Saab still close to GM -- or so it appears

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News
Saab plans to make another break from General Motors -- specifically, at the world’s major auto shows.

Saab is still tied to GM’s hip -- at least visually. At the Paris show, Saab is featured in a small hall along with its stepbrothers -- namely, Opel, Cadillac and Chevrolet. The exhibits are adjacent to one another. Auto show patrons might think Saab is still part of GM. Of course, Spyker purchased Saab from GM back in February.

This plan of independence is expected to be adopted at major auto shows across the world. Saab wants to send a clear signal that it is an independent automaker, and, hopefully, it can woo buyers who were not impressed with the GM link.

Auto show space is negotiated years in advance, so it likely will take some time until Saab makes that visual break with GM.

However, the GM link will not be an issue at the Detroit show in January. Saab will be a no-show, saving its dollars in this country for the Chicago, New York and Los Angeles shows -- events in huge retail markets.

After all, most of Saab’s buyers in the Detroit area were GM employees, who received big discounts on their car purchase.