Saab-Scania - A leading Swedish industrial group

A look back at the world as it was in 1987. Saab-Scania presented a new image film. At that time, you saw yourself as a leader in the transport technology segment. Innovative, successful, at the forefront. Interesting. Because, if the group still existed in this constellation today, one could talk about an integrated mobility provider. At the time, the chances of becoming one were pretty good.

Saab plant in Trollhättan in the 80s
Saab plant in Trollhättan in the 80s

Sweden was one of the 80 wealthiest nations in the world in the 10s. Exports were booming and the Saab-Scania group had its share in it. The aviation division made civil and military machines. The Saab JAS 39 Gripen was about to take its first flight, it demonstrated technical leadership and was one of the most modern multi-purpose combat aircraft in the world.

Once a leading Swedish company

The Saab 9000 has been rolling off the assembly lines in Trollhättan for a few years. A surprise success, celebrated on the markets and sometimes available with long delivery times. The Trionic, Saab's revolutionary engine control system was completely developed at the time, even if it was a long time coming. And Scania hurried from truck to truck worldwide.

So good times.

The image film shows a proud, successful group. The divisions are introduced and it is impressive what Saab-Scania does. One can think about where the company would be today if it hadn't been gradually smashed since 1990? Maybe he would have become one of the leading mobility providers for our future? The conditions were there. Modern hardware, own software and the technical infrastructure for communication. Own computer production, satellites, the most modern data centers in all of Europe. The full chain of value creation.

The Swedish industry is now in foreign hands

Instead of investing in their future and relying on their existing strengths, the Swedes took a different path. The Wallenberg family, the driving force behind the company, cashed in. The group gradually disassembled. 3 years after the film was released, 50% of the automotive division went to GM. The rest 10 years later. In 1995, Scania separated from Saab AB and became its own group. 4 years later, Volvo tried to take over the company, which was rejected by the anti-trust authorities. Scania, the world's most profitable truck manufacturer, has been wholly owned by the VW Group since 2014.

The video - a look back at the old days. When Sweden was one of the very big industrial nations and the important companies were still in Swedish hands. That has changed fundamentally in more than 30 years. Volvo Cars is Chinese, as are the remnants of the Saab Automobil Division. Today Scania is German and even the aircraft engine production in Trollhättan is British. Saab AB still remains, far from its size at that time, which is still considered a Swedish company.

10 thoughts on "Saab-Scania - A leading Swedish industrial group"

  • @ Gosh,

    Right. The example of Opel PSA suggests that there would have been more for Saab too. If only because licenses are obviously not a problem here.

    Had Opel gone over the table first, would Saab have benefited from it? Well, would, would have ...

  • Indirectly, GM got at least one swatter after selling Opel. In the first year after the takeover by PSA, the numbers are in the black. A key step in Saab's demise was GM's peculiarity of taking profits, but imposing many costs (including those not related to Saab). It is correct that many patents and rights have remained with GM and that the VM's hands were actually tied, but I believe that the team that was there at the time with the support of the state would have overcome that. Well, it's history.

  • @ Gosh,

    As far as I know, Scania has always been very independent on a long leash - regardless of the ownership structure.

    Since they have been doing this successfully for many years, until today there was no reason for a drastic intervention (part or main or sole).

    I would have liked so much success and independence for Saab. Then I wouldn't care about the owner either.
    It came and went differently, as we all know.

    The trolls' struggle for independence is legendary and was an eternal point of friction with GM, who would have loved to go in the direction of badge engineering ...

    And unfortunately ultimately and actually had so many licenses and rights to technology & design that Saab could no longer be continued sensibly with new owners.

    For me, this is a crucial difference between Saab and Scania. And this is where the difficulty of a meaningful intervention by business leaders from politics and business lies ...

    At a certain point, GM simply had the strings in hand and a success of the Saab brand would have been a resounding slap in the face for the management, which GM wanted to prevent at all costs and unfortunately knew how to prevent.

  • @volvaab driver
    You are absolutely right. Checkout is allowed. I don't mean the Wallenbergs at all, but rather the people from business and politics who have allowed this. The Saab drama failed twice.
    @ Tom
    Was Scania set up like this before, or did VW do it from Scania?

  • @ Gosh,

    I find it difficult too. On the one hand, and because it is so infinitely a shame ...

    On the other hand, there is little that I absolutely cannot explain, cannot understand ...

    The Wallenberg family has cashed in, the article says aptly. That is also her right. Thousands do it every year and not differently. Keyword start-up.

    It's just stupid that Saab didn't write the same story as Scania.

  • I can not understand what economic leaders were at the helm.

  • So it is high time that the production lines started up again in Trollhättan and that the good phase of SAAB-Automobile was continued there. If everything goes well, we could become proud owners of vehicles “made in Trollhättan by Trolls” - without a large Chinese company in the background, similar to Volvo, this would probably not be possible.

    Somehow it remains exciting!

  • When watching the video, I wondered when and why did Swedish politics, but also Swedish society, not get the curve? The whole thing is a pretty sad story.
    Sweden quo vadis?

  • Great overview video. 20% growth per year and 25% profit increase per year. These are times for Saab-Scania.
    What a story, unfortunately it's now a story.

  • Cool! History lesson on Saabblog! Exciting to see and a long time ago. Came on time for lunch 😉

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