Saab automobiles are, most would agree, a unique product within their catregory–“quirky” may be the word to best describe the well-etched brand. Having owned the company outright for the past ten years, GM wants to now cut and bury the company, as they’ve done with their Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer brands.

Yet Saab won’t go away easily. Despite representing less than one percent of GM’s overall sales, Michigan is now trying to sit on, squash and mufffle the dissenting voices of those on the other side of the pond. Perhaps GM hopes to use geographic distance to their favor, praying  for a big Nordic snow storm over the holidays so Michigan can quickly bury the remaining frames of Saabs sitting on auto lots.

But GM may face a bevy of  complications in killing off the scrappy Saab brand. First off, Saab is a cool car. Positioning-wise, I’d suggest it’s not that far off from Volkswagon, starring all these years in the role of VW’s older, more sophisticated female second cousin. And for all I know it’s probably a fairly-well engineered car that would benefit well in the hands of a smaller manufacturer who could pour some much needed mechanical attention and detail into the product, synching the auto’s integrity with its quirky, well-bred image. Perhaps most importantly, over 80% of Saab dealers are not in the U.S. (they’re located primarily in Europe), unlike the other brands GM killed off. Home turf can mean a lot in a passionate battle.

Don’t forget, Saab was a profitable company, until…. the year after GM bought them. It has not been profitable since then. A reason to kill them off? I think there are other options on the table to explore before such drastic behavior. It seems others think so, too.

In the end, the brand is a management nusance for GM, granted. It’s a distraction for a company with much larger concerns. But why not show a bit of love to the European community and help usher the Saab brand to a company willing to take on the challenge of owning and running the company? Such action would produce enormous goodwill for a (foreign) company with little positive equity to its credit right now. And Europe, by the way, buys loads of GM cars: over 2 million in Y2008, the second best result ever for GM. They can still grow there with less than ten percent of the overall market. Opportunity now knocks!

And besides, Saab will live on, somehow, some which way. Watch.

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