Open letter from Saab

Without further comment

It would be a significant understatement to say that the last weeks have been challenging for Saab Automobile.

We are a car company. Designing and building distinctive cars according to a well honed, Swedish philosophy is what we do. And yet our production line – the beating heart of our company – has been idle for the last five weeks.

Though no-one’s fault but our own, we found ourselves in a cashflow crisis and unable to buy the parts we need to build our cars. This has hurt our dealers, our suppliers, our employees and many of our customers, a situation for which we are truly sorry. We want nothing more than to secure our financial position so that we can get to building cars again.

On May 3, we announced a deal with Hawtai Motor Group, a vehicle manufacturer from China. This deal would have included an ownership stake for Hawtai and significantly, an opportunity to develop Saab manufacturing in China, the new automotive frontier. This deal collapsed late last week due to an inability to secure the required regulatory approvals for it to proceed. This was a significant blow for us, however we persisted with partnership talks in China, which we see as an essential step in securing Saab’s future.

On May 16, we announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. Pang Da is the largest publicly traded sales and service distributor in the Chinese market, with over 1,100 outlets in China and Mongolia. The MoU includes strategic deals for distribution, branding and potential future joint ventures in manufacturing.

Perhaps even more importantly for our immediate future, Pang Da have placed an order for approximately 1,300 vehicles, with immediate payment to be made for these vehicles. A further order can be placed in the near term, subject to certain conditions.

This cash injection is important for Saab, not only as a vote of confidence in our brand portfolio, but also as a much-needed cash injection that will enable us to get our plant operational again.

With this and other cash injections in place, Saab Automobile will be well placed to initiate negotiations with our 1,200+ suppliers. These negotiations are intended to provide full payment for outstanding amounts at regular intervals and within a specified time period – and they are crucial to getting the supply chain moving, and our plant and our business operational once again.

Saab already has an order bank of nearly 5,000 vehicles for the Trollhättan factory. These are cars that are ordered and awaiting delivery to dealers and customers. These are cars that will see our cash position improve as soon as they leave the factory. We will also have the initial order from Pang Da to build, as well as the potential secondary order. These orders would take our order bank to well over 6,000 vehicles for our Swedish plant.

In addition, we are also pleased to report that orders of the new Saab 9-4x crossover vehicle are very strong, coming on the back of very favourable reviews from our recent Saab 9-4x press event in Washington DC. The Saab 9-4x is intended primarily for the North American market and US magazine, Winding Road, said “the driving dynamics of the 9-4x are positively brilliant”. The Saab 9-4x has also attracted praise from markets outside of North America. Robert Collin from Sweden’s Aftonbladet called it “the best Saab ever built”, noting the crucial role Saab played as the architects of the vehicle. The Saab 9-4x is indicative of the future for Saab Automobile. Dynamic. Exciting. Engaging.

In addition to the Saab 9-4x, the new Saab 9-3 Griffin range is the most fuel-efficient 9-3 range we’ve ever offered, featuring a diesel range specially developed to offer road tax advantages for a number of significant European markets. Our new 9-3 petrol engines offer the best combination of fuel efficiency and power in their class. We also have our new flagship Saab 9-5 Sedan and the all-new Saab 9-5 SportCombi coming later in 2011, which is going to deliver a new level of practicality to Saab 9-5 customers around the world.

Our vehicle range is constantly expanding and improving. More than that, we have new vehicles and groundbreaking innovations coming very soon, things that we believe will excite our customers everywhere. We are working on partnerships that will take us to new places, with new technologies to make driving safer, more enjoyable, more economical and more ecologically responsible.

The Saab Spirit that built this company remains strong and we cannot help but be excited by the future.

We thank you for your patience and we ask for your continued support.

Signed:

Kjell ac Bergström – Vice President Product Development Powertrain

Gunnar Brunius – Vice President Purchasing & Manufacturing

Mats Fägerhag – Vice President Vehicle Product Development

Matthias Seidl – Vice President Global Sales & Aftersales

Anders Svensson – Vice President Vehicle Lines

Knut Simonsson – Vice President Brand & Marketing

christian
Member
5 years 4 months ago

What more can I say… GRIFFIN UP! This kind of dedication is most admirable. Carry on everybody at SAAB. This company will not fail.

Audun
Member
5 years 4 months ago

+1 Best wishes to all in Saab Automobile, but also to the suppliers, dealers and the customers.
I think the future for Saab will be bright, and that we in the future can drive new safe, fun, practical, economical and environmental friendly Saabs. 🙂

WM
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Awesome! Is it reading too much into this, or do I sense the invisible hand of Swade?!

till72
Member
5 years 4 months ago

My thoughts, too.

74StingSaab
Member
5 years 4 months ago

+1, Swade or not, it was much needed.

daniel
Member
5 years 4 months ago

This cross my mind:

“…we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender,…”

SAAB UP !!!

till72
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Aces high…

theSandySaab
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Brilliant!

Carlo A
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Well done ….

Griffin Up !!!

Sven van Dijkman
Member
5 years 4 months ago

I read it first at Saab Inside and it sounded just as another very good piece written by Swade, only at the end it said who were the actual senders….

I think it’s smart when they “use” Swade this way. He’s just so good with words. Any professional should do what he/she is best at.
They other guys have other Saaby talents. Use them and all will be fine!

Enjoy!

Audun
Member
5 years 4 months ago

+1 🙂

till72
Member
5 years 4 months ago

+1

Olav
Member
5 years 4 months ago

+1 🙂

Marco
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Very good letter…!

hogge
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Orders of 6000 vehicles isn’t very much. If Saab will be able to sell 6000 every month for the rest of the year, then that will be good. But these 6000 are both orders from customers who haven’t been able to get the car they want for the last month or more, combined with what dealers want.
But I must maintain that I believe that Saab can have a profitable month or quarter even this year.

SAABNUT
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Really good timing and an assurance that the SAAB management realize the need to convey sincere and updated information to all parties – emplyees, dealers, emplyees and customers

There is little room for mistakes and neglectance of the serious problems SAAB have faced and still face.

Better yet to be more open and sincere – in order to stop rumours and speculation.

Great that the top men at SAAB take their time and put their effort in improving SAAB:s communication.

Audun
Member
5 years 4 months ago

This is very important.
Saab depends on trust from suppliers, dealers and customers to get a healthy life, and a new and more open communication from Saab will be a good way to achive the needed trust.

DUTCH900C
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Great letter and very positive too!

Chris_de_Ze
Member
5 years 4 months ago

The letter was EXCELLENTLY written. No doubt about it. Swade has an inherent talent in writing. We all know that.
However, I do have a comment to make.
The letter should first start with the latest news (which are positive) and then go backwards in time to tell the whole story .

By starting a letter with “our production line has been idle for the last five weeks” is of course the truth but it does not create so much positive feelings to the (unsuspected) reader from the very beginning.

kochje
Member
5 years 4 months ago

+1
Not a lot of companies do communicate so honestly about their own faults.
This is an example !!
Saab up

paddan
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Excellent letter.

JH
Member
5 years 4 months ago

It definitely feels like it is written by Swade and signed by the executives, but there is nothing wrong with that. 🙂

sandborg
Guest
5 years 4 months ago

No doubt. It is SWADE at his best.

gryphon95
Member
5 years 4 months ago
I agree with the other commenters that the text is beautifully written and must be the work of swade. It surely seems like the work of someone who not only works for the brands, but also loves it. While I think the letter is nearly perfect, I am majorly disappointed to see that it was not signed by Victor. What ever happened to “the buck stops here”? Further, the one additional topic that I also would have liked to see addressed was an apology for repeatedly missing the launch dates for new vehicles. The trend started with the new SAAB… Read more »
rostnes
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Wonderful reading, this made me buy a brand new 9-3 Ttid saloon today.
This made my weekend.
Great article!!

jim
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Go Saab! We are pulling for ya.

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