Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Saab Lovers Sound Off

One week after I blogged about the lack of outcryfrom Saab owners over the impending demise of the beloved brand of cars, supporters of the Swedish company are being loud and vocal in telling me to get a clue. In general, they think I haven't done my homework and haven't given enough credit to the Web sites devoted to saving Saab like Saabs United.

Mark e-mailed me, "If you are basing your assessment only on comments posted to your news story at, then with all due respect, that is at best an overly high opinion of who reads and at worst shoddy journalism."

James had a similar opinion writing, "You, like all the other writers who are nailing the coffin shut with a grim reaper smile…. Most, who condemn Saab, never drove one to appreciate just how good of a car they really are. Instead, most “sheeple” are happy with the run of the mill BMW, Lexus and the sort."

Finally, John added, "More irresponsible journalism of the sort that has been killing Saab. Saab has a fiercely loyal base of customers, small yes but loyal. Go check out sites like Saabs Unitedor We Save Saab, there is an outcry. I won't buy a Toyota or a Chevy or a BMW for that matter. We are here, we care for Saab and your slaps at an already injured patient outrage me."

There were others, but you get the gist. The e-mails all contain some relevant facts that should not be overlooked. Saab does have a small but loyal following. And yes, there are web sites for Saab fans to vent, commiserate on line, and discuss why the brand should not die.

None of that changes the fact that Saab is a niche brand that has lost its niche. Blame bad management by GM for the way this brand drifted. Blame it on the terrible marketing around this brand. Blame it on competition doing a better job of winning over buyers.

But don't blame the media for the death of Saab. The writing has been on the wall for some time. When people in GM, in the industry, and even dealers talk about how they're not sure what should be done with Saab, it's easy to see why sales have dropped 61% this year.

Saab may survive if another buyer steps up. Here's hoping that happens. The industry needs owners who will make brands competitive, and not owners holding on to brand in name only.

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