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Another Press-conference, but this time its interesting!

February 21, 2012 in News

Today the bankruptcy administrators held another of their weekly press-conferences and talked mostly about the pressing salary situation for so many of the employees. They did confirm that they needed another week to sort things out.

One very interesting confirmation from the administrators was also that they highest bidder might not win the deal. The deal will go to the company that can present the best combination which will benefit the creditors, employees and the region the most. In other words the deal will go to a company that re-starts production again and has the money, know-how and credibility to run it for a long long time…

6-7 serious bidders have been confirmed and among them is a European car-manufacturer according to several sources to different media. What was interesting this time is that these companies want to build Saabs. We have gotten very strong indications from several independent sources that this european company is German and located in Munich. This company has the intention as Till mentioned in an earlier article, to build Saabs and their own cars on the same platform.  You can probably figure out the rest for yourselves ;)

227 responses to Another Press-conference, but this time its interesting!

  1. Blue and white logo? Yes please.

  2. I don’t know if M&M or YM or EUCarCorp or BH/BW or any of the other 2-3 will be the best solution for Saabs future, but it makes me feel better that the receiver will try to find it out before selling Saab.

  3. BMW?! That sounds really intersting. But as far as there no official info, I´m not too excited. There has been so many false information that I don´t believe this before I see something from BMW. Though it would be perfect partner for Saab.

  4. TimR: Do you know if they want to use the Phoenix platform or their own?

    • The Phoenix is the reason they want Saab. They are thinking about FWD chassis for some time but it is an expensive manouvre to introduce. With Saab, they have a FWD platform with a BMW engine on it and a complete FWD productionline.
      A hole-in-one I would say.

      • BMW is already busy developing a FWD platform. The first FWD BMW will be lauched at the end of 2012. So they already have a FWD platform.

        • Doesn’t matter. It depends on their financial situation. If a woman buys a brand new leather hand bag, but then sees one on sale that she thinks would really compliment another outfit she has, she’ll buy the second one on sale if she could afford it. With Saab, they’d be getting more than another FWD platform too. A nice pair of black pumps thrown in for free.

          • That’s a good comparison,BMW to a woman buying handbags! I just hope they don’t just use SAAB for its good looks and great engineering but that they really want SAAB to succeed. Hopefully the administrators can tell the difference.

        • BoeBoe… a FWD platform for the mini and 1- series.
          Phoenix is bigger and modular, adopted for a BMW engine and e-XWD!!! BMW is also moving to turbocharched engines were they can use the expertise of Saab.
          Don’t belittle our Saab R&D!!!

  5. Holy smokes!! Do We dare to enjoy our selves this time? Can’t help to think of what Bull might emerge next. Mabye the Bull s**t bucket is empty by now. :)

  6. If you didn’t want to join the herd by buying a German car, you bought a SAAB. This proposition – assuming it is correct – would make SAAB the same as a BMW – the complete opposite of the pure philosophy I have yeaned for since the GM takeover. That would certainly be the end of my long relationship with SAAB.

    • I really think that they know the real value to keep it Scandinavian and use the brand to steal customers from the other 2 German brands for customers that don’t want a German car but something that is as good.

    • What a nonsense. As if BMW turned RR into a BMW…

    • Disagreed. Tata bought Jaguar. Are Jaguars Tata’s now?

      The positioning of Saab, both in terms of market appeal and (when adjusted to more realistic levels) pricing, is such that the brand would mostly complement BMW’s line-up, not compete with it. There could also be some pretty extensive cross-pollination in tech terms. The Phoenix thing is a no-brainer, of course, as is the electric rear-axle aux drive. BMW could also use a lot more power in their downsized-engine Efficient Dynamics versions as well as Saab’s other green knowhow in the diesel field and Saab could use a lot of BMW tech such as both gas engines and diesels and gearboxes, to name but a few aspects.

      It would be different if VW/VAG were to buy Saab, there would be real competition between some VAG brands (Skoda, Audi) and Saab on both ends of the respective markets.

      But let’s not kid ourselves too much. BMW can use some extra production facilities for their own models and there is a very advanced, lean and flexible one available in THN with some quite useful extras coming with it. I guess buying all of Saab for a few hundred million euro’s is cheaper than building a new state-of-the-art multi-model plant in Germany. Also, having their -pretty good- own R&D/development facilities, the development of new Saab models would be considerably less expensive for them than for someone without these facilities. They would just merge both departments.That they say they will keep on building Saabs in between is great, a bonus really, and may/will keep Saab alive but the rescue of Saab as a brand is probably not foremost on their mind, should they indeed be the ones to acquire Saab. But who cares, if acquisition by BMW means that Saab stays alive and gets kicking again then I’m fine with it, secondary or even tertiary goal or not.

      Ivo

    • What realistic scenario would keep you in a relationship with Saab? Note, the word “REALISTIC.” It think the buyer will probably be a car company outside Sweden or perhaps an investment group—-in Turkey? I don’t think anyone has talked about keeping Saab “pure” as there has been mention of shared platforms, factories in China and India, etc. BMW would be a hell of a steward.

  7. That is huge news! A manufacturer like BMW can be a huge advantage for Saab. Especially competing with its peers – Volvo, Opel, Peugeot e.t.c. Even Lexus can be put back into their Toyota box with that sort of calibre!!

  8. Well, BMW has a big advantage that the other bidders have not show yet: lots of money.

  9. By the way… It sure would be extra super nice to see the look on my Saab-hating-BMW-driver-coworkers face if the deal comes true ;)

  10. I guess it is too early to pop the cork of the Prosecco??????!!!!!

    In any case, the bottle is already in the fridge …………………

  11. Please keep the front-wheel drive @Saab ;-)
    just kidding… would be great news. What I wouldn’t have liked to VW to buy Saab (which wouldn’t make sense for VW anyhow). BMW sounds great though.

  12. Hmmm…..
    Bayerische develops and builds great cars, with a nice blue-white propeller logo. It is just that the image is wrong, for me personally. I am constantly overtaken, cut-off or seemingly missing the indicator by this brand. So, by acquiring (what’s left of) Saab, could be a great extension of the possible market share of this company…
    I do like Mini, but it is just too small for me, even in the latest blown up versions. RR is just a bit… bling for my taste (that my wallet does not fit has nothing to do with it). The GT is an ugly attempt to CC… Still, Bayerische are competing with 4rings and they have a lot of siblings, V, S, S…
    SO – see there you have it, sounds like an almost perfect match to me! Also, a good sized frontwheeldrive option in the stable, must be a good thing, ask anyone in a colder climate…
    I am getting all excited now!

  13. I can not understand the interest of BMW. They have already a huge product range and sales, so why would they want to buy SAAB? I read about FWD and phoenix, could be…besides the advanced XWD.
    But seriously, unless they considered to build inferior models than their own and renamed them SAABs, why to increase competition for their own models ? could it be that they intend SAAB to be like Skoda for AUDI ? Hate that idea !

    • BMW thinks completely different than Vw. By acquiring Saab they can be larger than ever and it is a must to compete with Vw/Toyota.

    • BMW already builds inferior models to their own. They are called Mini’s. These cars may be great skelters, but build quality is only so-so.

      • Due to the opinion of several car journalists the build quality of Saab has also been so-so…

        • I agree it could be better…But if bmw would take over, would they let saab to improve it ? I doubt they would let a 9-3 could compete with a 3 series…Hope I’m wrong though…

        • My point exactly. BMW sells cars under the Mini-moniker, with a build quality that is similar to Saab’s. They seem to have no problem with that. And there’s worse than to be compared to Skoda. You may not like their image, but their build quality is at least equal to Saab’s. My colleague has had only Skoda’s, and if I compare that to my 9-3 – and even the recent 9-5 I’ve test-driven – then they really aren’t that far apart.

      • The BMW mini is “mini” in badge only. Not sure they understood the original concept. Saab would be fundamentally mis-understood in a similar manner. The car may be good, but it won’t be a SAAB.

    • Effectively the Cadillac/Saab relationship all over again?

  14. Can only hope that such an adventure end up better than the one BMW experienced when they owned Rover for a while. That´s a completely different story to the possible one with Saab, I know. Did Honda own Rover before BMW or was it vice versa?
    BMW have made an success with the Mini, at least it seems that way in media. If its a economical success I´m not the one to know. I hope, so for BMW´s sake.
    Does anyone have an analysis of the BMW´s Rover experience?

    • There is the German Saab-Rover-Blog. The guy has written one or two articles on the BMW Rover experience, and if what he writes is right, and I think it is, BMW made a lot of mistakes with Rover. I really do hope that BMW has learned from those mistakes.

    • Honda never owned Rover. They co-developed the Honda Legend and Rover 800. The former became one of the best quality cars while the later was one of the worst in the World! I don’t know anything about Rover/BMW, but if it did fail, I’d think Rover would’ve been the one to blame…

  15. It is not true that BMW does not have a FWD platform, they have the existing Mini-platform which they could use as a basis. BMW also has co-operation projects with other manufacturers, like the Peugeot-Citroen group where they probably could co-operate on a common platform.
    The big advantage with the Phoenix platform is that;
    1) It is scalable in a good way
    2) It is the right size above the Mini platform
    3) It is designed for a car in the premium segment (which the Peugeot-Citroen is not)
    4) there are already ties with BMW in it.
    If BMW wants the platform, they will get it, they have the resources. BMW was looking at SAAB and Volvo earlier and probably they were not allowed by GM to buy SAAB even if they wanted to. Now we have another situation where the FWD SAAB would be a perfect fit for BMW,
    1) They have the full range of RWD cars (BMW)
    2) They have the true luxury cars (Rolls-Royce)
    3) They have the small car range of FWD cars (Mini)
    4) They need the mid / large car range of FWD cars (SAAB).
    If this goes through, I think we can forget anything below the 9-3 size, possible set-up would be
    9-3 (mid; read 3-series); 9-4X (mid-SUV, read X3), 9-5 (large; read 5- series), 9-6X (large-SUV, read X5) and possibly 9-7 (preminum; read 7-series). There is only one true FWD brand and that is Audi, and then there are some prospects, among them Volvo and SAAB. With the BMW resources behind, SAAB can reach the Audi level, but it will take at least one car generation (6-8 years).

  16. No, I won’t spill any champagne because of this. If you want to open some bottles, try cold water and splash it over your heads!

    Doesn’t anyone remember what happened the last time a big car manufacturer owned SAAB? They diluted the brand and tried to move production to Germany before finally closing production…

    Why would BMW be any better?

    • I don’ mind about the place of manufacturing if they make Saab a Mini-like success.
      I don’t think that we can compare BMW with GM.
      BMW is serious. GM not.

      • A Mini-BMW called SAAB is no SAAB!

      • I agree. BMW has been focused on their mission since I was old enough to remember. BMW has been wildly successful (I’m speaking in the U.S.) because of a passion for cars and driving, not counting beans. General Motors squandered an opportunity with Saab because they are staffed with bean counters. And don’t get me wrong—-I love America and I’ve bought more American cars (mostly GM) than anything else in my lifetime. But the comparsion of BMW being “big” and GM being “big” and making the leap that BMW wouldn’t do well with Saab for the same reasons GM didn’t—-doesn’t make sense to me. BMW is a totally different culture—-they love the art of the car there. For them, Saab would be more than a business decision, it would be an opportunity to do more with cars and driving.

        • Well said. I reviewed all the comments and found here is probably the best place to make my related comment.

          I recommend the book: Driven: Why BMW is the Most Admired Car Compnay in the World, by David Kiley, written several years ago. There are even some quotes about Saab along the lines of needing resources to be successful. And, how you need to be successful to become more successful.

          And, I’ve had experience with the US product people and some of the German leadership. They understand the business and have managed well during good and bad economic times.

          BMW doesn’t lose sight of what their mission in life is and it has a lot to do with producing fund to drive cars! That can really benefit a brand like Saab!

    • GM has only accountants as decision makers, BMW is more engineering oriented as Saab. That is the big diff.

      • Well, if you want to revive the technically advanced SAAB, you need money. I think your chances with accountants are better than with engineers. They only want to control potentional competition.

        • Accountants had their chance and the results were a disaster.

          • I know. My point is that “engineers” are even worse. They simply want to control competition.
            If BMW buys SAAB and Trollhättan comes up with something more advanced than Münich, I bet you’ll first see it in a BMW, not in a SAAB.
            SAAB will never be the flagship of BMW. And soon enough I think you’ll find that even BMW has accountants…

            • I didn’t say that BMW has engineers as decision makers, I said they are more engineering oriented. Their decision makers understand the whole picture and that engineers have valuable knowledge. GM never understood that. It was all about make it cheap, cheaper, and cheapest since we don’t care about anything about quality and so on.

              • I just hope that there won’t be a cultural difference that stands in the way of that kind of understanding. Sounds a little bit too rosy to me.

            • in a clinical death situation to grumble about not to become an athlete soon is a pure luxury which we cannot afford. The other alternatives are culturally light years away. This distance is one of the most often causes for failed mergers. Therefore engineers are better choice.

    • BMW kept Mini and Rolls Royce production in the UK as I believe that they understand the value in keeping the manufacturing on its home turf. If they did buy Saab im sure they would keep production in trollhatten due to the added value to the brand that it gives.

      I do think buying saab would steal sales from Audi as thats where most ex Saab drivers defected inc myself.

      Im not going to mention Rover at this point..(!)

      • @jamie It’s ok to mention Rover! BMW bought it to get the FWD platform then found the rights belonged to Honda. They extracted the best bits, sold them on, kept Mini for themselves, and flogged the mediocrity to a bunch of Jokers for a quid.

        BMW would be a good fit & GM might play ball on the current products until Saab can get the “BMW Inside” sticker. Still, let’s not get too excited. All the bidders we’ve heard about have merits.

  17. The only question I have: Would BMW let Saab be competitive in a luxury/premium/sporty way, or would they be an other GM suffocating the competition?

    If Munich wins, would they have the guts to make Saab kick Audi butt (even up to RS) or let keep THN in the no man’s land for an other two decades?
    The niche between VW and the more expensive Germans must be the most difficult one in car business. It can only work with HUGE advertising which could eat up Bimmers own sales.
    Then, who would buy anything else than Saab it they knew/understood how good these cars really are ones they get the interior and power upgrades? :) So far I’ve only heard of BMW letting Saab have the tiny 1.6 L…

    They would also have to try and keep Saab sales ‘artificially’ lower due to Swedish factory capacity unless a NG 9-2 would be assembled elsewhere? So no massive investments into new models or marketing I’m afraid. Sorry, I’d rather go with a truly independent Indian or Chinese manufacturer that wouldn’t hold anything back in terms of quality.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Oh please. Saab hasn’t been serious competition for BMW since the 1980s. Now admittedly, I’m talking about the U.S. and other parts of the world are a different story—-but even here, I’ve read that same opinion applies in Europe too. BMW doesn’t need to buy Saab to elimitate the competition. I don’t think they are too worried about Mahindra or Youngman (or Brightwell in Turkey for God’s Sake) buying Saab and stealing BMW sales. I think BMW would love to make money with a full line of FWD cars at a bargain price. I think they would stay true to what we like about Saab and probably improve on some aspects too.

      • Respectfully, are you out of your mind?

        The sick reality of it all is, in the marketplace, Saab and BMW DO compete against each other. On price, and options on the lower end of the “luxury” spectrum.
        If you think the 9-5 doesn’t compete with the 5-series successfully in the regards to the above, then your delusional.
        Saab is increasingly sounding like Rover. Rover competed in many ways with BMW, and what did BMW do? Decontented Rovers as much as they could towards the end, which led directly to their demise. The same fate looms for Saab as we know it if BMW has their say.
        With saying that, I could be wrong because I realize that Saab sales are just a drop in the bucket to BMWs, however, the new 9-3 is designed to compete with BMW successfully as well, along with the 9-5 and 9-4x.

        I wish all the bidders good luck, but particularly M&M and Brightwell.

        • Ronnie: Right now, Saab isn’t competing with anyone. They’re out of business…bankrupt. So if they WERE competing with BMW, as you suggest, maybe they shouldn’t have been. Delusional is thinking that the 9-5 was “competing successfully” with the BMW 5 series. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be having this discussion—-the one about investors in Turkey trying to buy a broke Saab.

          • The 9-5 was successful in the sense that it, and the 9-4x, were quality products. They competed and were often better than their German rivals. What makes you think that a rover type situation won’t happen to Saab? And to say that “maybe they shouldn’t” have been competing with BMW…then who should they compete with, the Smart car??? Everyone is clamoring for saab to go downmarket to compete with VW, but don’t realize that VW moves huge numbers, and thats the only reason they are successful. They reuse parts in all of their cars, and bring costs down by going even further downmarket. Not exactly a winning strategy when your talking about a company thats struggling to move even 80k cars a year and an established customer base that expects premium products.

            And to remind you, we are having this conversation because of a liquidity issue, not a product issue. So your whole post is pretty much rendered invalid.

            • I love the products. I own a 9-5 (2004). I don’t have to be sold on how nice Saabs are. But the business model failed. Subaru doesn’t sell in the huge numbers you’re talking about—-but they manage to do quite well “down market” from BMW. Mazda and yes, Volkswagen are in the price range where Saab would find a sweet spot. There’s no reason why Saab can’t have an expensive luxury model—-but they also need an entry level car (U.S. under 25K, well equipped) to bring younger buyers and new buyers into the brand. I’m sorry—but the perception of Saab is not the same as Mercedes, BMW or Audi. They can’t get that kind of money for their cars and sell enough of them to succeed. That’s not an opinion—-we’re living it. There wouldn’t be a liquidity issue if enough people were buying the products. How do you separate the two?

              • Angelo,
                “There wouldn’t be a liquidity issue if enough people were buying the products. How do you separate the two?”
                But are we talking about people buying cars, a product issue, or a liquidity issue? In my post i was clearly stating that SWANs failure was not a product issue but was a liquidity issue, so rendering the 9-5 not as good as the 5-series is a joke. I have spent considerable time with both, as we have both in my extended family and have taken both for a ride from time to time and experience them often.

                You CAN separate the two simply because people WERE buying Saabs, in increasing numbers month by month until the factory shut down if you recall (google baby, google). SWAN suffered from a liquid asset issue because their business plan did not accompany Antonov not being allowed to invest, nor the numerous NDRC timeline issues. It was a liquid asset gap because the funds were obviously low, but the gap was closing with the increasing amount of Saab’s being sold, however they just couldn’t last until profitability, but were on target to hit it.

                So to say people weren’t buying the product is simply ridiculous, and an unwarranted claim. Does that answer your question?

                • The sales numbers did not support the cost to run the company. In any way, shape or form, that isn’t a success. I guess if the business plan relied on a benefactor to make up ground that was lost because not enough cars were sold to sustain the company—-or not enough profit was made on the cars that were sold—-we had a losing proposition from the outset.

                  • Angelo do you realize that the “benefactor” was a proposed financier of the organization being purchased (Saab)??? Obviously Saab was going to rack up losses as the factory was shut down man! How can there even be sales numbers when Saab was purchased as a nonfunctioning, non producing entity. There was no “losing” proposition. We had a winning formula if all the chips were allowed to fall into place, however thanks to the Swedish government’s idiocracy, those chips were not allowed to fall at all.

                    If anyone thought that enough cars were just going to instantaneously appear off the product line and be sold instantly to “sustain” the company, then they haven’t a clue about how business in general works, or cash flow/liquidity for that matter. Especially for a large corporation like Saab. The truth is, Saab was on the road to recovery, its sales numbers may not have supported the cost to run the company at that time as you state, but that was because of a lack of working liquidity from the beginning. Saab had NO liquidity when Spyker bought it. None, Zilch, Zip. For Spyker to come as far as it did is a success story. To even give Saab a relative amount of liquidity from nothing is amazing in itself, and a success, because it still achieved numerous goals, and successfully launched two cars, and did all the ground work on a new platform. SWAN was not successful. NOT SAAB.

                    • Breaking it down to it’s most basic element: The company is bankrupt and being auctioned off (hopefully as a whole). Whatever they tried—it didn’t work. If they counted on financing from a source that was then terminated, you can blame the Swedish government—-I don’t know enough about that decision to comment intelligently, but again, it seems like too many apples were in one basket and if the bottom of the basket gave out…one other thing: If it was so clear that Saab was on the path to profits and success, I still think they could have replaced their “benefactor” with another one. There was a lot of money floating around last year—a “sure thing” as you seem to describe it would have no shortage of investors deemed “approved” by most governments. I do understand the GM issues—-but by that time, we were talking about selling Saab, not finding financing.

      • People might have said the same thing about Audi not too long ago.

        • In the U.S. at least, Audi’s long road back from the “unintended acceleration” issue started with the 80 and 90, which were affordable luxury cars, not top of the market. Audi was doing fine in the mid-80s, but After the Sixty Minutes piece mugged the 5000, Audi was in turmoil. The 80 and 90 brought people to the showrooms—aggressive sale pricing was advertised. That was the bread and butter to bring them to where they are now.

          • Have you driven the 80′s Audi?
            It was an aggressively priced car because it was pretty much a bigger VW with a -sometimes- powerful engine.
            The cars (80, 100 or 200) itself were a heap of junk IMHO and deserved to be damn affordable.

            • +1 RS.
              I’m sorry but i feel like ALL Audi’s of that era were littered with problems, and VW didn’t invest heavily in Audi until way into the 90s.

              The Audi 80, 90, 100, 200, 5000, whatever, it doesnt matter. Audi didn’t start turning heads until the B5 A4 and 2nd gen A6.

              • I don’t disagree with either of your comments about the quality of those Audis. My point is that pricing/product positioning got Audi back in the game. If the lowest price Saab at any restart is around 40,000 and up well into the 50s, it’s going to be tough sledding guys. Look at recent history—-there’s your proof. Perception is reality.

                • What are you talking about?
                  the lowest price Saab is 28k without incentives.
                  So your notion of 40,000 is made up. No company would be so stupid as to buy Saab and start it up at 40k.

                  Perception is reality alright.

                  • Ronnie: What country are you in? I’m talking U.S. dollars in the United States. Sticker price for the base model 9-3 with metallic paint and no other options is $35890 and destination charge is $825. That’s almost $37,000 and I rounded up figuring a new model might be a bit more—-let’s round down instead. I’ll make it 35K and if that’s the lowest price car they make—-the only extra charge being a few hundred dollars for metallic paint—-it won’t sell. Let me repeat, well equipped entry level model at or around 25K will bring new buyers and younger buyers to the brand.

  18. One word I haven’t read yet is “AUDI”. They are probably today’s main BMW rival. In this segment people either love a BMW or just don’t want it and turn to Audi. BMW has a lot of trouble attracting Audi buyers (and vice-versa). Adding SAAB for BMW (and keeping it different and “quirky’) may enable them to attract Audi customers and increase their market share. Adding SAAB to Audi does not create the same value. IMHO.

    • This is exactly my thought.

      I would not buy a BMW (but I think they have great cars) but I would consider an Audi if I will not get my 9-5 SC. I have some friends that has turned to Audi instead of getting a new 9-5 SC as a replacement for their old Saabs when their leases expired.

      • Agreed. I defected to Audi (A6) as it was the best car available in the absense of the new 95 combi being rolled out. Most (ex)Saab drivers would not go a for a BMW due to a combo of image and them being RWD (no XWD in the UK).
        I do think they would be a good fit and both brands would benefit.

      • Where I live, Audi 4s and 6s seem more common than Honda Accords. Not for me.

    • I have an Audi, and in fact have had Audis for a couple of years. Just bought a Saab this winter and cannot agree more. I wouldn’t consider a BMW if they would throw one at me, but Saabs and Audis are definetely competing! So, if BMW acquired Saab, IMO they would stand a better chance of taking global market shares from Audi.

      However, I do hope that the new 9-5 SW will be produced.. I’d gladly trade in the Audi for one!

      • That’s right! People are always hyping up A, but when you compare it to an apples to apples Saab I’d take the Swede every time, if you actually have to use the car a lot.

  19. Ohw BMW, please help SAAB! You have got my and i know also from a lot of other SAAB-minded people the full support!

  20. THis is good news – ok great news if it comes out.
    BMW have finally swallowed some hard medicine and seen the need to move to FWD offerings.
    And their problem is they DO NOT have a large range! VOlkswagon have made it to number 1 in the world – (yes they are, the 1.2million cars GM claims from minority owned partners should NOT count), by reusing as many bits as possible accross 4 different “makes” – VW, Audi, Skoda and SEAT. For BMW beside Mini and Bently BMW have no other brand in theri range, esp one that can share non-recurrings and give broader market penetration. SAAB will probably be their lower premium brand to allow BMW itself to stay in the Premium level. Otherwise BMW dilute their own brand trying to compete with one brand over many levels, only Honda seem to have manged that.

    I have doubts about Swedes working with Germans (I’ve seen this not work at close hand before), but it is better than SAAB going chinese or turkish.
    At least they’ll be run by a successful company with huge money behind them, not just soem playting for someon billionaire or a technoogy stripping operation.

    If this comes out its the near best solution. My preferred option? Go to FIAT instead, but they have Chrysler keeping them occupied.

  21. holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit, ooohhhhhh i think BMW would be an awsome owner.

  22. Could be the ideal marriage. Saab signed a deal to produce their next generation engines last year.
    But word of caution – I hope BMW do take on Saab, that they don’t do what they did to what was left of British Leyland.

  23. Even though this “news” is not more than a rumour for now, I makes me leave my first comment on SU for weeks… I’d actually love to see this happen! BMW is by far the best solution IMHO. To use the brand to steal customers from the other 2 German premium brands is one thing, but SAAB is indeed a chance to gain some true market share which would not be possible with BMW alone. Common use of a FWD platform – makes sense. Use SAAB’s experience with BioPower – makes sense to me as well, since VAG are about to launch CNG, E85 and LPG engines for volume models and BMW has nothing to offer on this field. This could change with SAAB. More than that, I also like them for keeping their mouths shut. They haven’t been commenting on anything relating to SAAB since they announced their plans for providing their 1.6 litre Turbo Engines for future SAAB models. All else we have been hearing or reading from all the other players hasn’t brought us anywhere so far. The last weeks and months have been so frustrating. If BMW takes over SAAB, I’ll spend my next holidays in Sweden (again) just to visit Trollhattan and open a bottle of whatever right in front of the (relaunched) factory’s gate.

  24. One of the service managers at my old SAAB dealer (now bankrupt) used to say that most of his ex-customers had defected to Audi. This firms up the case for BMW I think. They want to offer what Audi offer, but not in a BMW.

  25. I am just a little concerned at letting this kind of info out at such a delicate time…..I wonder how BMW may feel today knowing this has been let out of the bag? After all, it has been said on here many times that the secrecy of any bidders should be respected to protect the integrity of the deal.

    • Maybe BMW is ok with it… it could scare off some other potential bidders and therefore could the price be lower in the end.

    • It’s still just a rumor, no-one has confirmed it.

      Ivo

      • Exactly my point Ivo…….just another rumour but now put out into the wider world by SU! This kind of thing has happened so many times on here over the last 12 mths and sometimes the very restraint SU says we should exercise is not observed.

        • @ Martin: I doubt the publication of a rumor on SU could influence the process in any way if BMW really is negotiating the takeover of Saab with the receivers. Besides, those BMW rumors have been emerging on other -mostly German- car blogs with a certain regularity but never outgrew the status of wishful thinking. I would say it’s more or less the same here. As long as the parties concerned haven’t confirmed anything one way or the other, it remains a rumor spawned by anonymous sources. If it turns out to have been true, great, SU has scored a scoop. If not, it was just another rumor.

          SU is important as a podium for a community of enthousiasts and a useful source of info to some others but we shouldn’t make it into more than it really is. Seen in the cold light of day, what we write here hardly matters in the greater scheme of things. No opinion any of us publish here will have any impact on the bidding process or the choice of the buyer. So I guess we can vent and speculate all we want, it won’t harm anything and anyone.

          Ivo

          • Well said, Ivo.

            I wouldn’t worry about it, Martin, for the reasons Ivo says.

            • Neither of you are getting my point so I am happy to leave it there. For the record, you Ivo along with till72 for me always seem to have such great viewpoints and always very balanced comments so I accept what you are saying, but my point has not been fully understood. I am an ex dealer and hope with all my heart this pans out favourably, I,m just weary of unsubstantiated rumours. Sorry.

              • I know, Martin, and emphatize as well. But don’t worry too much about this, there is much graver stuff to worry about even if BMW (or whoever) buys Saab. I also hope that you will be able to return to the spectrum of Saab in GB in some capacity of other, once Saab re-establish themselves there. Many people can sell cars but to sell Saabs, you also need passion. And you have that, in abundance.

                Thnx for the compliment, BTW. I’m just trying to think things through before posting, is all. Glad it seems to work most of the time, for some at least :-) .

                Ivo

  26. To those who would turn their noses up at this and stop buying Saabs, I say … Auf Wiedersehen, then.

    Entering the BMW stable would be a golden opportunity for Saab to reverse its fortunes on so many levels. I have no reson to doubt that BMW will, if they are indeed in the frame and bid successfully, allow Saab to be Saab and share in the benefits of acquiring a brand that appeals to drivers (like me) who admire BMW’s engineering excellence but don’t care for the BMW brand image.

    These people are not fools: they will understand that a Saab needs to be perceived as a Saab, designed and built in Sweden with a quirky personality and exceptional harsh-weather qualities, and with owners who will nevertheless be quite happy to have a bit of shared DNA from the elements at which BMW excels.

    Be honest: what sane person could seriously complain about a next-gen 9-3/900 with a Saab-tuned and customised BMW engine under the bonnet? Think what the guys in Trollhättan achieved with an old Triumph Stag engine for goodness sake.

    It sure beats going out of business.

    AB

    • I would like to have a “900 thumbs up” button as well as the single thumbs up ;)

    • +9000!!!

      This, or… Saab could become the “step-up” to electric through environmental friendliness, for those who couldn’t afford BMW i, for instance… I wouldn’t mind that, as long as they kept Saabs luxurious and Saaby!

    • Yup, BMW make fantastic cars. Why would you want to buy a SAAB is the first place Alan B?

      • It’s kind of a tribal thing, you see. You know, like those guys that keep sloshing Old Spice on their faces despite all that other trendy stuff they could use. Once you have driven one, driving something else somehow won’t do, it just won’t. I can’t really offer an empirically sound explanation for it. There must be like 30 cars out there these days that, considered objectively, perform better, run quieter and are far less thirsty than my great old 9000 2.3 Turbo. But none will do, they just aren’t my great old 9000. That’s why I keep driving it and will continue to until it dies on me. Or I on it.

        Know what I mean?

        Ivo

        PS: I slosh Obsession on my face. Nobody is perfect :-) .

  27. I think that it will boil down that GM will not relicense the 9-5. However I might be wrong. On the flip side, the development and the introduction of new models based upon the Phoenix platform could be accelerated, due to the vast engineering capacity of the BMW group. I think that BMW would be an excellent owner. Just look what they have done with Rolls Royce. As long as they preserve SAAB’s character that it is potentially a winner!

  28. I wouldn’t have a problem with BMW; they make great (turbocharged!) engines and can be considered to be very well engineered and hi-tech.
    (I do however have a problem with many BMW-drivers; in Holland and Germany most drive lke maniacs, totally different from the average Saab driver.)

  29. Yes, BMW makes THE best engines. Great news for Saab ! Hope it comes true! I think it will give Saab an enormous boost in the quality perception and trust for future customers . The negative name in the market will become positive in à second. That will bring the customers back to Saab .

    • Humm, you really need to look back at history. BMW started making good engines only lately, and the M50TU engine on the last generation 3 series sucked ass, it was discontinued for cooling and lubrication issues…

  30. I, for one, welcome our new Bavarian overlords.

    I wonder if this means that Saabs will be unofficially known as the 9 Series? ;)

    • Good one :-)

      I can feel the stock rising as we speak: even knowing that a car company of BMW’s stature are interested is making people feel good about Saab again.

  31. Can’t wait to order that X9 SUV…. ;-)

  32. I was also kind of hoping for Saab to be saved for Sunday’s Top Gear, but that would be hard, considering they shoot on Wednesday… :/

  33. my F5-button is stuck…:-)

  34. Don’t do this to me Tim, I’m vulnerable right now :-)

    Seriously, IF BMW is in fact interested I wonder if they would still negotiate with GM to produce the 9-5, 9-5 SC, and 9-4X for a few years until their architecture can be fully implemented? If not…it might not be such a bad plan (in the long run) – remember, they launched MINI with one model (Cooper) and slowly added to the line-up. Having said that I’d like to see the 9-5 get two more years of production with a SC version for MY13, 14.

    We all know about the Rover fiasco but I see a lot of white space for BMW with this potential acquisition. BMW has moved so far up market that a Saab line-up would slot in perfectly. And I don’t see Saab’s stealing sales away from MINI (outside of an all new 92).

    Now hurry up! time is of the essence, dealerships have been given their last rights!

    • I would be very surprised if GM would license the 9-5 and 9-4X to BMW, although as we have heard recently the current 9-3 may not be as difficult to work something out in order to get some production started again.

  35. If BMW finally owns SAAB, I’ll celebrated it not with a bottle of Champagne but with a case of Hofbräuhaus beer ;)

  36. I don’t like the BMW crowd, that’s why I go my own road with Saab. I have already stated that a Mini-sized Saab with a 900 silhouette should be built.

  37. Let’s forget Saab for a moment and see what’s in it for BMW.

    Production facilities for NG Mini and i-series models.
    With the introduction of SAAB (which has never been see as on par as the Germans for the past 20 years) The Scandinavian brand does however have a better premium image than all mainstream brand apart from VW. BMW competes very well against Audi and doesn’t need SAAB in that mix. What BMW could use; is a semi-premium Sub-brand, with engineering and FWD heritage. BMW, MINI and SAAB together would still not compete against the Wolfsburg giant but with BMW engineering behind them, SAAB would/could make some serious indents into VW’s offerings. it means BMW would not have to dilute their brand with a BMW Sharan or Touran MPV, but could build a fun to drive MPV with a SAAB.
    MINI is almost stretched to its limits on model variants where the Countyman has been slated as not really being a Mini due to it’s immense size over the original Mini.
    Saabwould have those drawbacks.

    What’s in it for Saab fans is that we get the chance to still buy a Saab badged car, which let’s face it will be far better than GM-donor platforms we’ve been buying for the past 2 decades.

    If I can buy a Saab version of the Volkswagen I’m driving today, I’ll be a very happy man; especially if it costs the same or less than a Volskwagen.

    • A BMW-owned, new and improved Saab could cause quite a bit of pain to Audi. BMW doesn’t attract a lot of Audi drivers because of a. the perceived or created driver personality differences and b. the FWD Audi drivers are used to and BMW doesn’t offer in the categories where it really matters, such as business drivers. Saab drivers are a lot closer to Audi drivers in terms of marketing than BMW drivers. So Saab could actually be quite useful for BMW without hurting BMW’s own traditional target groups.

      Ivo

    • Several interesting observations there. But Audi have not always been the premium player they are today. Saab has, without question in my view, the capacity to rival or overtake Audi in the prestige stakes in future. More importantly, I disagree that BMW has nothing to gain from Saab when it comes to taking on Audi. I think that there are plenty of Audi drivers out there who would not migrate to a BMW because they are not into the RWD orientation and/or the very distinctive styling. BMW certainly could groom Saab in such a direction as to take on Audi and that strategy could pay dividends, especially if they make a Saab whose rugged Swedishness can rival or outperform Audi’s rugged/sporty offerings.

      On the other hand, the point you make about VW is very interesting. I agree that BMW might decide to position Saab as a semi-premium sub brand to take on VW and with that approach they could be really successul. But there is a danger: make the car too VW-like to appeal to a mass market and you end up with a 9-3 that looks even less like the 99 combi than the current 9-3 does. My prejudice is that VWs are rather boring, but that is just a subjective view, so I do think you are right this could work.

      There is a completely different way of looking at the market and what BMW might be thinking. If we think less of classes of car, or segments, and just think of cars more as flavours. Why did BMW retain Mini? Because it offers a very distinctive desirable flavour that is likely to elicit loyalty from buyers who would rather have a Mini over any other car. So putting that in context, BMW’s main range is one flavour (and many of their drivers won’t drive anything else), Mini is another flavour (same goes), and Saab would be another distinctive flavour (the most tribal bunch of drivers of all?!) to add to that line-up. All three of them can be upmarket, all three can share some DNA, but all three remain distinctive for the consumer that values their special qualities. The question to buyers then is: do you want to be part of our prestige club? Membership comes in three exclusive flavours…

      That can cut both ways, because my inner tree-hugging communist hates elitism and materialism, and in spite of myself I may decide to buy an old Toyota rather than a Saab if the whole thing got too exclusive and smug under BMW.

  38. I am a bit cold about the Munich-connection, the only thing that matters is this:
    “The deal will go to ”

    Hope hope hope.

  39. Holy Ship!!!!!!!!!
    I spill my coffe all over my shirt when i read about “company from munich” is interested building saabs.
    Dreams come true…..????
    Damn!!!
    Keeping my fingers crossed till my knuckles turn blue.

  40. Bavarian Nordic – sounds like a drug company.

  41. Check-out the Swade’s blog (www.swadeology.com). He is very positive and is welcoming BMW as the owner of SAAB.

  42. It takes so long ! I am afraid Phoenix chassis become obsolete before they choose a bidder.

  43. BMWs arch enemy is VW / AUDI.
    BMW cant be passive in the current restructuring of the car industry and letting Audi take the lead.
    By aquiring saab, cost effective production facilities in northern europe, can produce more premium cars in europe but outside Germany. Swedish Engineers that cost half that of german engineers can cut the development cost further. A brother / sister to its Mini brand can utelised the Mini Habitat showroom network. Saab has a cult following similar to Mini, so with the right marketing mashine and specific performance product (the 900) there is a huge potential to create a car aimed at alternative drivers that want to be special.

  44. First off, let’s not forget that while the elusive Phoenix platform that has been jerkily developed by people that have long been warned to look for more stable jobs has indeed been planned to take the Prince engine at some point, there is a range of flexible, popular FWD platforms made in modern, efficient yet still slightly underutilized platforms accross Europe – the PSA platforms.

    As concerns “premium” pretensions – what’s premium about a car platform? Now, the “Phoenix” platform is to be a rehashed Opel Vectra C chassis, let’s not fool ourselves, how is that any more “premium” than brand-spanking-new Citroen DS4 and DS5?

    So, if BMW is after the platform, they want it the harder and more expensive way – but PSA is not the easiest to work with and have their own issues BMW might not want to get involved with when sharing platforms and/or plants. There is some BMW logic in that, as they have insisted on keeping the MINI platform serparate (even if PSA builds a MINI analogue, the DS3), and even assemble the engines separately from PSA with slightly different components.

    BMW is a preferable because they have a potent marketing muscle, and they have high credibility. As concerns their ability to build an affordable car that is not crap, I rate them on par with Mercedes (whose A- nad B-classes are complete disasters), and actually they could learn a thing or two from Saab from their 20 years of GM experience. The MINI is terribly plasticky and tacky inside unless you shell out for top appointments (and then the dash and buttonry is still plasticky), and the base upholstery in the 1er, 3er and X1 makes small children cry. There is a lot of exposed plastic foam in those cars interiors too.

    But let’s make no mistake – the only sensible way for BMW to use Saab is to position it against VW and try to steal the tastiest (most profitable) segments from them. There is a segment of customers who only have a budget for a GTI, Eos, Scirocco, CC, Beetle or Tiguan and might consider a Saab. Then the MINI factory could perhaps do with a Saab 9-1 model done much like the VW Up (which I consider the closest equivalent of the old Saab 92 in the present-day automotive market), stripping the MINI platform of all unnecessary garnish and weight.

    • “But let’s make no mistake – the only sensible way for BMW to use Saab is to position it against VW and try to steal the tastiest (most profitable) segments from them. There is a segment of customers who only have a budget for a GTI, Eos, Scirocco, CC, Beetle or Tiguan and might consider a Saab. Then the MINI factory could perhaps do with a Saab 9-1 model done much like the VW Up (which I consider the closest equivalent of the old Saab 92 in the present-day automotive market), stripping the MINI platform of all unnecessary garnish and weight.”

      +1

  45. No one has addressed the issue of a new owner, be it BMW or any of the others, of providing support for the current models. Most importantly will there be warranty placed on cars to enable the dealer network to have a chance of surviving. What about all those customers who bought Saabs and saw their warranty and service vanish in one day.

    If the Saab brand is to be continued then it seems mandatory to make sure it is not seen in the marketplace as a company that really screwed over its previous customers.

    • If BMW buy SAAB why would they need what remains of the current SAAB dealer network? They can slot SAAB into their own system as they did with Mini. There are any number of SAAB specialists for existing cars.

      • It is not the issue that BMW would not necessarily want the dealer network, but rather if they don’t support the existing Saabs with warranty and parts it would be as if there was the OLD Saab, which is worthless and the NEW Saab which is what you can out your trust in. There are still customers that would not consider an Audi , because of the publicity almost 30 years ago given to sudden acceleration syndrome ( read that as driver with foot on the gas). The only way to really divorce your brand from its history is to create a new brand altogether, and that has a lot of expense behind it. For less money you can provide support to existing vehicles and move forward.

      • Let me preface this with saying: I don’t see this happening in a million years. Why on earth would BMW ever dream of getting into the mess of taking over the Saab brand. And sadly, it is a mess with GM-owned IP, exodus of key Saab employees, supplier network disolving, dealer network disolving, consumer confidence below an all-time low, no products to sell.
        Picking up some pieces of Saab…sure.
        Picking up some saab-specific technology…sure.
        But to think BMW is Saab’s white night? I’m not putting too much hope into that one.

        Tim Sinclair:
        You can’t compare Mini to Saab. Mini was a new entry to the market. There were no “old” dealers. It would cost less for the BMW to go into the existing Saab dealers than to reinvent the wheel and add-on to an existing BMW dealer. Training, software, special tools, signage, brand-specific culture…just to name a few, are already in place in a lot of dealers. This theory would exclude the Saab dealers who have old, dated facilities or are lumped in with other brands that would not align with the Saab image (whatever that might be at this point…Scandinavian?).
        Further, I don’t see BMW allowing Beemers mixing in with Saabs in the same showroom. Therefore a new building / facility would be needed. A major investment. For what?

  46. BMW can buy it, but can they get the name?

    The name I believe is 50/50 owned by Saab AB + Scania AB. Volkswagen AG is Scania’s biggest shareholder, with a 70.94%. Why would VW do this? I wouldn’t if I was VW.

    Remember the Bently/ Rolls Royce mess?

  47. Gimme my weisswurstchen and weizen ….. I love Munchen ……………………… Bayernland uber alles ……..

  48. if BMW get the deal they want,,,SAAB will be a little extension on the side of BMW dealerships, thats means any remaining SAAB dealership will be history. as is with Vauxhall in the UK at the moment. The BMW customer service is S… from first hand experience….they would have to go on coures to be able to deal with SAAB customers !!!!

  49. I used to just want anyone to buy Saab, but BMW would REALLY treat owners right. Imagine taking your new Phoenix platform to the BMW dealer for service, sipping a cappuccino in a comfy chair as they change your oil for free. Or going to your regular Saab dealer for service who is actually able to work on your car and fix it with parts that are not backordered!

    Can’t wait to hear what happens. My car has 5000 miles before the first 10,000 mile service that is meant to be free, hope I can actually get it for free :)

    • I had to pay for mine! :-(

    • My dealer in Memphis just did my 10K service for free yesterday. I know right now they’re doing service and warranty work for free on all vehicles bought there. What a fantastic place/experience, even with all the uncertainty. Thanks again @BarryofMemphis if you’re reading this!

      Speaking of buying, they have put 4yr/48K aftermarket warranties on all their existing inventory…

      …and the only 2011 9-3 Aero in java with a tan top in the USA! Sweet car.

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