Vladimir Antonov’s Interview for SAABlog.ru

Here is a short interview that Vladimir gave to www.saablog.ru yesterday.

Some ansewrs are interesting first of all for readers from Russia, but I think that all of SU readers will be interested in reading this

Many thanks to Nikolay Kachev for organizing it!

1. Newspapers are full of different reports about production breaks in Trollhättan, debts to suppliers, unpaid salaries etc. Russian SAAB Community is confused in this stream of news and can not understand what’s happening with the plant and Saab brand. Could you please clarify the situation?
What concerns the flow of messages on Saab, it’s true. You probably look at Russia’s medias but take a look at the Swedish, Dutch, Chinese medias. That’s where it is a lot of controversial information! The most important thing is that we and Saab management will never give up, and we are getting closer to our goal, though different obstacles appear for reasons beyond our control. If you want to have the complete understanding of the situation, just take a look at what Steve Wade had done when he attempted to recover Saab history since it became independent  from GM. Several books on this subject are already published, no doubt there are more to come. The situation is changing very quickly. I would like to say one more time, we act as the financier who gave the money to buy 29.9% shares in Saab. At the moment we’re working hard to get the control over the shares. The Swedish government has given permission to sell shares, the deal should be approved by the EIB. Step by step we are getting closer to this, winning everyday little battles, and I’m sure that anyway we will reach our goal.


2. When the new 9-5 will be presented in Russia and what about the prices?

I have already said that on July 15 in the showroom of “Armand-PREMIUM” you will see the new Saab 9-5. I don’t know about the prices in Russia, you should ask Mr. Hertz ( Head of Armand Import). In Europe, the Saab officially announced prices for the new  9-5SportCombi , European sales will begin this autumn. The basic version, equipped with a two-liter diesel engine with 160 horsepower, will cost about 32 thousand euros, available. There is a four-wheel drive version, the value begins with a mark of 36 600 euros. On the top there is a car with a turbocharged V6 engine of 2.8 liters, a six-speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive system, the price begins from 44 640 euros.

3. Armand Import CIS is appointed as the exclusive importer. What about the former dealers… Tradeinvest,  Genser and others. They have more experience with Saab cars, while Armand is firstly known as a Peugeot dealer…
March 25 Saab signed a contract with a new exclusive Russian importer – company “Armand-Import” CIS. Information, is available on the official website of Saab and “Armand-Premium”. The new importer is responsible for the delivery  of vehicles and spare parts as well as for future development of dealer network. Starting from July 15 you are welcomed at Armand-Premium showroom to see the new Saab 9-5. According to the head “Armand-CIS Imports,” Igor Hertz, new cars will be available in the mid-summer. There are 12 dealerships to be opened in 12 cities in the nearest future. Saab 9-3 Griffin, a Saab 9-3X, Saab 9-5 sedan and Saab 9-4X will be available in Russia.

Speaking about Peugeot, the company “Armand” is on the Russian market already for 15 years, with more than 60% of market sales of all Peugeot cars. It is also known as the dealer of Opel, Chevrolet, Cadillac.

4. In 1996 your wife had a Saab 9000 Aero, could you tell us few words about this car?
This was my first car. I did not have any problems with this it at all and since that time I fell in love with Saab. It is an intelligent, reliable car. As the Swedes say, Saab is the only car that can be launched on the north pole and on the south pole. This is a car for our latitude.

I have purchased a Saab 9-3 Convertible Independence Edition not a long time ago, as far as I know there are only two of them in London, and my wife does not want to look at her Bentley Continental, she become a Saab fan

5.Do you have a long-term advertising campaign of new cars in Russia in plans? When Saab was a part of GM the was no advertising policy in Russia at all, except rare dealers advertisings, while Opel and Chevrolet were widely presented in medias
Of course we have this in plans. I strongly believe that advertising outlets Saab in Europe, the U.S. (and world daily activities) are among the best in the automotive industry. It is, indeed, brilliant commercials, banners, posters and texts, made by professionals. And what I like is that the Saab community is involved in this. Recently www.saabsunited.com  organized the contest for the best bloggers poster. A lot of people took part in this contest and the winners got real prizes.

8. At the beginning of the “battle” for the Saab, you were talking about plans to produce cars in Russia, do you still want to do it? Which model will be produced? Will it be the “car-kits,” as in “Avtotor” in Kaliningrad, or a full cycle production with spare parts produced in Russia ?
Our plans have not changed are. We are consistent businessmen and our plans are only widening. We consider the possibility to build of production facilities in the St.Petersburg region, the Far East, in Latvia in Riga, Liepaja. In general, are in constant focus on this topic.

9. Rather, the request than a question: Could you advise dealers to communicate closer with the SAAB club? Often it is very difficult to obtain any information from the dealer, the dealer often  consider a Saab owner just as a source of income, and we would like this situation to be changed.
Not only could, but need to. It’s a good question and a reasonable request. I am for the warmth in the relationship between dealers and club SAAB (hello guys from Armand Import, I still don’t have any answer upon my request, ValS). For example the www.saabsunited.com fans talk about dealers, choose the best, etc. A great experience that should be developped.

joseglv
Member
5 years 2 months ago

Good replyes…
I like the way he approches the questions made.
Well done!

i. ant. kal.
Member
5 years 2 months ago
can’t wait to see this happen… i am sure sales will be very good in Russia! and why don’t make a more aggressive advertisement campaign in Europe… i live in Berlin and… its really sad… (i haven’t even seen a new 95 here.. and believe me i see a Saab from a kilometer :). ) Even in Bulgaria i saw some commercials in magazines. And people who like Saabs have a feeling for what is good and what not… i mean in an esthetical way, the commercials are so damn good! I hope in the future we will see some… Read more »
katar1na
Member
5 years 2 months ago
“Ivan” – I can hear a true SAAB-heart beating in your text 😉 And I promise I will paint my face yellow and go to work with the happiest smile ever when the first market sales from S:t Petersburg are made official – what a day! And I agree: Maybe Apple.. till they got the intel chips and iphone and become mega mainstream… thinking about that i don’t want Saab to be like this… of course i want that they sell good… but i still want it to be something really special… Absolutely – SAAB is much more than that… Read more »
Bernard
Member
5 years 2 months ago

“It is an intelligent, reliable car.”

This statement says most of what you need to know about the brand. This guy needs to be on board (literally on the board of directors) so that he can ensure it remains true going forward.

Nate 9-3
Member
5 years 2 months ago

Great interview! VA – we are pulling for you. Keep fighting the GOOD fight!

CurtInFalcon
Member
5 years 2 months ago

It’s nice to see VA’s enthusiasm towards Saab and Saabs United. To me, the most interesting part of the interview is that VA promised advertising in the various markets. This is exactly what we need to gain brand awareness again. Now, if only the EIB would approve him as an investor and Saab can gain some stability.

SaabKen
Member
5 years 2 months ago

Vladimir has a SMART wife ! 😀

JasonPowell
Member
5 years 2 months ago

What are you saying Ken, didn’t you just buy something non Saab? lol, just ribbing you a little.

Jeff
Member
5 years 2 months ago

Nice to see the shoutout for the SU ad competition. Version 2.0 is coming soon, and it’s going to be big.

Vladimir always inspires confidence, and I’m glad he has the financial might to back up his words.

JasonPowell
Member
5 years 2 months ago

Jeff, Any news on how far along they are in discussions with banks on taking over the loan and moving on from the EIB? SU should sit down with Vladimir and discus SCNA and his views.

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