Amidst present Saab struggles, history remains
For the past few years, the future of Saab has been on life support. The once-proud automaker has undergone some serious challenges and is struggling to make ends meet. However, for car aficionados, there's still something alluring about the name. Saab has a rich history, and those lucky enough to get their hands on a vintage model will have plenty of stories to tell.
20 Apr 2016 14:11 The current state of Saab
While those currently in the market for a new vehicle wouldn’t know it, Saab does still exist. The automaker – which was once one of the most promising names in the global industry – is on life support
, though. It’s no longer making vehicles, has gone through a number of bankruptcy proceedings, and just recently sold its intellectual property to the country of Turkey.
From the surface, it would look like Saab is in danger of becoming irrelevant in the auto industry. And while it’s entirely possible that Saab has manufactured its last vehicle, the reality is that the lure of Saab remains for car aficionados and self-proclaimed “gear heads” who understand the rich history of the brand. The history and facts that make Saab
With Saab struggling to remain relevant in the modern marketplace, let’s look at some of the reasons why Saab is able to maintain such a strong image in the eyes of those who live and breathe cars on a daily basis.
- ‘Born from jets.’ If you remember this television ad campaign for the Saab 93, you’re well aware of the fact that the company was created in 1937 to build airplanes for the Swedish Air Force. It wasn’t until 1945 that they transitioned to manufacturing automobiles and parts. This was more than a marketing ploy on the part of Saab – it actually impacted the design and production of their vehicles. Not many car brands can boast such a rich and unique history, and it’s this strong background that makes drivers appreciate Saab even more.
- Hands-on. Everyone had their “first car” – you know, with engine overheating, oil leaking, squeaky suspension issues, and beyond. And for millions of people over the decades, Saab was the go-to brand. In particular, the Saab 9-5 has always been a popular choice because they’re affordable, and drive remarkably well for their age. Saab parts are cheap to buy and widely available on the internet, and the cars are easy to fix up - everything from fuel pumps and engine valves to the antennae and window rollers. There’s something very special about fixing up your first car, which means Saab holds a special place in the hearts of many people.
- Leader in luxury. While many of Saab’s models were created as affordable options, the brand also became synonymous with luxury and innovation over the years. For example, did you know that Saab created the heated driver’s seat all the way back in 1971? It started as a solution for a senior Saab executive who had back pain and it was eventually put into mass production.
- Agent 007. Throughout the 1980s, James Bond – the famous fictional character from John Gardner’s popular books – drove the Saab 900 Turbo as his preferred vehicle of choice. And as a boy growing up during that time, Agent 007 was the epitome of what it meant to be cool. His Saab was known as the “Silver Beast” in the books and became a pop culture icon for millions. Boys of the 1980s have now become men of 2016, but the James Bond association never dies.
- The big screen. It wasn’t just James Bond who liked Saabs. Other models have graced the Hollywood big screen over and over again. Stars like Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Richard Gere, Paul Giamatti, Reese Witherspoon, and Jerry Seinfeld have all appeared in Saab convertibles over the years. It may seem silly, but there’s something about constantly seeing the same vehicles over and over again in the movies. This constant reinforcement from Hollywood clearly left an impression on viewers, giving the Saab an attraction that won’t soon fade away.It’s little facts like these that make the Saab name stand out in the eyes of so many car owners and “gear heads.” While the company may be fizzling away, the brand is still as strong as ever.
Putting it all together
In 2016, Saab is a polarising brand. By modern standards, it’s a complete failure. The automaker isn’t even manufacturing cars or parts anymore – and the future doesn’t look much brighter. However, if you speak with those who collect vintage vehicles, enjoy updating and repairing old parts, and even race their Saabs, they’ll tell you that the history of the name will ensure Saab never dies.