Saab Reconstruction – the SaabsUnited view

This just in from Djup Strupe:

I can assure you that the mood is excellent at the ******* [dept kept secret for obvious reasons]. Our destiny is in our own hands and we are very confident in our ability to develop the Saab vehicles our customers love.

I am smiling like a kid at Christmas.
In a few hours from now Saab will front the media and discuss their re-organisation goals in full. That press conference will be in Swedish and I’m sure we’ll get the usual updates in comments, but I can tell you now what to expect – elaboration from Saab on the four dot points in their press release:

  • Swedish court process to reorganize Saab into a fully independent business
  • Three new models ready to be launched over the next year and a half
  • Saab aims to bring resources back to Sweden
  • Funding sought for “new independent Saab”

It’s only my guess, but I can’t believe that a considered decision like this would have been made without some confidence in the company’s ability to secure finance.
But to some thoughts…..

It’s not a good thing that Saab are in such a position that they have to seek this reconstruction process.
It IS a good thing that they’re seeking it, however.
Saab are going into this process with the goal in mind of being an independent car company. I can’t stress how important that is, nor how happy it makes me as a Saab enthusiast.
I imagine they’ll be looking to function in partnership with other groups for the use of engines, etc. Saab will obviously have to partner with GM for some time, but at least there’s a chance that they can build and develop their own vehicles without having to beg.
The mere possibility of an independent Saab is light years better than a under-foot role like the one they’ve had at GM, or would have as part of a separated Opel/Vauxhall outfit.
Just the thought of them reorganising their national Saab representation bodies into ones that respond, the thought of them using smaller, caring advertising agencies…..the possibilities for improvement through actually giving a shiezen are endless.
Long road ahead
Mark down February 20th as the new Saab’s birthdate.
Having said that, this is just a beginning for Saab and there’s a long road ahead. Saab have to work out arrangements with suppliers and creditors, but I really believe that this can be a good thing for them, too.
Saab can be profitable. Someone’s already mentioned in comments the fact that Saab have been profitable in Europe in the last few years. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of pricing an independent Saab can manage when they don’t have to build in a fat-ass UAW allowance.
The road is long, with many a winding turn (cue music), but this can work. The first 12 months are going to be painful as it probably won’t be until the second 12 months that Saab will really have a chance to turn a profit. They need to get these new cars out there and they need to rebuild their marketing message and public presence.
An independent-minded and free-spirited Saab can do that.
Innovation, Innovation, Innovation
Saab need the 9-3x, the new 2010 Saab 9-4 and the Saab 9-4x to make this happen.
More than that, though, they’re going to need to push the pedal to the metal on a new Saab 9-3. I think this is going to be priority #1 as soon as they’re able.
One of the great things about the prospect of an independent Saab is that they’ll be able to pursue their own goals instead of splitting their goals with generic brands and thereby putting a product out to market that’s going to be sub-par with what they’d like.
I can’t help but feel that there’s going to be a lot of old heads in western Sweden feeling fairly excited at this prospect. Bjorn Envall’s probably dancing a jig right now!
Personally speaking, I get to be a Saab blogger for a while longer, which is a good thing.
I want to personally thank all the people that have helped me cover this situation so closely over the last weeks. Your contributions to the developing story have been in many ways, much more than mine.
Saab has an awesome community around them and they’re going to need it.
They’re also going to need support from the swedish government in terms of market stimulation and I hope the government there can divorce their bitterness towards GM from their need to act responsibly and look at what they can reasonably do to get the market moving.
The Road To Independence
The thought of an independent, innovative, creative and truly Swedish car company was just a pipe dream a few months ago.
Now it’s that little bit closer.
All those elements that we cherish about early Saabs could quite possibly come back again.
The end game here is to build an operation that can either stand on it’s own (in partnership with appropriate partners) and/or attract the right investors in the company.
Let’s raise a metaphorical glass to their success!
Saab 9-4x
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