It's remarkable how one vehicle can have an impact on the public's perception of a company.
Take Saab, for example.
Before the Geneva motor show, Saab and its dealers admitted there still was a public perception -- albeit among a shrinking group of believers -- that the automaker had gone out of business more than a year ago as General Motors was rising from the ashes of bankruptcy.
Others, aware that Saab Automobile did indeed exist as an independent automaker, raised doubts that this "new" quirky little Swedish company would achieve any relevance.
But Saab's image greatly improved last week in Geneva, as Victor Muller, Jan Ake Jonsson and Jason Castriota pulled the cover off the PhoeniX, a 2+2 concept with wild, over-the-top styling. Muller is Saab chairman, and Jonsson is CEO. The concept was penned by Castriota, Saab's new design chief.
Some Saab purists called the design shocking. A few styling cues -- greatly toned down -- will appear in future Saabs such as the redesigned 9-3 arriving in the fall of 2012.