By Kevin Miller
I don’t know why it had to be Saab that caught my eye in the late 1980s and made me a fan – and driver- for life. I wrote about it once upon a time for Autosavant, that post is linked here. Whatever the reason, I’ve been caught up in my favorite brand’s gut-wrenching decline for two years. Even in December 2009, I had practically written my favorite brand’s eulogy. Although the Swedish brand’s fate was delayed for two years, it now, unfortunately, seems to be for real.
It is difficult to summarize my feelings that surround Saab’s demise. As a driver of a decade-old 9-5 sedan (my third black Saab) and card-carrying member of both national and regional Saab clubs (and a board member of the latter), I’m obviously a fan. I’m gutted. I don’t know what my next car will be. I don’t know what to think. I’ve seen the writing on the wall for months, even as Victor Muller has pulled every rabbit out of his hat while trying to get Saab back off the ground. Still, I’ve seen the product too: the 9-4x crossover, the 9-5 sedan, and the 9-5 wagon. I thought I’d own a 9-5 SportCombi for sure. And the drawings of the next-generation 9-3, which promised to bring back the hatch to the Saab lineup, remain little more than drawings at this point.
In March of this year, I was excited by the limited-production Independence Edition 9-3 Cabrio I saw on display at the Geneva Auto Show that after a quick consultation with my wife, I called my Seattle-area Saab dealer from my Swiss hotel to put a deposit down to order one for myself, so that I could own one of the 366 orange convertibles. I guess I should call the dealership and ask for my deposit back. Wanna bet they’ll offer to make me a really good deal on a new convertible or 9-3 Cabrio they’ve got in stock?
There were so many bad decisions made regarding this company, and so many paths that, in retrospect, would have resulted in a different outcome. But here we are today, facing a world without Saab. It’s a sad day for those who favor small, independent automakers. The automotive landscape just became a little less diverse, a little more homogenized, and that’s a shame.