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.