What’s New From Canada

Well, it has been a while since I’ve written a post here. The love for the cars and the community that make it more than just a car still exists with me. Where have I been? What has happened? Well much like many other salesmen, managers and owners, my dealer is no more. This is an all to familiar story in North America and I don’t see it changing anytime too soon.

The problem simply comes down to economics. Owners cannot afford to operate on a service only business until SAAB comes back. My dealer tried very hard to hang on and in the end we suffered the same fate as many before us.

For over twelve years I worked for the Springman’s family in Surrey, BC. I can’t say enough about Dan and his brother Rueben and how they personally sacrificed so much of themselves personally and financially to try and keep things going. The history to this dealer mirrors a lot of the GM nightmare. They started as a body shop and moved to Langley to become a used car lot and then became a Passport dealer. Over the years things would change and GM offered them the Saturn, Isuzu brands. Under Saturn they became the highest volume dealer in BC and life was good. For many years we were busy and building a family of great customers who became very loyal. When GM discontinued the Saturn brand we became a used car dealer once again for one year. Obviously when we were approached to be a SAAB franchise once again, it really seemed like the perfect marriage as we both were left behind with GM’s reshuffle. Unfortunately we all know how that worked out.

Springman's Saab
Springman’s Saab

In August of this past year, after long consideration, I gave my notice after 12 years of service. I had received an offer to manage a Kia dealer five minutes from home and could not justify letting it slip through my hands. Leading up to my decision, I had heard rumors that the dealer may be sold and that the new owner was looking to make it a Fiat dealer. To be fair, I was told that I would still have a job when the new owner came and that I would be taken care of but it did not sound exciting to me. At the end of September it was confirmed that Springman’s had been sold and indeed was to become a Fiat store. They do still hold a service contract to be able to offer parts and service but it is not their main focus.

Fast forward to today and I have to say that I am very happy with my decision. I do miss the people and the time that I spent trying to be everything I could to the local community. I am still here and will continue to post from time to time and still believe that Saab can once again thrive. I wish the whole SAAB community a very Happy New Year.

Martin T16s
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Great to see you in here again Jason. As you know I was aware of your above story from our email chats. I wish you well in your new post.

Angelo V.
Member
2 years 8 months ago
Jason: KIA is making some really terrific products these days. Their cars (and SUVs) are beautifully designed, affordable and with long warranties. I picked up an ’07 Sedona van over two years ago with 113,000 miles on it—-as a weekend hauler. It’s been a wonderful experience—-enough so that I will strongly consider a KIA when I go to buy a new car or truck. It’s unfortunate the state that Saab is in today—-which is a state of confusion as far as North America is concerned. It’s like being in hyperspace, trying to pin anyone down on an answer of whether… Read more »
CoolCombi
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Jason: We have spoken online over the past few years. Every company, no matter what the business, is fortunate to have a loyal employee such as yourself. As much as it pained you to leave Springman’s, you needed to do what was right for you and your family. Continued success in your newest endeavor. I look forward to our chats and maybe someday meet in person. Happy Kia-ing!,… err Saabing,… whatever!

lundin
Member
2 years 8 months ago
Hail Jason and former Springmans, you made this blog a great read during the Saab years. I thank you for your hard work. I agree with Angelo, KIA clearly understands the Saab design clues and is continuously coming up with concept cars that has the “fluid aerodynamic” Saab look to it. Even some parts of their production cars are incorporates Saab elements. If i lived in Canada i would bought a car from you guys without any hesitation as you really seemed to care about the brand, cars and the customer and in the end that is what it is… Read more »
dcpattie
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Jason, Congrats on the new job with Kia!

Lets face it guys, Seoul decided to invest heavily in its automotive industry over a decade ago and look at them now.

Angelo V.
Member
2 years 8 months ago
Pattie: Along with investing—-the people running the operations of the Korean car companies did something that Saab hasn’t done in eons—-they looked at the reality of what customers wanted and could afford—-and they made their business plan and car designs comply with market conditions. The last incarnation of Saab (Muller—-because I don’t consider NEVS an incarnation of Saab yet since I can’t buy a Saab and neither can most of the rest of the world and they’re not producing in realistic numbers yet) was more intent on building Saabs that THEY would want to drive or own instead of looking… Read more »
dcpattie
Member
2 years 8 months ago

I hear you loud and clear. BTW, the new Kia GT4 Stinger looks like its could have been the production version of the Aero X! Build it Kia!!!

Mark
Member
2 years 8 months ago
Good luck with the Kia job Jason. Actually I’ll be taking a Kia for a test drive in a month or two when the Pro_cee’d GT debuts here in Australia. It seems like quite a nice ‘warm’ hatch and I’m interested to see how it compares to my old 1999 OG9-3 SE 3 door. The Kia Cee’d and Pro_cee’d are designed and built in Europe. The Cee’d is the 5 door and the Pro_cee’d is the 3 door version. Australia normally gets the Cerato (Forte) and won’t get the full Cee’d/Pro_cee’d range. Initially we are only supposed to get the… Read more »
SaabKen
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Good to see you back, Jason ! We were looking for you on KIASUnited 😉

You get Saturdays off now ? If so you can finally partake in our Saab meets.

Cheers.
Ken

saabpartsdublin
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Nice to see you post again Jason, and a happy new year to you and yours also.
I had the pleasure of spending Christmas in Delta with my son and grandchildren and called in one of the days to meet you, but alas you had moved on. I wish you luck and enjoyment in your new job. Cheers, Pat.

Chris Hansel
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Jason: Among the many voices on this blog, you were the fairest and most long suffering. Putting up with all kinds of abuse. My hat is off to you, best damn saleman in the world. As I’m sure you will continue to be.

Angelo V.
Member
2 years 8 months ago
The uncertainty of the situation is crippling to small businesses. How in the world can a business owner or manager make plans for the future when no one is commenting on what that future might be? I remain convinced that some Saab dealers would find a way to stay in business on rice and beans if they had assurance that by model year 201? new Saabs would be delivered for them to sell. They could specialize in pre-owned Saabs and other used luxury cars—continue service work—-and try to survive until Saab returned. But not knowing if there will even be… Read more »
Patrik H
Member
2 years 8 months ago

I am beginning to think “fraud, fraud, fraud” more and more, ever since you suggested comparing the NEVS website to the next worst automotive brand’s website. Who in their right mind would spend $30-40k on a car being hawked by a website like that!? For one, not me.

Joe
Guest
2 years 8 months ago
Yes, Jason. I wish you the best of luck, and will see you again in “your neck of the woods”. You have indeed made a wise choice going with a progressive manufacturer; Kia! The products are a great value, and continue to improve and gain market share exponentially. They are making very nice automobiles, and have some very exciting platforms and designs on the way. They have also made enormous investment in engine technology, and the results of this will be seen over the next several years. The landscape of the automobile business has changed dramatically over the last 5… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
2 years 8 months ago
Jason: I concur with Cool Combi (above). If I were lucky enough to own a car dealership—-any brand—-you would be the superstar first hire I’d make! You know something? In some ways, the Kia Soul is like a spiritual successor to the old Saab 96—-the car that established them in the U.S. Funky, practical, inexpensive, economical, different looks inside and out—-not for everybody—-love it or hate it. The fact that Kia has a full line of cars and trucks—-and that they are part of a huge business empire—-means that they are not any sort of successor to Saab in a… Read more »
3cyl
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Jason, although it is sad to see these old SAAB dealers close, I hope you will continue to provide interesting posts here.

AEROOTTAWA
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Jason: I was wondering what had become of you and was afraid the explanation was exactly what happened to Springmans.. I’d like to echo Chris Hansel’s comment above, and hope that some day you will be able to sell new Saab’s again. In the meantime, best wishes for success in your new job, and please don’t be a stranger to SU.

Saabseller
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Jason, like you I had to jump ship too, I moved on to Audi. Once you’ve been used to lamingtons {Oz delicacy), you can’t go back to stale bread…

Kia … at least you don’t have to own one. My last {and first} experience with one, other than trading them, was as a rental in Dubai. I have nothing kind to say other than the styling is mostly pleasant to the eye now! It seems all the former Korean designers are now working for Toyota.

Good luck,

KJ

Angelo V.
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Of course, maybe it will make more sense for NEVS/Saab to re-enter the U.S. before entering Cuba! Interesting reading.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/01/09/261111796/cuba-land-of-the-250-000-family-sedan?utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprfacebook&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=facebook

Eric
Member
2 years 6 months ago

Just keep walking, Jason, taking the legend of SAAB with you, it’s one part of your life and happiness, Good Luck!
I feel lucky that i can bring the 2007 93 Aero home from Springman when there still is a big, beautiful “SAAB” on the top of wall.

wpDiscuz