Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 06:31:53 +0100
From: Greg Farris <>
Subject: Re: Lifetime of Saab

In article <>, says... > >There you go again. Here let's pretend I researched and posted a >laundry list of things Saab either did first, or made workable first, >and you disregard them as trivial and/or not purely original. Then >let's pretend that we played word games and bullshit over the definition >of "invented" and got nowhere. (whew) just saved 3 iterations of posts. > > Rather than prentending we did all kinds of reasearch we haven't really done, and came up with all kinds of astonishing results that are not really demonstrable, a more rational approach would be to look at the intentions and acheivements of the marque. Saab began as a diversification effort for an aircraft manufacturer who saw their market eroding at the end of WWII. Their intention was unabashedly to make the most economical car they could, and their model was the DKW. Through the 1960's their production could be compared with the most economical cars available on the market. As they sought to move their market to a more global stature, Saab, like other European maunfacturers, felt they needed to make a market shift upwards, partly to make more inroads on the US market. The 99 models had lots of teething problems, but did manage to move the car into the doctors' and lawyers' court, largely through a slightly "offbeat" design program that fit with Americans' taste for things European at that time, as well as a spirit of innovation and a demonstrable concern for safety features. They did a remarkably good job of maintaining this spirit and image through the 900 model years, but the iconoclast image increasingly became a "niche" market, unable to fulfill their global sales objectives. No longer able to subsist in a world market, on the basis of their sales alone, they were acquired by GM, who have until now striven to preserve the appeal of the marque whilst applying a "rational" program of supply, manufacture and distribution. Automobile manufacture today comprising very few real trade secrets, there is absolutely nothing wrong with an Opel Astra car and a Japanese engine with a slightly "remodeled" Saab exterior, even if, inevitably, the car begins to look more and more like the banal, mix-and-match production it has become. I don't see anything wrong with this story, except for the unhappy ending. I regret, as you probably do, that this slightly unusual, forward-looking approach could not, in today's market, be greeted with better success, but this is not sufficient for me to subscribe to every sort of mythology about the marque, or to ascribe to them all sorts of secret inventions, so sophisticated as to be as yet impenetrable to the rest of the industry, not the least of which is the reciprocating piston engine not subject to the types of wear their bretheren suffer, and thus capable of lasting "forever". GF

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