Even before the news that GM is looking to get shot of itI have been spending a fair amount of time thinking about Saab recently.

I mean, have you seen how cheap early 9-5s are getting? A mate and I have been pinging Autotrader URLs back and forth as we try to find Britain's cheapest - £750 is the record so far.

But the news that GM is looking to get rid of its Swedish subsidiary as part of its corporate clearout is hardly a surprise – Saab hasn't made a profit for 19 of the past 20 years.

But although this is far from the best time to be set adrift on the depressed global car market, I have to risk sounding unduly optimistic by saying this could be the best thing to happen to Saab since it signed the services of Eric Carlsson to drive its rally cars in the early 1960s.

It's fair to say that GM has never understood Saab, starving the company of investment on the grounds that it doesn't make a profit, then wondering why it struggles to take on the premium German marques.

GM's control has seen ridiculously long model cycles – the current 9-5 is approaching its 12thbirthday – and the sort of badge engineering that would have made BMC blush in the sixties. European buyers should consider themselves lucky to have been spared both the 9-2X (a badly re-nosed previous generation Impreza) and the 9-7X (a nasty, US-spec SUV), both of which were GM-ordered brand expansions in the States.

Saab needs to be given a chance to rediscover its coolness – remember this was the company that used two-stroke engines beyond almost anyone else except Trabant, and which introduced European buyers to turbocharging.

And, regardless of the pain of breaking away, that's something that's far more likely to happen from outside GM than it is from within.

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