Vladimir Antonov talks to the Russian press

Vladimir Antonov has given an interview to the Russian website (or is it also a Newspaper?) Gazeta.ru during the Geneva Auto Show.

It is really a very interesting interview, and I hope that the Google translation is not too bad. Still I have a problem with one point. In that interview VA talks about Saab as if it would belong to him. On the other side in Sweden he talks about willing to be allowed to be part of Saab.

I don’t know if the reality is just in-between of those two statement, or if Russians are a little bit too proud (not trying to offend anyone) and like to see things a little bit differently.

As I’ve said, beyond that the interview is worth reading. Here the most interesting answers from Mr. Antonov.

Saab – a niche company, we can not compare it to corporations such as Volkswagen, who works for the unification of models between brands. Plan for production – 125 thousand cars in 2012. But we also understand that the unification within the company needed. Therefore, our new platform PhoeniX – a development owned by Saab, although it is a modified platform GM. Saab will be able to build on it from multiple machines in length from 4.3 to 5.4 meters, including the SUV. The entire new model range, already saabovsky own, will be built on one platform.

Since now it was only known, that the Phoenix platform was quite flexible, now we know that Saab can build cars from a small Sonnet to a presidential Limousine, I would call it a 9-9. Still, a Mini sized small Saab needs a external platform.

When the Saab back to Russia?

Just had just signed an agreement with Armand, which will become the importer of the brand. So what will soon resume selling Saab in Russia.

Saab has to confirm this, but I think he is right with that.

There are plans for further expansion? Maybe even buy some brand, create a group of companies?

– Imperial sentiments do not lead to good. You yourselves have seen what happened to GM!

Didn’t we just heard that VA has bought Bowler Offroad ??

All in all the interview is worth reading, and it shows that Antonov is seen differently in his home country than here. I will be a little bit cautious over the next two or three years about his plans, but only because he is telling two different stories here and in Russia.

Many thanks to saabdroid for the link.

RedJ

sven
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sven
5 years 6 months ago

check out http://www.automotorsport.se, a picture of the new saab 9-3? seems like a good render..

1975SAAB99
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1975SAAB99
5 years 6 months ago

Nah, looks like a garden variety photoshop if you ask me. It’s just a mashup of the PhoeniX (taillights), current 9-5 (exhausts) and several other features that appeared on previous Saab (concept)cars.

I think the actual 2012 93 will look far more composed, I’m not even convinced the dotted taillights will make it to production. (they don’t have to, as far as I’m concerned)

Toby
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Toby
5 years 6 months ago

I understand all of the design cues apart from those damn lights-what is that about?

they are retro nasty and not a patch on the current fibre light bar. all I can see is cheap American or Jap influences on an otherwise nice looking car.

Grrr.

Cokeisit
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Cokeisit
5 years 6 months ago

I think that the dotted areas to the right and left are supposed to look like an aircraft after burner. The center area could be just there to resemble the new 9-5.

I hope that they continue to use the new style introduced in the 9-5 and 9-4X since they look great.

joka jupmer
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5 years 6 months ago

mazda 626

Snatch
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Snatch
5 years 6 months ago

or even worse…?

Doctor Donk
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Doctor Donk
5 years 6 months ago

Do not build Saab factories in china or Russia. Only Sweden \ Finland etc. Saab aimed to be more premium than more cheap.

Joe
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Joe
5 years 6 months ago

OK, Armand are the same guys that imported SAAB in Russia before, along with all other GM brands. So the extensive process of investigating which importer would be the best one for Russia resulted in: No change. Fair enough, bet they were the best ones. Hope they can get going ASAP.

GerritN
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GerritN
5 years 6 months ago

I really hope that the European Investment Bank will allow Vladimir to invest in Saab. I have a gut feeling that his heart is in the right place as far as Saab is concerned and that he has the money and connections to provide Saab with not only buffer money but also funds for new models. Imho, extending the Saab model line should happen fairly soon, the current sales are less than stellar and Saab needs some more diversity to pull new customers in.

GerritN
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GerritN
5 years 6 months ago

Plus that Russia is going to see a big windfall with the oil prices on the rise. Lots of potential Saab customers in Russia.

2natw
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2natw
5 years 6 months ago

I don’t. I never trusted VA one bit. He’s so sleazy and selfish. VM and Jan-Ake clearly know what they’re doing, they don’t need this liar around.

svizzera
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svizzera
5 years 6 months ago

Both the Interviewer and VA agree that VA is the owner of SAAB de facto.

– VA also said that he knows how the 9-3NG would look like and he promised that it would be a 100% SAAB.

– construction of a new plant in China. As VA says the decision (by whom I wonder) is already made.

– Spyker was just the access to SAAB, a kind of SPV.

There is a big misunderstanding …..

Tomas TL1000R
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Tomas TL1000R
5 years 6 months ago

I am a little bit confused about everything right now! Is he(VA) a good or bad guy? Have VM and VA played a game the hole time. Can we trust VA or are Saab a russian car in 3 years? Does even JÅJ know whats happening behind the curtain. Is VA:s money the only reason this comunity likes him or is it another reason?

Personaly I´m not so sure about that mysterious Russian, Swade! say something smart about the situation, I´m lost. Red J, I want your wiew to.

rodmylon
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rodmylon
5 years 6 months ago

Press release by Spyker Cars NV and VM:
http://www.spykercars.nl/download/artikel/Press_release_10_March_2011__fin_.pdf

Targets remain. What Antonov said to the press is only his views etc.

svizzera
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svizzera
5 years 6 months ago

After this press release I start thinking that a kind of corporate conflict has begun..

If two persons are playing in one team – they don’t have to comment each other via press releases etc.

Troels, Denmark
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5 years 6 months ago

Wise to make this press release.

Oscar, from Barcelona
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5 years 6 months ago

As a journalist myself, it is crystal clear, reading this soooooooft press release from Spyker, that Antonov owns de facto Saab. The problem is that, being passionate as the russians are, he cannot control himself and talks too much. It is the same that happened when he spoke about the old Saab models that will be produced in Russia.

In the short term, and if the European institutions agree, Antonov will be the owner of Saab. I am sure about that. Not necessarily a bad thing, though.

saabista63
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saabista63
5 years 6 months ago

Oscar,

that sounds very interesting – and sensible.
I’m sure we’ll know more soon.
Still; I think the moment Antonov chose to make these statements was not what they would have called “kairos” (=the right instance) in Ancient Greece.
Except, his intention is to make Spyker N.V. shares lose value (which they already did) in order to increase his share in the company.
Anyway, the master plan behind all this is difficult to grasp.

Let’s hope Mr. Antonov’s outspokenness will not cause too much insecurity among potential SAAB customers. That would make a lot of good effort and remarkable achievements look obsolete.

Niklas G
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Niklas G
5 years 6 months ago

Could it be that he’s keen on letting the newspaper and its readers believe that Saab is russian because then more Saabs will be sold in Russia?

zippy
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zippy
5 years 6 months ago

If VA is the de facto owner of Saab why on earth would he say some seemingly ill-timed comments about sales figures. I don’t mind is Mr Antonov’s involvement with Saab one bit as he quite obviously has the passion for the car rallying with his 99T. I remain confident that hopefully we can welcome him onboard soon and that the public will view his involvement as a positive outlook for the future.

Excuse my ignorance but why does Saab have to get EIB permission to allow VA to invest? Surely investment is a good thing that guarantees Saab success?

rodmylon
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rodmylon
5 years 6 months ago
I wrote this in another thread: Don’t know if this has been mentioned here yet, but according to Daniel Barr on Riksgälden (the Swedish state organization that is the one who granted Saab the state security of the loan) the Saab deal has a clause concerning bigger owner changes. {As will the EIB (?)}. He says that they will assess any such situations if they get a request. None has been filed concerning Saab/Spyker. I have no idea how such negotiations proceed and where Antonov/Spyker has to start. Still it seems somewhat weird. Why haven’t they started at Riksgälden? (This… Read more »
Jason Powell
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5 years 6 months ago
Not understanding everything here regarding the loans, but if a bigger company came in wanting to be a part of Saab if it was needed and “Riksgalden” stepped in and said no, would that not pose a bigger problem for Sweden???? Kind of seems like for any of you hockey lovers out there that they are like Gary Betman and Phoenix. If there is a way to bring in more money and money is needed, it would seem in the best interest of everyone to let it happen. The other side though is that if they haven’t even approached Riksgalden,… Read more »
joka jupmer
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5 years 6 months ago

This guy sucks

Snatch
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Snatch
5 years 6 months ago

IMHO everyone takes those russian talks too seriously.

rodmylon
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rodmylon
5 years 6 months ago

I think your right in a way. I’m no expert on Russian culture but I guess this kind of “bragging” or “exaggerating” is more common place there, and needed to get at least some attention. However the Saab-case is very sensitive, especially in the Swedish press that takes a grain of sand and makes it into a mountain (can you say that? 😛 ). VM needs to educate VA about the Swedish and European press ethics a bit more! They need to be focused and streamlined, not going in different directions.

JL
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JL
5 years 6 months ago

Also, I think it is no secret that VA money made the Spyker purchase of SAAB possible. I do not really see anything new here. Of course VA can argue that morally, SAAB belongs to him. Legally that is not the case and that´s why we´ve seen all that commotion today. Without VA there probably would have been no SAAB today. I´m still very happy he is a SAAB guy 🙂

svizzera
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svizzera
5 years 6 months ago

“VM needs to educate VA about the Swedish and European press ethics a bit more! ”

+1

Snatch
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Snatch
5 years 6 months ago

“VM needs to educate VA about the Swedish and European press ethics a bit more! ”

I’d like to edit this…

“VM needs to educate VA about the press ethics a bit more! ”

Saabdog
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Saabdog
5 years 6 months ago

Just saw an article about this over at Automotive News. VA’s comments are starting to take on a life of their own. Comments on the article make it look like Saab is already dead…at least in the U.S. Kind of has me a bit worried at the moment.

SAAB_andee
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SAAB_andee
5 years 6 months ago

No worry – as we already know here in SU Saab is already dead in the US. But you only can die one time. So it´s good people know Saab is alive to die the second time. ** sarcasm**

TuuSaR
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TuuSaR
5 years 6 months ago

Reuters has picked up the “story” so it’s global now but I think real mess starts with Q1-report as some reporters will of course try to ridicule it, no matter how much growth there is compared to last year.

GerritN
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GerritN
5 years 6 months ago

And suddenly everyone is an expert on the Saab demise again. Even the idiots from the Dutch sharholders’ group VEB are ready to renew their VM grudge.
Just wait until the rumor mill has run its course. Better, considering his interest in Saab, would be if Vladimir would just say that he was misinterpreted.

SpinM
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SpinM
5 years 6 months ago
I see how media was only to happy to jump on a few less optimistic aspects of what VA told them. I can’t imagine this can have a potential to cause a second death in US. After all the only way Saab can go there is up. The message I got from reading all this (admitedly less refined words than I’d wish for from VA) is, that Saab has a financial savior standing behind them and ready to invest more money. The way I see it, Saab is heading in the right direction, working hard, making good moves, laying foundations… Read more »
Greg Abbott
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Greg Abbott
5 years 6 months ago

I agree, the long-term implications are positive. However, the short-term PR implications are terrible – and let’s be blunt, Saab doesn’t have a bank of PR good will to be able to brush something like this off. Once again we have to deal with “Saab is dying” headlines – precisely at a time when people are tuning back in to see what’s up with Saab.

It would have been nice if VM and VA could have coordinated this, and emphasized the positive from the beginning.

saablover
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saablover
5 years 6 months ago

In the newspapers in Belgium: worries about SAAB, SAAB will not meet the target of 80.000 cars this year says Antonov, the………
This is not good at all, again bad news and this during the Geneva show….

JL
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JL
5 years 6 months ago
It´s unfortunate, but I still think that this will blow over quickly. The source has been misinterpreted and the true message is that VA is very eager to pour financial resources into SAAB, because he really believes in SAAB. This message will become clear, through the media. We see an awkward way of conveying that message, but it IS the message and as such it can only strengthen SAAB. I think it might be wise to mentally prepare for additional similar BS in the future. SAAB is so much in focus and we all know how media can distort information.… Read more »
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