October 9, 2014 in Editorial
I’ve given the NEVS plans a lot of though as to bringing back a number of new models into the SAAB line-up. Of course if NEVS were to succeed this would be every Saab drivers dream come true and even though I’ve already placed an order for a brand new car from another brand I’d still be very interested in getting a new car from SAAB. This is the extreme Saab enthusiast talking, but what about the rest of the people out there?
To be able to succeed in bringing SAAB back to the market NEVS will have to do a number of things in order for people to actually gain interest, this is my take on whats needed!
- A Chief Designer. In order to bring back Saab to the market NEVS can’t just build upon old stuff, which to this date is simply way too old in terms of design elements and materials used. NEVS needs to get hold of a new Chief Designer, preferably one who knows the brand already and can create a brand new line-up of cars with a common design language and who can work with engineers to bring out the technical features expected of a high-end luxury brand which Saab needs to be come in order to be profitable. I’m not gonna make a secret that I think NEVS should have hired my good friend Jason Castriota a long time ago. If NEVS does not do this but relies upon external design firms they’ll lose the soul of the brand, building a brand and getting people to feel connected takes time and people have to get used to the design. Who hasn’t felt that a new car looks like crap compared to the old, but after a while become insanely in love with the new design? Design is controversial and needs time to grow on people.
- Build brand new cars. If NEVS decides to just continue the development of the 9-3 and launch a facelift it’ll be a dead end from the start. The company needs brand new models in order to succeed, this costs a shit load of money (~€500M / model) but there can’t be any compromises done on this point. To build cars from generic products with seats purchased from a Volvo supplier won’t work. Everything about these new cars need to be exciting and new in order to attract new customers because in reality there are very few “old” customers left. If I’m to buy a brand new 9-5 in lets say 6 years, it needs to be inspiring and new but without a doubt it also needs to be recognizable as a Saab in terms of design. But the rest needs to be brand new and not something bought from the shelf of a generic supplier. People pay to get exclusive stuff, there is no doubt about that but they don’t want a product that has a radio that could have been bought at any electronics store. Sure component sharing between the models can be used. Both Mercedes and BMW use essentially the same interior parts for all their cars, steering wheel, radio, acc, shift-lever etc are all the same in every model and they’ve proven that this type of component sharing works. What doesn’t work is me spending €50k on a brand new Saab only to find that the seats came from an old Volvo and the shift lever comes from a Mahindra car, that would de-value the product too much and this very fact was the thing that de-valued Saabs for so long since you could find most of Saabs components in almost every other GM product as well. This is the main reason why the 9-5 was regarded by a lot of people as an over-priced Opel Insignia.
- Distribution Network. There are people who are great at selling cars out there, who can look customers into the eye and tell what kind of car a person might want to have and what a person might be looking for. These are people who are knowledgeable about the brand and the products and they can answer any type of questions or at least help a person to find it. I’d like to say that the sales guys at ANA in Trollhättan are exactly these kind of people. Read the rest of this entry →