster. For some reason, those in charge green lighted this epic fail—-this nonsense—-and the predictable has played out. What’s next? Well, you can’t rewrite history. The golden ring on the merry-go-round was three years ago. Now it’s all tarnished. I don’t know if anything can be done at this point to raise Saab out of the ashes.

        • I’ve always been suspicious of NEVS motives. I thought there was a bigger picture which we weren’t able to see. However NEVS ideas (whatever they truly were?) have fallen in a heap and a lot of important time has been wasted. They say Saab is a cat with nine lives but I think it has only one or two of those lives left now. NEVS has used up a couple of them. I still hope Mahindra is in the picture.

          I’ve been driving Saabs since 1987 (exclusively from October 1991). My current car is a 1999 9-3 which I’ve owned since 2007 and kept a few years longer than I planned. I was hoping to buy a new Saab when something new materialized but I now think it’ll be late 2018 at least before even Mahindra could release a new model. For the first time in close to 30 years I’m actually not contemplaing buying another Saab and thinking about alternatives. Yes I’ll own another Saab sometime, but it might be a while. I just hope there’s a new option then?

  15. I think if anything can be said about this mess, it’s that the lack of any sort of transparency is absolutely frustrating.

    I definitely understand that NEVS needs to keep their lips shut, but to leave everyone with, “The negotiations are ongoing” is absolutely not enough. Especially when multiple sources are contradicting that statement.

    Seriously, I no longer know what to believe anymore.

    • Jordan: I will now go on record as saying I’ve never seen a company of any size, anywhere in the world, as bad at transparency and public outreach as NEVS has been since they were established. Even when “times were good” for NEVS (whatever that means…I guess maybe when the built a few 9-3s), they were utterly incompetent at generating excitement or enthusiasm, getting the word out to the media—-they were pathetic. Now you fast forward to this—-and it’s not only NEVS, but the courts, these other OEMs—-and maybe it’s how things are done in Sweden. I don’t really know. I do know that in the U.S., things like Airline bankruptcies and possible mergers/acquisitions are often reported years before they actually happen—-with blow by blow details of what is happening as it is happening, right up to official announcements. sometimes bad information leaks, other times things are reported very accurately. In this case, we’ve really heard nothing of substance at all. I share your frustration. It’s unnecessary and doing even more damage to an already badly damaged brand. It’s almost like a conspiracy to bury any chance of a Saab car being made again (other than the last 100 9-3s we’ve heard about). We can still hope—-at least for now. I wish someone would tell us what’s really going on though.

  16. Angelo I think if Mahindra had acquired Saab from GM it could’ve worked… The efforts since 2009 really have damaged Saab greatly, and has diminished a smaller company having a real chance because of the additional cost now… If a smaller company does give it go, it may succeed at a very slow pace. Years and Years for many to see cars in a variety of places.

    What Saab needs is a name behind it at this point, that will make serious news globally. Instant excitement but most important credibility… I know it isn’t happening but take your choice BMW, AUDI, VW, KIA HYUNDAI, Toyota, Fiat. Honda, Mazda, Nissan etc..


  17. Part of the problem is that we Saabophiles have a fairly unique and off-beat perspective on cars. Quirky works for some people, but even quirky with advanced engineering still has limitations. Yes, the 1974 99 I test-drove in 1979 was FWD, had rack and pinion steering, multi-pint fuel injection, and 4-wheel disc brakes. Way ahead of its time. And I thought the 900 turbos were super cool (still do, cause I have one still). But, remember that the 900 was a revised version of the 99, which dated back to the late 60s, so by the time the 900 was replaced in 1994, its basic architecture was how old? I think the 9000 was the best car that Saab made, but it didn’t look like a Saab (one guy asked me if mine was a Honda-gasp!!) and never got any real traction in the marketplace. Saabs were also finicky and tinkery, and everyone knew it. Those who loved Saabs didn’t care, and we would say things like, “if you want boring reliability, buy a Toyota”. Well, they did.

    Looking back on Saab, we just have to keep perspective on what was really going on. GM’s purchase of Saab was probably the best option available for keeping it going, and to GM’s credit, they kept it going while losing money hand-over-fist on that investment. Of course, they could have done better, but remember that GM had to shutter Saturn, which it had spent billions developing, but also did the same for Oldsmobile and Pontiac (!!). Those of us in the US had a hard time believing that brands like Olds and especially Pontiac, which had been mainstays of American car culture for decades, would be no more. But it happened. Against this background, letting a small, quirky, money-losing brand like Saab go was hardly unexpected.

    And we need to stop comparing Saab to BMW and the like, even to Volvo. Saab, even in its heyday, never had enough production to make it financially viable beyond a brand that shares much of its architecture with other vehicles, thereby leveraging scale to make the price competitive. Yes, there are makers out there who could do this for Saab and rescue it, but many of them are facing incredible pressure to rationalize their own brands, let alone take on another. I like to pick on the bean counters, too, but in the end its all about dollars and cents/yen/euros…

    We will have to keep our fingers crossed that a miracle happens and somebody finally inks a deal to save Saab. Let’s just maintain our perspective in the meantime.

    • Paul, I can add to that:
      -9000 was developed 1978-1984 together with Thema, Croma and Alfa 164.
      -in 1989 SAAB was working on a face lift on 9000 (9000 CS MY-92) and- long term – a new architecture.
      -the owners did not want to fund that alone – discussions for a sale to FIAT was ongoing.
      -Jan. 1989 in Detroit, Lexus 430 was introduced.
      -both Ford and GM realised they could not compete.
      -Ford was quickest and bought Jaguar.
      -GM thought that SAAB could develop a Lexus beater, and bought 50% of SAAB in a few month – ahead of FIAT.
      – work on “Lexus beater” was initiated – dropped after about two years – no go. No architecture- not partsbin from Opel/GM.
      -proposed new architecture – AWD, IRS and SLA-front suspension for 900/9000 replacement was deleted.
      -17-year old Opel platform was choosen for 900-replacement – introduced in 1993.

      I.e. SAAB was NOT in “bad condition” in 1989 -just lacking finances. From 1989 GM was in charge of SAAB – ALL decisions made after that was GM responsibility including appointing engineers at various levels.

      Someone complained about SAAB engineers working on the “wrong things” under the GM-regim – again, GM responsibility.

      • Rolf: In business, “bad condition” is a term used to describe “lacking finances.” A good business model sells enough product or service to cover expenses and make a profit. If you are not doing those things consistently, you are in “bad condition.” Saab was in “bad condition” or one of two things would have happened: They wouldn’t have needed to sell. Or, they would have had multiple companies bidding the price up to buy them. Neither of those things happened, because financially, they were in deep trouble—on the brink of where they are now. Yes, Saab engineers were working on minutia when they should have been realizing that every indulgence they succumbed to was inflating the prices of the cars and risking the bottom line. GM’s responsibility? Yes. You are right. Apparently they needed to fire some people instead of fighting with them from corporate. Perhaps if they had made a few examples of the most stubborn, the others would have figured out that the new goal was to remember that making money on the cars sold was important.

      • In 1999 Saab lacked the funds to develop a new 900 platform. It looked at adapting the 9000 platfrom for the 900 and indeed early NG900 prototypes featured a modified 9000 platform. This platform was wider and gave the NG900 a more chunky look. However using the 9000 platform would’ve made the NG900 almost as expensive to make as a 9000 and Saab ruled that option out. This left it nowhere to go and Scania was not happy about pouring all it’s profits into the car division, so basically Saab Automobile had to be sold.

        If Fiat had bought Saab, it was mooted that Saab would have got the Lancia Dedra platform for the NG900. Not fantastic but perhaps it might have given Saab engineers more to work with than the aging and low grade thing it got from GM? It has to be remembered that Saab never really got that platform right until the OG9-3’s debut. By then though, it was quite simply outdated and outclassed by most competitors.

    • Doug: Again—in my opinion, reaching a broader audience, for Saab, might be best accomplished by introducing a car that is closer to entry level pricing. A smaller car with a nice design—-priced a little higher than VW Golf territory but well engineered, safe—-that sort of car might bring new buyers into the fold. When you reduce the price of what you’re selling, making it available to more people—-that’s one way to potentially increase your sales. Now, some Saab purists (aka Snaabs) scoff at that—-they want a car to go head to head with BMW. Problem is, not enough snaabs are around to support the brand by buying new cars. It seems that a lot of them buy used cars—even old used cars—-do their own work and enjoy the glory of what Saab used to be and want Saab to stand pat. And I actually admire those people. I wish I could do my own work—-that I was mechanically inclined enough to do service, go to “you pull it” junkyards to find old parts, etc.—-and keep an older, great Saab as a daily driver. But again—-that fraction of a fraction of people have never been enough for this brand to thrive for any extended period of time. I think moving upmarket has been a horrible disaster as trying to charge Audi/Mercedes/BMW money has been flagged by most luxury car buyers as a poor value—-buying a Saab. Resale value doesn’t come close to those other cars. Image—-prestige—-if that’s what people want, they get it with the Mercedes badge, not so much with Saab. We love Saabs for different reasons—-safety, a “different” sort of engineering, of doing things, etc. If Mahindra thinks they can come in, get use of the name—-build big sedans and wave a wand just by having the name Saab—-to sell at $50,000-60,000 a pop for a 9-5, they are going to be crushed. They need to rethink Saab’s position in the marketplace and they need to try something much different than the last few owners have—-owners who have failed to turn a profit selling overpriced Saabs.

      • It seems that the “prestige” of owning a Mercedes or BMW should be discounted when the sheer number of them out there is taken into account. That doesn’t seem to be the case however even though there are so many of them. SAABs in contrast were not owned by every Tom Dick and Harry, but apparently that worked more against the brand than for it.

        • 3 Cyl: Yes and no. There are watches made in low volume by micro-manufacturers. Some of them sell for about a thousand bucks or so. Rolex makes a hell of a lot more watches than these manufacturers do. Put a Rolex on your wrist and it’s instant prestige, even though they make a lot of them. No one will ever claim that a Porsche or Mercedes or even BMW is less prestigious than a Saab—-except Saab enthusiasts.

  18. My take Angelo is; Saab cars haven’t held value because of GM cheapening certain area’s of the car… Plastic parts, radio’s, dated platforms etc cost of labor. My point , the initial prices (retail) didn’t match certain qualities especially in comparison to BMW, Audi.Lexus, Infiniti. Saab cars did have other qualities in engineering and such.. From 2003 going forth the cars couldn’t compete with other said brands in value… Additionally lack of real strong advertising also hurt Saab.

    Saab needs quality fit to finish Sleeker designs, value for the dollar.. In addition I agree cars between $25,000 to $35,000 but also slowly work its way up in scale.

    I do not believe in my opinion a Hyundai Elantra or Toyota Corolla type image is the way to go. VW Rabbit comparison with exciting flare priced between 25,000 and 30,000 grand sure.

    The market segment is very tricky,,, I don’t think Saab should offer cloth, upgrade to leather etc. etc. That cheapens a cars image. needs to be premium, to be frank just better tweaks. … I assume OEM’s are buying into, the premium image of Saab.

    Until manufacturing of Saab cars is outside of sweden it will be virtually impossible to keep the cost down.. Value to dollar, in a sense. Quality sure,, price point may be tough.

    Far as safety most cars today all rate pretty high. Years ago not so much.

    My point is if Saab comes in between $25,000 to $35,000 with its first few cars with added value and quality it may work. Problem is that may be tough considering the labor rate in Sweden.

    From what I have been told many people today want the luxurious like leather electronics etc.. Cars today have gotten more expensive on average and more people then ever are leasing and will spend the extra $50 t0 $75 per month for extra’s.

    The days of plain Jane cars is becoming a thing of the past… Heck a Mazda 3 loaded up is $28,000 to $30,000 . My girl has the grand touring sky active package (2012) the car was $28,600 in 2012.. Let me say I like my 08 Saab 9-3 better… In fact no comparison… The mazda is a very nice care indeed just not a Saab.

    • Doug: All true—except think back to the pre-GM Saab days. In the 80s, their resale value in the U.S. was still below that of other higher priced European cars. Volvo did better and so did Mercedes and BMW. Audi did not—-but remember, that was on the heels of the “unintended acceleration” mugging by 60 Minutes—-that damaged Audi badly until they got their footing again. But the point is that when Saab was putting better leather, better trim, etc. on their cars, resale was still an issue—the Japanese cars ran circles round them even before GM came in.

  19. Thanks for the kind words, Angelo.

    I am one of those folks who has an ancient Saab and tries to keep it on the road. I do a fair amount of work myself, have gone to pick-n-pull junkyards to get parts, and have a bunch of former dealer mechanics do the hard stuff who work out of a cave (literally, they are in a cave). But I am a dying breed, and I am getting to the point where one major thing on the old girl and I will probably throw in the towel. Only because it is a limited edition 1991 convertible in Monte Carlo Yellow that my son and I flew to NYC to get in 2000 (and drove back to Kansas City in two days, 90% of the trip with the top down) have I kept it for so long. It’s far beyond any kind of rational thought to keep fixing various things and putting up with the inconvenience of it, but I have had Saabs for 30 years, and this one for 15, so what can I say.

    I will keep the old girl going as long as I can, but its now just a matter of time. Maybe I can find a nice, used 9-3 convertible, as the resale prices are pretty darn cheap, we’ll see.

    About 4 years ago my ex-wife and I bought a Kia Soul new that ended up being used primarily by my daughter in college. It has over 100,000 miles now, and literally NOTHING has gone wrong with it (knock on wood). It had one minor recall, but other than that, I have had to do nothing other than to change the fluids and replace the tires. Wow, that is nice, I must say.

    Unless you are a car guy/gal, you just want the thing to work and have no patience for trouble, especially in this day and age. You just want something reasonably affordable that works all the time. Even an old Saab fart like me can see the beauty in that.

    • Paul: A few years ago, I bought a used KIA Sedona minivan with 113,000 miles on it. It’s a 2007. I got it for a Home Depot weekend hauler and have found myself driving it to work too. 3 years later—-it’s only had minor issues. It doesn’t burn oil, everything works—-it’s a reliable vehicle and was cheap. I would recommend a KIA to anyone in the market for a value oriented car. There is still room for a smaller company selling Saabs to flourish. But they have to address voids in the marketplace that GM and Muller didn’t bother with—-I won’t even acknowledge NEVS because they were never serious about selling cars. But GM, aside from the Subaru Saab—never addressed the need for an entry level hatch. And Muller seemed to be focused on charging more for bigger—-I think he was a guy who wanted to build cars he would like to own instead of building cars for the mass market and keeping the company in business. We’ve heard that he was going to come out with a smaller Saab as I describe—but talk is cheap and I didn’t see much from him pointing toward a future with that. Yes, a smaller company can still compete today. They have to outflank the bigger players but it’s not impossible.

  20. Angel and Paul what is it you guys want in a vehicle going forward???? It would be fun if we gave Characteristics of the driving experience we look for… What drew us to Saabs ? etc.

    For me in my 08 93 2.0 Turbo was. value for the dollar used, nothing close

    Uniqueness. my car looks and drives new and to be honest I get many compliments

    The balance and power ratio,, especially on the highway the car drives effortlessly at 70 mph,,, and has impressive power between 60 and 100 mph. keep the rpms up in lower gears and you have plenty with a rush of the turbo.

    The seating and ergonomics are very good with comfort.

    Braking is excellent the steering is nimble and light yet very tight.

    Trunk space for its class is excellent.

    The doors when shut seem solid.
    Very solid tranny smooth

    Very efficient when driven easy up to 32 mpg highway overall usually 24 mpg.

    So far since purchased reliability has been excellent.

    Safety ratings, one of the safest cars on the road.

    With continental pure contact tires the car handles excellent in snow and were I live we average 120 + inches annually.

    Paint work is excellent with durable finish.

  21. Doug: Safety should be best in class or at least very good. Paintwork/durable paint a must so the car looks good for a long time. FWD handling and reasonable ground clearance to be able to go in a few inches of snow. A price that is competitive with Subaru, not BMW. I’d love to see a hatchback again. The features we need for a safe and satisfying driving experience—-the options we want in sensible packages. There should always be a base model that’s well equipped but not loaded with things some of us have no interest in—-heads up display, heated mirrors, rain sensing wipers, memory adjust seats, huge low profile rap mogul wheels/tires, etc. I want a balanced, nice car that I could afford—not something loaded with every gadget that will break in 5 years, with tires that cost $250.00 each and fail after 20,000 miles or rims that get damaged if you hit a bump. I want practicality, not silliness. Those other items can be grouped in packages for those who want them. A sunroof should always be available as a stand alone option—so you aren’t conned into a $3500.00 package to get one.

  22. Good points Angelo, almost all makers come with aluminum wheels today… Certainly higher end cars… I agree with the option choices… Some of the tech is getting way out of hand,,,, I love my TOM TOM easy to use… Just don’t need it everyday… Interface stereo is nice… I love the night panel switch and Ignition location make sense with a purpose for safety like to hear from others..

  23. Night panel is cheap and easy and is a Saab tradition. The ignition location is fine too. Those are links to Saab’s past and if a new company gets to build new Saabs—-it’ll be important to salvage some of those links to the pats that Saab fans take pride in.

  24. I have a convertible, but for a sedan I would want a hatchback, definitely. And something with good interior space within a reasonably sized outward package. I think the 9000 was very well designed in that regard. About a foot shorter than my classic 900 but with tons more room. And the ones I had were very quick. The styling was not “Saab” enough, and that cost it dearly in the marketplace. The Saab faithful didn’t like its outward lack of quirkiness, and everyone else had no idea what it actually was.

    The older 900s I had were all hatchbacks, and I think that makes the car so much more versatile and useful in real life. My Kia Soul is basically an upright vehicle with a hatch, and it can carry a ton of stuff. Saab needs to again have a hatchback option.

    I think the final(?) generation of the Saab 9-5 was very cool. It looked good and weird at the same time, which every Saab has to do, in my view. I never have driven one, but the reviews were pretty good, and I just like its presence. Saab needs a premium, larger model like that and, as many have said, a smaller and cheaper hatch/wagon model: get someone in the brand via a more affordable model, and when they are ready to move up, have something for them to move up to (rather than move out to, like to BMW).

    The other element is that it needs little touches like you will not find in most, if not all, other cars. And it can be small things. The night panel is such a touch, and so were the key between the seats and the cool vent controls. An interior that looks like nothing else–the dash of the classic 900s was like nothing else seen before or since (at least by me). And good interior packaging–not that cramped back seat of the 9-3, or some ridiculously wide central console that seems to be the rage right now in many models (I thought that front-wheel drive was supposed to provide more interior space by eliminating dinosaurs like a wide central tunnel and console between the seats?!)

    Also, I think that Saabs need the option of 4-wheel drive, even on the smaller model. If Subaru can do it on its cars that are relatively affordable, then Saab could do it, also (or just buy it). Remember that Saabs have been full of parts from various sources. The 99 had a Triumph-based engine, my older 900s had a GM AC unit if I recall…the list is very long. So, who cares where it comes from as long as it’s adopted properly to fit Saab’s needs.

    Finally, turbo lag may have been fun in 1987, but in 2015 it is inexcusable. So is torque steer. Those have to be exorcised from Saabs once and for all.

    I test drove a 2008 09-3 about 4 years ago, and my reaction was (and don’t throw your shoe at me) that it didn’t seem really like a Saab. Maybe that is just because I am old school, but it seemed unfamiliar to me in many ways (except for the turbo lag). Plus, half of the displays on the electronic instrument panel were flashing for no reason, or were not displaying at all. It was only three years old at the time and had fairly low mileage and was in great condition, so the dash problems were really inexcusable, and I have read that this is a common malady. That sort of thing cannot be tolerated. Better reliability has to be part of the equation in any future of Saab.

    • Paul never herd of the light flicker problem before… The Turbo leg is light in comparison to some other cars. What was a real problem in the past was sludge however.

      I found the front torgue steer to be minimal in the 2.0… I am certain in the Aero it would be worse. All wheel drive is must option on increased horse power models… or higher performance would need rear wheel drive.

      Personally I don’t need four wheel drive with the 2.0 Four wheel drive is very nice,but more expensive more maintenance. Should be a option however.

      I really never liked the aesthetics of the older model Saabs(90’S), thinking back now I am older they were cool CERTAINLY VERY DIFFERENT. I drove serious cars in the 90’s Twin Turbo Stealth,, Porsche 944 turbo, Nissan 350zx, Volvo 760 turbo also a Infiniti g35 in 2004… That said I know what a car should feel like far as performance..

      The Saab 9-3 2.0 is nice balanced car with enough sportness too enjoy. Remember I didn’t buy it new… So the question is what would I pay for it new vs other models. IF Saab was on solid ground maybe $28,000. Again very tough decision because of the BS plastic interior etc. With high end materials in the interior $30,000 . I can compare my 08 to a Jetta SEL 2012(daughter in law) and Mazda 3, 2012(Wife) and I can honestly say the Saab is superior. Both those other two cars retailed over $28,000.

      My future Saab would be sport sedan with improved Interiors updated electronics… Saabiness looks etc.

      i Agree Paul different parts from the best can make up a great car.


    • So you are saying that because aren’t able to sell their millions of cars, no small company should be allowed to try to sell a few hundred thousand cars.
      Joe, there a re people that don’t want to have to buy a VW a Toyota or a Chevrolet. From my point of view you could pile those cars and then sell it as art, as long as can buy a car with more character.

      • Red J; Respectfully, I did not say that no company should not be “allowed” to try to sell cars.

        The current climate in the automotive industry is just not conducive to another manufacturer adding capacity at this time. A “few hundred thousand cars” (as you say) sadly, would not move the needle on the marketplace or come remotely close in developing a profitable enterprise.
        SAAB couldn’t make money when the market was far more dynamic…why should a pure business concern like Mahindra (or others) seeking ROI or EBIDA jump in the water?
        Again, you must detach your emotions (and mine) from this equation and arrive at an objective conclusion.

        • Detached Emotions mode.

          IMHO, Mahindra is willing to invest in a “upmarket” Brand from their point of view. They already tried to buy JLR.
          Yes, the brand is highly damaged, but it is more difficult to enter that market sector with a new brand (see Infinity, Lexus …).
          I’m not saying that this is the best decision for Mahindra, this is their decision, but if they want to enter the more lucrative luxury market there aren’t many more opportunities to get their hands on a Brand with some history/cachet.

        • And Joe, Red sort of already made my point. Yes, this is going to be an uphill climb if Mahindra tries it (or if someone else does). But I don’t view it as impossible. New companies enter all sorts of established industries that are saturated. New soft drinks, new toothpastes—why not? If you think the pie is already large enough, at least consider the possibility that someone new can take a few bites of the pie from someone who already has a few pieces. It’s not impossible. And with lower priced manufacturing in India or China, it might be possible to compete with companies assembling cars in Europe, the U.S. and Japan, if not Korea. This isn’t rocket science—-build a decent car for a fair price and market it correctly—-and you can find buyers. Can you find enough buyers? We don’t know. You seem to think the answer is definitely no. I think the answer is open ended—-because I have always felt as though you don’t have to sell as many cars as Toyota to stay in business. A company like Mahindra wants to expand globally. Evidentally, they think there’s a chance they can grab some sales and make some money. They almost got into the U.S. a few years ago—but a distribution deal was cancelled by them—cold feet? Maybe they felt they weren’t ready or that the deal soured out somehow. Now, maybe they feel coming back with a familiar brand, Saab, might give them a better shot. And if not coming back to North America—-maybe they feel Saab in Europe and in their home market will carry more prestige for them. Make no mistake about it—Mahindra has a mission to sell cars, sporte utes and trucks. They are going to push for this to happen. Doing some of this with the Saab name is just a way for them to gain some credibility with some of us. The point is that they’re planning to add capacity anyway, whether it’s with the Saab name or not.

          • Red J and Angelo V; Never did mean to imply it’s impossible, but it is indeed improbable.
            Especially if the brand name usage is a non-starter.

            Alas; the history/cachet Red J indicates above, becomes moot.

            • Joe: Understood—but on the other hand, I’m sure back in the late 1980s, people would have said that with Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Daihatsu, Suzuki, Isuzu, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Peugeot, Renault, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, etc.—-there was no room for a cheap, crappy upstart like Hyundai and certainly, no need for KIA, makers of the Ford Festiva—to try to sell cars independently in the U.S. Guess what? KIA and Hyundai are now selling in the millions and making enormous profits. But on the other hand, some names on my list are out of the U.S. now and in deep trouble in other markets. My point? My point is that handled correctly, even if there isn’t “room” for another to come in—-another can come in and squeeze someone else out or at least steal some sales. This is a constantly changing thing.

              • Right you are, Angelo!
                I think your narrative above makes a compelling argument (which you’ve always advocated) as to the direction an upstart company should take…reliable, modern, stylish, high perceived value, and low-investment!

                Let’s see what they do…

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