Struggling Saab Files for Bankruptcy

Saab may be about to go the way of Pontiac and Saturn. The company filed for bankruptcy after years of struggle to regain a market and find funding to manufacture its cars. Despite future plans, the car firm is almost certainly dead.

Parent Swedish Automobile NV hopes the bankruptcy, filed in Sweden, will allow the corporation to raise short-term funding, but it has faced the same problems for months. The Wall Street Journal reports that "The company has proposed that the court appoints Swedish lawyer Guy Lofalk, who was in charge of a previous Saab Automobile reorganization, as administrator." The action may allow Saab workers to be paid August wages, but that may do little to help. Saab has not made any cars since April when it ran out of money to pay suppliers.

Saab AB was founded in Sweden in 1937 to build aircraft. It later began operating a car manufacturing division in 1947. The company merged with truck maker Scania in 1968. GM (GM) bought 51% of Saab's automotive division in 1990 and the balance in 2000, leaving behind the company's aircraft manufacturing division.

GM decided to sell Saab in 2009. The division was simply too small to fit into the huge car company. GM put Saab into liquidation briefly but found a buyers in Spyker Cars. Spyker paid $74 million in cash and shares in the new company were worth $326 million at the time.

Saab forecast that it would sell between 30,000 and 35,000 cars in 2010, but it never overcame the fact that it was under-capitalized.

Saab used to offer six mid-sized and mid-priced models in the U.S. Those cars had to compete with offerings in similar segments of the market built by every large manufacturer which sell cars in America, and new upstarts which included Hyundai and VW. The market has become too crowded for a small operator with a limited number of dealers. The same problems exists in other countries where Saab has sold cars.

The sad reality is that Saab might not come back. It just does not have the financial clout to be a player in the cut-throat global car industry.

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ort1111

Well, as an owner of quite a few Saab 9-5's, it's clear that GM did not want this car to get main stream. It would embarrass most of the GM Line.. GM does make some good cars (was owner of 3 Pontiac and 1 Astro). A Grand Prix Quad Engine lost a water pump and had to toss the car since it would have been a $1500 repair. 2 Bonniviles were pretty good, Astro van ok, but transmission went at 60k and fuel delivery system at 65K. Oh that is right, Pontiac no more, but just get a Buick that is like 99% the same.

Saab
1) 4 cyl, 260+hp, 280+F/LBs of torque, 30+ MPG on HWY (in 1999)
2) No rust after 10+ Years in the road in Northern Climate
3) Excellent handling for the class
4) Excellent seating for any class
5) Excellent safety rating for any class
6) A design that still looks good even after 10 Years, Even better with some of the Mid Model Updates on the Front

Now, with all of that said, there are some common parts that fail. Even with many 9-5s in the family / friends, not one major engine problem even though some other owners did have problems. Mainly due to wrong oil / oil changes. As with any car, if you fix your own, very nice car to own. It's not a Toyota by any means for reliability (Toyota) or performance and driving experience (Saab).

The new 9-5 MKii (LaCrosse) is a good car, but it's on a GM platform. Have you seen the video on the crash test after Saab Engineering? 45 MPG off front crash and the wind screen did not even break or crack.

I hope they make it through and I will wait for the next real Saab.

September 09 2011 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ort1111's comment
hgeorgech

Best to have your beloved Saab bronzed for prosperity (like they once did with baby shoes 50+ years ago)! Saab is going NOWHERE! It barely had a market in Europe, let alone elsewhere. Extremely poor marketing and promotion .. Saab's fate was sealed LONG ago ... GM had nothing to do with it! Saab destructed itself .....

September 11 2011 at 2:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
kkakear

Who's next? Jaguar? Mitsubishi?

September 08 2011 at 6:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
netexas121

SAABs are what they are, unique in their own odd way. I leased one for two months( year 2000) and was impressed with the cockpit like feel and the obvious european suspension. I had previously owned VW Jetta GLS and felt that SAAB was better engineered. I get the feeling that SAAB is going the way of other cars Pontiac, Oldsmobile, etc. since there is not a driving market for them outside of Europe.

September 08 2011 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mfgtc1

Have owned 8 Saabs over the years, still have 4. Absolutely love them all, bought them all used. The 9000 turbo is the only car that you can fit a washing machine inside, go 150 mph and still get 30 mpg. The guy who said he had to put 2 new engines in his must have had the crappy GM V6 cause the 4 cylinder turbos go forever and outlast the rest of the car.

September 07 2011 at 11:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
mily469

i used to pick up at the saab warehouse in schiller park illinois in the early 80's for federal express. it was always neat to see all the different car parts and they had a great bunch of people working there.

September 07 2011 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eastport111

This is a real shame as Saab was a wonderful car.
A friend had one and driving it was a pleasure,even just being a passenger was special.

September 07 2011 at 10:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dcaddydan

Youdude60 - Not sure where you got your info from but the Impala is on a GM platform from the late 80s and shares nothing with a Saab 9000.

September 07 2011 at 10:45 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dcaddydan's comment
hgeorgech

right dcaddydan .. and a message for Youdud60: what Saab engines found their way into any Impala - EVER??

The lad is in dreamland!!

September 08 2011 at 6:53 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
fredyacht1

Just another Saab story ...waaah

September 07 2011 at 8:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
janswizz

SAAB should have just stuck to building aircraft anyway. They made some nice twin engine turbo-prop commuters.

September 07 2011 at 4:48 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to janswizz's comment
hgeorgech

Exactly, you don't see Boeing or Airbus or Gulfstream building cars .. do you?? Advice for success: Stick with what you know!

September 14 2011 at 6:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Susan Ann Stankaitis

youdude60. Call me "SPECIAL TOO". Both of my Saabs had the open tops and I agree. Nothing like it in the world. And here in California, you can pull up in a Saab next to a limo and get the same "awe treatment." Saab is and forever will be a great owners experience and a great memory.

September 07 2011 at 4:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply