2008 Saab 9-3 Turbo X – Click above for high-res image gallery
When the automotive history of the last ten or so years is written, one of the most curious chapters will be why big, flush with cash American car companies purchased relatively diminutive, relatively oddball Swedish brands. Ford and Volvo, while still not a match made in heaven, at least gave it a go, sharing platforms and technology. The merger has yielded some good results, too. Anyone that's driven cars like the Flex or new Taurus can attest to how well Ford skin draped over a Volvo-based chassis works – especially when motivated by a twin-turbocharged, direct-injected motor.
General Motors acquisition of Saab on the other hand, was basically a complete and total disaster. Saab suffered mightily at the hands of the General, being forced to accept Opel underpinnings with hard points that prevented hatchbacks and therefore alienated the brand's five-door loving base. The 9-5 (formerly the 9000) languished and essentially died on the vine. The Saabaru (9-2X) proved the no one wanted to pay a $5000 premium for a WRX with nice seats, and the 9-7X was for all intents and purposes a Chevy Trailblazer with the ignition key stuck between the seats. Worse, with Saturn morphing into the American branch of Opel, Saab was the afterthought after the afterthought.
According to an article in Sweden's di, GM lost $5,100 on every Saab it has sold over the last eight years. The how is murky, but the why is that they spent a lot of money to purchase Saab and then didn't sell very many of them. Moreover, it's costing GM a pretty penny to unload Saab. Just about $900,000,000 to put a number on it. All in, General Motors lost nearly $6 billion dollars with Saab in the eight years they spent together. A total waste on both sides of the Atlantic. Here's hoping for better things from the (still pending) Koenigsegg marriage.