Saab is Done?
The Other Swede Bows Out
We all lose when a competitor goes down. I drove a 2000 Saab 9-5 cross country in 1999 and I loved it. It was a fantastic car. The Saab 900 series was nothing short of legendary. Volvo drivers benefitted because Saab offered good alternatives, and Volvo had to keep up, or stay ahead, depending on your point of view. With one less car manufacturer, the remaining brands have a touch less pressure on them to innovate, to say nothing of keeping prices competitive.
Some Stay, Some Go
The economic shock that started in 2008 continues to count victims, some very old and very established. Saab began in 1937.
IBM – survived
IBM got out of a commodity business and into very high margin services, and put up a huge win, albeit a decade before this recent recession. They let go of what they invented and moved on. Must have been hard, but they did it. That points to smart management.
Kodak – on life support
Does Kodak have risk-averse management? They had a good thing going with high-end sensors, but that’s gone now, I hear. There is, or was, room for them somewhere, but they just stuttered for 15 years watching the digital photography phenomenon dawn, reach mid-day, then mature… like meeting the hot secretary from Floor 3 at the office Holiday party and just locking up when introduced.
Saab – RIP
Saab, I just don’t know. There is room for quirky, which was the adjective that stuck with them all these years. Look at the Nissan Cube. I think Saab simply got caught not knowing whether to stay with quirky or go against the crowded luxury/performance Lexus-BMW-etc segment. Saab seemed to want both. Like Kodak, they just locked up, paralyzed.
Volvo – got a second life
Volvo at least spoke to the secretary, even if it was about World of Warcraft.
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