Bailout Blues: Why the wrong Swedish car brand is dying
As Saabistas are all too well aware, Saab’s days as a standalone brand look to be numbered today at eight: the time left until GM puts the final nail in the coffin on New Year’s Eve.
Yeah. I know. There was (another) last minute attempt by Dutch sports car maker Spyker to buy Saab. But then negotiations broke down (again) last week. So unless a miracle happens on East Jefferson Ave. (GM’s riverfront Detroit HQ address) existing 9-3s and 9-5s will live on in China, badged as products from BAIC, China's fifth-largest automaker.
The automaker plans on signing a deal to sell Volvo to China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group by spring of 2010.
But here’s the thing, if you’re a driving enthusiast, or a fan of interest cars, you have to think the wrong Swedish car brand is being shown the door. Because based on its engineering, styling and driving élan, if I had a choice, I’d pick Saab as the lone Swedish survivor.
Take for instance the Aero X concept. It certainly had Saab pointing in the right direction.
Although we’ll probably never get a chance to drive either one, the now stillborn 2010 9-5 sedan and 9-4X crossover looked to not only pick up some of the Aero X’s fairy dust in the looks department, but were also ready to reestablish Saab as a maker of turbocharged, fun-to-drive (and more importantly) interesting cars.
Just like the ’76 99 I use to run.
Not sure I can share the same enthusiasm for future Volvos.
As a one-time owner of a gaggle of 140s, 240s and 740s, my heart hasn’t been with Volvo since they moved to front-wheel-drive. And as competent as the current small S40s and V50s are to drive, they certainly don’t set off any fires in my driving enthusiast belly.
Now that the company will be run from China, which we can all assume Geely bought for Volvo’s safety intellectual property, I fear that the cars will be less targeted towards what North Americans want.
The optimist in me opines that some of Saab’s best bits will be found in forthcoming Buick-badged Opels.
But, well, it’s not the same, is it.
Do you think the wrong Swedish brand is dying?
If you had a choice, would you pick Volvo over Saab to fight another day?
[Source: Automotive News]