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Saab and Jaguar On Different Roads

Remember when Fordwas considering selling Jaguar? The questions at the time were not much different than they were when GM first said it was looking into selling Saab. At the time, analysts talked about two brands that had equity with niche car buyers. Brands that had suffered while being lumped into a portfolio of other brands at Ford and GM. Brands that would surely survive and find their way after they were unloaded.

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A few years later Jaguar and Saab are on far different roads.

One has a clearer path while the other is drifting further and further off course.

Jaguar under it's new corporate parent Tata Motors has found a new focus and vision for the future that includes growing sales, not just surviving. After generating major buzz at the Paris Auto Show with the Jaguar C-X75 Hybrid, the automaker has committed to building the supercar that will sell for more than $1 million. Oh I know, some of you are laughing at this and thinking to yourself, "How many $1 million hybrids can Jaguar sell, and how does this niche car show Jaguar is on a comeback?"

The key is looking beyond the C-X75. That's just the start.

Jaguar now has a game plan. Something it has not had since the days after then Ford CEO Jacques Nasser, and we know how that wound up.

Compare Jaguar with what's happened to Saab since GM sold the Swedish brand. Admittedly, Jaguar went to a stable company with Tata while Saab was eventually sold to Dutch supercar company Spyker Cars NV. Under Spyker, Saab has failed to find its footing, has struggled with cash flow, and lost a key deal last week to build cars with Chinese partner Hawtai Motor Group. Today China's Pangda Automobile Trade Co Ltd came to the rescue saying it would secure Saab's medium-term funding needs.

In short, there are serious questions about the future of Saab.

It's a stark change from the late '90's when GM and Ford bought Saab and Jaguar and the premium brands were hailed as being growth engines for the Detroit automakers. Turns out they were more a distraction than a benefit. Now, they are once again trying to find their way. In a perfect world they would both thrive as niche brands with rich histories and fans around the world.

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