So Long, Saab

“We will work closely with the Saab organization to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner.

“We will work closely with the Saab organization to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner. This is not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation process,” so stated GM Europe president Nick Reilly.

So Saab is being shuttered.

One of the reasons why car companies don’t like to lose brands is because the customers of those brands, as well as prospects, may not move to another of the company’s products. They go elsewhere. And while GM didn’t move a whole lot of Saabs so far this year—it sold just 7,812 units through November, which is down from last year’s 20,189, a 61.3% decline--that probably has something to do with the fact that it was being treated like damaged goods for the past several months. (And there are other brands that were in similar straits: Saturn, which is being closed down, had a year-over-year sales decline of 61.5%, and HUMMER, which has been sold, was off 65.6%.)

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It seems as though GM is likely not to get many former Saab buyers or future Saab intenders. According to Autotrader.com, the top 10 brands that Saab shoppers cross-shopped during 2009 were:

  1. BMW—33%
  2. Audi—31%
  3. Volvo—29%
  4. VW—27%
  5. Toyota—27%
  6. Nissan—26%
  7. Honda—24%
  8. Mercedes—24%
  9. Ford—23%
  10. Chevrolet—22%

Someone might be sorry at GM.