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Reminder: Never ever give up!

December 23, 2011 in Editorial

A few days have passed now since the evil term “bankrupcy” got reality for Saab. As we could see over the last days there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to get the company out of this and restart operations. There are plans that look quite promising and even better, there is more than one party interested. So it is fair to say that Saab still has a chance to survive.

On a personal note – I have looked deep inside my soul and asked myself if I can still believe in a good outcome. The honest answer: yes. My belief that Saab will make it is maybe even bigger than before bankrupcy. Why? Because for any investor it is a much better starting point when debts are written down. This could maybe egalize the additonal costs of the resstart which will surely take more effort when it comes to for example the dealer network. A solution has to be found rather quick but I believe that this is possible. All involved know how vital it is to get something in place within weeks rather than months if they want to get hold of a Saab that is still alive.

Don’t believe any report that shows up. The media is desperately looking for things to write about and comes up with, to say the least, strange news. Like with the rumours about Phoenix being sold to Youngman seperately we will try to figure out the truth behind it and keep you updated ad good as possible.

During the months of negotiations since April many have asked us what the community could do. Almost always we stated that there was not much but wait and see. Well, this has changed now. On the 14th and 15th of January the world will see meetings of fellow Saabers all around the world showing their passion and support for Saab.
This is an important sign to the public but also to the investors that the loyal following won’t give up and that the Saab spirit is stronger than ever.

I encourage you to attend the events or if there is none in your area to even arrange a meeting. It does not matter if you are just a few, in the end what counts is that as many Saabers as possible light a beacon of hope and love for Saab. But stick with love for Saab, don’t let those events become a hate parade against GM. Get out a positive message, just like the convoys did two years ago.

We are many. We are Saab.

86 responses to Reminder: Never ever give up!

  1. Hello Till!
    Thanks for the encouraging words !!! :-)

  2. Good point, don’t make it about GM at all. This should only be about “we are many, we are Saab” don’t let media or anyone focus on GM. Saab is what matters. Thanks Till.

    • Idd, Thx Jason and Till for pointing that one out.

      That’s the whole idea. Positive vibe towards the Saab employees, Trollhättan Komun and, let’s not forget them, the Saab dealerships and Saab related companies.

      Oh, did we mention the sticker? ;)

    • I think it’s fine to make it about Saab and try to look toward the future—-but to sweep the devils at GM under the carpet, I can’t agree with. Make no mistake that we wouldn’t be talking about a long shot to emerge from bankruptcy right now—–we’d be talking about Youngman/Saab and restarting production, new ideas, etc.—–reality instead of hope—-if General Motors (Government Moochers) hadn’t blocked it all. It’s hard for me to love Saab and not hate GM right now—-and this is coming from someone who has owned 10 GM products since 1989. I’m done with the bastards.

      • Angelo, I’m just as upset by GM’s moves as you. I’m not suggesting you sweep anything under the carpet at all. What I’m suggesting is a time and place for certain things. I think that if you are at one of the meets and the conversation is about GM and what they didn’t do or what they did to to screw things up, then the point of the meet is lost. Especially if you are at an event where media is there to cover, think of how the media would report that “a bunch of angry Saab owners met around the globe to tell the world they are mad and GM is to blame”. The point of this meet is to show that “we are many, we are Saab” and to show prospective buyers that there is something worth keeping together in Saab. Going after GM at this point will unfortunately do very little, in the US there is a large amount of anti China parties and I think it would be hard to have your point heard. Go to an event to meet with other Saab owners and enjoy.

      • Angelo V, I like your comment.

  3. Less is more: We are Saab. ;-)

    Like it.

    Thumbs still up (beginning to have some blood circulation problems related to this act) =)

  4. The most difficult hurdle for any new investor to come in will still be GM. If GM is adopting the “un-cooperative” stance, nobody is able to save Saab!

  5. Chant:
    We are many, We are Saab
    From Helsinki to Abu Dhab

  6. Also check the GM facebook site :)

  7. I hope and believe in a restart for Saab, but it will be hard and demand a lot of money. Here are some questions:
    How many Saab- fans are we here on SaabsUnited? 1,000, 5,000 or 10,000?
    How many of us will be able to buy a new Saab next year?
    When can the production begin? In mars, april or may?
    How many not Saab-fan will buy a new Saab the nearest two years?
    How many cars can Saab sell in China?
    I think that we must realize that Saab cannot sell more than 10,000 cars during 2012 if not something special happens with the China market. Maybe it will take 3-5 years before Saab can sell 100,000 cars or more. So the buyer of Saab who wishes to restart the production must realize that it can take many years before Saab gives many back.

  8. sure… we are SAAB , don’t give up as we won’t give up too. sure we area lot of Saab lovers here in France!

  9. That is exact the way how feel, very well said. From a common brand point of view it can be interesting to have a luxury brand on top of their line and learn from a new production line, new factory and unconventional ideas (asian brands). Even the more chique ones (like BMW, that already provides engines for the new line) could relatively easy start it up. Not to say a very high speed and luxury brand from Sweden would complete an ideal picture, the combination could give Sweden a better image then before, having effect on much more then only car-factories and sales. I’ll go for the last one.. at least I can say I ‘own a Koenigs…..’ ;)

  10. I’m sorry for dumping a link here but this is really good insight to what has been going on at Saab for the last year and even some info about the GM era: http://ttela.se/ekonomi/saab/1.1474746-anna-petre-en-av-de-fyra-sista?adapt_wid=st_tt_wgt1&adapt_group=2&adapt_ma=210&adapt_mp=0

  11. lets take this opportunity to wish all of Saab’s employees a very happy Christmas and I hope for the best outcome in the new year.

  12. I’m reading some news online (INDIA, China), who say they have purchased Youngman saab bankruptcy. Is that so?

  13. I wonder if suppliers would stand in line to supplie again, when debts are written down. A bankruptcy can be a new start, but wouldn’t that be a problem ?

  14. Perhaps this story can give some insightin the value of having both a well-nown brand (like Saab) and producing high qualiity cars.
    http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/2011/12/06/blog-mg6-is-not-doing-the-business-7-sold-in-november/

    • As a U.K citizen involved in the Motor Trade here I was not even aware that the MG6 was now available here, no wonder they have only sold 7 units. I cannot recall any form of advertising at dealer or national level.
      Its all down to that old chestnut, COMUNICATION.
      I am sure that the traditional MG/Rover customer would gladly return to the brand at the right price point and suitable quality, and if MG can do it, I’m damn sure SAAB will do it, but the message will have to get out there and quick.

  15. Would love to think a restart is possible. But for the US market the dealer structure is a key part and frankly much damage has already been done. Many great dealers are gone and those who are left with an inventory of year and 2 model year old cars and told to pull the warranty books out of the car and sell them as is, in some states have to sell them as used cars.

    How many current dealers could with stand that and keep good customer relationships until more vehicles are available ? Victor said a restart of the factory could not happen for many months. How many dealers can ride out an entire year with no product and then have to rebuild the public trust from scratch?

    A new owner could do massive advertising and brand building but at enormous cost and to what purpose without new cars available. With Cadillac selling tens of thousands of their SAAB designed SUV crossover, why did the few 94-x s not disappear off the dealers lots instantly ? The sad answer is the American car buying public has written SAAB off along with Hummer and Saturn. Their demise was well reported in 2009, the reprise was not.

    In hindsight the release of the NG 9-5 was ill conceived for the US market. The damage had already been done in the publics’ mind, so they most effective thing would have been to provide a great price (under $40 k for 2.8 AWD base ) with a great warranty (10 years 100,000 miles, like the Koreans) and a proper radio display. That COULD have jump started the brand back into the market and gotten the cars on the road. Water over the dam now, but in reality to move forward from here for a new owner similar steps will be necessary. It can be done, but it will be expensive and painful for several years.

    We have seen the right person could work tirelessly and achieve much. Hats off to Victor. We now need an organization that has several persons with his drive to have a future for SAAB,

    • I agree with almost everything you say. Saab’s feeling they could sell to their existing customer base in the US without any advertising was crazy and the 9-5 launch I’m sure will go down as one of the worst auto launches in American history (launch the top priced models without a sunroof, with circa 1980 radio display, and all the while giving poorly tuned models to reviewers and not doing any advertising… Yup, great). .

      Sadly, whatever happens, I believe you are right and that Saab is functionally dead in the US. A friend of mine, who loves hatchbacks even (one of the few Malibu Maxx owners in the US), heard about the Saab bankruptcy and asked me about it, saying, “I thought Saab went under a few years ago. I didn’t know there was enough of it left to go bankrupt.” Add in the dealer issue and confidence issue you describe, and I think Saab is gone here.

      The only way for Saab to succeed in the US is if it succeeds as a Chinese brand and then in a couple of years there is a triumphant relaunch here. What I call the “Buick Strategy.” Build great models, trumpet your Chinese market success, and use that as media currency when relaunching in the US (with Swedish built models, of course).

      That’s it. The only way it’ll work, if anything is going to happen at all.

      • “The Chinese buy our stuff like crazy. So should you.”

        Yeah, that will work great here in the U.S. where China is so loved and admired.

        • It’s certainly worked well for many other products make in other markets, and is currently working for Buick quite nicely. There is nothing that succeeds quite like success.

          • Buick is telling American consumers that their cars are selling like hotcakes in China so therefore we should buy them? I must be out of touch with American media or just out of touch in general. That kind of proposition would never appeal to me as a U.S. consumer and car enthusiast.

            • Yup, guess you are out of touch. Lots of Buick ads have run with the tagline that it is, to paraphrase, “the world’s fastest growing brand,” and Regal ads ran touting its German heritage. Almost every media report of a modern Buick discusses these products partial development of and market success in China or Europe.

              Companies like HTC in phones, for example, have mixed excellent product with dominant overseas success to makes inroads in the US market under their own name in a similar fashion as well…

              • We’re talking about the marketing message here, right? I fully understand touting “fastest growing” and international success … especially when that success is European. I also understand the desire to tout German heritage. But, imho, talking about one’s sales success in China in ad copy aimed at Americans would be quizzical at best.

      • I had a Malibu Maxx. Liked the hatch. Disliked the rear seat entertainment console that would run 120 degF. Sure it’s not the plastic fumes that got your friend? :)

        Product and price … and some broader advertising. Saab can come back. In fact. The US market doesn’t think Saab’s dead, most don’t even know it existed! Anyhow. Get back to three P’s basics and do a brand reset. Saab can win customers with great product. Look what Kia has done recently. It’s gone from cr@p to Wow. The recent Optima builds are very nice inside and out. I was in a recent model as a passenger and the dash materials are outstanding. Acura recently got a clue about chasing luxury status. They backed off the luxury market and that price point. Near luxury. Saab should too. Hang with high-end Subies and Acura. A 50K $US 9-5 with a sea of GM plastic dash and a low res radio display was a big mistake. Enthusiast goodwill and convoys are not going to sell 20,000 cars. Saab is going to have to advertise a little. Enthusiast market is too small, too tapped out with many holding on to old models waiting for true Saab Saabs. Saab would need more than a micro-targeted social media campaign of Faceter and Twitbook.

        More than I typically write. But you got me going with a memory of my Malibu Maxx and it’s crazy power V6 with rear seat entertainment space heater.

  16. Being a UK SAAB dealer things are now at crisis point particularly for those like ourselves who are solely Saab. Many key people with decades of experience have already been lost to other brands along with similar customers.
    With regard to the 14th-15th and till72 comments regarding the press scrabbling for any news would it be at all possible to draw the attention of such media sources to these meitngs in January to make sure they are globaly reported?

    • As a UK Saab owner please allow me to express my sympathies and concern to you and your colleagues.

      A significant part of the attraction to bidders for the Company must be the global distribution network, even if that is being reduced to a skeleton with the passage of time. This will surely be particularly true if the bidders are Chinese, since it would give them a great start to making inroads into Western markets. My best guess is that you are shortly going to be courted by the successful bidder.

      You know, this is one of the reasons I have been particularly critical about VM in past threads. He receives near God-like admiration from most of the members here, but he must have known by the Spring that he had blown it and that there was no chance of getting a buyer for the brand with the debts he was accumulating. Had he voluntarily declared the Company insolvent then, it would have involved so much less pain for the dealers and overall damage to the brand.

      • < but he must have known by the Spring that he had blown it and that there was no chance of getting a buyer
        < for the brand with the debts he was accumulating. Had he voluntarily declared the Company insolvent then,
        < it would have involved so much less pain for the dealers and overall damage to the brand.

        I agree 110% with this, and, while I again admire his tenacity, the issues you bring up are half the basis for my criticism of VM (the other being what he had to know was an inadequate capitalization of the initial purchase in 1/10). While he was screaming "factory restart" to the public, they were trying to sell the brand all along and all their actions to keep things running were drawing down the funds, hurting the distribution network, and have thus made Saab a much less attractive buy then they were back in April or May. Agree totally…

      • There was a deal in place this summer. It ended as soon as Lofalk brushed it aside and started playing games. Thus the best, by far, path for the company was continued operation.

        The present situation is far from good. Youngman says they expect to be able to produce the 9-3 while they get the Phoenix ready. The 9-5 is clearly off the table (and with it the 9-5 SC which many were looking forward to). This is far from an ideal situation and if you thought the situation this spring was akin to playing russian roulette, we’ve now entered russian roulette extreme edtition (all the chambers loaded bar one).

        • @Rune

          You may have thought that a deal was in place, but it may not have been. Parties enter into negotiations for all sorts of reasons that may not be at all obvious and may not lead to an offer.

          For example, Rachel Pang visited earlier this week and a week or so earlier before the receivership. On the previous occasion we were led to believe that a deal could be struck involving a large convertible loan, SWAN involvement and, of course, it would have involved taking on all the debts. A week later the situation is that there will be no debts, no SWAN involvement and a figure perhaps a third or a fifth of the previous one. The reason given for YM’s withdrawal is GM intransigence (which is a great face-saver). But GM IP has been making losses for Saab and would continue to do so for years to come.

          So, what do you think Rachel Pang was actually doing negotiating with VM? IMHO she was probably actually doing due diligence on Saab Automobile and its IP and subsidiaries, so that she could report back to her Dad and the NDRC, so that they could act quickly to put a bid in when the Company went into receivership. What other reasonable explanation is there? And I surmise that ‘The Deal’ and other false dawns this summer were of a similar nature.

          • @jond,

            Your explanation is a bit extraordinary and as such requires extraordinary proof.

            The reconstruction was nearly terminated at one point until VM accepted the 100% deal. Lofalk would not have been able to resume reconstruction had that deal not been in place. So we know there was at least one officially acknowledged deal. It also seems unlikely Youngman would not react when Saab announced the various deals struck if they weren’t legit in some way.

            • @Rune

              OK, point taken. That seems like a genuine proposed sale of the Company, scuppered by GM. But I still think that renegotiating prior to the receivership was likely just keeping the plates spinning until the Receiver was called in.

              The history does suggest that YM do actually want Saab, which is good news.

              • @jond,

                Saab was kept in reconstruction only as long as YM were playing ball. They could have left at any point, but instead (two weeks ago) they transferred money so Saab could pay their taxes and be able to continue the negotiations. If YM did not genuinely believe in the deal they were about to carve out together with SWAN, they could have simply walked away at that point.

                No, if you are in the mood of pointing fingers, there are other much more interesting questions to be asked.

  17. The court-appointed lawyer will preferably look for solution to sell Saab as a whole. For the moment there are 3 potential buyers: the chinese (youngman), the canadians/austrians (magna) and the turks.

    The sale will depend upon who can convince GM for more future profit, while at the same time exercising the most political influence to close the deal.

    If the german government is behind magna then the odds are in their favor.

    The tragic and the drama is that the swedish government is completely absent or indifferent to all of this!

    • Where did you get the information regarding the 3 bidders? Is it you own conclusions or have read it somewhere?

      • I’ve read parts of the same here, on Saabnet, and in an article tweeted by Swade where the Turkish government had to go gloves off with the high school amateur drama club known as the Swedish mainstream media.

    • The question is, who “The Turks” are.

      What do they want? Are they going to build the Saab brand? What company is involved?

      Another question, will GM actually license and sell to them?

      After the whole Opel debacle, I’m not sure of the relationship between Magna and GM unfortunately, but if it is good, and Magna wants to build Saabs in Trollhattan, not just another factory and technology, then they are our best option, as Youngman would take at least 2 years to build off of Phoenix.

  18. All the love is fine and dandy, I love my SAABs too, but what is SAAB going to do about my 3 month old 9-5 and the possibility it could become a $50K lawn ornament with no parts and now no warranty? SCNA is not in bankruptcy at the moment but are in breech of contract by suspending warranties. I know suspend is different than terminate but tell that to anyone who has a car that doesn’t run right or is waiting on parts and service and emails to SCNA go unanswered, even the f’ing website doesn’t say anything, I can still “build my new SAAB” there – what a joke. After 6 SAAB purchases since 1999- 5 of them as new cars, SAAB didn’t die because of me, I usually get kissed when getting screwed, when it comes to SAAB as of late I’m not even getting that.

  19. Good info and a good suggestion at the end, Till.
    We will go for it and participate the 14th or 15th of January.

  20. I don’t believe Saab’s bankruptcy is a reorganization under Swedish law. It’s a liquidation. That means that all of the company’s assets are sold to pay off the company’s debt. GM technology won’t go with it (especially if the buyers of the scraps are Chinese companies) so I’m not sure what, if anything, is left. That’s been Saab’s problem all along; their reliance on 3rd party technology (specifically, GM).

    Moreover, SAAB AB isn’t going to license the Saab name to a fly by night wealthy investor interested in leveraging the good will of the brand because they’ve always wanted a car company of their own only to watch another iteration of Saab motor cars die in short term. And, none of the big manufacturers needs a “Saab-like” brand to fill out its portfolio so don’t expect VW, BMW, Mercedes, Fiat, etc. to jump in now and save the day either.

    I hate to burst anyone’s bubble because I wish there was a positive outcome at the end of the bankruptcy tunnel but regardless of how deep people bury their heads in the sand this is an “evil” tunnel for Saab. What comes out at the end of the tunnel won’t be a Phoenix (or any version of a Saab). This isn’t a debate about whether the glass is half full or half empty. It’s bone dry. It’s over. Acceptance is the 7th stage of grief, right? You’ve got to get there sometime. No time like the present. Too many of you are stuck in denial. It’s time to get angry and get over it.

    Instead, we should be celebrating the brand for what it was and what it could have been. We should be getting together (as many seem to be doing later in January) and enjoying our Saabs. We should do whatever we can to maintain and, where possible, grow the community of enthusiasts. We all know what a great, storied brand it is. What better way is there to communicate and share that with others than gathering in public?

    • I think you are right if the Chinese are picking the scraps it is pretty much finished. GM won’t negotiate licenses with them to make any of the current lineup. A car company without a lineup is nothing and whatever emerges from the debacle won’t be anything recognizable as a Saab and probably you’re right on the rights to the name Saab…. There are assets left in as much as a factory (but I don’t think Saab still owns the real estate sold earlier this year as a band aid to keep production running-remember that?), dealer network for distribution and some technology that Saab may own. None of which means very much if there aren’t cars to produce right now. I don’t personally totally blame GM for the situation today, that’s my own point of view not shared here which is OK, and I hate myself for thinking this but in hindsight I think it should have just ended when GM pulled out instead of the false hope that followed. It would have been a lot more dignified than the past 8 months. I admire the tenacity shown to find a soltuion but in the end it became somewhat of a carnival side show playing out in the media. In fact when Jan Åke Jonsson resigned I think I felt deep down it was probably coming to an end but didn’t want to admit it.

    • Bankruptcy does indeed provide some interesting challenges.

      But, there seems to be indications that the current 9-3 was never a problem for GM. There is hope that the 9-3 can see continued production while they continue working on the Phoenix platform.

      Not sure who you are referring to as a “fly by night wealthy investor”. The only known/confirmed player at this point is Youngman. Let us not speculate on what speculations may arise later, ok?

    • Magna takes over the factory (continues to put out NG 9-3 and NG 9-5′s). The Saab engineers go back to work on the JC 9-3 in the JV -in THN and Kiruna. SAAB AB licenses the Saab name only to cars engineered by Saab Automotive Development AB but also built in Sweden. Easy.
      The Chinese can’t do anything without the Swedish engineering. Sure they can build car in China on they’re own in the future with some Phoenix parts but the cars wouldn’t be and couldn’t be called SAAB.

      I’d like to see how this plays out before claiming the company gone forever. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t.
      I rather look forward than into the history books. I want to believe the best Saabs (a GM free 9-5/9-7 with a 700 NM engine and a flagship interior) haven’t been even designed yet.

      • A company building old cars is not going to make it in today’s automotive world. If anyone knew this it was VM. He knew that the 9-3 needed to be replaced and upgraded significantly if Saab had any hope for survival. Old cars may be great for China but they’re not going to sell for $40-50K here in the US where manufacturers are constantly upping the game and putting out safer, greener, more reliable cars based on newer, more efficient and improved technologies.

        The current 9-5 is probably 99% GM technology. The current Saab line-up is mostly GM based. I’m not sure what “Swedish engineering” is actually for sale but whatever it is, if anything, isn’t enough to independently run a company. If it was it would have been done.

        • The 9-5 SC an old car?! As I’ve said before the idea with an other company owning the factory would that they could manufacture whatever cars (brands) they’d like in order to keep the factory profitable. Saabs sales was picking up month by month until the shutdown and many were waiting for the MY 11.5/Griffin SC (sub 120g CO2) so it’s an unfair statement to say no one would buy the current 9-3 and especially the 9-5 SC.
          Saab could easily need 1/4 of the factory’s capacity as soon as parts were available.
          The JC 9-3 was planned to come out in late 2013 and the current models could bridge things until that point, if YM don’t have the high fixed cost of the plant on their backs -which they probably couldn’t do anything with anyway.

  21. I’m grateful to everyone who is continuing to hold out hope and also take action. It continues to make me proud to be associated with SAAB. That’s part of the spirit that makes SAAB and it’s fans so different.

    I cannot think of a worse pairing when GM bought SAAB. That’s like McDonald’s buying your favorite, cool local restaurant. It’s a credit to the people who love SAABs that so many continued to stay loyal to a GM-tainted SAAB.

    There is a place in this world for a pure SAAB. It is an idea worth fighting for.

    • As much as I loathe GM and how they (man)handled Saab for decades, it is undeniable that without GM’s intervention Saab would have ceased to exist at some point back in the ’80s/’90s.

      Remember, GM operated Saab mostly at a loss for decades. They could have shut them down years ago based on sound financial reasoning. So, while its easy to focus on their wrongs (and there are many), the fact is that some of the most reliable and exciting Saabs ever built came out under GM ownership.

      Maybe the bigger question that should be asked to everyone is “What is a Saab?”

      • But surely that is true of almost any brand in recent history – Audi, Jaguar, MG, Mini, Rolls-Royce and so on – even GM. It is undeniable that Saab is definitely a ‘brand’ with characteristics that almost all motorists would recognize – safety, driver comfort, power, economy etc. The trick would be to capitalize on that reputation whilst upgrading the technology. That would be better than starting a brand from scratch and so Saab definitely will have a value and is recoverable.

        • Most of the companies you mentioned weren’t wound down and shuttered — not even GM. And where is MG today? That company’s phoenix is still buried in its ashes despite many failed attempts for it to rise.

          “Saab” as a brand name also isn’t on the block for sale. It’s a name that will be clawed back by SAAB AB never to be used again on a car without a new license. Who or what company do you think currently exists that might realistically have an interest in licensing the Saab name to redevelop an automotive brand AND that SAAB AB would (and should) entrust with its logo?

          • How about a Chinese company? China has a quarter of the World’s population and millions of engineers, but AFAIK no significant presence in the automotive sector outside its borders. But for the time being it does have an almost endless supply of low-cost labour. Also, other Far Eastern countries, e.g. Japan and South Korea have successfully established themselves in Western markets. Even India now has a presence. And the acquisition of Volvo seems to be going quite well, so why not add Saab? And how do you know that Saab AB would not license its logo, if it were to be persuaded that would help sustain engineering employment in Western Sweden?

            You seem to be in a ‘glass-half-empty’ mood today? I don’t think the situation may be as dire as you are suggesting.

            • What the Chinese car companies need more than a “brand name” is the capability to engineer a car that will compete globally with other non-Chinese manufacturers (who also don’t possess the know-how, minus Geely, to sell a car in Europe or the US).

              What Geely got from Ford that was FAR more important than a license to the Volvo name was the technology and know-how to build cars capable of meeting quality, reliability and crash standard requirements for selling cars in Europe and the United States, something they were independently unable to do.

              That’s what Youngman, Pangda, etc. also desperately need and want. The “Saab” name is a mere afterthought, a nice to have, at best. That’s why they wanted Saab — access to GM’s technology.

              Whatever’s left of the goodwill associated with a relatively small group of looneys (among which I proudly count myself) who are considered to be faithful to the brand is nice but as I’ve said in other posts (which SU has probably deleted by now), it isn’t enough to save the brand. Outside of areas in the Northeast, Colorado and the Pacific Northwest, most of the buying public in the US thought Saab died back in 2009, 2007 or even earlier.

              The reason the situation is “dire” to me is because a Saab built on Pangda technology and philosophy isn’t a Saab. Saab barely existed under GM ownership. The company is more than a logo to me…and that’s about all I hear anyone really arguing over at this point.

              • @Sue Esponte,

                so pay attention then: The reason we are discussing the logo at this point, is that we think it is self-evident that the brand is dead as soon as there are no engineers working on the new platform and the production line in THN is gone.

                YM has several times said they understand this. It serves no-one any good to be skeptical about their intentions. What would you want us to do? Refuse to buy any future Saab cars in case they move production out of Sweden at some random point in the future?

                We fans unfortunately do not get much choice in this. GM got to decide the owner of Saab two years ago. Not us.

                The court appointed administrator gets to choose the buyer of what remains. If you know of a way we can influence that process in a constructive manner, speak now.

                YM says they are looking into a way of producing 9-3s in THN. Victor said that GM won’t have a problem with that. That gives us a starting point. There are plenty of rumours of other interested parties, so no need to panic just yet.

                And please… Get your facts straight… Pang Da is a car distributor. They were never going to contribute any R&D or production facilities. Plus, Saab had plenty of engineers on their pay roll (both under GM and quite recently). What do you think they spent their time doing at work? Play solitaire?

                • Thank you Rune.

                • As for the logo, I’ve made my position clear in earlier posts (which have probably been deleted or edited by SU — so who knows what remains). As far as I’m concerned, a car bearing a Saab logo that is built, designed and engineered by a bunch of guys in China is not a Saab to me. So, to answer your question, no, I would not buy a badge engineered Youngman car simply because it wore a Saab logo.

                  The essence of what was once Saab is now gone. If a Saab car company should come to life some day in the future (much like VW built a new Bugatti), it will bear no resemblance to and share no history with the SAAB that was built from nothing by a bunch of airplane engineers with no experience building cars.

                  I have mourned the likelihood of Saab’s absence from the market and wil cherish the time and memories I’ve had owning and driving Saabs over the years. You and the owners of this site might not like my opinions because you dismiss me as a pessimist. On the contrary, I’m very happy remembering the great times that Saab brought us and I will continue building new Saab related memories with those who fondly remember the brand.

                  As for the rest of your comments, I am going to ignore them since SU is likely to delete my response anyway as they have been doing all day.

  22. I for the first time am very skeptical of Saab and its suitors. However i haven’t completely “given up”.

    Its too much “talking” going on. Not enough serious “do-ers”.

    I am skeptical of Youngmans recent actions as far as letting time elapse the way they did. I am skeptical who these Turkish interests are, and why they waited two years after Saab was first put up for sale. I am skeptical of the same from Magna, as well as the recent reports that they just want the technology and factory.

    I’m holding on, but even the most dedicate MUST realize that this charade show is getting ridiculous. It’s fine to save the company, but with no dealer network to sell it through in Britain or United States is going to be a problem… That is the most important asset to me!

  23. I have to agree that outside of the Northeast US, Saab has been a non-starter since the GM purchase. That is a reflection of the huge cultural divide in this country (We don’t all wear cowboy hats and drive Cadillacs).

    The 9-5 relaunch was a misfire, and reflected a misreading of this market. The German brands are all well too established here. For people who buy those brands, the GM logo is poison, and reminds everyone why people started buying foreign cars in the first place. So to try to go up against MB/BMW/Audi with a product that has GM stickers all over it is suicide.

    Volvo stays away from that market. What was Saab’s market is now really “owned” by Audi and Volvo.

    If there is any possibility for Saab in this country, it will have to relaunch again, and create it’s own new niche. Difficult and challenging, but Saab has created a new niche for itself at least twice now – with the original 92, again with the 99 and again with the 900 turbo. I would say Saab is better at creating niches than anyone else. All of these cars were bought by intelligent people, desperate to avoid spending thousands on a bland appliance. (for example, Toyota).

    Saab is still the closest thing there is to an intelligent luxury choice. MB is about flashing money. Even with their reliability problems and insane service costs, they still do well among those who just want a 3 pointed star in their driveway. Those types are not Saab buyers anyway. No need to go after them. BMW is about flashing the name, money and arrogance. The drug dealer’s car of choice . .Not the Saab market (I hope) Audi is the closest to intelligent luxury. They are finished very well, like the NG 95 and like the post 2007 93 and 95. But the A4 is cramped, with few options It is not much car for the money. The A3 is even less car for the money, really for university students with trust funds . The A6/A8 are MB wannabes that appeal to old, rich MB buyers and no one else. They are configured accordingly – floating suspensions, automatic gearbox.

    Saab could make a play for the Volvo/Audi buyer but the product would have to positioned as different to MB/BMW/Audi instead of as a “me, too” option.

    Here are some ideas in case someone is reading:

    First and foremost would be a turbo diesel option – or perhaps two: Peugeot is clear that they have no plans to enter the USA market any time soon, so I would think that they would be happy to sell a few thousand more of their wonderful Common Rail diesels to Saab. Enough time has passed since GM destroyed American interest in diesels with their hopeless offerings of 20 years ago. Saab brought the word “turbo” to the motoring world. “Turbo diesel” would be a sensible logical next story: “40 mpg – Luxury – Performance” would catch eyes here

    Second: GET RID OF ANYTHING THAT LOOKS, FEELS, SMELLS OR SOUNDS LIKE GM!!! That means no GM engines, transmissions, dashboard components, knobs, levers, stickers, windscreens, floorpans, anything. The GM logo is the absolute kiss of death in this market

    Third: Lose the All Wheel Drive. Saabs already have a reputation for being good in winter. The expense and the fuel costs do not add to it, and don’t justify it. Spend the money on further refining the drivetrain components.

    Fourth: Lose the 9-4X. Sorry, it is pretty, but it is still GM, and everyone knows it. The results from the 9-7 and 9-2 should be enough evidence that Saab has no business in the SUV/Crossover market, and that market is maturing now anyway. Again GM is the kiss of death to anyone older than 25 in this market segment.

    Fifth:

    “Aero” should mean more than Xenon headlights and backup warning. If there is to be an Aero option, it needs an engine and suspension components that put more meaning into the term than just an aluminum dash.

    The Consumer reports video sort of laid out much of what is wrong with the NG 9-5 and why it is pointless for Saab to go after the general American market since they reflect average Americans expectations: Big chugging V-8′s and 3 cup-holders per passenger. That is never what Saab was about.

    The 9-5 NG is beautiful. The NG-95 SK is striking. They need to tick all the boxes though: Sunroof, rear TV camera (stupid, but people like it), etc. That is just to start. Unfortunately, the GM floorpan has to go – as much for marketing reasons as for licensing reasons. High performance turbo diesel, 6 speed manual and automatic transmissions , with great fuel economy would make them different and appealing. But all this would mean starting over again with the 9-5. Probably impossible.

    I feel better writing this. I hope someone who can make a difference reads this and at least thinks about it

    • I’d argue that Saab’s niche (in the US, at least) was more filled by Subaru than Volvo and yes, to a lesser degree, Audi in its successful appeal to the intellectual crowd.

      Remember, Saab didn’t start out as a company that built luxury or near-luxury automobiles. Have you ever sat in a 92, 95/96 or 97? It wasn’t until the 99 or maybe even the C900 that the cars started offering plusher interiors with more amenities. It wasn’t luxury that filled or created Saab’s niche. At Saab’s current price mark, you need to offer some luxury or differentiation in order to be successful but gone is their presence in racing and even the intelligent functionality of a 3 or 5 door. Sure, they’re nice near-luxury cars but they’ve lost some of what made them Saabs.

      If everyone on this site bought a Saab, it still wouldn’t be enough to save the company. If an auto manufacturer wants to exist today, even in a niche, it needs to have a core, bread and butter product that makes money. And, to make money, that product needs to be cutting edge. That’s why Porsche so badly needed the 996 when they ditched the air cooled 993 models. While collectible, then current sales just weren’t strong enough for the company. So, while controversial to many (even to date), they needed to make the leap if they wanted to survive. Any successful automobile company (i.e., Saab) can’t be built on last year’s dying models. They need to stay ahead of the curve.

    • I agree with some points in your post (re: Aero branding) and disagree with others (no AWD? Bye bye New England sales, where most luxury sales are AWD models) and I’m glad you feel better writing this, but it’s sadly a post about a year too late. Even a Saab purchased out of bankruptcy is dead in the US market in my opinion. It would take hundreds of millions to relaunch the brand in this country and neither YM or any potential savior for Saab has ever indicated they want to do that in the short term. They want to buy Saab to build cars in China and eventually, at some point down the road, the rest of the world. We all have to start realizing that…

      • Yes, it is a year too late, and probably 5 years too late.

        And like the previous poster said, I agree that the original Saab 99 customers migrated to Subarus. Then there are the original 900 turbo customers. My guess is that crowd went to BMW when GM bought Saab. That leaves core Saab nuts (like me), who are few in number, and who were willing to wait and hold out against hope that Saab would produce something that would capture their imagination. (Like I did). As that crowd aged and got richer, they looked for somewhere to go after their 900′s. They got a re-badged Opel. It had the key in the center, it had the Saab instrument panel. It did OK at first I test-drove one It did not feel, sound or drive anything like what it replaced, and my guess is that many came to the same conclusion. So the “new” 900 was neither new, nor a 900. That was the beginning of the end. That should have been the bread-and-butter model that could have provided the revenue to enable a proper job with the 9000/9-5.

        So the former 900 people, who wanted to stay Saab, instead took their money and went to Audi, and were gone by the time they got the 9-5 right, and as said above, the younger crowd who in my day bought the 900 hatchback as a sort of intelligent, practical, fun but safe choice – buy Subarus, now that Subaru has grown up.

        Realistically, I don’t see a way for the Saab name to re-emerge, given the history I also think that the scary state of the US economy, and how frightened many people are is a big factor in this. People aren’t buying cars unless they have to, and, unless they are part of the 1% or 5% (and locked into BMW/MB), all they want is the cheapest transport they can get Character and performance and emotion are now luxuries beyond reach.

        It would take hundreds of millions, and an investor with a very long term view and a passion for Saab.

        Also, unfortunately, Sweden is an expensive country to manufacture cars in.

        I wish it could be otherwise. We nearly bought a VW this time. We tried them They felt like toys. We were very lucky and instead found a practically unused 2008 9-5 SC. We are an all 9-5 family now. Unfortunately for Saab, we are probably the only family in New England who can say that.

  24. There has been a lot of talk about Saab being a “storied” brand. Well, think of this as the end of the second act. The villain has given his soliloquy announcing that his triumph is near complete; ie, “The bell invites me, here it not Duncan!”. Or to put it another way, Siegfried has been slain. Or, if you must, Vader has told Luke “I’m your father!” and then cut off his hand. Donkey doesn’t recognise Shrek any more, and so on. In the Saab Saga, Jim Cain has fired his poison press release, slaying the flawed hero Sir Victor Muller.

    Act III will see a happy conclusion to the saga, in which the Golden Griffin is saved, the people of Trollhattan rejoice and the forces of evil are banished to Detroit whereupon they melt away during the second great depression. The curtain falls on the ghost of David Dunbar Buick delivering a soliloquy on the dangers of growing too big for your boots and the beauty of daring to be different.

    And hey, if Act III takes a while to materialise, then I can wait. Triumph motorcyles and the Austin/BMC Mini are just two examples showing you can’t keep a good name down. It will take me at least 10 years to buy a brand-new Aero anyhow!

  25. In a somewhat related topic, God bless all the people who continue to bombard the GM Facebook page with Saab posts! I am loving it! Keep the flame, brothers and sisters!

    http://www.facebook.com/generalmotors

  26. Well our dealership in the UK today became the latest victim of this dreadful mess…..the whole dealership closed down today and went into administration. Within an hour we were all out! 3 of us that worked there between us have 98years of experience and dedication to Saab! What a dreadful Christmas this is going to be for the Saab community.

  27. M-A-H-I-N-D-R-A ?
    Mahindra has approval from the EPA to begin selling pick-up trucks in the U.S.—-but apparently, a dealer negotiation with a distributor fell through—-and I have to believe if Mahindra is the biggest player in India, perhaps with the deepest pockets—-buying into Saab might be a smart decision for a myriad of reasons.

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