Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2000 12:09:53 -0700 From: "Jeremy Brown" <JBrownnopsamech.com> Subject: Re: The end of Saab as we know it?
OK Guys, let me try re-emphasize my points: 1. The smaller companies can no longer survive on their own. If GM or another company had not purchased them, Saab would probably fold. 2. If GM does things right like the 9-3 & 9-5, this will be good. A high end (call it the 9-HE) or roadster (call it the 9-R) Saab done in the same vein as those cars will be a tremendous boost to the marque, while conversly, a POS 9-HE or 9-R would turn off a great many of people, including my self. As a die-hard fan of the Saab marque, I want GM's investment to produce a car that is true to the Saab name without some of its failings of the past, ie expenseive, hard to reach components that drive my mechanic up the wall. (an example: It is often cheaper to trash the whole car than replace/repair an older Saab transmission in the US. I have seen many Saabs in excelent condition, great chasis, engine, and interior, on the racks at junk yards because of the transmission.) 3. Being part of GM gives Saab some tremendous advantages in desing costs, parts procurement, service, customer financing, and features. In the US the GMAC financing arm has helped many people buy a Saab. GM's On*Star vehical assistance system gives it a serious entry to the vehical navigation help systems that many high end cars are now shipping with. The trend I have seen with many of the large car companies is to give each division its own desing group, let the divisions get together and figure out what they can share across the company, then design the cars around the shared components. The design teams will often take these components and tweak them so much that you wouldn't even know that they were sharing components. Hopefully the days of the Chevy Citation/Pontiac Phoenix/Cadillac Cimmeron retagged clones from the '70s and '80s are gone forever. A well done V-6 engine could give Saab a serious power plant that matches offerings from companies such as Acura, Audi, M-B, Infinity, et cetera. A poorly done engine could sour the public on an otherwise very good car. 4. Try to look for the positive in the GM investment. Do not think that just because GM is an American company they are going to put out a "giant, three ton, gas guzzling, carburetor based V-8, finned behemoth from 1962" Saab. US cars are not like that any more, and have not been since the late 1970's. There are still large US cars with V-8 engines, but most if not all are on smaller, more economical frames that are designed initially as V-6 platforms. The size comes from body components added after the frames are laid out. A V-8 ( you may swear at this point ) Saab, if designed, would more than likely be based on a Saab or Opel V-6 chassis and be primarily for the North American market. [ I say North American market because Canada, and Mexico less so, are also part of the market that includes the US. (To the Canadians: please don't rip me on this one, US and Canadian auto standards are virtually identical.)] In Europe, that style car would probably be aimed at the Corporate/Government limousine market. I understand that European gasoline costs force European market autos to be of a smaller, more fuel efficient designs that get high power from performance tweaks instead of raw size. I am also aware of the American tend to oversize things, but it is a fallacy that we always insist that bigger is better. We are not all from Texas (To the Texans: please don't rip me on this one, the largest consumer vehicle in the US, the Ford Excursion SUV, has sold the most amount in your state.), we do not all live in big open areas like Montana, Utah, or the Dakotas. Some of us actually live in cities or have lives where size and economics play a big role in our car purchasing. Japanese and European cars often will fit into this market, more so with the Japanese. Basic point: just because GM wants to expand the Saab line, does not spell the end of the Saab as we know it. You may not like the "division" title and mourn that it has happened, but that is what has happened. Jeremy from MA, USA