What It’s All About

We’ve had some nice stories today about Tim’s visit to the factory and about some options that Saab is exploring. To me, where we are now is a place where it is of the utmost importance to get something done now. Now that I’ve stated the obvious, what does Saab mean to you and why do you want to see it survive? I’m not a fan of the I hate GM stuff that I’ve seen as I see it serving no purpose at all, what I am a fan of is the customer and employee stories of why Saab? Some of you have had a lot of years with Saab, what keeps you coming back? I’ll start with what sticks out in my mind.

One of the biggest things to me is the people who work for Saab. These people who have families and a community that depend on Saab’s survival are incredible. Last time around with GM, the employees protested for a deal and celebrated when a deal was made. A little story, when we sold our first new 2011 9-5 and I posted it to facebook, I actually got a message from one of the workers that read something to the effect “I hope we did a good job and your customer enjoys her car”. My question to that is, what other company do you get that kind of care for a job well done? These workers too have had many months of delayed payments and have continued to work when asked to and today I saw a comment stating that even without pay, if they didn’t work they could be fired. This is not something that I was aware of, but do you really think that the only reason they go is to not get fired? Some of these people haven’t left Saab because they live and breath Saab and can’t imagine something else and whatever their reason for showing up to work without being paid doesn’t matter to me, what matters is that they do show up and come prepared to work.

Another thing that sticks out to me is the dealers and sales staff. One may think this is tooting my own horn, but it’s not. Dealers have had it really tough for the last couple of years. Some dealers have paid the ultimate price by shutting down and others and I would dare to say ALL others have had to reduce staffing. At my store we have two sales people and with the current rate of traffic, this is all that is needed because we want our staff to earn a decent living and when you do like a lot of other dealers do and load the sales floor thinking you will sell more cars, you just end up going through more staff as turn over then becomes an issue and in the end you really don’t sell anymore cars. For the dealers that have stuck by and continue to work hard everyday making less than they are accustomed too, I applaud you all and share all your joys and pains. You are a part of what makes Saab different.

This is turning into a long post. The next thing that stands out to me is you, the customer and fan of Saab. The first time around with GM, Saab fans across the globe got together to protest to GM to “Sell Saab” and “Save Saab”. My dealership was a Saturn dealership and I remember a website called saturnfans that really tried to save Saturn, but not to the level and commitment of what saabsunited did to get a movement started to save Saab. Saab fans have more to be united with rather then divided by. It’s time like these where we need to show how united we are, I read about people wanting to come together and do just that and I would say that if there is an event planned in your area, you should go out and show your support for not only a brand but each other. You make Saab what it is.

Lastly and almost most importantly is Victor Muller. This is probably the touchiest subject when it comes to the why Saab question because there are so many different views on him. My personal take on him is that he has worked his butt of trying to save Saab and has had many obstacles placed before him to try and weave his way through. In the end regardless of what he did or didn’t do, everything will rest on his shoulders which is not a position that I would like to be in. Truthfully in the last couple of months it seemed like to me that he had been bullied into different deals and had little to decide on because if he didn’t go one way reconstruction could or would be terminated. I still believe that he can get this done and that he will continue to work until it is and I for one thank him for doing the best he could given all the circumstances.

So there’s my two cents, I believe that Saab should survive because we have the best employees, dealers, customers and a man that has put his all into trying to secure a future for all of them. Don’t forget, united we stand, divided we fall.

Chris Hansel
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Jason, well written and realistic. If Saab survives it will only be because of it’s hard core fans. But more
people need to make a commintment to buy, or lease new cars, cars not yet consructed. In light of all the doubts about the future of Saab perhaps leasing would be a better way to go.What does your dealership currently offer in the way of leases?

saab-safari
Member
4 years 9 months ago
My SAAB Story My “thing” about SAABs began in Tanzania, East Africa, where my father worked as a salesman for Ford. We had all just become aware of SAABs, and of Eric Carlson, through their participation in the East African Safari Rally. Although my father worked for Ford all his life, he was a huge fan of cars in general, and in particular of rallying. I recall from my earliest memories, my father would be tuned in to the local radio station, where periodically the EAS Rally updates would be broadcast. As my brother and I got older, we also… Read more »
Turboladdade
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Of course #imwithvictor until the end.

Remdu67
Member
4 years 9 months ago

+900

People here and there would like to show publicaly their support, but they do not know if it is the “right” moment yet…

emmany3
Member
4 years 9 months ago
Well said! First and foremost it is about the workers who need Saab to survive so they can survive! Everything else comes second! Their passion is what defines Saab for me and it is found in Saab owners too! Saabs were my passion way before I started driving and I was lucky enough to get my first Saab at 17 years old! It was a 10 year old C900T and I have never looked back. Saab is the only car I love. My ’96 900SET that I’ve owned for 12 years still puts a smile on my face every time… Read more »
Jon Leach
Member
4 years 9 months ago
Jason, thanks for the interesting post; I’ve been reading this site for about two years and have enjoyed the thoughtful analysis and comments from fellow Saab enthusiasts. I thought I’d create a login and post something. I have been riding in Saabs for nearly 40 years. A wonderful Swedish family in our neighborhood drove nothing else (96 and 99 at the time). My first Saab was a 1974 99 that my sister and I shared while we were in high school. When I was in college I bought a used 1979 99GL 2-door; I loved that car and would have… Read more »
Jake
Member
4 years 9 months ago

A beautiful, well-written summary of everything I currently believe in at Saab. Everything will turn out fine, in the end. Saab can’t disappear. Too many assets, be it technology, people, fans, production facilities, or just… Morale.

Nulla Tenaci Invia Est Via.

74StingSaab
Member
4 years 9 months ago

I always thought doing the hokey pokey is what it’s all about? 😉

lundin
Member
4 years 9 months ago
Good write-up,thanks Jason! However i would also like to highlight all the sub-contractors even though some might see them as the “bad guy” in all this mess. Saab relies upon individuals and small firms far from the large corp like Magna, Delphi,Semcon etc They, individuals and families, have taken a massive and real hit in order to make this project afloat. They fall between the chairs because they aren’t Saab nor the large “component-suppliers”, hence they don’t “exists”. There are many silent heroes out there i can assure you that and i have witness the consequence of mixing emotions with… Read more »
Baver
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Great post!

lundin
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Thanks Baver =)

Greg Bakos
Member
4 years 9 months ago
Here’s what I like about the sole of Saab, and why I want to trade my 9-3 for a new 9-5 when the dust settles (as in, next week): They are unique, and in small quantities, so the owners are typically not follow-the-crowd types like the German lemmings. They fill a gap in today’s car lineups between ho-hum Asian and American sedans and expensive German touring cars. They are classy without being ostentatious. They go under the radar, and don’t make clients think they’re paying Saab owners too much, yet they’ll still park well next to the client’s Merc’s and… Read more »
KyleW
Member
4 years 9 months ago
i remember when i was only 12 years old insisting my dad take me to the new SAAB dealer in Newport Beach, CA. i remember memorizing the “engineering features of the SAAB 99” book, i remember talked dad in to purchasing a 1976 99GLE…i remember the relief that my wife, eldist son and i were alive after being broad-sided by a bmw going 55 mph because of our 1986 9000t (one of the earliest ones brought into the US). i remember taking a photo of the 5 SAABs we had in our immediate family. i remember our current 2002 9-5… Read more »
GerritN
Member
4 years 9 months ago
I could join in the whole story about Saab employees , dealers , fans, Victor Muller, SU and so on, but that’s not what makes me keep on buying Saabs, although it has definitely strengthen my bond with the brand over the last couple of years. The real reason for loving my Saabs is that I feel at home in them, they fit me like a well cut suit, whenever driving off in one it feels like deja-vu. Somehow a Saab fits my character. I’ve driven many different cars over the years, but none I can slip on so effortlessly… Read more »
saabtec
Member
4 years 9 months ago
This is a great article. It runs along side with the post earlier about the factory being a flurry of activity. It is about people that are passionate in the truest sense about something they like. Much like a hobby. You get so much satisfaction, that it becomes a non-issue if you are not paid for every single second of existence around the “hobby”. You feel like you are at home with it. Often I will see a customer come in, and know them on a first name basis. Some I don’t. I take the time to replace a headlight… Read more »
RS
Member
4 years 9 months ago

If Saab gets through this they absolutely MUST look at some key decision making regarding the final product and offerings that are vital to the buying public. Mainly choices available for the finetuning of the cars on the inside. This needs to happen the day suppliers are willing to make new parts for MY12.

Henrik B.
Member
4 years 9 months ago
It seems like GM doesn’t have any interest in Saab surviving anymore. Here’s what Guy LoFalk tells DI.se: “According to Guy Lofalk GM has categorically rejected more propossals, that has been presented to them, and the the attitude of the automaker giant has contributed to, that the reconstruction now has to be terminated.” says Guy Lofalk. ”There are several factors but GM’s stubbornly attitude is of course an unheard important factor. But where we are now, is because there’s no money left – it’s a mathmatical and juridical decission we’ve made”, he says. Guy Lofalk has himself, been to the… Read more »
RS
Member
4 years 9 months ago

I believe GM rightfully though Guy had no business talking to them about ownership changes in Saab or how to deal the company to someone else.
After the Geely stunt he probably had zero credibility in the US. He is/was the Administrator of SAAB Automobile, not SWAN for god’s sake. Was VM with him on any of these trips?

michaelb
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Life experience tells me, that somebody who just responds in a standard trivial way, often has a hidden agenda. Maybe GM leaves the possibility open to let Saab die, and then sells the 9-5, 9-4x in a rebadged form as Opel’s made in Russelsheim.

aop
Member
4 years 9 months ago

what about insignia ? Does it make sense for them to throw in the 9-5 to compete on the same market segment?
And re 9-4x, if they wanted to, they would have already done that.

michaelb
Member
4 years 9 months ago

For the 9-4x to succeed in Europe, two things are needed, a sufficiently powerful Diesel engine combined with an automatic and XWD. Opel just introduced an improved twin-turbo with 198hp, in combination with 4-wheel drive and automatic for the Insignia. This combination would work also for the 9-4x.
With respect to the 9-5, it’s the same platform, engines and multiple parts as the Insignia, but it’s quite bigger, and with some improvements, could easily compete with an Audi 6, BMW5er or Mercedes E-class. An Insignia is from size, design of the sportstourer and standing not in the same league.

aop
Member
4 years 9 months ago

For 9-4x to succeed in Europe they need much more powerfull engines and luxury interior full of techy gadgets, rear cameras and so on.
People who buy SUV’s in Europe are not looking at fuel economy or price tags. It’s just a way to show off. The bigger and more expensive , the better. It’s a diferent buyer class than the 9-3 and 9-5. I’m talking about Europe only, not US or other markets.

michaelb
Member
4 years 9 months ago

Audi, BMW make the bulk of their sales in Europe for the Q5 or X3 with less powerful 4-cylinder Diesel engines. Interior would be sufficient.

Grumpy
Member
4 years 9 months ago
It is of course very interesting to read what mister Lofalk has to say about this mess, in his own words even. And it is this that disturbs me, I could be wrong and perhaps the relationship between the reconstructor (Lofalk) and the reconstructee (Saab) is an open-for-all shop where the parties freely share their thoughts left right and center, no doubt, VM has been taking part in it with his constant sending SMS messages to journalists in Stockholm. But, does that give the right to Lofalk as well to blather about happened or not with GM? I thought there… Read more »
Snowshoe
Member
4 years 9 months ago
How can we help those with a new 9-5 that need spare parts? Now and again you hear stories about pople that cannot use their new 9-5 due to lack of spare parts. How big is that problem? Is there any way to fix it? Can some other parts be used? Before we know the extent of the problem it is not easy to find a way to deal with it. Would it be possible to try to gather more information about this via SU? Sometimes something impossible on dealer level could be doable when other people see it with… Read more »
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