The 9-5 is an exceptional car caught in the wrong place at a disastrous time.
The rapid pullout and poison IP pill from General Motors is still causing major delays in all efforts to restart the storied Trollhatten brand.
The saddest part of the SAAB downfall were the two models launched as a Hail Mary pass deep downfield in 2011. The 9-6X and 9-5 are both fantastic cars.
Ultimately, some time in the 9-5 shows exactly how excellent the core package is at matching SAAB’s brand and design ambition, market priorities with giant rear seat, and even XWD and turbo-diesel options across the range.
But while the 9-5 Turbo6 Aero is incredible, the truth became a bit clearer after some time up close with this exceptionally-rare car. \Much of the innovations led by this 9-5 are directly input into the latest Corvette and Impala, to name just two.
Therefore, the SAAB’s invariably-premium pricing means this car alone might not have been enough to pull SAAB out of its tailspin.
Truly, there is no blame to be cast here. General Motors, and the global economy, were mired in catastrophic market conditions by every single measure. Lehman Brothers 2007 bankruptcy filing arguably caused more damage to global economic output than any Armageddon-style natural disaster scenario.
When any brokerage with $690 Billion in assets is suddenly wiped from the market, the Wall Street house of cards lost one of its shrewdest and most-intertwined financial kingpins. Only three months after the same “freak” event at Bear Sterns?
There was no way out of the blood-red DisposAll for the world’s largest companies. SAAB was cut, yes — bit it was not the first. And it will not be the last.
So far, since the year 2000, we have lost not just SAAB; but also Pontiac, Saturn, Mercury, Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Isuzu, Suzuki and more.
There was no *rightnow* cashflow coming from these brands — even those with billions in pipeline models yet to be launched.
A SAAB write-down to zero was a temporary tourniquet to potentially-lethal fiscal wounds.
Lose a leg, or save a soul?
A difficult decision was made, but it was the correct decision. Lehman already sank enough of its partners.
When Goldman-Sachs has a new share offering, as it did in ~2009, things are BAD.
Seeing how much the 9-5 led the latest GM tech makes the company’s resistance to any acquisition of SAAB in full make much more sense. There are GM cars on the market today that do not even build in this high-strength-steel wheel rim on the steering wheel, the latest engines, crash structures… and everything else.
Suddenly a write-down became urgent and mandatory. To the deep Saadness of SAABSUnited.com and all the brand’s famously-loyal clientele.
So how many are there in America? No one knows exactly, but 11,000 total 9-5s were produced between April 2010 and May of 2011.
My estimate of total cars in this ultra-loaded specification of Aero XWD Turbo6 in America? Perhaps five. In total.
This car is owned by a very kind-hearted former SAAB dealership owner. Just caught in the choke-like vise of a high-finance crossfire, like everyone else.
Many dominoes must fall once the reaction has begun. Salvaging General Motors was a t stake, with the fallout from a full shut-down potentially turning hundreds of cities into RoboCop dystopian nightmares.
What is my main point? This 9-5 will never be back in America. SAAB may ultimately be reborn, but this beauty will not be in the game plan. Not one brake pad.
But all this was not the fault of the exceptional SAAB 9-5 Aero sedan.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.