We, along with every other editorial voice in the Northwest, have repeatedly bashed Boeing for opting to build its 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina. But now struggling General Motors is handing Boeing a perfect PR gesture to earn the goodwill of engineers, motorists, and plane lovers throughout the region. Desperately in need of cash, beyond the government bailout money it's already received, GM has been selling off brands like Hummer, Opel, and Saturn. But the tarnished marquee name that arouses the most interest in Seattle is Swedish car maker Saab, which GM had agreed to sell to a tiny Swedish manufacturer of high-end sports cars. Now, as the NYT reports, that deal has collapsed, and Saab is available. Cheap! Jim McNerney, buy that company! Here's why...
(McNerney is the current CEO at Boeing's HQ in Chicago.)
Nothing says you're a Northwest native like driving a Saab; those quirky hatchbacks, with the ignition key in the console between the seats (instead of on the dash), have been beloved here for decades. And the Saab brand, "born from jets" (per the old ads), represents a perfect opportunity for Boeing to open a new car plant here and earn back some respect.
Financially, the money-losing automaker is a bargain, probably worth today as a whole the same amount GM paid for a 50 percent stake back in 1990: $700 million, according to Yahoo! Finance and Reuters. The same sources report that Saab sales were down 35 percent last year (about 93,000 cars worldwide). It's a tiny, bite-sized acquisition with sex appeal. (Well, nerd sex appeal.) Just think of the possible Boeing-Saab synergies:
New Saab showroom located next to Ikea in Kent would draw from same demographic
The old "Born From Jets" slogan would be appropriate again
Boeing Field could also be used for Saab test track (Warning: please be alert for aircraft landings)
The company's experience with carbon fiber could help lighten new Saab models
Who better than a jet company to add more turbochargers?
Eager Northwest customers are tired of all driving the same Subaru Outback wagons that are impossible to tell apart in the Costco parking lot
Drivers of rusted-out Saab 99s from the 1970s are just about ready to admit defeat--provided they can buy a new model within the same Scandinavian family