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Archive for December, 2009

Another Swedish Brand Succumbs

Hot on the heels of Saab’s likely demise, another iconic Swedish brand, Volvo, is to be sold to the Chinese.

Ford announced last week that agreement had been reached to sell its subsidiary, Volvo Cars, to China’s Geely Automotive for a reported $AUS 2.26 bn. (Ford acquired Volvo for $6.45 bn. US  just ten years ago).

The deal is expected to be completed early in 2010, though the Swedish press are sceptical – and angered.

” How can a former refrigerator parts manufacturer with just ten years’ car manufacturing experience manage such a well known, quality, world – wide brand successfully? ” they ask.

But then China is now one of the leading car manufacturers in the World, rising from virtual obscurity a decade ago.

So is this the death knell for Volvo, or a new exciting development for the ‘safety first’ Swedish manufacturer?

Only time will tell.

Saab To Shut Its Doors

A last ditch attempt to sell Saab to Spyker Cars has failed, forcing General Motors to announce “an orderly wind-down of Saab operations”

The demise of the very distinctive, if slightly quirky Swedish car maker is a direct result of the Global Financial Crisis and General Motors plans to dispense with its non-performing overseas assets.

GM said it would close Saab dealerships around the world, although it would honour warranties and provide service and parts to Saab owners.

It is likely that Saab owners will suffer from heavily depreciating values, at least in the short term, though some may regard them as future collectors items.

We suspect, however, that hefty discounts will be offered to new car buyers if they are brave enough to want to purchase such a future rarity.

The Worst Failures

We’ve had some pretty bad cars foisted on us in the past. We’ve also had some pretty awful marketing failures.

We’ve listed our top five here:-

THE LEYLAND P76

It’s aim was to knock Holden, Ford and Chrysler off their big car perches – and it failed miserably

THE DATSUN 120Y

Boring! Yet is sold over 2 million worldwide. Why?

THE MORRIS MARINA

Another Leyland disaster trying to play catchup.

AU FALCON

How a styling studio and the research dept. got it so wrong, and Ford never recovered.

MITSIBISHI 380

The car that was to save Mitsubishi local manufacturing and pay back Government grants. It didn’t.

For the full story on the top five failures, and a list of the ‘also rans’ (or didn’t) click here