My preferred buyer

Things are getting really interesting now. As administrator Hans Bergqvist told TT (as reported by AFP here) there are now up to five parties who are interested to buy Saab as a whole and talking to the administrators. So besides he ones we know (Youngman, Mahindra & Mahindra, Brightwell Holdings) there is at least one, if not two parties who prefer to remain unnamed for now. Time is a big factor for everybody and it looks like one of those unnamed parties visited Trollhättan last week. Hans Bergquist said that their goal is to get a deal done within two weeks. Good to hear.

I’d assume the thing that everybody asked himself most is which buyer would be the best. We first of all want Saab to survive this bankrupcy but still, if there is a choice why not look for the best fit. It’s a tough decision because the perfect suitor really has to be multi talented.

One major requitement is of course sufficient funding. Getting Saab back on its feet is a managable but huge task. Not only that the purchase price and the restart of production with whatever model setup have to be financed. In my opinion it will be the first three to five years where a buyer has to put in additional money to cover the running costs. This is of course heavily dependent on when a new model lineup hits the market. For now the most likely scenario is that Saab will only have a current 9-3 to produce, and even that one may have to be more or less altered to avoid interference from GM.

Finalizing the Phoenix platform along with the next 9-3 costs quite a bit with maybe two more new models that have to join in to make the company profitable again. I don’t claim to be an expert but I’d assume that one billion Euro is just the beginning and maybe only half of what is needed to get through the first three years. So if we don’t want to have another deja vu the buyer has to have serious money at hand to get through this. Money that he can spend without getting in trouble himself.

The second requirement is reputation. This is one of the more difficult things to name. One aspect comes through proper financing. The suppliers and the dealer network have to regain trust in the company so that they are willing to join in the chain again and supply the base for a restart of Saab. This supply and distribution chain has suffered a lot in the past months. Same with the employees. They have to see the opportunities a new Saab can offer so they want to stay even if there are other offers.

Reputation is not easy to judge, I know quite a few who laughed when Tata took over Land Rover and Jaguar. But look how they are doing now. One recipe for their success is that they do not interfere to much with the internal decisions of their brands. They run as, so to say, independent companies making their own decisions within Tata, a solution that I would have liked to see for Saab, too. Besides the monetary aspect there is your track record, the way how you worked in recent joint ventures, the success you made, the experience you have. It all hets in the mix that makes partners and people confident – or not.

The third requirement is awareness of the heritage and the dedication to keep Saab together. Personally I think it would be dumb for anyone to buy Saab and move it away from Sweden. Development and main production have to stay in Trollhättan as this is a part of the brand heritage. You could of course start some kind of local production where it makes sense but the heart and soul are in Trollhättan. Not only that a wise future owner can count on the strongest fan community in the automotive world, for any investor Saab is one if not the last heritaged worldwide car brand that is for sale. So they should do everything to keep the heritage and the image intact if they want to succeed.

The fourth requirement is the ability to think different. GM was a huge dinosaur that would not easily let Saab explore new roads, They maybe wanted to have too much control. Saab has always been looking for new ways and that’s (at least to me) a main reason why Saab has a chance to survive. Last week I suggested to get things up wit a 9-3 followed by a 9-1 instead of a 9-5. I think many things have to be re-thought, no matter if it is model policy, the usage of parts among hte model range, the structure of the company that is no longer just a part of a giant mother… There are reasons for Saabs failure beyond GM and those have to be examined during the process of restart. No matter if it is done from the outside or if the management is chosen accordingly, this has to be done.

Those are my major points. There are many more small ones, like if the buyer is a car comapny it may help if they think vehicles like Saab does. Driver oriented, responsible performance… But going into every detail might just exceed the medium of a blog. It may even fill a book.

To come back to the headline – to me there are two preferred buyers based on the info we have. One is among those we already know and one among the yet unnamed parties. I won’t name them here for a variety of reasons. First, we intend to stay open to any investor with honest intentions. Still if there are things about one or another party we will report them and give our opinion. But there will be nothing like an official preferred SU candidate. Second, especially when it comes to the unnamed parties they want to stay private for a reason and even if we get to know a name we do not want to interfere too much. This point in time is too sensitive to come up with names just to be first.

But I’d say everybody can make own conclusions based on those core requirements along with personal aspects. Comments are open, let us know what you see as main requirements for the next owner of our beloved brand.

Troels, Denmark
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Very good article and summary of the situation. Thanks for that!

Bravada from GMI
Member
4 years 8 months ago
I do mostly agree with your preferences, Till, but I would beg to differ on the JLR-Tata analogy and their “lack of interference”. God knows how it worked on the inside, but it was generally good for JLR to be perceived as “separate” from Tata Motors, whom the public saw as a maker of low-tech crude cheapmobiles for impoverished Indians (however incorrect that image of Tata Motors might have been), and that might work well for Saab too should it be taken over by a fledgeling manufacturer from a developing country. But then, JLR was a sound business on a… Read more »
Thylmuc
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Absolutely!

Regarding JLR, I like to add that it is much too early to judge success or failure. So far, JLR have only executed plans already devised under Ford rulership,using Ford platforms. Let’s wait and see what will happen with the next generation cars, in about 5 to 10 years’ time.

Regarding Saab, everthingy needs to be re-evaluated, I concur, from development, to product strategies, to distribution channels (dealers? Why not show-trucks instead of show rooms?) etc.

Of note, Volkswagens are not cheaper than Saabs, at least here in Germany.

Bravada from GMI
Member
4 years 8 months ago

I believe that the Passat starts a good EUR 5K below the 9-3, and the Jetta is almost EUR 10K cheaper. Please do correct me if I’m wrong.

RS
Member
4 years 8 months ago

@Bravada from GMI, that’s correct they start lower with a small engine -to be attractive- but put in a few options and a 2.0 and VW is right up there with Saab.
The fact that the 9-3’s were very competitively priced must have been one of the biggest secrets in the automotive history. Only the enthusiasts seems to have known about it.

RS
Member
4 years 8 months ago

A few lessons to be learned for the new owner maybe.

Red J
Member
4 years 8 months ago

While my wife was waiting for her 9-3 Griffin, she checked different cars from other brands, and the result was always the same. If you load other cars to a Saab standard you will pay at least the same amount of money, no matter how cheap the base model is.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
But the fact that there is a cheaper base model available for less opens the door for thousands of buyers to squeeze into a purchase. There are still a lot of buyers who can do without heated seats, self-defrosting mirrors, rain sensing wipers, navigation systems, even sunroofs and leather seating. Some people would like to be able to afford a new car that is safe, with spirited driving characteristics—and might have some brand loyalty—-and really just want an automatic transmission and air conditioning—-power windows and door locks—-and they’re happy. That’s in the U.S. market and in many places, an automatic… Read more »
Red J
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Angelo,
I’m not a market analyst, but I know that different countries need different strategies to sell cars. Nevertheless, Saab was rightly positioned in the west-european markets, inho. People still don’t know that you had to pay 5.000€ -10.000€ more for an equivalent Audi A6 than for a full loaded 9-5 Aero, and still the base price for the A6 was 1.000 € lower than the base price of the 9-5, but almost nobody do buy a 180hp Audi A6 with cloth seats.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago
I agree with you about the need to recognize what works in the different parts of the world where you operate. Peugeot is an example—-they never understood how important marketing was in the U.S. They thought if you could offer a nice riding car with some key ingredients, people would find it. They were horrible at promoting their cars. Also, they had cars like the 205 in Europe—-which would have really helped them build a broader market in the U.S.—but instead, positioned themselves as a luxury brand and neglected to send the 205 or 305 here—-as a result, those young… Read more »
Bravada from GMI
Member
4 years 8 months ago

As concerns distribution channels though, your way of thinking is one I like.

Why not contract out with Sixt and sell them a fleet of Saab to offer at discount rates around Germany to business and leisure travellers, or just people willing to try out something different. Perhaps even “mobility solutions”, such as Saab-sharing. That way one might build volume, not necessairly going pants-down with pricing.

900 classic cab
Guest
4 years 8 months ago

I think you said it all 🙂

TurboLover
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Thanks! I give your article 0,99 on the Swade scale.
Keep ’em commin’!!!

AE85RO
Member
4 years 8 months ago
M.A.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Very good article.

Perhaps a strong marketing campaign must be considered within your requirement of reputation. It has been said before here in SU that this is needed. Many people are not aware of the current negotiations to buy SAAB, they think it is dead as a Dodo bird.

SAAB isn’t dead at all.

Martin T16s
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Look what Richard Branson did with the Virgin brand….and we all know he is a serial entrepreneur who can turn a company around. Now imagine the restoration of brand image he could apply overnight! And he does like a challenge, again as we all know…..and also once drove a Saab BioPower car!…….ummmmmm

ivo 71
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Too bad he hasn’t expressed any interest in Saab. The one sector Branson isn’t active in yet is automotive and Saab would seem different enough for him to start with. On the other hand, an owner, however cash rich, without any sectoral experience at all…

Ivo

Peter Gilbert
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Funny you Mention Richard Branson. He also received a new 2007 9-5 Aero Combi the year I did form SAAB. I keep on promoting SAAB whenever I can, whether it be meeting people at the Auto shows or just stooping by dealers to say Hej! Richard received a BioPower to promote ethanol and it seems like he took the keys and drove of into the sunset! Personally I like Mahindra because they are very big players and are a similar company to SAAB Group. If I keep on reading about the obscene amounts the lawyers are making then one of… Read more »
James
Member
4 years 8 months ago
I’ve jokingly tossed that around before when people have suggested Apple should buy Saab etc… these are shots in the dark but fun to write about! Virgin is interesting… he may be a serial entrepreneur, but he goes after markets where he thinks everyone else is doing a mediocre job, or offering poor customer service… pretty much every Virgin business was built on that (eg the airline story – stranded at an airport, he chartered a plane + sold tickets + that started it all) Let’s face it, the car industry is very competitive already + it’s not going to… Read more »
Sergio
Member
4 years 8 months ago
I think the remaining (or two) unknown companies are present car manufactures from Europe. My preferred choice is Mahindra, I think SAAB would be at it’s best if they were to own SAAB. My reasons? Well simply because I think there would be some healthy competition between Tata and Mahindra (I mean they have been at automotive war for a long time) and looking how well JLRs are sold to wealthy Indians, SAAB could follow suit. The competition would probably mean more investment in R&D in Sweden, after all Mahindra will want some tech for their own cars. Culturally it… Read more »
Sergio
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Whoops forgot my requirements!!
1) make sure the development of vehicles has more investment which can then be sold off to other companies i.e. engine tech, safety tech, thus generating money for SAAB.
2) To add to point two, the new owners must show their confidence in the brand and quality i.e. follow hyundai in offering a 7 year warranty.

Katsura
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Not a good compare.

JLR Being British, and India a former colony, these brands are well known and viewed as aristocratic and ppl aspire to have such a car.

Saab was never officially sold in India, they don’t have any of the brand power.

Sergio
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Brand power at the moment! I find Indians to be very proud of ‘their’ heritage and possessions (I’ve worked over there for a few months…nice place, excellent food sorry bit side tracked!) so I truly think that it would work.

alwaysSaab
Member
4 years 8 months ago

I agree with those requirements highlighted in order to revive Saab but would think that green light from GM is probably the utmost important one. Without any favorable news or decision from GM, most, if not all proposals would come to nothing. I hope GM would realise that the company itself was also the subject of a bankruptcy and the importance of being given a chance to restructure and turn around.

Toby K
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Good Article though the e600M figure is now woefully thin, its that to restart the line and re-engineer the 9-3 agnostic of GM. Its a further 600M to operate Saab for 2 years and at least e500M to finalise development of the ng900 and start development of its partner product whatever that is (9-1/9-2). to my mind the party would need to invest up to 2.5bn over the next 2 years (above the sale figure) and wait up to five years to see any balancing revenues. Its a very tall order.

TurboLover
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Could be, but it is better than starting a new brand with no people, no factory, no herritage and well… nothing really.

zippy
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Great article till72.

metalhead
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Deep pockets, and one that does not treat Saab as an opportunity to earn quick money. Of course, keep production and R&D in Sweden.

LarsG
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Any buyer who has sufficient money in order to urge Saab without profit the future five years and that intend to have the production left in Trollhättan is OK for me.

Mark
Member
4 years 8 months ago
On the subject of a 9-1 being introduced before a replacement 9-5 (or whatever it might be called?), GM’s argument was that a small Saab would be much less profitable than even the 9-3. As we all know, GM claimed that Saab was almost always unprofitable anyway (although there is now some evidence to the contrary on that matter), so making an even less profitable car was probably unthinkable for it? My suggestion has always been that a sub 9-3 entry level Saab is perhaps the best candidate for non Swedish manufacture. Making these cars in China or India or… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
I think a decontented, lower priced 9-3 type of model (or the current 9-3 for that matter, less content, lower price) is a great idea to jump-start sales—-this has worked in the auto industry before—-same basic product, new lower price—-buyers flock. But I must say, your statement is predicated on what GM thinks about an entry level Saab, GM’s view on profitability, GM’s claims—-and here’s the thing: GM is a colassal failure. GM would have been dragged through a traditional bankruptcy themselves if not for the U.S. Government participating in a heist of billions upon billions from taxpayers. GM management… Read more »
paul
Member
4 years 8 months ago
I’m not sure about less content. One of the strikes against the current 9-3 is that newer, cheaper cars are offering features that used to be only available in top of the line vehicles. Leather seating, electronics, etc. The Hyundai Elantra has heated front *and* rear seats. Suzuki’s little SX4 has AWD for around $20k USD, and that car gets really good reviews. (I know, it’s Suzuki, but if someone’s shopping for a sure footed winter driver, a lot of people think AWD is critical). There may be some ways to take cost out of the 9-3 while keeping it… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Paul: You’re right. I needed a weekend hauler for a vacation house—-and recently bought a used Kia Sedona van (2007). It is packed with features, rides nice, everything works as it should—-priced cheap. But Saab still has things with the 9-3 that are fundamentally good—the feel of the car, the handling/performance, the history of the brand, the perception (at least in the U.S.) that Saabs are “better” than most Asian or lower priced U.S. models. Driving is believing. There is a spirit to the driving that is missing in Korean or Japanese cars. I really believe that a 9-3 with… Read more »
Bravada from GMI
Member
4 years 8 months ago
The moment a car brand starts offering less car for less money, it’s the best sign they are about to go out of business. Saab needs to maintain their transaction prices, perhaps by offering MORE kit. Most equipment found in modern cars don’t really cost even a fraction of what is being charged extra when ordered as an “option”. This is why Hyundai can offer an Elantra with power and heated everything and still undercut a lot of competitors. There is little money to be found in decontenting – otherwise GM, the king of decontenting, wouldn’t have gone out of… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Bravada: What was Saab’s recent strategy? Where are they now. That’s what I thought. Volkswagen just came out with a new (highly successful) Passat that averages $5000.00 less than the model it replaced. Also, in the recent past (“recent”) being a relative term, GM’s greatest success was in taking cars like the Pontiac Grand Prix, decontenting it and selling it for less—-people thought “wow—-the car I couldn’t afford last year, I can afford this year—-I’m getting one.” GM failed for a lot of reasons—-offering the same basic car, with features removed, for less money—-that was one of the things that… Read more »
Bravada from GMI
Member
4 years 8 months ago
If it’s the North American “NMS” Passat from Chattanooga, we need to redefine “highly successful”. The thing, however good it is, is being outsold by the Chrysler 200. And yes, the 200 has a convertible option, but even with the CC, counted in, the Passat still sold less. I know the people in question who bought those Pontiac Grand Prixes. Their names are Avis, Budget and Enterprise. GM barely made any money on the stripper cars – they only made them to prevent even further losses as they couldn’t, or thought they couldn’t, simply close plants and fire people because… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
A couple things: The era I was talking about was the 70s—–Grand Prix around 1977 was the example (along with Cutlass, Regal, Monte Carlo) and there were many others. They weren’t selling these two door “personal luxury” cars to fleets. Buyers perceived a high value when the price went down and they bought these in enormous numbers. Volkswagen has done this with other models in recent years—-including the Jetta. Less content, lower price, more sales. But the thing that I’m most interested in—-it seems as though at least in your opinion, Saab is not capable of making a car that… Read more »
aap
Member
4 years 8 months ago
So lets say 2.5 bn in the next five years. My question is, why can’t this money be found in Sweden. Yes there are some people in Sweden that care for Saab, but in general we may conclude that the Swedes themselves don’t give a damm about Saab. They love Volvo and that’s it. I’m very disapointed in the way the Sweden handled this bankruptcy. They don’t have any pride in the things they have accomplished in the past. So why should Saab stay? The Swedes won’t do it, The gouvernment won’t do it, The investors and the king won’t… Read more »
saabdealer
Member
4 years 8 months ago

This is pretty spot-on.

Soon Sweden will be without 2 iconic brands and an auto industry (They’ll at least have Koenigsegg) when Geely pulls operation into China (Geely already announced that 2 new Volvo models will be produced in China by ’14).

So much heritage and history lost. This is very sad as I’ve always held the Swedish people and their country in very high regard and I would love to see nothing more than Saab to stay in Sweden and be embraced by their people.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
The U.S. has lost a lot of heritage too—-not necessarily in cars, but in other manufacturing. We once had clothing factories that competed head to head with anyplace else in the world—-outerwear, jeans, suits—-we made great television sets and stereo equipment—-much more. Those industries are all but gone, maybe the only thing left being extremely high priced boutique brands that still make things here and a couple others hanging on. There is a great blue jeans company “Diamond Gusset” who makes high quality jeans in the U.S. and sell them for a reasonable price. An exception. Remember, a lot of… Read more »
aap
Member
4 years 8 months ago

This is what capitalists and free market zealots call “creative destruction”. It implies that “something better” takes it place.
Like “slave labour” in developing countries.
It’s not high labor wages (that guarantee workers a decent live) that caused the decline, but the low labor wages and living circumstances (an indecent live) that US workers are supposed to compete with.
In fact its immoral.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Aap: I have some (admittedly) second hand experience with it. The “slave labour” your referring to—–let’s take China as an example: The factory and manufacturing jobs that have sprung up there in the past 20 years provide far more money and far better working conditions, safety, stability than what they had previously. It’s all relative. I know someone who visited China frequently, to talk to factories making holiday decorations and other trinkets—-his role was designing the packaging and discussing what the options were. He thought it was crazy—-the hours they worked and the fact that there were barracks—-many of the… Read more »
davidgmills
Member
4 years 8 months ago
I don’t understand why you blame labor. German automotive labor costs twice as much per hour as US automotive labor and yet you say we can’t compete. German car manufacturers are doing great. And BMW won’t pay its labor in the US what it pays its German labor. It pays half. Why ? Because it can get away with it here. You acknowledge that our problem is our bean counter management who is so beholden to Wall street for a quarterly return that it can’t think long term — yet you blame labor. When our labor costs are nowhere near… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
David: What do you mean BMW can “get away with it” in the U.S.? If the employees of that plant seek a job there—they presumably know what is expected of them on the job and they are told how much the salary is, what the benefits are and how much vacation they get, etc. The plant managers comply with state and federal labor laws. No one has to “get away” with anything. Employee satisfaction with their jobs in some of the southern state U.S. plants is very high. The original Saturn plant in Spring Hill, TN didn’t pay salaries as… Read more »
LG Aero
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Mistakes ! My comments apply to the NA market. Many of us made comments about these items before they were implemented. It was obvious to a bunch of amateurs, why was there no reflection on the part of Saab. 1. The 9-5 was only brought in as a $50,000 plus car without a sunroof and the worst looking radio dash on the market. 2. Manual transmission and 4 cylinder not offered. 3. Virtually no advertising except for a few with ants carrying leaves. Meanwhile the public had had over a year of constant news that GM killed off Saab along… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

I don’t see a 10 year 120,000 mile warranty in Saab’s future—I’d love to see that, but I don’t think they’ll do anything like that. You might see something like a 3/36 bumper to bumper and 5/60 powertrain?

aap
Member
4 years 8 months ago

The american market want’s things that Saab cannot give i.e. american prices for a european build quality car. If Saab has to become Saab again it must focus on European standards. That’s why those Americans loved them in the first place.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
AAP: When Saab entered the U.S., they were priced like Volkswagen. The quality was good, the price was low. Of course, as they moved upmarket, they provided luxury amenities, safety features, larger size, etc. But to grow to the point where a Saab is $50,000—–ridiculous. They are not BMW or Mercedes, in perception or in reality. Also, you talk about European build quality cars—–but reliability and customer satisfaction (not only in the U.S. but in other markets) shows that comparably priced U.S., Japanese and European cars do not give any advantage at all to the European cars on “quality” as… Read more »
aap
Member
4 years 8 months ago
The quality was good, the price was low when the dollar was high and european currency’s low. So they had! to go upmarket when that changed. It is simply impossible to produce in Europe and have low pricing. Fiat and Peugeot either produce in (former) eastern Europe or don’t make money. That doesn’t mean there can’t be an entry level model like a Mini or Fiat 500, wich are “expensive” affordable small cars. In contrary that’s what Saab needs right now. All I would like to say is that the American perspective is so value for money inclined, and is… Read more »
RS
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Angelo, we must remember that Saabs were small, practical, inexpensive cars 40! years ago. Then suddenly even cheaper Japanese cars popped up on the European market. Now we have Korean, Indian, Chinese -you name them. The game has changed radically since then. There is no way Saab can price compete with the cars from the East. The only way is up market if you want to make a profit from a small volume. SAAB competes with the German in terms of driving characteristics and quality there is NO question. Look what Audi became without ‘GM restrictions’. That’s where Saab belongs… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

I think they can walk and chew gum at the same time. They can offer both. Americans are buying the mini—-in greater numbers than the Fiat 500. I’m not suggesting that Saab make a Yugo—-but a smaller hatchback (preferably 4 doors) that focuses on driving characteristics and Swedish design—-low frills, uncluttered, good quality—-can be brought in for the price of a Mazda 3 and will find buyers.

RS
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Yes of course they need a 9-2 hatch but even that car would also automatically be more expensive than a Mazda for example or built in low labor cost country in order to make any business sense.
What will make or brake (the new) SAAB is advertising. They got to learn how to make the case for a more expensive/better car developed up in Scandinavia. Flashy interior and a lot of hp works every time… Then then could get all the young and trendy Me-too-buyers.
The c900 T16 did it in the 80’s.

RS
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Then they could… Sorry.

PS. A 2.0L base Passat sedan costs 45k USD in Germany.
VW must really be putting the squeeze on suppliers in the US to push the NA prices so low. Anyone remember what happened when GM did the same thing in Europe?

It’s usually the cheap stuff that becomes really expensive in the long run…

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

You might be right—-but look at the 1980s era Hondas and Toyotas in the U.S. Inexpensive cars, “cheap stuff” according to some—-but the biggest problem with them was owners getting sick of how reliable they were! “I wish something would finally go wrong with this damn Civic so I could justify buying a new car.”

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Advertising/marketing is a critical key. It needs to be smart. Saab might not ever have the budget to go head to head with their competitors, but there are ways to reach an audience and clever media buying can still give them a big lift—-the advertising has to be a gigantic departure (no pun intended) from “Born From Jets.” I remember when Infiniti started out—-with these avant garde nature scenes, not showing their cars. What a horrific flop that was. Meanwhile, Volkswagen and Honda, with small budgets at the time, did miraculous TV and print advertising decades ago. Put their brands… Read more »
RS
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Although Honda engines were considered very good at the time and I agree, the rest of the car did not impress me (be it Civic or Accord). I doubt you could have done million miles in one, in States/Countries with four seasons. It would simply had rusted away after 200.000 miles. The modern car must have 3 times as many parts thanks to all the electronics and sensors. Now we have emission control, ABS, ESP, XWD, DSG etc. etc., everything is powered and when manufacturers try to build cheaper cars something’s got to give -exactly the way Opel’s and to… Read more »
Chris Carrier
Member
4 years 8 months ago
“The 9-5 was only brought in as a $50,000 plus car without a sunroof and the worst looking radio dash on the market.” I assume you were referring to the non-navigation radio option which was indeed ugly, but I don’t think the nav version is ugly at all and the non-nav cars were priced less. I did notice that the LaCross appears to be available with that so-called crappy radio version but it’s MUCH better integrated and it’s blue instead of green. The problem with green is it recalls 70’s and 80’s green monochrome computer monitors, looking instantly outdated. I… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Dash style is a matter of opinion. 50K without a sunroof is unforgivable!

aap
Member
4 years 8 months ago

The point is that the dash style is NOT a matter of opinion, green works
those computers had a good reason to be green and that reason is still there,
wathever fasionable color you favor, green works best and that is Saab.
Would you like your plastic dash to look like wood?

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

I hear what you’re saying and agree—-I’m sure it can be proven that green is “the best” for function. My point is/was that I don’t care that much—–white on black, orange, green, pink, blue—-I’ll learn to live with it even if it’s not the best—-but to me, a sunroof is pretty important even on a lower priced car—-and at 50 large, it’s a bell/whistle that needs to be there.

aap
Member
4 years 8 months ago

whatever fashionable

Chris Carrier
Member
4 years 8 months ago
It was a calculated decision to release the 9-5 in the actual 2010 model year without the sunroof. I’m sure the delay had to do with the sale of Saab at the end of 2009 and all that time lost. I just don’t think there’s somone to blame or an obvious alternative. How much longer is an acceptable delay? That said, and full disclosure: I own a 2010 9-5, I’m not a fan of sunroofs anyway. I always close the shade so I don’t see the light and I rarely ever open them because of the sensation of hair sucking… Read more »
michaelb
Member
4 years 8 months ago
I see another much more promising solution: Up to now 2 solutions have been discussed. One, a buyer takes SAAB over without GM licenses, at best starts to build the 9-3 in a couple of months, potentially having to replace GM parts. Aside the Phoenix platform is finished, GM-IP free, and a new 9-3 will be ready within 2-3 years. For most dealers and existing SAAB clients, this would be too long, and they would be gone. For die-hard enthousiast this is okay. The other solution is, and nobody seems to believe in it, that in fact a buyer finds… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
Your solution is better—-but so far, has GM done anything at all to make you believe this can happen? I’m not saying it’s impossible—–but General Motors has been a rat. To me, the best solution is to plan for life without GM involved. If they decide they would like to participate later—-make money from a mutually beneficial arrangement, then the new owners can definitely bring them aboard. It’s like dealing with any other bully—-if you are working from a position of weakness and despair, the bully will get an even bigger head of steam to crush you. If you try… Read more »
davidgmills
Member
4 years 8 months ago

You may hate GM. But as far as I am concerned, if GM is not part of Saab’s future for awhile, there is a 95% chance that Saab is gone from North America. The North American dealers will be gone without GM licensure of product. And without GM financing probably zero chance of making it unless we have a huge manufacturer that can self finance.

No GM pretty much means end of US Saab story.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
It’s possible there’s no future for Saab in North America, just like Peugeot and Alfa Romeo are gone. But the decision of whether to do business in the U.S. won’t rest on GM’s cooperation. It will be if the new owners of Saab feel it’s worth it, from a profit standpoint, to be here. Personally, I think it is. I think North America/U.S. is still vital if you’re a serious carmaker (Peugeot’s Chairman said that as they pulled out of the U.S., hoping to come back some day). Honestly, I don’t see the correlation between needing GM involved for Saab… Read more »
aap
Member
4 years 8 months ago
VW= Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Lamborgini, Bugatti, Bentley Fiat= Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Ferrari, Maserati, Chrysler, Ducati BMW= BMW, Mini, Rolls Royce Renault= Renault, Nissan, Dacia Peugeot= Peugeot, Citroen Mercedes Benz= Mercedes Benz So what is most likely (who needs another brand the most)? In my opinion it’s BMW, I could imagine myself having a FWD BMW for instance but that will never happen (BMW is RWD or AWD). RWD and FWD are different markets, still both brands have more or less the same target customer.
Red J
Member
4 years 8 months ago

aap,
Ducati belongs to AMG and not Fiat. 😉

aap
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Ducati trucks?

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Yes, and IMHO, BMW will not want to compromise their “ultimate driving machine/racing machine” image by branding a FWD car as a BMW. Mini is mini—-not a near luxury or luxury car. Saab would be a nice piece to complete the puzzle.

Bravada from GMI
Member
4 years 8 months ago

This might be why BMW was so loud about “80% of BMW 1 buyers” not knowing whether their cars are RWD or FWD, just before announcing a FWD 1er is in the works (to be launched 2013).

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Ooops! Do you have a link for that? My bad.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

…and come to think of it, I see it as a bad decision by BMW. It blemishes their “purity.” I wonder if Porsche will follow suit with a FWD car!

derek
Member
4 years 8 months ago
For now the most likely scenario is that Saab will only have a current 9-3 to produce, and even that one may have to be more or less altered to avoid interference from GM. This is extremely difficult. This means having a new 9-3 while a newer 9-3 is being designed. A new 9-3 (current 9-3 but with new parts) would be a big effort for possibly 2-3 years of sales. Changing parts is not as easy as it sounds. Changing the engine is even more difficult. GM refusing to sell parts would be a catastrophe. If contracts were properly… Read more »
Chris Carrier
Member
4 years 8 months ago

All these interested parties makes me wonder if GM is playing chicken with their IP just like they declared definitively that they were “winding down” Saab in 2009 even when they knew they would sell it. How can a new Saab make it with new new vehicles to sell for a few years and being incapable of supporting the existing ones on the road? There has to be a compromise and the potential buyers know about it.

Chris Carrier
Member
4 years 8 months ago

I meant “no new vehicles” not “new new vehicles.”

hymm
Member
4 years 8 months ago

My Thought is That Saab should make the Saab 9-2 and Saab 9-3 Based on the Pheonix.

Saab 9-2 a more sporty hatchback in the size of an Golf Just the hatch and a Convert.
Saab 9-3 Should be like a Sedan / Combi / Convert

In the longer run they can add 9-3x on that same platform.

If saabs engine deal with BMW works out well, Saab should also Licence BMW 1 platform so we can build our 9-1 on that platform.

And later you can start on your 9-5 , 9-4x 9-7 etc etc.

Bravada from GMI
Member
4 years 8 months ago

The BMW 1 platform is RWD and quite expensive to build. The new FWD BMW 1 platform will probably be about the same size as the Phoenix.

I believe the 9-1 should be based on a platform allowing it to weigh around 1 ton and be comfortably powered by a two-cylinder turbo putting out not more than 100 HP. Perhaps a “MINI platform on a diet” could be an answer. The BMW 1 – rather not.

GerritN
Member
4 years 8 months ago

The 9-1 you’re describing sounds more like a lawnmower 🙂

I’d opt more for a mini Aero-X (iAero?) Diesel hybrid.

Bravada from GMI
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Don’t forget to phone Erik Carlsson and tell him his 95 is a lawnmower. A diesel “hybrid” would be very expensive, btw, with little environmental benefit.

I still believe the VW Up! might come closest to the original idea of a small Saab.

SNJ
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Good article but being in the US I would add one more point. I hope that Saab can remain a Global Brand and not just a European or Chinese one.

orion
Member
4 years 8 months ago
I have no opinion about who’s the best for SAAB. Much money should do it. I only don’t see it happen that GM is involved. Forget them. The strange thing what i don’t understand is, that because of technics from GM we can’t build the new 9-5 sc and 9-4 x. Who is responsable for the design of these cars? Who ownes the rights? I think SAAB, or what is left of it. So whitout parts of GM we can still build these cars is mij idea. It is such a loss of energy and money spent on. There must… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
I’m curious about this too. I understand that GM technology/parts are the heart of the new 9-5 and 9-4—-so building them without GM couldn’t happen anytime soon—-but I’m curious to know if the body shells/sheetmetal stamping can be done, in the future, without GM—-if engineers find a way to incorporate completely different underpinnings to these bodies. I’m a novice—-but I would think that somehow, “Saab” owns the rights to the designs of the bodies and perhaps the majority of the interior design too. Since they were both in their first year—-and since (especially the 9-5) is a timeless design that… Read more »
Alex740
Member
4 years 8 months ago

I think you hit the nail on the head with this write up.

Number one is money for me, I think it’s the only way to build confidence in Saab again for both suppliers and customers that got burned with this Bankruptcy.

Number 2 is autonomy and vision to let Saab be Saab.

OliverH
Member
4 years 8 months ago

In the end it’s hopefully like in the titel (not the lyrics) of the ABBA song:
“The winner takes it all”

DMR
Member
4 years 8 months ago

I grew up with Mahindras. They have an incredible rally and offroad heritage in India. Their Thar shares heritage with Jeep…they started off by building off road vehicles for Willys back in the 60s. If you are looking for quirky rally inspired cars built by engineers, Mahindra wins handsdown.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago

You grew up with it—-so you validate what I’ve been reading. Mahindra would be a great fit.

davidgmills
Member
4 years 8 months ago

Mahindra is my only choice at this point because I think GM would deal with them (GM has tried before to work a deal with Mahindra diesel trucks) and Mahindra wants badly to be in the US.

JasonPowell
Member
4 years 8 months ago

I hear you, but I don’t think anyone can limit themselves to one of the potential suitors. Let’s hope this happens quickly.

Allan B
Member
4 years 8 months ago
If I am being completely honest? One of the mystery Scandinavian parties would be my preferred option just because it would bring Saab’s brand identity and heritage back home and nail it to a big fat Swedish spruce – unequivocally and irrefutably – where it belongs. The other options, while all seem to have merit, are so much less appealing. Let’s take M&M of India, for instance. The subtle point made above about JLR and Tata building successfully on the colonial relationship between Britain and India is a very good one in my opinion. It still feels like a ‘British’… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 8 months ago
If a Swedish bid includes a company with the resources necessary to make this work, I’m all for it. That would absolutely be the best outcome. But it takes very deep pockets and a boatload of commitment. They will lose money before they make money—-that’s a fact. It needs to be a buyer with far more on the table and in the wallet than the last owner. As far as pricing goes—-Saab started life as a value/economy leader. They will never be that again. But an entry level model (entry level meaning 20-25K, not 13-18K in this instance) is a… Read more »
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