Saab Officially Børked

Illustration for article titled Saab Officially Børked

GM announced moments ago they couldn't seal a deal to sell Saab, its 62-year-old Swedish brand. As a result, the brand's officially dead, with GM starting a three month "orderly wind-down of Saab operations."

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On the conference call we were told GM has a total of 218 franchised Saab dealerships. All will, obviously, be shut down.

UPDATE: What Will Latté-Swilling Liberal Northeasterners Drive Now?

UPDATE 2: The Seven Cars That Killed Saab

UPDATE 3: Børn From Jets: The Five Greatest Saabs Ever

Saab Sale Cannot Be Concluded
Brand to be Wound Down

General Motors announced today that the intended sale of Saab Automobile AB would not be concluded. After the withdrawal of Koenigsegg Group AB last month, GM had been in discussions with Spyker Cars about its interest in acquiring Saab. During the due diligence, certain issues arose that both parties believe could not be resolved. As a result, GM will start an orderly wind-down of Saab operations.

"Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time. In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution," said GM Europe President Nick Reilly. "We regret that we were not able to complete this transaction with Spyker Cars. We will work closely with the Saab organization to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner. This is not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation process. Consequently, we expect Saab to satisfy debts including supplier payments, and to wind down production and the distribution channel in an orderly manner while looking after our customers."

Saab will continue to honor warranties, while providing service and spare parts to current Saab owners around the world.

As part of its efforts to become a leaner organization, GM began seeking a buyer for Saab's operations in January. Last week, Saab Automobile AB announced that it had closed on the sale of certain Saab 9-3, current 9-5 and powertrain technology and tooling to Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd. (BAIC). GM expects today's announcement to have no impact on the earlier sale.

As the company continues to reinvent itself, GM has been faced with some very difficult but necessary business decisions. The focus will remain on the four core brands – Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC – and several regional brands, including Opel / Vauxhall in Europe. This will enable the company to devote more engineering and marketing resources to each brand and model.

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DISCUSSION

Once upon a time, there was commissioned a mighty ship known as the USS Constitution. She proved far and way to be the toughest, most influential, most spirited, and most beautiful ship that was ever built in the United States, and perhaps the world. Long did she serve her country with loyalty and honor until, eventually, she was forgotten and neglected, and left to waste away. Eventually, there came the day when when she was to be condemned and sold, until one man, by the name of Oliver Wendell Holmes, has the courage to defend her honor, and he wrote a poem that stirred the very blood, the very souls, of Americans everywhere, and saved her from her fate:

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!

Long has it waved on high,

And many an eye has danced to see

That banner in the sky;

Beneath it rung the battle shout,

And burst the cannon's roar;—

The meteor of the ocean air

Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,

Where knelt the vanquished foe,

When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,

And waves were white below,

No more shall feel the victor's tread,

Or know the conquered knee;—

The harpies of the shore shall pluck

The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered bulk

Should sink beneath the wave;

Her thunders shook the mighty deep,

And there should be her grave;

Nail to the mast her holy flag,

Set every threadbare sail,

And give her to the god of storms,

The lightning and the gale!

And now, to this day, she stands proud; she is a monument to what it truly means to be an American, and is treated as a lady ought to be.

For several years now, Saab has found itself in the same position that the USS Constitution once found herself in. Once the pride of it's country, it has been forgotten and neglected, until at last it was on the cusp of death. But where was her Oliver Wendell Holmes? Where was her hero, her savior?

Nowhere.

None had the courage to stand up for her, and to stir up the pride of her people. And many had the opportunity. Many complain about what GM did to Saab, but the truth is, were it not for GM, Saab would have died twenty years ago. At least under GM's reign, they sold more than they ever had before, and the cars were more reliable than they were before. Perhaps GM neglected them, but only because we neglected Saab as well. Had people bought Saabs, GM would have invested more into it, and sooner. But no one did. Everyone talked the talk, but no one had what it took to walk the walk down to Saab dealership and plunk down a check.

And when it came to her last chance at life this past year, like the consumers before them, Koenigsegg, that giant bundle of Swedish pride, just couldn't find the courage to save a lady in distress. All that is left are the Chinese, who would have bought her for next to nothing, stripped her down in humiliation, and eventually slit her throat. It is better that she should die now.

Sadly, Oliver Wendell Holmes is dead. There are no more like him, either in the United States or in Sweden. And so we are left to write the final verse, not as an epic return against all odds for a proud lady, but as an after-thought eulogy for a woman whom the world could find no love for:

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!

Long has it waved on high,

And many an eye has danced to see

That banner in the sky;

above it rung the sound of jets,

And burst the 900's raucousness;—

The meteor of the Swedish char,

Shall grace the clouds no more.

Her cars, once decked with Swedish quirk,

Where stood the pride of Sweden,

When winds were hurrying o'er the land,

And the ground was below,

No more shall feel the victor's tread,

Or know the console-mounted ignition;—

The carpocalypse vultures shall pluck

The lion of the Swedes!

Oh, better that her shattered soul

Should di at once then be sold to the Chinese;

Her 9-3 Viggens shook the halls of heaven,

And there should be her grave;

Nail to the coffin her holy flag,

Set every fire every raucous enginer,

And give her to the god of cars,

The historians and the oddball Saab-o-philes!

Good-by, Saab.