Friday evening local newspaper snippets


TTela kept themselves busy this week.

They have interviewed Jason Castriota, talked to the supplier’s organization and this morning got a comment from GM.

Saab’s chief designer Jason Castriota says they were busy putting the final touches on the new 900 (née 9-3) when the bankruptcy was declared. “We had put in extra effort to get it ready fast given Saab’s predicament”.

“We were getting ready to put prototypes on the road to really test the car. To think that this car won’t be built is an impossible thought to me as I know what great car this would become. I have worked for bigger automobile manufacturers and realize the qualities of the 9-3. If it won’t be built when at the same time considerably worse cars are sold and are rolling around on the roads – it is incredibly frustrating. The car was very competitive in terms of size.”

He continues explaining how the team was preparing to move forward with additional models based on the Phoenix platform.

“Work had commenced exploring the bandwidth and size of future models of the Phoenix. We had a good cooperation going. The spirit of the development team has been fantastic including the cooperation with Mats Fägerhag, Kjell AC Bergström and all involved teams.”

“The Saab brand is so strong and this model so valuable that I can not imagine things coming to an end now. We worked 20 months on this project. If it won’t be known as a Saab, one must hope it will be realized under a different name. I truly hope the receivers can take care of the values found here and that the facilities and personnel in Trollhättan will continue production. When I went to Trollhättan it really hit me the ability they have to innovate, despite its small population.”

Jason does not know what events currently take place. “We were sent on Christmas holidays directly after what occurred last week and have not met since. I have only been in touch with Victor through SMSes, he has been very busy. We will see what happens next, but as I said, I hope Saab will continue.”

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GM: “We are definitively listening for proposals”

Fredrik Sidahl of the Automotive Suppliers’ Organization (FKG) and the CEO of Semcon Kjell Nilsson say the suppliers most definitively are in favor of a restart of Saab, but warns that chances are slim. “It is not for a lack of interest, but because GM so clearly has behaved in a bitter and irresponsible fashion.”

“Without the current models it will be practically impossible to restart the production, no matter how terrible that sounds. Without a 100 percent GM-backed plan there is no hope.”

GM’s spokesperson James R Cain says GM will not dismiss a qualified buyer of Saab.

“If there is someone who are interested in building cars licensed from us and their interests do not conflict with ours, then we would definitively listen to their ideas. But that is a remote possibility right now.”

Kjell Nilsson says it would take about 200-250 Saab engineers to continue developing the Phoenix. “Not everybody are qualified to design the Phoenix”.

—-

A plea to our readers: I realize we are all very frustrated with the current situation. To my great surprise, some of you take out your frustration on Victor. I know Victor has openly admitted he made a few mistakes, but I have yet to see someone step forward and say what they would have done differently. Yesterday I got caught up in a “discussion” where the proposed ideas were exactly some of the many things Victor tried. If you are so desperate to be a backseat driver, at least come up with something new.

PS: OTOH, it is very easy to spot things EIB could have done differently. Or what GM could have done differently. Or what Swegov could have done differently! The owner of Saab have done their best working within the constraints put in place by the others. I know where to point the big fat finger of blame. Even Riksgälden were surprised by EIB’s decisions and I think it was Swegov’s responsibility to take on EIB. In fact, I think EIB actively sabotaged Saab and I see no reason why Swegov should honor their deal with EIB. (EIB could of course reply that Swegov pushed EIB to not approve the Antonov deal, but surely Swegov would never had done something like that..?) What Victor may or may not have done is small potatoes compared with EIB and Swegov.

Aero2011
Member
Troels, Denmark
Member
Daniel B
Member

This sure sounds promising. I get the feeling that the recievers has been struck by the “Saab-Spirit” and that is pure positive news.
Hope that something constructive comes out of it all and that their work is along the lines as ourselves.

Happy New Year all Saabers!!!!

/Daniel

Kimberly
Member
I know Victor has openly admitted he made a few mistakes, but I have yet to see someone step forward and say what they would have done differently. Then you haven’t been reading the replies. I’ve long said SAAB should lower MSRP across the board to match the actual selling price, then offer a tuned model as the Aero, be it Hirsch, BSR, or $other. People do not pay MSRP for Saab, but on the other hand, car rags, consumer reports, and competitors’ ads compare MSRP to MSRP, and for the MSRP, honestly, BMW, Audi, and even Hyundai offer better… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
Yes, I agree with all of your points—-and will add that they need a small hatchback that starts at around $20,000 U.S. I’d go with four doors, a hatch—-and if equipped with an automatic transmission, a sliding sunroof and a few other goodies, it should top out around $25,000 or so. Frankly, I would not even offer it with leather, high performance engines, factory navigation, etc.—–keep it simple. Stick shift or for additional money, an automatic gearbox. Tastefully done cloth/fabric upholstery. Standard Air Conditioning and CD player. The upgraded model could add a premium stereo, upgraded wheels, the sunroof—-maybe some… Read more »
dezzer
Member

I drove past SAAB CITY in London on Boxing Day and just saw a lonely Xmas tree lit up in the empty showroom and thought that isn’t right. These latest developments will be a turning point for SAAB and i wish them all the best for 2012, we will be there for them and SAAB will be back big time……be positive

Trued
Member
Now it is all about having faith, four sure something good will emerge out of the present situation. Bankruptcy is not that scary, just look at the long line of suitors lining up in Trollhättan. My gut feeling that it is going to be a good outcome. More people in Sweden needs to be more optimistic and positive of the future. Saab has all the valuable treasures that just a few other brands have, rich heritage, great unusual cars historic wise and present models of the highest rankings. Add to that the new platform But most important are the followers… Read more »
jouni72
Member

That interior from Phoenix is just astonishing! I just so much wish there would be a time when we can start to talk about cars! Not yet dare to do it but that time will come, it must come!

JM Gaitan
Member

Either way it will conflict with GM because Saab wants to build qaulity and enjoyable to drive cars….

zippy
Member

I dont believe GM gives a damn about what happens to Saab. There’s nothing in it for GM.

Wayner
Member

I agree fully zippy,GM took everything from SAAB that it wanted and just dumped it like a shark without it’s fins. They never really gave a crap about SAAB!

Joaquinho
Member

I also agree with zippy’s view! To Saab: just get rid of GM platforms and technology
The new 9-5 and 9-4x are not competitive in the German/European market – which is an indicator for the world market. The 9-5 just has too many weaknesses and the 9-4x unefficient engine technologies.
A long time ago Saab was so innovative and developed and constructed cars which were much more advanced compared to their competitors.
Trolhättan: the Saab enthusiasts urge you to get rid of US-technology nobody needs and start up a new era of innovation!

Rolf Hägg
Guest

All of these good news tid bits are nice. Bottom line, as it says above. Saab can’t go forward without current GM technology so if they don’t like a buyer or simply don’t want to be bothered, there is no chance.

Here’s to hoping that GM agrees to a non Chinese suitor and things can be better for all.

davidgmills
Member
You can say that Victor is not to blame. But the bottom line is that he didn’t have the money he needed to buy Saab in the first place, and secondly, he was never able to get the money he needed after he bought Saab. Blaming the parties that financed the Saab sale just does not work. It wasn’t their job to come up with the necessary capital unless you think there should have been a Swedish Government Motors Corporation. But as many people on this board have noted, the Swedish people were not in favor of a nationalized car… Read more »
rune
Member
@davidgmills, If VM hadn’t pushed for Saab in November 2009 then Saab would have ceased to exist January 2010. GM had started the liquidation phase and was getting rid of anyone and everything that could have been used to restart production. All that would have been left (if you take VM out of the equation) would have been an empty building. Yes, it is true. He was underfunded. Without VA by his side, he lacked the financial muscle needed to carry Saab through to profitability. It turns out it wasn’t an awful lot of money that was lacking, but enough… Read more »
davidgmills
Member
I agree that he kept Saab going for two years (really only one year of production) and he made some great cars. But its like buying a sports team. If you don’t have the money to really be competitive, the best you can hope for is membership in the league. I really am tired of the financial naivete members of this board show all the time. Its like they think a billion dollars grows on trees somewhere. And once you get large enough to have a billion dollars, what people fail to realize is that you begin to have all… Read more »
rune
Member
If you talk products, then Saab were competitive. Sales numbers were growing every month. My point however was that VM is what GM effectively “stuck us with”. That wasn’t VM’s fault. Nor was it VM’s fault that Swegov + EIB cut off his sources of capital. Nor was it VM’s fault that GM in the end said ‘no’ to a huge convertible loan from Youngman that would have gotten the wheels rolling again (and their ‘no’ quite likely violated the contract GM signed with Spyker). What you are essentially arguing is that Saab should have been put to sleep January… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member

A billion dollars doesn’t grow on trees—-but it seems to grow in China. Government Moochers (GM) is worried about having their ego bruised—if a well-funded Saab turns a profit in 2-3 years—-something their sorry management couldn’t do in 20. Rune’s post has it right.

saabfanatic
Member

What James Cain and the rest of the a-holes at GM are saying is a big lie and they know it too. GM is desperately after the chinese market (the biggest car market in the world). They are already selling thier crapy cars through SAIC in China and they are intimidated by future players such as independent Saab to gain access to that maket – spacially when there is a local/chinese company is involved!

paddan
Member

The steering wheel reminds me of the late 50s/early 60s Chrysler products.

JerseySaab
Member

Reminds me of the “Quartic” steering wheel in the late, unlamented Austin Allegro – and I’m not even from the UK! Hope they rethink the steering wheel shape, other than that, a stunning interior.

saabfanatic
Member

I’m sure Steering wheel can be redesigned as long as the factory starts making cars again. If I’m not mistaking the pick must be of the interior of Aero X concept!

Angelo V.
Member

Paddan: Yes—-that is the first thing I thought of when I saw it. A few years back, I could have bought a ’64 Newport or New Yorker (can’t remember) for relative pennies. I test drove it. It had that steering wheel. I ended up opting for a ’69 Cadillac instead. Every once in a while, I think back to the test drive in that Chrysler—-and regret not having bought it. I did enjoy that Caddy for a few years though.

WooDz
Member
GM Rant coming… All the time GM has it’s fat fingers in the SAAB pie, sweet FA is going to happen. Asia is where it’s at right now and GM/SAIC contracts are going to be a constant sticking point. Phoenix is tied from what I’ve read here from at least 10% GM IP, at most 55% according to one post on Saabsunited. I’m not quite sure why GM has such a standpoint on eastern investment. Let’s face it; GM’s IP is in every country so why be picky about one particular area. So maybe the only places a new buyer… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member

Well, you sort of hit the nail on the head with that comment—-GM does business just about everywhere. Their shareholders will be “hurt” if anyone competes with them anywhere—-so the rationale that stopped the Youngman funding/sale can be used by Government Morons to squash any investment/sale of Saab I guess. GM is a loser.

CSD_ChineseSaabDriver
Member

Don´t be too GM, that´s always bad.

If a person behaves like GM, that´s not good more.

thor
Member

My wishes for 2012 that there will be a new owner with deep pockets and a passion for SAAB in Sweden…… Jason Castriota stays as chief designer at SAAB and design us lot more great SAAB SAABS with his legendary design language

Katsura
Member
I have had some doubts about Victor when the crisis started but the more I see the man’s actions and tenacity, the more respect I have for him. He went down fighting to the last second. That is more can be said for all the armchair businessmen out there. On the part of SweGov – the would love to see Sweden change into a finance and service based economy do they? Well head the warnings from the UK and be prepared to die by the sword! This is an article that sums it up well: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/30/doing-it-german-way Look around – the… Read more »
Katsura
Member

The Chinese government should * wake up to the reality – the state owned companies like SAIC are getting scraps of old crap last gen technology hand down from GM. If they really want to become competitive on the international stage, then they need latest techs like the Phoenix.

GM’s arseholeness also shows their arrogance – they think the worls still revovles around them, guess what, even if they don’t collaborate witht eh Chinese using their latest IP, their competitors do. Ford/ Volvo / VW etc

paddan
Member

While I am encouraged somewhat by the snippets, I regret to say I think it’s a longshot that Saab will reopen to manufacture cars at THN. Why? Two letters sum it up and they start with G and end with M.

Angelo V.
Member

Government Morons?

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