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So whats happening at Saab now?

July 29, 2012 in Editorial

Thats a question that pops up every now and then and the answer is very simple, more or less nothing. For all who have visited Sweden during what is sometimes called the “industrial” vacation period you’ll notice that pretty much the whole country shuts down. This period usually lasts for 6-8 weeks during June-August.

Having followed the downfall of the european car-manufacturers with huge companies such as PSA shutting down whole plats and now getting rid of 8000+ employees, some analysts I’ve spoken to predict that the period october-january will get even worse. One person I spoke to predicted a serious fall of business in late october which made me wonder, could Saab really have survived that?

Lets say that the deal with GM would have been approved with money actually being paid buy Youngman, could Saab have survived a market where there are somewhere in the regions of 8 Million too many cars being made? I have to be honest and say, probably not.

Saabs partner through GM, Opel is doing very badly with its CEO having recently quit after GM announced that they would probably move all of Opels production out of Germany by 2015. Opel make nice cars, they are not great but for the price you pay you get a lot of car for your money. That was also true with Saab, you got a lot more “car” for your money rather than if you would have bought for example a Volvo.

But one brand has really caught my eyes in the last years and I’ve driven a couple of their products and the similarities to Saab perhaps not obvious, but they are there. So recently, I had a look at the Lexus CT, a brand new small hatch-back with a eco-friendly hybrid engine, pretty cool design and nice interior.

The seats are probably some of the best I’ve sat in except for Saab’s, the engine is a joke in terms of performance but beside that it is a great and fun car to drive.

The Lexus only had 138hp but if Saab would have produced something like that, with 200 hp and a ethanol-hybrid engine, it would have taken the market by storm.

So why didn’t they, well you will find out, have patience!

Needless to say, the language of the world is smaller cars right now. Big sedans have a really tough time and companies like Volvo are certainly seeing the effects of that. In most places of Europe and North America people who are wise, which is most people, are not spending huge amounts of money right now, which means that if their car will run for a few more years, they’ll keep it or if they absolutely need to buy a new one right now, most people go for smaller more economical cars.

So what is actually happening at Saab now, well right now Hemfosa are waiting to get paid for the facilities they’ve sold, the bankruptcy administrators are also waiting to get paid. An agreed upon payment has been made to the administrators but it was only in the regions of 10-15% of the full amount according to sources.

What needs to be done at Saab is basically to structure up a brand new company from scratch. Remember that at the morning of the bankruptcy, employees arrived at their desks just like as if it would have been another ordinary day. When the bankruptcy was announced, everyone was given the task of cleaning out their offices of personal belongings and leave. So what met the new owners were huge amounts of offices left without anyone really knowing what was done there. The people who knew, were gone.

Building a structure in a company being the size of Saab is a huge task, if you get the wrong people from the beginning, the whole chain can be seriously damaged, which is why it is vital to get the right people in from the start. This has happened to a certain point. So far, none of the former Saab managers have to my knowledge been asked to return, which means that NEVS intends to start fresh. This decision has its good and its bad things. Good, you get a brand new start and there are not fixed ideas about how things have to be done, new minds with new ideas and open thinking, bad, well you lose the experience of what to do and what not to do, the guys at Saab (who were from the start recruited from Volvo) have gained a huge amount of experience over the years and NEVS run the risk of making mistakes that were once made already. The big question is of course if the former managers at Saab learned from their mistakes or not, well we at SU are on the verge of finding that out as well.

The whole structuring of the business should according to some businessmen I’ve spoken to take about 4-6 months if the right people are found directly, that rarely happens so we could expect it to take even longer. In a company such as this, NEVS would need to employ somewhere around 50-80 who will structure up the company. The people vary from human-resources, press, financing, purchasing, deployment, development and planning.

So whats happening on the used car market? Well I don’t know much about the other countries, I have not had the time to find out, but in Sweden prices have not dropped significantly on used Saab’s. Sure some Linear models have dropped due to the huge availability but if you want a more exclusive model such as an Aero, you might have a hard time finding the type of car you want.

88 responses to So whats happening at Saab now?

  1. Great write up TimR!

    I consider myself wise and I actually got hold of a beautiful Saab 9-3 Aero Griffin SportsCombi this week :) All I can say is grab one if you can, it’s a really good car! It’s remarable how different it feels to drive it than my old 9-3 SportSedan from 2008. The new BioPower engine is really good and there has been a lot of improvement during the years since my old car was made in other areas as well in the 9-3.

    I love my Griffin!

  2. “So whats happening on the used car market? Well I don’t know much about the other countries, I have not had the time to find out, but in Sweden prices have not dropped significantly on used Saab’s. Sure some Linear models have dropped due to the huge availability but if you want a more exclusive model such as an Aero, you might have a hard time finding the type of car you want”

    Its the same here in the UK, nice interesting well specified cars are very hard to find and usually have more than one buyer, boring low specification cars have little or no interest, almost all the cars I have sold in the last 7 months have been to customers who already own a Saab or have recently owned a Saab, they know exactly what they want and a prepared to pay the price for the right car, the problem is that soon (over the next two years) as the “parc” of Saabs gets older and higher mileage there will not be any nice low mileage right cars left to buy!

  3. ‘grumpy’ what scope for me changing my ’08 v6 aero SW for a Ttid SW? Wonder whether I’d be adding money to the deal?

    • The relative values of different models of a similar age has a lot to do with desirability, mileage, condition and specification, but if you are looking to go from a V6 Aero wagon to a TTiD wagon then you will probably have to part with money, V6 9-3’s do sell but the market for that car is more limited than for an equivalent TTiD 180 even though the V6 is a superior car in many ways, obviously the fuel consumption of the V6 and more importantly peoples perception of the fuel consumption makes selling them harder work, however the if you don’t do many miles the V6 is considerably better value. If you want to discuss this with me then I suggest you find my website an we can take it from there.

      • thanks, indeed the mpg for hte v6 is dreadful, I’m averaging 21! But I do love it, and everyone loves the sound of it on start-up, although after 5 mins it is actually quite disappointing soundwise. Might consider the TTid purely for economy but then again….

        • Is your car an Auto or a manual, are you only doing short journeys, I can get plus or minus 30 overall out of a manual, 25 plus out of an Auto, maybe you need to lighten the right foot, no need to use much wellie, but if you only do town journeys then it will be be painful on the pocket.

          • Worst of all worlds I’m afraid, semi-auto, town journies, and ahem…heavy footed!! No-one to blame but myself. On a straight motorway run can get 25/26 if I’m ‘good’. My viggen manages 27 with a heavy foot.

            • On motorways I have managed squeeze 33 mpg out of a 2.8 Turbo X auto Wagon with the 300 bhp Hirsch upgrade travelling at between 70 and 80 mph, you car should be doing a little better, place a well aged egg between you right foot and the throttle pedal. Gently does it keeps the fuel consumption at a sensible level and leaves more available for the odd moment of madness.

  4. Do you know what’s killing the auto industry? Big Government meddling and regulation. If they were to get out now, companies like Saab would survive. 60 years ago when Saab emerged, there was no political involvement whatever. That would never happen now.

    • Vagabond: There’s no doubt about it, you hit the nail on the head. U.S. regulations destroyed our companies in the ’70s and ’80s. Companies like Cadillac were selling very large cars with very large engines and making a nice profit doing it. Suddenly—-they’re told they have to meet fleet fuel economy requirements and on the fly, they had to put the wrong engines in the cars, try to save weight by ruining the structures of the cars, etc. Japan and Europe, with smaller land masses, already had smaller cars (a specialty) and came to the U.S. and cleaned our clocks. Excuses? Yes, because there were other reasons why our cars sucked, but this was a biggie. Government interference in the formerly free markets.

    • so why do you think politicians feel that they need to interfere with the auto industry?

      • Politicians feel they need to interfere with everything, it is characteristic of the breed.

      • Tim: I can only speak for the U.S. Here, the goal of many politicians is to grow the size of the government. By inventing more agencies and in turn, having those agencies invent more and more regulations—-it means they hire more and more beurocrats to staff it all. Inspectors, administrative staff, lawyers who write policy—-all hired or in some cases, appointed by elected officials. We have so many “departments” it makes my head spin. It also clogs the wheels of the system. Is there anything noble about it? Sure, in the case of the car industry, the goal of some of these departments was/is to cut down on air pollution. It’s also to conserve resources. I love an outcome of cleaner air and better use of what the Earth has—-in my opinion at least, what God has given us. But I also recognize that a good many politicians use these goals to grab power and influence—-not a good thing.

        • I just finished programming a report to NHTSA. I get the feeling that NHTSA is growing huge and their data inflow must soon if not already face some of the “newer” Computer science bottlenecks because of its monitoring requirements (which i suppose comes directly from the gov). Some typical questions should be how can we really do data mining within a reasonable time-frame on this model,how does this scale etc.

          The firestone/Toyota issues in recent years has really taken monitoring to a new level =). I guess that is good but if its because of power and influence that of course not good.

          God, i really miss the Saab time. I hope some NEVS news is leaking in August, we…or should i say I really need it.Need to hear the plans for Trollhättan and “Saab”.

    • So, you got your wish. The Swedish government left Saab alone to fend for itself last year and this year. You should be thrilled.

      I hope no one here now touts the safety of this car or that car. I seriously doubt that cars would be as safe with government intervention. Or as clean. Or as fuel efficient. In the US airgbags were mandated in 1998. GM was selling airbag equipped cars to the public and government in 1973. Those meddling bureaucrats only gave the business 25 years to do it on their own.

      Of course, there’s the law of diminishing returns with government regulation, but without that regulation cars would not be as good as they are today.

      • The problem is not that the Swedish government “left Saab alone,” the problem is the roadblocks that were put in place to prevent the Company from obtaining the private financing it required to stay afloat. Then after Saab collapsed, it was sold off to a previously unknown electric car consortium that swooped in at the last minute rather than to a real auto manufacturer.

      • Dave: Frankly, I think the market accomplishes a lot of goals. If people want absolute safety of highly engineered crumple zones, a gazillion airbags, computer controlled anti zig and anti zag this and that—-and if they can afford it all—-the car companies will gladly make it available. Likewise, if someone wants basic transportation to get around in—-and would like to pay the lowest possible price for a new car with a new car warranty—-they should be able to choose one at a rock-bottom price, with rubber floormats, three on the tree, crank windows and no air bags. I’d mandate seatbelts because of the relative low cost in installing them. You want more safety? How about a law that all occupants in cars, buses and trains wear crash helmets? That would reduce the number of deaths caused by head injuries, wouldn’t it? What about a law that forces manufacturers to limit the top speed of any car to 75 miles per hour? As for the Swedish government “meddling” I have a feeling that’s exactly why Saab is now in the hands of a “clean” company that plans to sell NEVSAABs in China only—-battery operated cars for the Chinese. Free market without the Receivers “meddling” might have put Saab and the factory in the hands of car makers who would be gearing up to produce cars in 2013.

  5. “An agreed upon payment has been made to the administrators but it was only in the regions of 10-15% of the full amount according to sources.” That is unbelievable. What real chance did SAAB ever have since these people did not even look after themselves?

    • I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at. The first payment that has been made is according to the bankruptcy laws of Sweden. The rest of the amount will be paid in full within a matter of weeks.

  6. The fact that the prices of used saabs hasn’t sank all the way to the bottom, not even after the final bankrupcy, is an ironic indication of the true value of the company formerly known as Saab.
    Ironic in they way us saablovers did not even get the satisfaction of an opportunity to get a latest generation saab at bottom price.
    Curses, foiled again! :)

    • Actually, Carma, you may still be able to acquire one of the last SAABs as we knew them through the ALLY sales which have already taken place and possibly in future ALLY sales, if they are held as expected. The cars are being sold for 50-55% of MSRP roughly depending on the exact model you have in mind. Please feel free to contact me at juliegardner at kellycadillacsaab dot com if you want more information : )

  7. Former Saab manufacturer, Valmet Automotive, recently signed a deal with Daimler and starts putting together the new A series Benz. With all the talk of overcapacity, it is delightful that Scandinavian knowhow is still in demand. It’s not like Finland is the most cost effective location.

    It’s sad to see the Trollhättan facility in its current limbo. While Valmet is building Fisker Karmas as well, the baby benz was a welcome addition to their line up. Hopefully Trollhättan starts spitting out cars soon, be they Nevs or some other make.

  8. With the right business plan and the right businessmen and businesswomen, Saab-Youngman-Mahindra-BMW, etc. most definitely could have and would have survived. Offer cars people like at prices people can afford. It’s really that simple. Is it simple to accomplish that? No, which is why you need good businesspeople and car people working together.

  9. 6-8 weeks summer vacation, no wonder saab went broke! and nevs have yet to pay for their purchase? any auction i have been involved with the settlement period was never longer than 6 weeks, think loyal australian saab owners are hanging on to their current saab, may be hoping for a mini esq revival, [would love to see the 9-5 back in production], good to see the su crew continue their good work…

    • 6-8 weeks summer vacation is a standard in Sweden for all companies regardless of the type of business they are in. Its actually not just a standard in Sweden but in all of Scandinavia…

      • That vacation is a huge expense.

        My wife got 5 weeks off to have a baby… 20 years ago.

        The Chinese take three weeks.

  10. I am very sorry but I have to call bollocks.

    First of all, when did GM announce that “they would probably move all of Opels production out of Germany by 2015″. Really, GM only ever mentioned closing the Bochum plant and yes, the whole Opel restructuring is a mess, and GM can’t get their marbles together regarding branding, product planning and most importantly marketing. The result is that indeed you get Opels for pennies to the dollar, with a lot of car for your money, but that’s not good for GM neither Opel when VW churns out twice as much of not really superior VWs at higher prices.

    At any rate, it is a difficult market, but some, such as VW, somehow do well, and if you look at sales numbers and financial performance, premium brands are doing better than some volume automakers, and the “middle market” is where profitable sales grow in Europe. VAG is obviously propped up by thick Audi margins, BMW has just announced they are to take over NedCar to build MINIs, Renault looks with jealousy at Citroen’s success with the DS sub-brand and wants to ape it.

    Oh, and I wouldn’t ever say that Saab gave you significantly better or more car for the money than Volvo. The pricing was similar accross Europe, and the cars ran head-to-head in many respects. Both brands were in the sweet spot between well-specced volume cars (which were often compromised in some way to allow for the loss leader base models to be priced “affordably”) and expensive German premium cars (which cost as much as a Volvo or Saab, but sans the kit). One can debate the particular merits of particular Volvos or Saabs, but the big picture was that they offered similar value, and the existence of both brands help each other to build a strong image and case for a “Swedish car” to an affluent buyer.

    And yes, it’s a good question why Saab didn’t build a Lexus CT. This car has gained unexpected popularity in some markets, such as the Netherlands, by storm due to a combo of premium branding, (relatively) affordable pricing, everyday functionality and most of all, regulatory favor for the hybrid powertrain.

    PS. The whole “overcapacity” thing, while not entirely untrue, is a great excuse and merciful and, to the public, easily understandable drape over a multitude of more complex problems, which boil down to poor strategy and its execution, including hopeless product planning, inept product development, poor marketing and general managerial ineptitude. Somehow VAG manages to stay afloat and grow in a contracting market, so there is a way to do well, even if it required doing their homework well for the past two decades.

  11. Re; Lets say that the deal with GM would have been approved with money actually being paid buy Youngman, could Saab have survived a market where there are somewhere in the regions of 8 Million too many cars being made? I have to be honest and say, probably not.

    IF, IF and IF…..

    Strangely , if Old Saab had been able to carry on from 2010 and had some funding in place [by way of a third party part ownership], I think there was a good chance it would be OK now.

    One of the great, great things about ‘smallness’ is adaptability. Smallness allows movements the big boys cannot adjust to quickly or easily.

    This is not saying Old Saab would be thriving, in the sense of making tonnes of Money, but in today’s economic climate worldwide, I do think Saab as a small manufacturer & developer for other makers would have been well placed.

  12. Thanks for the report.I still get upset when thinking about the whole situation, a lean car manufacturer down the drain, competing with other brands that got $$$$ from the gov.

    OT, but whatever happen with former Saab company the actual Saab cars is keep delivering where it counts:

    The car, OG Saab 9-5, came over to the other side and was rolling. “The driver was a bit clamped. Everyone was alive and conscious”.
    If i had a family i would never choose a less safe car than a Saab, and that does imply to rule out the vast majority of the cars out there.I hope they, the family, will make it AND understand the Saab effect that was in work this very day.

    • I wonder what made that 9-5 “wobble”? A flat tyre is no problem for a 9000 @ 100 kph (my dad tested this one winter).

      Incidentally, a Saab 9000 registered in Estland was not so lucky last week. Two guys from Estonia lost their lives as their Saab flew 70-90 meters before ending up in the river. The police speculate that they might have been driving faster than 240 kph through the tunnel, because the speed trap did not catch them (apparently the speed traps can’t catch those who drive faster than 240 kph). The speed trap is positioned just after the tunnel, before a roundabout. The car was launched into the air after hitting a curb stone inside the roundabout.

      • Yes, actually i just read about the unexplained wobble after i posted it here. Hm, strange indeed. Could be anything, driver awareness for a split second, some water still left on the road, hardly some mechanical failure i guess.

        Oh good, at that speed, they literally turned that Saab into an aeroplane then (which btw Saab AB happens to considering start manufacturing once again..for the indian market with a collaboration down there..that got me thinking for a second about mahindra again..).

      • Rune,
        did your father loose a front or a rear wheel?

        It is a big difference for the stability of the car, and if the car is over-loaded or the load weight distribution is “not good” then the driver can easily loose the control over the car.

        • Well, one question that has been bugging me is that Saab used to do the tire-slashing stunt in the 80s, but I’ve never heard of something like that being done on the 9-5. So far I’ve assumed that the ESP would save the day, but that is a fairly big assumption it seems.

          (I dunno which wheel my father punctured — I’ll ask)

  13. A Lexus really TimR can’t say I’m not disappointed. Saabs are a vehicle that are different and that is part of the reason they are so cool. When it come to Lexus they are pretty much a Toyota with some chrome and gold what I have seen from their selection of vehicles I have seen nothing but bland vehicles and tacky interiors. Seats were pretty bad in that car made of like trashbag plastic and was very cramped. But that’s just my opinion on the hand people keep faithful and if you going to buy a car please buy something a little different like an old
    Saab or something that looks decent, 9-5s are dirt cheap I’d take that of a Lexus any day.. I

    • In my case, being a Saab enthusiast doesn’t mean I have to hate other makes. I think it’s important after the failure of Saab to be introspective—-try to understand why “our” brand collapsed. If we do that honestly, we find out that there are supporting reasons for why Saab went out of business. It’s nice to be unique and that can be accomplished without being a boutique brand that is doomed to failure. Lexus has never made a vehicle (at least not among those exported to the U.S.) with “tacky” or trashbag like interiors/seating. Their cars have been very reliable and in some cases, good values. For most peoples’ transportation needs, buying “an old Saab” is not adviseable. Parts will become harder to source. Dealers are dropping like flies. The cars weren’t the most mechanically reliable to begin with. As for a new 9-5—–are body panels and trim parts available yet? If not, do you realize that a fender bender can destroy parts needed to pass most state inspections and that no parts are in the pipeline yet? Saabs are sitting in body shops while this is sorted out. i wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I love the marque—-and if you go into it eyes wide open, you could find some great values. But it’s important to be armed with the facts and possible pitfalls at this point. And we were don’t no favors when this was handed over to a Chinese/Japanese electric car/energy investors consortium. That made matters worse.

      • I think it is too early to say anything specific wrt parts availability. I recently took delivery of a mirror frame that I ordered almost a year ago. I don’t know (yet) if that part was recently produced or liberated from a storage facility somewhere. And it is only one part of many (not really indicative either way — the parts you hear discussed are obviously the ones missing, nobody will bother mentioning all the parts they received right away).

        My local dealer says they are receiving more and more parts that they’ve been waiting for. So what I hear (and experience) looks promising.

        FWIW, we will all die some day. That much is certain. The naysayers will always win. But meanwhile I want to drive car(s) that I enjoy, and I’m pretty sure my needs will be covered for a decade or two more. :)

        • Rune: People driving cars from 2010 or 2011 shouldn’t even be having this discussion about it being too early to tell if parts will be a problem. People have posted here about cars that have been in relatively minor accidents—-but cannot get back on the road. That’s a reason for careful consideration before leaping into a purchase.

      • Sit in the Lexus hybrid the seats were the cheapest thing I’ve ever seen an he car was very cramped. I understand that a used Saab or a 9-5 is not in all people’s funds but really buy a Honda or an Acura if your looking for relaibility, if you do not beleive me test drive this lexus…

        • I noted in an earlier post , I have a 2007 9-5 and an associate has a 2006 9-5. Both of these cars were bought new, so we know the complete histories. Both have been completley trouble free. SAAB seems to have made the OG 9-5’s extremely reliable by the latter part of the model run.

          • I have an ’04 9-5 ARC wagon and it has been a very reliable and mostly trouble-free car—-it’s low mileage though. But looking at consumer reviews where data is collected from thousands of owners, the most reliable cars for the past 15-20 years or so have been Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura, on average. The U.S. domestic cars and Europeans have closed the gap but the Japanese cars, including Nissan, have typically had better mechanical reliability. And I know many of us can point to cases where a friend had a Honda or Toyota lemon—-but the numbers are based on thousands of surveys, not a few incidents of people we know.

            • It seems that cars in general are more reliable today. The difference between highly reliable cars and the next tier or so down isn’t what it used to be. Also, unlike some of those top-rated cars, if you plan on owning your car for a few years a SAAB doesn’t require an expensive timing belt change . That is a maintenance item on many other cars (Honda and Toyota for instance) that does not factor into reliability because it is a scheduled maintenance item. In any case, the latter OG 9-5’s appear to be reliable cars even if they are not rated at the top.

              • Does my 2.3 ARC have a timing chain instead of a belt?

                • All 2.3’s had chains, so you will have some savings compared to cars with a timing belt. This should help offset the cost in some other areas where you feel your SAAB is not as reliable as a Honda or Toyota.

                  • I know some consumer magazines claimed the Saab turbo 4s were “not as refined” or “not as smooth” as other makes. Part of this is the chain vs. a belt. I am more than happy to endure a little more vibration or as they put it “crudeness” in exchange for a metal chain that doesn’t need expensive maintenance.

  14. I testdrove a Lexus is250 automatic, great car, but I need an estate, and they don’t have that, otherwise it would fit me as an replacement for my 93sportestate. Put an electric rear axle on it and you’ll have awd when needed. Even better in combination with a new(BMW)diesel!

    • I read that BMW are selling their diesels to Toyota , and Toyota their hybrid tech to BMW . Btw Tim is this the announced small Japanese car that Saab could use??

  15. RS said on July 30, 2012

    There is absolutely no overproduction of great (bang for the buck) cars. It always comes down to supplying too much of something not enough people want. Saab had what 1 % of the world market and with a renewed portfolio and significant future sales in BRIC countries things were looking up. I believe a few German manufacturers can’t put together cars fast enough.
    The big losers will be brand that have no image to speak of or just rely on low prices, which in turn equals to bad products. On the other hand expensive cars with no brand history or loyal customers are no better off when the economy is shaky.

  16. I am trying not to worry about things I cannot control. It is a shame what happened to SAAB, but that is water under the bridge.
    I have owned my 2010 95 Aero for over a year now, and it has been a wonderful car. Nothing has gone wrong, no warning lights or messages. It is fast, handles well, and I got 31-34 mpg driving to work this morning. As it has broken in, the mileage has steadily gotten better. I assume this is as good as it will get.
    I am going to just enjoy the car as long as I can, and whatever happens, happens.
    I am very happy with the car.

  17. The Lexus is a small car and no bargain. A more powerful SAAB like this would bear the cost of the added performance, and lack the production efficiency afforded the Lexus by its parent Toyota. What would the selling price have to be for the car to be profitable for SAAB? Would SAAB be stuck with the same old quandry of selling at a loss in hopes that volume would build to profitable levels vs. attempting to get a price that turns a profit and not generating enough volume to succeed?

  18. BTW: That Lexus in the picture looks more like a cut-off combi than a hatchback?

  19. To understand the faith of Saab, one has to understand the financial history of Sweden from the 60s until today.
    – 30 years ago Sweden was overelient on Jobs in big mega companies and big government . This was extremely bad where very few new smaller companies were started and people wouldn’t change jobs, so the knowhow and brains was sucked upp in a few companies, without benefitting smaller ones. Trollhattan and the west coast of Sweden was overelient on production of conventional cars (saab & volvo) that was very similar in size and price with a very small home market. This was not a sign of strength and national pride, but a sign of a risky overelience on a few companies in fast changing markets.
    – With the governments blessing Volvo was sold to the Chinese to rapidly gain a new and larger ‘domestic market of more than 1 billion people.
    – With saab, the government let Saab work force be split up by the bankruptcy, into smaller startup companies that would have multiple international clients.
    Saab Automobile and the production, research & development center was sold to startup NEVS that would aim the new products to a completely new market of EVs and seek international collaborations with local & Japanese & Chinese companies.
    – from the governments standpoint they are on the way of completing their objective….. an objective that might be tough for the workers and the enthusiasts to appreciate in the near future.

    – By

  20. The truth is, if you want to buy and run a new car, Saab is not on the shopping list as there are no “new” Saabs. Those that have been sitting around at dealers un-registered are not new. Most are possibly a year old by now.

    I sold my Saab and wanting a new car, had to look elsewhere. I had no desire to buy an unsupported, unwarranted year old car from a manufacturer that no longer exists.

    I ended up buying a new ultra reliable Japanese everyday car (I have a second car for “special”) that came with 5 year warranty and a dealer on my door step. Good enough I think.

    Saab couldn’t offer me that…..yet.

    • If NEVS gains control of the Saab name for cars, you might not be offered that for a long, long time. Here’s hoping that Saab AB/Scania “just say no” to licensing “Saab” to NEVS. There is another way we can have Saab branded cars available new, designed and possibly made in Sweden, exported to all of the markets Saab was available—-and with a larger dealership network and more support than Saab ever had. It’s called Volvo-Geely getting license for the Saab name. People say “Why would Volvo want to compete with themselves?” I really shouldn’t have to explain that—-in short, they will have the market for Swedish marques covered and can position Saab differently in their showrooms with only one or two Saab models.

      • Nobody will be offered a new car from Trollhättan for 5-8 years anyway so whats your point? NEVS are the new owners and nothings going to change that, so why do you keep up this “what if” junk…

        Face the facts, nobody is getting a new Saab for many years and thats the fact… regardless of what happens…

  21. Reference above to Opel possibly closing etc.
    In the UK the GM brand is Vauxhall, many built/ assembled at Ellesmere Port, Wirral (near Liverpool). A Manchester University Business School (I think) professor was recently on the news saying that Ellesmere Port is really an assembly factory of mostly imported parts. Apparently there is only 12% UK content in the vehicles. So where do most of the GM parts for their european cars actually come from? Was Saab’s downfall partly due to a refusal to assemble imported GM parts and instead making their own (or over customising or replacing standard GM parts to keep a more unique Saab brand?)

    • Most modern assembly factories work like that, with parts made off-site by suppliers that can be located both around the corner or on the other side of the globe. With engines and transmissions, which are perhaps some of the most costly elements of the car, it is not unusual to come from a very different continent – in case of Europe, it’s very likely that they come from another country. And this already makes them “imported”.

      I don’t know whether Ellesmere Port uses any body parts that would be imported, that would be quite a trick combo on GM’s part. Unseen but important parts like tyres, batteries, electric wiring, insulation and such are made by specialized suppliers in big centralized plants working for many OEMs at a time, affording the necessary economies of scale. Usually, only body parts and interior parts exclusive for a given model line are made “on location” (in case of interiors, it’s usually a supplier close to the final assembly plant, although some body parts are also now outsourced, especially bumpers).

      • Maybe the ‘imported parts’ discussed, makes a case for how NEV sweden, can make cars in Sweden but sell these in China. The cost effective parts from china combined with premium brand status ‘made in Sweden’ with a higher selling price, makes sence. The higher labour costs might be controlled by making larger segments at Chinese suppliers, minimizing the final assembly man hours.
        Learning from the Geely-Volvo venture, it’s been written in the press that much research & development work has to be executed in china, for the car to be classified as ‘Chinese’ to avoid the overseas taxes applied to foreign makers.
        NEV Sweden, has already by their website stated that Chinese and Swedish engineers will work on the cars, that carry Swedish development knowhow and Japanese technologies.
        Maybe this is a balancing act to avoid the tariffs.

        My personally convinced that Saab hitting the refresh button, rebooting it’s troubled business model is the right way.
        NEV sweden, has the chance of a lifetime to aquire a european premium brand, that will be essential for the company to connect with global customers. I can understand that Saab Aerospace will be skeptical to how much is developed and produced in sweden to share the brand … but NEVs should really make an effort to seek a compromise.

        Having a defined brand as a basis for developing a product is as important as a Phoenix platform. Instant recognition in countries around the world is an amazing opportunity for the future.

        There should be enough Dentist and Architects around to make a business case for a Saab-NEVs product, made in Sweden by Chinese parts, and japanese technology.

        • “Convoluted” is more like it. Why in the world would anyone who has enjoyed Saab automobiles want to see the name licensed to a company that plans to develop ONLY electric cars and ONLY for China. Am I wrong? Where is the proof that I’m wrong? Where are the NEVS statements that contradict me? As far as I know, there aren’t any. Let’s push Saab AB/Scania to reserve the Saab name for cars—–for a company that plans to make cars. It might be too late to stop the wheels in motion that will grant NEVS ownership of the factory and some technology. Let’s fight to stop short of seeing the name go to them too.

    I looked on Craigs List and was surprised that used car lots and dealers selling Saabs seem to be asking what I consider to be top of the market/high prices. I’m sure they’d negotiate. Here’s a presumbably well maintained 10 year old Saab wagon with only 77,000 miles for an asking price of under 5K and they might go lower than that with cash in hand! Hey, I could buy it and have two nice Saab wagons!

  23. I have a very substantial amount of cash headed my way in about 18 months time and an considering getting a used 2010 9-5 TiD if I can get one. I fell in love with this car the first time I saw one and would love to get my hands on one and look after it. The parts situation should become clearer by then.

    Failing that I would consider a 9-3 TTid 180 with a little ‘boost’ from our friends at Maptun. :)

    • I’m also looking at a 2008 9-5 with ventilated seats as a third Saab. There are still only 2 drivers in my family. Call it variety.

  24. I ran a Lexus ls400 alongside a 9000v6 a while back. All I can say is that the Lexus won hands down in all departments, and I would have another in a heartbeat.

    • That is good, always compare the real deal.

      But with Saab at least you get “hey that is a Saab!” and not “hey is that the german/mercedes copycat ?” (at least the early versions). I also have a hard time getting use to their recent design attempts as well.However I have no doubt they are doing very good cars, but even if i had the money, i wouldn’t buy a Lexus.

      • Problem with Saab was the “Hey is that a re-badged Vauxhall?” I got sick of trying to explain that only a tiny percentage was Vauxhall/Opel based…. Sigh…

    • RS said on July 31, 2012

      Ahem, the 4 liter ‘Luxus’ was a tad more expensive and a bit bigger than a 9K I believe. Unfortunately it didn’t make it any more practical or better during those crucial winter months. Can’t one get a BMW 7-series for the same price as the Toyota?

      • “Can’t one get a BMW 7-series for the same price as the Toyota?” Yes, you can but you’ll need VERY deep pockets to run it…..not quite as reliable as a Toyota I think you’ll find. I owned a 730d a few years ago and had a LOT of trouble with it…

        • RS said on July 31, 2012

          bpsorrel, fair point. The much advertised ”hi tech” cars can be shear pain after warranty expires. I know people who bough the ultra boring but very reliable Nissan Maxima’s and praised what they got for the money spent.
          To be honest leaf carrying ants was not a good way to approach the automotive business. Did GM ever realize that Saabs were known to be thirsty cars back in the days (still) on their home turf? Definitely not ‘green’. The ads became a joke over here when 2.0 L was the smallest engines offerings at a time EVERYONE sold 1.3 – 1.6’s like hotcakes in Europe.
          A roaring turbo V8 for America 20 years ago and even Volvo class interiors for the past 10 had made all the difference IMHO. When we add hatchbacks and a descent engine/model range to the equation it’s not difficult to see what Saab should have become.

          • Yes. the latest interiors really weren’t up to standard. A lot of my friends and colleagues liked my Saab convertible, until they looked inside and saw the less than premium interior quality. Shame as the rest of the car was excellent, although the front and rear suspension proved not to be so good as after a mere 30,000 miles the front springs broke, drop links and rear suspension arms worn and loose! No warranty to fix them and a huge bill from an “authorised repairer. To be honest, I’m glad I’ve sold it.

      • I appreciate that we are not precisely comparing like with like. Both my vehicles were top of the range in the ‘luxury’ class; the Lexus was better put together and appointed, although that particular 9000 was not bad, either. The Lexus felt slightly more solid and assured, and never a compromise. Admittedly, it was an itch that needed scratching.

  25. Batterats!!

    Just read that Renault and LGChem plan a new plant in France, for producing next generation batteries. The article mentions more and faster recharge cycles, there is no mentioning of higher capacity.

    While I was quite optimistic so far regarding NEVS’ plans, I now start wondering whether they can really come up with electrical cars in 2013 with the required, improved range. Pfff

  26. I would argue that value’s on used Saab’s here in the U.S. have NOT held their values. I own a 2010 9-5 Aero (all options) w/ 17k miles on it & was quoted $22000 for trade-in. This from a local dealer offering Saab owners up to 120% KBB “fair market” price. Well fair market is 18k & change. This on a 2 year old car w/ original MSRP of $51k. Now I know a car is never a wise investment but to loose 60% value in less than 2 years, ouch! What will that number look like in another year or two. I suspect many owners (at least in U.S.) might find themselves “upside down” on their Saab’s.

    Needless to say I was able to kick the dealer up a bit more to cover what I owed & with a stroke of a pen, will pick up my new vehicle on Friday. I HATE turning my 9-5 in but I was with 4 other Saab owners (all 2010 and newer) who were negotiating their own deals and all of us agreed, we are being realists. It’s better to own a car full supported by a manufacturer, offers 5 yr/50000 mile maintenance & will not loose 60% of it’s value in less than 2 years.

    I wish all Saab owners the best of luck!

    • the prices here in the New York area are not holding, all you have to do is look at the web-sites and the situation is going to get worse as Saab dealers become Fiat dealers which is what is happening in this area

    • My view exactly. I sold my Saab with a heavy heart, but in the end we have to be realistic. Money doesn’t grow on trees and I had no intention of pouring more cash into the running of a car that was losing value at an alarming rate, plus all the dealers within a 50 mile radius of my home had closed.

      Sometimes one has to bite the bullet and move on, which is what I and a lot of other folk have been doing in our droves.

      • Forgot to mention, it’s not all bad news….after selling my 9-3, I picked up an excellent condition ;87 900i auto to play with! :))×450.jpg

        Griffin Up, the real Saabs! :))

        • Wow! I haven’t seen one of those in a long time. You have a RED CLASSIC on your hands!

          • Thanks!! I’m very proud of it as the condition really is superb! No rust and it runs very smoothly, albeit needing a good service now (luckily I can service this one myself!).

            I do believe this 900 was the last truly great “Saab” and just looking at how well it’s interior has covered it’s years compared to how my 2008 Saab was beginning to crack, split and peel (after only 30,000 miles!) it’s obvious to me I’m right… :)

      • I considered selling when the writing was on the wall that the Receivers were not going to act quickly enough—-and that there was at least a 50% chance they were going to do something boneheaded. But I decided that even if I were to get a fair trade-in value or even sell my beautiful, well maintained Saab privately—-I couldn’t get enough money to buy something that I’d like better. My car is a fairly common Saab—-an ’04 9-5 station wagon. I see a lot of them around here. My hope is that the parts are going to be available either in the aftermarket or at junkyards, from wrecked Saabs, and that I can keep it on the road a long time. In the end, my decision was based on keeping a well maintained, low mileage luxury car that I really like—-even if it’s an orphaned brand—-versus selling it and replacing it with something inferior, even if that’s a healthy, current brand. I hope I did the right thing.

        • I think you did! The “old” 9-5 was a cracking car (I had a 2000 MY 9-5 2.3T a few years ago (which I stupidly sold for a BMW 730d..) that was an excellent car, very quick, comfortable and unique. But, for me, I need a reliable car, with full support and warranty back up (which was why I bought a new 9-3 in 2008) and Saab can no longer offer me that. I REALLY hope that something good comes out of this sale of Saab and that in 3 or 4 years time I’ll be able to trade my new Toyota Hybrid for an all-new hybrid Saab! And maybe even trade my CLS for a “luxury” Saab one day… :))

    • My concern at this point, for people with newer Saabs—-is parts and service, not financial matters. No matter what that dealer did, you couldn’t have possibly come out ahead or broken even by selling your 2010 Saab at a huge loss like that. If they “gave” you more money for it than it’s worth, undoubtedly, they didn’t go as low on the price of the new car as they could have. One way or another, a car dealer comes close to staying whole—-they are in business to make money. So people trading in 2010 Saabs and getting less than half of what they paid are not “winning” as Charlie Sheen would say. BUT, if the concern is that you want a car that is going to have full manufacturers support and no problems sitting in a body shop for 3 months waiting for parts—-then you probably did the right thing. You paid a price for the assurance of not driving an orphan brand with dealers closing all over the place. So far, my Saab dealer is staying put—-working on Saabs and now also working on other makes. My car is out of warranty anyway, an older one. If they go away, there are other Swedish car specialists around here who are experienced working on Saabs of the GM era—-as long as we can get parts, the cars can be kept on the road.

  27. it’s certainly not good news – we still can’t get some parts in NJ – I have an Aero that needs a piece of plastic under the bumper and even though GM said they would support Saab – it’s been weeks and I have heard nothing – my husband lost his key for his 2001 hatchback, and when I called the dealership they said call back the end of August; if Saab ever does come back, who is going to be the dealers? It sounds as even they have had enough!

    • H.K.: If you’ve been following this story—-you know that dealers are dropping off like flies. I’ve spoken to a couple of them—-I think they were trying to hold things together by selling used cars and servicing Saabs and even other makes—-hoping a car company would buy Saab out of bankruptcy and that they’d have product to sell in about 2 years—-an eternity in some ways, but a flash in other ways. They were talking about taking out loans, mortgaging, putting personal money in, etc., to float until they’d have new cars to sell. A funny thing happened on the way to the forum: The Swedish bankruptcy court Receivers decided to turn Saab over to a company that plans to develop battery powered “cars” for China. That’s all we’ve heard about them so far. Nothing about supporting existing Saab owners, nothing about reintroducing Saab in the markets where they used to sell—-nothing about dialogue with dealers who had tried to fight the good fight—-just toy cars for China. The dealers who were actually planning to try to stick this out have undoubtedly folded up now—-nothing has been said to them publickly—-and I have no knowledge of anything that has been said to them privately—-that would give them any hope of a return on their investment at this point. In other words, even though car companies were interested in buying Saab to sell Saabs where Saabs have always been sold—-it was decided that instead, NEVS, a “green” investors consortium with no experience building or selling cars will be the ones to “remake” the factory. Here’s hoping the name “Saab” is reserved for someone else—-unless NEVS changes direction quickly or tells us something encouraging that for some inexplicable reason, they’ve been mum on so far.

      • Same story in UK I’m afraid. Couple of weeks before I sold my Saab convertible, I drove over to the Saab dealer who had taken care of it since the local dealer sold up a few months ago….. only to find they too have sold up and are now a SEAT dealer!! That’s both dealers within an hour drive of my home gone.

        I spoke with the new sales manager at the now SEAT dealer who explained the group could no longer afford to survive on used sales and servicing of Saabs, so decided to pull the plug and move over (as a group of dealerships across the UK!) to SEAT and Kia. Sad story for one of the UKs longest serving Saab dealer groups.

        I think this was the catalyst for my decision to part ex my Saab for another brand. I’ve kept my ’87 900, but that’s another story.. :)