Take a breath, part II

It’s been a hard few weeks, hasn’t it?

Remember the Geneva Auto Show, when we were all filled with optimism? Promises of a new 9-5 SportCombi and a first for Saab, a real CUV coming out this summer, all very concrete and ready to roll off the production line. Further down the pipe we have eXWD, IQon, and Saabs powered by BMW engines to look forward to. Saab seemed to be on pretty strong footing just a month ago, didn’t it?

Fast forward a few weeks– an annual report, a CEO retirement, supplier work stoppages, cash crunches, and the picture doesn’t seem too pretty anymore. No matter how many ways we report the story, one thing is clear– until production gets rolling along again, there’s a dark cloud hanging over Saab that makes it hard to think about anything else. For those of you who come back day after day looking for news, I understand how hard it is load up the page and see the situation remain unresolved.

A few people have vented in comments that they miss how Swade used to run this place– I’d like to remind you that what made him so valuable was his ability to break through the crap and give his opinion. He also dealt with his share of naysayers and the only other time things were this bad in the press (during the GM crisis), he reminded us to calm down and have some patience. In that same spirit, consider this my own take on Swadeology, you could call it Jeffology.

1. Give Tim a break. He took over for Swade a week before this fire started, and whatever semblance of organization he had regarding features, new content, writer focus, etc. took a back seat to covering the supplier mess. For having zero training in running a blog and having to start in the middle of a storm, I think Tim’s managed pretty well. He certainly cares deeply for the brand, and if he’s guilty of anything it’s caring too much that Saab gets through this mess in as good a shape as it can.

2. The reason there isn’t much new content here is twofold– it’s not helpful and worse it’s unreliable. First, while it’s addictive and feels good to hear any bit of insider news coming from Reuters, Bloomberg, DI, or TTela, if you actually look back at what we’ve learned, we don’t know much more than what we heard two weeks ago. The fact remains, there are no concrete facts coming out of Saab or Spyker right now for good reason, their small market cap means that any statements could manipulate the stock or worse, strain negotiations. While we may want to hear a clear explanation of what’s going on to feel better about everything, it’s best we all wait until the deal is sorted out and there’s real news to report. Second, just because you hear one side of the story doesn’t mean it’s truth, we’re finding that out the hard way as writers. It’s hard to put together a post or article when you have to decide if the person being quoted in the original story is stating fact, interpreting something they overheard, or just trying to play an angle for some other (possibly nefarious) reason. This ain’t easy folks.

3. We’re extremely fortunate to have a reasonable, sensible, and most of all engaged community here– it’s what makes SaabsUnited different than any other Saab blog on earth. Many of us have strong opinions, but that doesn’t always mean they’re right, my own included. I get how passionate you are about this little car company we love, we all feel the same way. And that’s just it, at the core we’re all here for the same reason– try to remember that before you argue with each other in comments. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the comments policy, now would be a great time to read it over. And as Steve said in his points, YOU DON’T NEED TO WRITE IN ALL CAPS!!! That’s what italics were invented for 😉

4. Saab will make it through this, really, they will. With a strong product portfolio, loyal dealers, a lower breakeven, and best of all intelligent customers who know what a good deal Saabs are compared to the competition, it’s only a matter of time before the balance sheet turns around. The fact is, the people working behind the scenes are determined, seasoned executives who will not stop until they sort out what’s going on. They misjudged their hand with suppliers, they didn’t adjust their spending to account for lowered income from sales, and they made mistakes dealing with the press. We get it, they screwed up. I give the management credit for trying to juggle so many sharp objects, and they were bound to drop one eventually. Everyone working at the top of the organization knows how strong and clear their message regarding future funding has to be, and though time is short they are working their asses off to get the deals done.

5. Meanwhile, we’re working on ideas to involve SU  members and the Saab community in engaging ways so that you feel more a part of the site, and have your voices heard (in constructive ways). Expect more competitions, more polls, more opportunities to write articles featured on the site, and best of all more opportunities than ever to actually interface and have your voices heard by Saab staff. To kick it off, I’ll be sitting down with the new Director of Sales for North America, James Sweeting. I’m going to set up a live press conference with viewer questions for you to ask whatever you want live on UStream, so you can actually interface in real time. More details about the time, etc will be hammered out soon, but it will happen sometime Wednesday or Thursday during the day (check to see if UStream is blocked at work, people 😉 ) If you have any ideas on things you’d like covered the line is always open at [email protected] We have some seriously cool stuff coming up, and with community involvement we can only get stronger.

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Good news is coming soon. Bad news probably is too, or at least news that isn’t easy to swallow. You might not see every single article from DI.se, TTela, or Reuters here (I’ll admit you’ll probably see Bloomberg articles though, Ola K. is on point) but when we see something that is worth reporting, you’ll most definitely hear about it here. This week there have been several false reports circulating, I’m not going to name them, but if you search around you’ll see that there’s a reason so many articles have the word UPDATE written on them– they were reporting on incomplete facts. I’ll be the first to admit, we’re guilty of falling into those traps here, we made mistakes. But remember we were commenters like you 4 weeks ago thrust into the role of editorial bloggers– this has been a serious crash course, and I think the whole crew here will be better writers for it. I can tell you we’re constantly emailing and Skyping behind the scenes, and we know a lot more about the press minefield that surrounds Saab than we ever thought we would. We know you hold us to a high standard, and we’re trying our best to live up to it.

Remember that cheering for the underdog isn’t easy. Sometimes you just need to remind yourself why you love this company in the first place. When you get in your car this morning or drive home from work, take an extra minute to acquaint yourself with your Saab– adjust the seat, turn the radio up, rev the turbo. Then think about how great your next Saab will be.

An interesting fact– we get more visits to this site every day than cars Saab was able to sell all last year, something is wrong with that. Keep supporting your dealers, and if you’re remotely close to being in a position to pull the trigger on a new car purchase, buy a new Saab now. There’s nothing like doomsday scenarios to create great deals.
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WD78
Member
martinsaab
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Very much to the point.
“Keep calm and buy a Saab” is the only thing that helps for now.
Go ahead, boys and girls. Buy! 🙂
(I did in late 2008)

Peter, Sweden
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I would, if the new 9-3 was out already. I wouldn’t feel happy with a current 9-3 when all the info about the 2010 9-3 starts to leak out 🙁 It’d be like buying a new MacBook Pro just weeks prior to an Apple Event.

If Saab could have a deal like “Buy a current 9-3 and we guarantee that you’ll be able to upgrade it for a new 9-3 in 18 months” I would be the first one to support Saab right away!

saabonaut
Member
5 years 5 months ago

this makes me now really curious how many saabsters are macsters … ? 🙂

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 5 months ago

This one is not.. 🙂

There are different kinds of stuff for different people.
Not passing judgement on anything, but I also like to tune my car myself

saabonaut
Member
5 years 5 months ago

yeah I agree it was not appropriate and naive, and faaar off-topic. Absolutely right to use whatever each one prefers. btw. congrats to your homepage !

Phoenix
Member
5 years 5 months ago

iPad yes love it, MacBook maybe another time. Pc is still number one for me even if I appreciate some apple stuff like the magnetic ac plug or the multi touchpad.

aero
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Point 4 will keep me going for another day. Thanks for that!

Aasmund
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Well said, Jeff!

Crossing my fingers for today! 🙂

Peter, Sweden
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Really nicely written. Jeff goes Swade but keeps his own thoughts and style of writing intact. Integrity with finesse, that is. Just like a Saab. Me like! 😀

sala or bust
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

Here, here

hans h
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Weel written, Jeff!

Unfortunately, I can’t buy a new Saab now. Only one income, two small children and a house being built makes my economy a little on the small side.

So, instead I bought an old Saab; a white 1969 95V4. 🙂
I’ll just put the summer wheels on, and then we’ll go around to car meetings all summer. Preferrably the tuesday meetings in Löddeköpinge.

hans h
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Weel? I mean well, of course. 🙂

Well written, Jeff

Juerg_U
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Yeah, well said. I’m thinking you’re doing a great job and I come here quite regularly (that means a couple times a day 😉 I don’t know why, but somehow I’m less afraid now than one year ago. Who would be so stupid to let a car company with this line up and this potential die? It is a great chance for risktaking investors though, like hopefully VA is one of them. He easily might turn his $50Mio into $200! I remember Apple 10 years ago everyone thought they take their last breath and Microsoft supported them with $150Mio ,… Read more »
saab93f
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I´m totally with you on this Juerg!

Congrats on your waiting 🙂

per
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Amen

Ben
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I for one love the direction Saabs United is heading. And in good news… http://www.golf365.co.za/news_story/0,17923,9786_6870371,00.html

hans h
Member
5 years 5 months ago

There is a lot of big Saab billboards up all over malmö at the moment, promoting the 9-3 Griffin.

Jake
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Well, Jeff: It appears as though you’re the new Swade!

And we all needed that. Thanks for having the tenacity to post that.

Eagle63
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I think Tim is doing a great job; he seems to be very precise and factual (ofcourse, he’s a pilot… 😉 ), while Swade was more ‘opinionated’ , but that made his articles so enticing to read.
We all want as much information as possible, but indeed right now I prefer facts over ‘fiction’, and in that regard the new team is doing the best they can..
Keep up the good work!

lala
Member
5 years 5 months ago

You nailed it Jeff!

marq101
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Everything needs some time to break in. Take your time. People are not very good in change. We love the familiar and also need/give ourselfs/give you some time to get used to the change

craig
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Jeff and Tim you have my support 100% You are doing a great job.

blksaabth
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Good one Jeff! I’m tired of the naysayers. I think we should just put all the negative people (and negative media-types) on a small island and let them sort themselves out. The knock-on effect of letting saab fail is too great, especially when Europe needs a success story given the financial mess the world has just been through (and is still contending with). Some people didn’t like my idea of 200,000 people donating $500 each for a promissory note worth more (say $750 or even $1000) towards a new saab in the future. Wouldn’t this give 200,000 people incentive to… Read more »
mike saunders
Member
5 years 5 months ago
What’s with all of the blaming the messenger? You’re slagging the “negative press” when you hear bad news, but you’re happy to hear someone blowing pixie dust up your butt with outlandish claims that show a condition that’s TOO good. Very little of the “negative press” has been false, but it has shown the pixie dust for what it is. I generally like ideas that think outside the box, but sooooo many carefree ideas hit a brick wall of reality. Getting 200,000 people to contribute $500? There aren’t that many people who buy that many Saabs in an entire year,… Read more »
Chicago Swede
Member
5 years 5 months ago

While your point is quite clear, your choice of words to communicate it is inappropriate. Please be more respectful of all who read this site and yourself. Thank you.

mike saunders
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I’m deeply sorry if my word choice has offended anyone’s tender sensibilities, especially those of any pixies whose dust was being used quite liberally and probably without their knowledge.

Chicago Swede
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Please be aware that your sarcasm is being enjoyed alone and does nothing to help SAAB.

Ruben NL
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Well done, Jeff!
Jeffology is the word.

Chicago Swede
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Hello Swade, Jeff and all other members of SU staff. Thank you for everything you do to inform the worldwide SAAB community. I for example only read this site in order to have a clearer idea about where the SAAB brand is headed. I am grateful for all of your hardwork and for the sharing of your point of view. You have nothing but my 100% support and gratitude for all your efforts on behalf of SAAB.

Toby K
Member
5 years 5 months ago

People miss how Swade used to Run this place-
WTF??

The current team is more than equal to the illustrious Mr Wade and I am more than happy with the content the style and the updates form all the chaps.

Keep up the good work and well done on a good editorial Jeff, for me it is as if Swade never left.

Nate 9-3
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Well said. The team is doing the best that they can with a different structure, high expectations, no experience AND a S***storm to deal with right after a brief period of SAAB euphoria. They also have to deal with the ebb and flow of all of our emotions. Let’s face it, some of us have been basket cases the past two weeks 🙂

maanders
Member
5 years 5 months ago
I just want to echo that the current team runnin SU is doing a great job and I am very glad SU continues on with the same goals and attitude so well established by Swade. I can only imagine how tough it has been for them to just “get their feet wet” with this and then have all the things happen in Saab news the last few weeks. Remember everyone that Swade dealt with the hard times of the Saab sale process after years of experience running a blog like this. SU team…..keep up the good work! Griffen up!
WM
Member
5 years 5 months ago

What a baptism of fire the new SU team has had; I personally think Tim, Jeff, RedJ, Tompa–everyone involved is doing a tremendous job. Period. Let alone showing grace under the trying circumstances!

SAAB owners are a handful, that’s for sure.

Thanks for all you do from the US–please keep up the great work!

WM
Member
5 years 5 months ago

And Carl-Henrik. The stats work is just incredible!!

Phoenix
Member
5 years 5 months ago

+1

Phoenix
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Good writing Jeff, as usual. Talking about Ola K at Bloomberg. When 9-5 was released he put out a poor article about 9-5 being to expensive compared to the list price he could get from the car makers web site. I mailed him a said that Bloomberg isn’t the place I would expect someone compare apples and bananas. You can’t compare and entry level BMW with the top spec Saab. Less power, RWD only, less equipment etc. He answered that I was right, it was not a very good comparison but the only info he had at the moment. And… Read more »
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