Chicken Soup for the Saab soul

After the speed bump that has been the EIB Loan kerfuffle and ensuing discussion in the last few days (forgive me, I’m grumpy), this article from JustAuto really does read like good therapy.
JustAuto went along to one of the Saab 9-5 European roadshow events in England and sat down for a chat with Knut Simonsson. It’s a good reminder as to how things should/will be for a new, independant and resurgent Saab.
Click here to read the whole thing. Here’s a few tasty morsels.
My thanks to Kurt K for the link.

For a long time, GM appeared not to know what to do with its quirky Swedish premium brand. There was an almost criminal paucity of investment in new Saab product. And twelve year model cycles aren’t a recipe for competitive success. Even worse, industrial planners at GM were keen on consolidating output on a plant-platform basis so that more Saabs would be made by Opel at Russelsheim.

“We have accomplished a lot in a short space of time,” he says. “We were given the chance to change and we are doing that. Since the reorganisation began in February we have taken out excess stock, lowered our cost of production and transformed our balance sheet. We are very confident about our business plan.”

And there is undisguised joy that from the list of 34 potential buyers for Saab, the new Nordic owner – Koenigsegg – is facilitating a kind of Swedish homecoming for the brand. The Trollhattan plant will be the undisputed manufacturing and engineering heart for New Saab

Simonnson enthuses over the Chinese connection. Saab currently sells around 1,000 cars a year in China. He reckons importing cars for distribution by Beijing Auto could yield an immediate volume rise to 5,000-8,000 a year. If an agreement could be struck for local assembly, that figure should be three or four times higher.

While the pressures weighing down on the whole industry right now are considerable, Simonnson is undaunted. A smaller and leaner Saab, he believes, is well placed to take advantage of the shifting sands affecting everyone. Partnerships are key.

Simonsson sums it up: “These are exciting times. We have a small, flat and innovative organisation. We have experienced life at the bottom of the food chain, but now we have a new opportunity.”


And there’s a lot more where that came from.

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