Looking at 2011 – hoping for 2012

About five years ago we moved to a new house. We liked it from the first time we saw it and were pretty happy when we were chosen among a few other contenders and could move in. It’s our landlord’s parents’ house and we were the first to rent it after his father had died. We take god care of the house and even improved it in some aspects. Our landlord recenly said he likes to have us because we treat his parents’ home with respect.

You may wonder why I write about this. But in the end this is similar to what I always wanted to see for Saab: an owner who respects Saab’s heritage and improves the brand even further. No longer than two years ago I was very happy to see Victor succeed in acquiring Saab. I still think Spyker was a good fit when it comes to the mindset even though the financial side was too weak. They had a vision for Saab and worked hard to make it come true. We all know where this lead for now and I won’t get into all those details again.

What I still would like best for Saab is a solution like Jaguar/LandRover found it with Tata. A big owner with the nessesary financial background to get things up and running again, while not interfering in the daily business decisions. The JLR story in general contains some more points like pricing policy that would fit Saab pretty well.

But this is only the second step. The first thing we’d need now is a new owner, someone who is willing to invest a serious amount of money. As I write this the news about that Indian company the recievers refuse to talk to start to spread on the interweb. This is just another example how individual decisions have a big influence on Saab’s fate. Like with many oher things I don’t get this but this time I think the company is big enough to make itself heared despite this first refusal. Would be interesting to see how GM would act if they were approached by someone who is bigger than them.

This post will go online on new year’s day so let’s take a look into the future. If Saab is to get a future any potential investor must act fast. Every day the company is in bankrupcy it is getting more difficult to start again. Employees are leaving, cusomers are moving to other brands. The other thing a potential buyer needs are deep pockets. With enough money on the table Saab can be revived and go into a bright future. All who are in line to buy Saab as a whole now know about that. They’re still there.

Some people may still wonder why so many companies are looking at Saab now. The simple explaination is that Saab is one of the last brands in the western world that are for sale and not already owned by big manufacturers. So for car companies from China or India this is a rare opportunity to get hold of a heritaged brand and in addition some technology and know how. Just like Tata did with JLR they can enter a new segment of automotive business by making one brave investment.

This is a core reason that lets me stay optimistic. Saab has a certain value and there are companies out there who know that and are willing to take the chance. It’s even possible that 2012 blesses us with an owner that really fits Saab, maybe better than anyone we have seen before. And yes, there are even interested parties who could finance the Saab until new, GM-free products are ready.

The first big event this year will be the WeAreSaab events on January 14th/15th. If you can, please attend or even organize an event on that weekend to show the world and the potential buyers that the community is still strong. I said it before and I’ll say it again, please let those events be ruled by love and passion for Saab rather than negativity towards GM or anyone else. We want to set a positive sign. Likethe convoys did two years ago.

In that spirit I wish you a a happy new year. May it finally be the year of Saab’s rebirth.

Dominique LOUVEGNY
Member
4 years 7 months ago

I definitely agree with your view, let’s hope and
happy new year!

JoPlSe
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Happy new year!

Red J
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Happy New Year to every one !!!

900jubileum
Member
4 years 7 months ago

First of all: A really happy new year to everyone here! I fully agree what you write in the post and let us continue hope for Saab!

Coggy
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Happy New Year Year to all at Saab, to all that are trying to keep Saab alive, and to all the people at SaabsUnited for their insight into the travails of Saab in 2011.

Carlo A
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Happy New Year to everyone from Turin, Italy ……

larssverre
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Happy New Year

900_S
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Good words, Till!

Happy new year to everyone!

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago
It really will be a HAPPY NEW YEAR if Saab is alive and kicking in 2012 and beyond! I think the real courage a new owner must show is a change of direction—-or at least new places on the map. I’m referring to the need—-the absolute need for a future Saab (if there is a future for Saab) that is priced at a true entry level. I am concerned that if someone—-even a company with deep pockets—-buys Saab and does “business as usual,” it will be a short term joy followed by more disappointment. Saab cannot go on offering cars… Read more »
MeanSabean
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Angelo, I strongly suggest you shop for a KIA because your thoughts are ridiculous! Saab can produce a small car to compete with BMW 1 series and Audi’s A1 but that’s it. They have always produced this type of car and has to continue to do so, with heavy financial backing they can market it properly and have great success.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago

They’re bankrupt. Whatever they did, it didn’t work. A new approach is needed. Going back to the same things that lead to going out of business seems more ridiculous than trying my suggestion. They won’t take many buyers from BMW or Audi. And by the way, Kia is one of the fastest growing car brands today.

MeanSabean
Member
4 years 7 months ago

So buy a Kia then, I intend to continue to drive a Saab! GM never knew what to do with this fine brand all they did was rape it of it’s technology and put it out to dry! Why do you think that Buick’s and Cadillac’s are better cars today? Victor just didn’t have the financial backing he needed or else he would of obtained his 100,000 sales goal. So Angelo why don’t you be like all the rest of your fellow Americans and drive a Kia or maybe a Hyundai!!!!

CSD_ChineseSaabDriver
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Agree.

Saab drivers are a unique club.

Kia, Renault, etc are another club.

Must keep Saab image high.

Allan B
Member
4 years 7 months ago
A good image and an expensive image are not necessarily the same thing. The legendary and many times emulated success of the Mazda MX-5 proves you can be affordable, desirable, extremely popular and still characterful. Saab’s roots are not, as most enthusiasts well know, as a luxury manufacturer. It was not until c.1980 that Saab really moved upmarket by foregrounding the 900 Turbo in ad campaigns aimed at execs, and of course developing the 9000. Before that, as everyone should know, they made their name with affordable, rugged, quirky small and medium cars. Sure, the 99 had been considered a… Read more »
RS
Member
4 years 7 months ago
I’d argue that to go downmarket was exactly where GM took Saab and it backfired big time. To make a Saab that is deliberately worse than the Germans would be an absolutely horrible decision, if the company rises from the dead. Who in the world would buy a car like that when ”reasonably priced” makes from Asia would be you competition? I don’t think it matters where crap comes from Sweden or China. I will only ever buy premium which Saabs thankfully still had plenty off under the surface. A 9-1/91 that drives better than a A1 or a 1-series… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago
The plan of developing a smart little entry level car doesn’t negate the idea of continuing to sell a larger premium sedan. We’re at a point in time where Saab can (and I’ll argue that they MUST) do both, assuming they survive. I could very easily see the the successful executive who buys the loaded 9-5—-also buying the entry level car for the son or daughter going away to college. More importantly, I can see the young person who can afford the stylish and unique little runabout stay in the Saab family—-buying the bigger, more expensive car when they are… Read more »
RS
Member
4 years 7 months ago
“Jaguar used the finest materials of any mass production luxury car maker—-burl walnut, premium hides, soft touch vinyl surfaces, heavy chromed knobs/switches—-and their cars depreciated like a brick dropping off the Burj Khalifa”. Come on 🙂 I have been calling for smart high quality materials not something you’ll only find in a Rolls Royce. Just compare a base MY07-09 OG 9-5 interior with a 9000 Aero or OG 9-3 SE and the quality difference is shocking in the old cars favor. This is also the reason why people don’t rush to pick up those second hand Saabs like they used… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago

RS: We agree on that point. The older Saabs (pre-GM and even early GMs) had wonderful interior quality that diminished. Look—-I love my ’04 9-5 wagon and I think the interior is done well—-but compared to, let’s say a mid-80s Saab? It falls short—-I’m the first to admit it.

MeanSabean
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Angelo you finally see the light!!!

saabyurk
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Allan, I think exactly like you, and I think your thoughts on the older Saabs are spot on. Virtually all of the Saab fanatics I know drive second-hand Saabs because they can’t afford new, I really think a quality entry level model would sell well. I love my 9-3 Arc and all of its luxury features, but when I think Saab, it’s always my old 96’s and 99’s that come to mind, truly wonderful cars at an affordable price.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago

+1

Thylmuc
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Concurring that something went wrong, though I am not sure that it is about the price of the cars. Iirc, I once read that Saab drivers have the highest average income of all brands. Your point is very valid. Any buyer of Saab should first find out what went wrong, and why. Evidently, the 9-3 I hatchback concept (quirky? utile?), though apealing to long-time Saab owners (?) did not fulfil GM’s expectations. But the shift to the Audi copycat concept with both 9-5 and 9-3 II also did not work out. Owner-wise, we are in a mess. There are those… Read more »
RS
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Thyl, I think it’s quite easy to make a car that can do all the above. The C900/9000 were exactly like that. You could ether buy a lower priced base model or a Hi-Po version. They both had the Saab DNA (driving, practicality, safety, quality) in them that simply got people hooked. The 900 became outdated by late 80’s when Saab-Scania didn’t have the capital or didn’t want to make the necessary investments to keep up with the changing times. And when GM entered the scene decision making regarding Saab just got totally out of wack. Aren’t hatchbacks the hottest… Read more »
Thylmuc
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Personally, I think that we share common car preferences 😉 But overall, why then was the 900/9-3 I less of a success than the 900? It was an improved version, but still in the same tradition as the 900, being a hatchback. And it wasn’t more expensive than its competitors, like the VW Passat, or the Renault Laguna, with comparable equipment (A4 was a bit more expensive, and Mercedes and BMW were evidently more expensive, but I didn’t check their prices, since they are RWD and fell of my list). And isn’t the 900 a good proof that the financial… Read more »
RS
Member
4 years 7 months ago
You make good points but I honestly thing the NG900 was a severe downgrade from the classic one. With this model Saab turned simply from HOT to not. Like someone said; black bumpers on an otherwise red, green or blue car made it look somewhat uninspiring to say the least. The same theme continued on the inside and at the time the base versions became cars only ”old fogies” would buy even though it drove good and with the turbo smoked all the trendy Germans. As of today we’ve had the pleasure of owning all cars ever made under the… Read more »
RS
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Forgot to say:
I think the biggest problem with the c900 was the fact it was very expensive to build and that’s where GM could really have made a positive impact to Saabs profitability with it’s advanced factory technology.
Not to let THN build they’re own new platform and give the engineers the freedom to make the best car in the class was a big mistake IMHO.

Snowshoe
Member
4 years 7 months ago
It is always good to think in new ways, to re-think, evaluate and come up with new solutions. That is a wery SAAB thing to do. There is a paradigm shift knocking on the door. Especially the Americans will be affected by it. It is not practical to drive around a 2+ ton vehicle to move just one person. In many families there is a need for a second car that is smaller, still very safe and capable of doing more mpg. At least doing more miles/kilometers with less energy consumption. “Per Gallon” is perhaps not the way we should… Read more »
mnztr
Member
4 years 7 months ago

SAAB can produce a car to match BMW and Audi I agree, but it is something they need to build to in about 3 model cycles. They need to start at a 25-30% discount, and then work their way up. Either that or they can offer a lot more standard equipment for the same price…free NAV for example, which is very cheap to offer, and has a high value perception. Perhaps build the telematics around a high end Android phone and even have a slot for a sim card if you want an on board phone…..

zippy
Member
4 years 7 months ago

+1000

Snowshoe
Member
4 years 7 months ago

On the phone side I think that a good way of interfacing to your carried phone is preferable to have a sim in the car for phoning. Nowadays you have a lot of content in your phone besides your contacts and you might want to use it when appropriate (read safe).
That said a modern car will probably have wireless abilites for different purposes (and probably with a lot of different air i/f). Both for inside compartment and for outside car.

Thylmuc
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Which will mean not interfacing at all with quite a number of phones. There is a protocol for this, but it is not supported by many phones; the most notable example being the iPhone.

In fact, I have yet to see what I would consider a full car integration of an iPhone (or any other smartphone), including full steering wheel control of the phone app and the iPod app, including info on the SID, handsfree, speech control, audio output (for all apps), video output, simultaneous access to other apps, charging, and GPS input from external built-in GPS receiver. And more…

ivo 71
Member
4 years 7 months ago
So since when is the availablity of a high-end connection to a smartphone the yardstick for the merits of an automobile? I would think that would be the car’s performance, comfort, roadholding, fuel consumption, exterior and exterior aspects and perhaps the environmental impact. Everything else is immaterial AFAIC and also potentially dangerous since it requires the driver to divide his/her attention which he/she sorely needs to drive safely in today’s road jungle that we still call traffic. That communication, entertainment and whatever else stuff can either get added as an option for those who cannot live without it or just… Read more »
Aero1
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Everyone, Have A Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!
Let this be a year of hope for a renewed spirit that will allow SAAB to once again thrive!
A special Thank you to TEAM SAAB, Victor and everyone in Trollhatten! Your hard work will pay off, just keep believing!

Alexandros
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Happy New Saab Year to All of you!

klypp
Member
4 years 7 months ago

What??? SAAB can’t compete with BMW and Audi???

It’s snowing heavily outside and later this day I am going to a new year’s dinner. I´m sooo looking forward to this. Not so much to the dinner as to the drive! Knowing that no BMWs nor Audis will even try to keep up with my 9-5 in this kind of weather!

Happy new year everyone!

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Klypp: 1960s era Saab 96 would make it through the snow better than most other cars of that era too—-and it cost around $2000 (a little more than a VW Beetle?). Unique and with advantages doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Snowshoe
Member
4 years 7 months ago

The V4 probably performs better through the deep snow than many modern cars.
Not as safe as a modern SAAB though.

simonswisssaab
Member
4 years 7 months ago

I’m waiting with baited breath now that January 2012 has begun. The next few weeks for SAAB are truly make or break. Come on negotiators, sort out a great GM approved deal! Best Wishes to all the SAAB community in the whole world!

Jan Österlund
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

1995 Saab Aero. JT 3 -3″ Turbo back exhaust , stage 3 nordic, K&N cold air intake. AUDI KILLER!

CYQB
Member
4 years 7 months ago
I can’t talk for others but this is why I like Saab. I am relatively new Saab’s driver. I got my first one in 2001 and I bought my fourth Saab in last June, a 9-3 Aero 2.0T. All new cars. For me, the first quality for a Saab is simple, it must be fun to drive! Do not talk about driving a low cost entry car. I like to get some technology, a practical and reliable car. For sure, when the production will restart in 2012, the price will have to be lower to attract new customers. I hope… Read more »
kochje
Member
4 years 7 months ago

+1; and this is from a Saab driver that already drives Saab cars since the late eighties.
Glad you joined our group,CYQB.

meg haviland
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Well thought out Till and sounds about right. Happy New Year to all!!

Griffin uP………………………………………

krghanta
Member
4 years 7 months ago

I hope Mahindra is given a second chance.

hilmar
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Happy New Year to all of you ! It´s not easy but let´s stay optimistic.

ReneSafan
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Wow! All these marketing experts! I say, if the brand gets another chance: Victor Muller in the marketing seat….he “feels the brand”, but he’s maybe not the best CEO-type.
Why do you think he went after it in the first place? Cause he comes from the country that had the highest Saab-sales per capita!! Holland. He feels targetgroups and competition, he can do it. Now let’s get the money first. I want a 13th Saab after this one. Rene

nichell
Guest
4 years 7 months ago
From N. America: I’m looking at the TV and seeing a nice cool ad for Jaguar cars. I ask myself,”how come I never saw that from Saab “. all these years . No ads with Saabs in the snow or Arctic. No ads about safety awards. No ads about turbos and performance, fun to drive etc. I saw these ads for Lexus, bmw and audi. No SaabAll I saw was some stuff in Wall Street Journal (and I heard there were some in lgbt mags). No ads that excited the customer base. So goes N. America…so goes Saab……Yes but Vagabond…blah,… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Go to You Tube and watch Saab commercials from the 1960s. Traction in snow, practicality, value—-and done in a really cool way. Somewhere along the way, they started to take themselves way to seriously—-the ad agency and the marketing people at Saab. Those 1960s commercials made it seem fun to own one. “Born From Jets” was ridiculous—-didn’t invite anyone to the Saab family in a creative or welcoming way.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago

To clarify—-“Born From Jets” was a professionally done campaign—-the people who developed it were talented—-but IMO, I think it was too much about the image of the ad spots and not enough about the virtues of the cars.

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