Some things are hard to believe -- things like cold fusion and the longevity of Charlie Sheen's acting career. Not so long ago, we would've expressed our doubts about curses, too, but seeing the trail of destruction that Saab has left in its wake, we're beginning to have second thoughts.
The latest evidence that Saab is bad for business comes via Spyker, which has just been declared bankrupt. But there are at least two other examples to consider:
EXHIBIT A: GENERAL MOTORS
When GM bought 50 percent of Saab in 1989, the Swedish car company was a hot property. By the time GM upped its stake to 100 percent in 2000, some wondered why, given Saab's inability to turn a profit. Nine years later, GM entered one of the most high-profile, highly contentious bankruptcy processes the world has ever seen, and the Detroit behemoth worked overtime to sell off Saab.
EXHIBIT B: NATIONAL ELECTRIC VEHICLE SWEDEN
Saab's current owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (which, just to confuse matters, was initially a partnership between China's National Modern Energy and Japan's Sun Investment), had big plans for the brand. NEVS promised to sell 120,000 Saab vehicles a year by 2016.
As it turns out, that promise was a bit optimistic (and very premature). Sun Investment subsequently dropped out of NEVS altogether, and since then, National Modern Energy has been laying off workers and struggling to find new backers. The company filed for bankruptcy in August.
EXHIBIT C: SPYKER
From 2010 to 2011, Saab was owned by Spyker, the Dutch-based supercar manufacturer that bought Saab from GM and ultimately sold it to NEVS. Spyker dreamt of producing huge volumes of mass-market Saabs, but as it turns out, the company bit off far, far more than it could chew. Spyker began sliding toward bankruptcy in 2012 -- suing GM in the process because it claimed GM stymied its ability to sell off Saab when it became clear that Saab was more burden than boon.
Today, Spyker announced that its bankruptcy is finally complete. In a statement, the company's CEO, Victor R. Muller, not-so-subtly identified the Saab fiasco as one of the major causes of Spyker's problems: "Over the years we undertook some daring ventures that left their marks on the company which in turn contributed to today’s demise".
But Muller remained defiant, as always. He went on to say:
"[A]s far as I am concerned 'this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning' to quote Winston Churchill. I will relentlessly endeavour to resurrect Spyker as soon as practically possible and, assuming we will be successful, pursue our goal to merge with a high performance electric aircraft manufacturer and develop revolutionary electric Spykers with disruptive sustainable technology."
Will Muller's grand vision come to pass? Which company will Saab bring down next? We'll keep you posted.