Many gearheads remember fondly the days when something like a first-gen Saab 900 Turbo might rumble past, sounding vaguely like the airplanes that were its ancestors and wearing an endearingly awkward shape. But once General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] took over the carmaker much of the eccentricity was squeezed out to make room for mainstream acceptability. Get ready for things to change once again with new owner Koenigsegg behind the wheel.
It's been almost 20 years since GM bought a majority interest in Saab back in 1990, but with its own core operations in serious trouble, it's time for the two companies to part ways - and none too soon for Saab, if Baard Eker, the Norwegian owner of 49% of Koenigsegg, is to be believed.
Eker wants to re-awaken Saab's 'soul and spirit', which slumbered under GM's tenure. GM itself admits the need for a re-invigoration at Saab, according a Reuters report quoting Eker. "Saab has to refine their quality level, their soul and spirit and we believe that this is something we can help with," said Eker. "The most interesting thing is that GM thinks the same."
So what will Eker do to revive Saab's hibernating quirkiness? Whatever it is, it'll be environmentally friendly. According to Eker, going green, "is something the smaller companies can more easily attend to because it is much quicker to turn around a smaller company."
With a lineup like that it'll take a while to distance Saab from its recent GM history, but perhaps that will give Saab and Koenigsegg time to find a balance that ensures it's Saab's - and not Koenigsegg's - sense of quirkiness that shines through in the future.