So, who killed Saab? Ultimately, it was a tragically mis-matched marriage with General Motors. The small, quirky, car maker from rural western Sweden and the American corporate steamroller from Michigan were never going to gel.

Stop-start product launches and over a decade of models cobbled together from GM’s decidedly mainstream parts bin was the direct cause of Saab’s demise.

The problems began when GM swept in and stole Saab from under Fiat’s nose in 1989. A planned replacement for the ancient 900 was switched from being based on the admired Saab 9000 to being based on the aged Cavalier. The 1993 900 was a so-so car at launch that struggled on for a decade in the face of overwhelming premium-brand opposition. Saab was also embarrassed by the car’s poor showing in lab crash tests.

A major re-engineering in 1998 (when it was re-badged the 9-3) was a big improvement, but GM would not release the funds to allow the car to be re-styled, so a big opportunity was missed to give the only premium hatchback on the market a second wind.