Saab, which is trying to quit GM, has revealed its plan for the future: to be the "Apple of car brands" by building cars like Apple builds computers.
Knut Simonsson, who is not related to Knut the Polar Bear but is instead Saab’s director of global brand and sales, revealed that the company wants to be,
“a special brand for entrepreneurs, dentists, doctors and agency people. We don't want to be another Audi.”
After failing to find itself a buyer when GM offered the brand for sale, Saab is now trying to take itself private with help from the Swedish government. The move could see production of the forthcoming 2010 Saab 9-5 moved from a GM facility in Germany to Saab’s home in Trollhattan. Doing that would be incredibly expensive, but could result in higher quality and the potential for future spin-off models; the ability to accept this cost demonstrates the company’s commitment to turn itself around. Despite having a reputation for innovation and quirkiness, Saab has languished for the last 20 years as GM’s forgotten brand with virtually no new model development and cars based on mediocre Opels then sold for premium prices.
Saab realizes that, in order to survive, all that has to change. Simonsson describes the brand’s future ideals as, “innovation, aircraft history and Scandinavia. Independent thinking.” It would have a small market share but would be the brand of new ideas, consumer-friendly products and credible design. In short, Simonsson says, Saab would be the “Apple of car brands.”
Simonsson says the thinking for this new direction started, “three or four years ago” with the Saab Aero-X concept. The first step is the new 9-5, which will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. We don't necessarily know if they can become the "Apple of car brands" just by making them white, bulbous and with lots of chrome.