David Welch, Detroit correspondent from Bloomberg BusinessWeek, has done a 4-page article on the state of things at Saab Automobile now that they’re separate from GM and out on their own.
There are a few things in the article that might smart a little for a Saab supporter, but over all, I think it’s a pretty good piece.
The article tends to stick to old-world thinking…. that a car company can’t make it unless it’s big.
Resurrecting a battered brand is tough enough; doing so as a tiny, independent company in an industry dominated by conglomerates is close to impossible.
That’s Welch’s own line and it’s echoed by the analysts he quotes in his article. It’s a pretty safe point of view, with the odds in its favour. Pointing out that being big hasn’t helped many of the companies out there – to some it’s been a millstone – probably won’t do any good because it is the conventional wisdom and on many levels, it makes sense.
Saab are out there to try and prove a new paradigm in the automotive industry. One where you can be smart and small, where you can move relatively quickly, share your expertise for a fee and outsource the expertise of others where required. Whilst we can enthuse about the opportunity Saab has at continued life, one shouldn’t overlook that they have a tough road ahead.
But that’s where the tenacity comes in, isn’t it?
The article deals with the dilution of the Saab brand under GM’s ownership pretty well, and sums up the current business plan and the hope of building the ‘Saab 92’ with the obligatory Blackberry reference thrown in.
It’s a good, stimulating read. You won’t agree with all of it, but it’s good fuel for the fires of determination sitting in the bellies of some Saab folk.