“The Swedish state is not prepared to own car factories.” (Maud Olofsson, Sweden’s Enterprise Minister)
General Motors is about to bail out of Saab, and Sweden is not interested in an American-style bailout. Basically, G.M. bought a unique brand, chewed it up, and is about to spit it out.
“Under G.M.’s ownership, they denuded the intellectual content behind the brand,” said Peter Wells, who teaches at Cardiff Business School in Wales and specializes in the automotive industry. “Its products are not exciting enough, and Saab doesn’t have a strong brand identity anymore.” (New York Times)
It didn’t used to be that way. Saab used to build the quirkiest cars on the road. They had a personality all their own. I know. My buddy Jim had one. It was like the one pictured above, but it was “butt ugly gray.” It was our transportation between Framingham and UMass. You didn’t so much make the trip as you did survive it. If I recall correctly, when Jim filled it up he had to pour oil in to mix with the gas. Or akvavit. I forget which.
So Sweden is left with Volvo (which Ford is trying to sell), Ikea, and ABBA’s greatest hits. And whither Trollhattan, where they’ve made Saabs for 62 years? What becomes of the trolls?
(Yes, I understand how juvenile that is. Sometimes, I just can’t help it. Call me weak. Besides, you were thinking it, weren’t you?)