Tag: saab

The General Motors Hunger Games

Hindsight is a funny thing. With hindsight we gain a forced perspective of all of our actions through the clearest looking glass of them all: time itself. This becomes especially potent when it comes to business decisions, as profit and loss and all of the other financial indicators will tell you exactly where you messed up. Literally, business schools are churning out thousands of cheap suit wearing peons who will tell you exactly where you messed up. Realistically, the bigger the company, the more eyes are on you, especially in times of upheaval.

10 Years Ago, the Games Began

In 2008, General Motors put all of their American Brands through the business equivalent of the Hunger Games, killing off the likes of Saturns, Hummer, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Saab — while maintaining GMC, Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac. At the time this was seen as necessary cost saving measures and was used to propel the stricken company through the sales doldrums that were the late 00’s. With 10 years of hindsight though we are here to ask, did they kill the right brands? We weren’t sure, so we talked to a whole bunch of GM consumers, employees, mechanics, and dealers — and their answers might surprise you.

First we are going to look at the American brands — specifically based on the year 2000 — and their position within GM itself. How did they overlap with other brands in the company? Which makes had the best brand loyalty, and could that loyalty be turned with another brands nearly identical product? Where should have these companies positioned themselves within the greater marketplace in order to create a more monolithic car company? More importantly, did the short term survival decisions of GM potentially limit their overall reach in the future?

Continue reading “The General Motors Hunger Games”

Used Car Review – 1999 Saab 9-3 SE

Image by OSX via Wikimedia, Public Domain
Image by OSX via Wikimedia, Public Domain

In the bleak mid-winter I found myself looking for something that would be able to make it through the rest of the winter without breaking the bank, or my daily: a BMW E39. When flipping through the automotive classifieds. Seeing as I have lived my entire life in Rochester, and having contributed to our Winter Beater Blog: I knew i wanted something squat, front wheel drive, and possibly Scandinavian. It is at that point when I found an ad for a 1999 Saab 9-3 SE for a mere $1200 and decided to abide by the first law of car searching: “Thou shall always take a look.”

What I found was a little bit worse than what I expected, which was then confirmed by a GM Master Check via a Surfwrench Used Car Check. I ended up passing on my chance to buy this “jet fighter on wheels” but not before putting through its paces, and having a great bit of fun.

The 1999 Saab 9-3 SE is a GM made, Swedish designed, small-executive car offering a 2-liter turbocharged inline 4 cylinder engine producing 200 HP. Right away, I could tell that there were issues with the turbo charger. It wasn’t coming from a lack of power, rather an excess of heat that was building up, which was then causing a lack of power. When something is overheating in the winter, there is usually a fairly sizable problem. I discussed it with the seller and he said that the car always did that, which told me that it had been neglected for quite some time. Other than that, when the car was cold, it was a good drive: the power delivery was nice and the handling was also very squat, square, and “chunky”. It never felt heavy, but it did feel very solid- this isn’t a terribly heavy car, but you can tell that it is well built—sturdy. Continue reading “Used Car Review – 1999 Saab 9-3 SE”