Saab 9-5 production coming back to Trollhattan?

With many thinks to Daniel B, here’s a translation of an article in today’s Dagens Industri newspaper in Sweden. There’s no link as at the time of publishing, it wasn’t online.
Maybe this is why Klaus Franz was trumpeting goodwill towards Saab and the German factory continuing to produce the 9-5 for Saab even if they’re sold off by GM.
Saab wants to take the german production home
Saab Automobile is working hard to get the production of the new 9-5 from Russelsheim in Germany, back home to Sweden. It has shown that the factory in Trollhättan lately has passed the German factory in aspects of effeciency and cost.
According to the sources of Dagens Industri Saab has studied the options of taking the production of the new 9-5 home to Trollhättan as well as the 9-3 convertible. The suprisingly fast improvement of the efficiency in the Swedish factory presented itself at Saabs most recent board-meeting last Tuesday, when Carl-Peter Forster reported on the status.
Håkan Danielsson, the chairman of the union Swedish Engineers says: We had requested a presentation about which of the two factories were the most cost-efficient as per manufacturing cost per vehicle and the Trollhättan factory turned out to be the one.
The cost per manufactured 9-5 at Trollhättan is about 20 000 SEK (swedish kronor) which turned out to be approximately 2000 SEK less than the Russelsheim factory (Approx 20% ) (I’m not sure of the math there – SW).
This means that the original desicion to move the production of the new 9-5 from Sweden to Germany is being questioned.
“It is obvious that GM´s leaders in Europe first will protect the German interests as well as German jobs. One reason is probably fear of the German unions”, Håkan Danielsson says, who participated at the GM board-meeting.
“It was never an option at the meeting to change the desicion of manufacturing the NG 9-5 in Germany, on the contrary it was discussed to further move jobs to Russelsheim” Danielsson says.
Now they are speaking of design workers to move their jobs away from Trollhättan.
“For example designing of roof-boxes (for skiis), bike-holders and other optionals that we always have been good at in Trollhättan is being moved even though we are more cost-efficient.” says Danielsson.
One reason for Saabs efficiency, is the billion-class investments that has been made in the factory. Bodywork, painting, steelpresses and assembly departments are completely new with state of the art equipment and facilities. Manufacturing has been improved multiple times and the salory-costs is much lower than in Germany.
“For engineers and other white-collar workers the salories can be up to 40% lower in Trollhättan compared to Russelsheim and for the blue-collar workers the difference is approximately up to 50% lower at Trollhättan.” Danielsson says.
He tells us that more than few of the engineers makes approximately 3000 euros per month while the German engineers are being paid between 5-6000 euros.
The calculation of costs does not include logistics where Russelsheim is doing better, “but according to our calculations we still are cheaper then the Germans. Especially in Saabs big markets as Sweden, the US, UK we are better of then Russelsheim due to the fact that we are close to a major harbour”. (Gothenburg).
I like it when the engineers talk. They seem to be pretty straight shooters.
You might remember that this same guy was speaking last week about the possibility of Saab and Volvo merging, in the company of a Volvo engineer. They were speaking as one and as representatives of Sveriges Ingenjörer, the association for graduate beer drinkers engineers.
I hope he gets to talk some more.

Thanks Daniel B!!

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