Saab accelerates towards the scrapheap
Actually Saab is not a car maker at all - production halted some time ago when money for wages ran out. Pang Da Automobile Trade and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile had planned a combined 53.9% stake in Saab parent company Swedish Automobile NV. But the Chinese got the jitters.
Engineering integrity, safety and aesthetics were all once by-words for the car company. Middle-class consumers - designers, architects, doctors - loved them. Saab also had a terrific rallying and aeronautical heritage.
Passed aroundBut over time a lack of investment and plenty of interference - Saab has been passed around by General Motors (Vauxhall), BAE Systems, and more recently Dutch boutique car company Spyker and other investors - saw its values steadily degraded. Low volumes made a bad situation worse - and a global recession was the final straw.
If Saab is put out of its misery then the motor industry, reliant on the power of branding, platform sharing and a lack of idiosyncrasy, especially in the premium segment, will lose, as will consumers.
The irony is that Saab, not so long ago, almost had it all: loyal customers; a distinct philosophy and identity; real presence; tough products. All gone. Or nearly gone.