Could Saab Be Making A Dramatic Return To The Auto Industry?
It could, but it’s not the Saab that we all knewby Kirby Garlitos, on
The cautionary tale that is Saab still serves as a reminder to everyone in the auto industry about the fickle nature of the business. The once proud Swedish automaker closed shop in 2010 and has never been heard from since. But a new report from Swedish newspaper SvD Naringsliv could point to the return of the Saab name in the industry. The only caveat is it’s not going to be the same Saab that folded six years ago; it’s the aviation and defense company Saab Group, the same firm that split from the automaker in 1990 after General Motors bought the latter.
See, as much as Saab the automaker was a failure since the brand split, the Saab Group has thrived as a military contractor, developing aircrafts, missiles, computer software, and radar systems. The company’s expertise in these respective fields is a big reason why the company is looking at making a push to enter the auto industry and have the success its old partner failed to get on a consistent basis.
Don’t expect this Saab to start building cars anytime soon though because the company is specifically looking into autonomous driving technology with the idea that it could adapt its “Gripen E” radar to self-driving cars once that market has matured into something that could revolutionize the auto industry. According to Saab, Gripen E is a revolutionary radar system that can handle information more than the conventional systems that are being developed by automakers. The software’s capability is largely tied into its circuits being made from Galliu nitride, which can handle extremely high power loads, something that’s going to be expected for radars that will be used by self-driving cars in the future.
Saab’s interest isn’t just being thrown around as a possibility; it’s actually already had discussions with a number of European automakers about a possible venture down the road. CEO Hakan Buskhe also said that it’s already making preparations to start a new company by the first quarter of 2017, one whose sole purpose would be to assemble the software solutions it needs to make as it begins to make its move towards the auto industry.
Think of this new development anyway you can. The point is that the Saab company that saw its business thrive is banking on being a major player in the rapidly evolving self-driving car business. Only time will tell if it’s going to succeed, and that “success” will be largely tied into how self-driving technology evolves. But it is nice to see the words “Saab” and “cars” being mentioned in the same sentence again. It’s been a while.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
It’s not the Saab we know, but it’s Saab nevertheless
I’ll be honest, I got a little excited when this was brought to my attention. The first thought in my head was, “Saab’s coming back?!” Then I realized that I didn’t even know who owns Saab now. I do know that it was once owned by Spyker, but that brand also went under, and after some digging, whatever remnants of the old Saab that still exists today is owned by New Electric Vehicles Sweden. Turns out, that company is also planning to make a play for the industry with plans to develop an electric car that will be based on the old Saab 9-3. I’m not quite sure how that’s going to turn out, but good luck to those guys. They’re going to need it.
Now about the Saab Group. In some ways, it’s not that surprising to see the company make a play for the auto industry, albeit in a business that’s still years away from finding its mainstream footing. If anything though, now’s the perfect time for the Saab Group to make a name for itself with the products that it plans to introduce to the industry. I don’t know too much about the Gripen E radar system, but if it’s as good and as advanced as the company says it is, I don’t see any reason why automaker’s wouldn’t take a look at it. That’s one of the advantages of being at the forefront of cutting-edge military technology. I just hope the Saab Group can gain access to the auto industry if the Gripen E radar system is everything it’s been propped up to be.
As for Saab the automaker, here’s to hoping that it’s resurrected to. It would be really sad if the Swedish automaker is remembered for the way it ended more than anything else.
Read our full review on the 2011 Saab 9-3 here.
Source: SvD Naringsliv