I think the economic downturn is starting to accelerate some changes that have been coming anyway. GM and the American auto manufacturers are going to ditch the unions. Maybe not right away but soon. It’s kind of a shame too, although I never got to be in one I can see where they sort of invented the American middle class. I work on Saab vehicles, a division of GM, and they’re gonna get ditched too. It makes you wonder how all this is going to shake out.
Years ago, the auto manufacturers went on a buying spree, buying up all the brands they could. It’s funny now that they can’t get rid of them fast enough. And not only the foreign brands they bought, but they want to get rid of anything thats not absolutely their core business. As far as GM goes, that means getting rid of everything that doesn’t say Chevrolet or Cadillac on it’s nameplate.
I’d like to think Saab will come through all this ok, but nothing is for sure. There is talk of the Swedish Government buying into the company, or the company going out on it’s own. If GM hadn’t bought them when they did, Saab already would have been history. I don’t know if a couple of hundred thousand cars a year can prop up a manufacturer or not. (last year 2008, Saab probably sold about 95,000 cars, not great, but their best year was around 250,000)
I would think that if downsizing the number of models and car lines is good, what about economies of scale? Doesn’t that count for anything anymore? A lot of parts on Saabs come straight out of the GM partsbins, so with a divorce this will hurt Saab greatly. But if GM survives this crisis, and get back to being profitable again, I can see the day when they start thinking about rounding out their offerings by buying up some of the competition….