Getting more thoughts out of my head……
Blogs, like nature, abhor a vacuum.
Ever since it became apparent that Saab was going to separate from GM, we’ve been pondering, scrutinising and scribbling hundreds of thousands of words about the possible ownership scenarios.
It’s been an interesting, exciting and often frustrating time and no part of it has been more frustrating than the total silence on the part of the Koenigsegg Group. Apart from a few comments very early in the piece, they’ve been as quiet as a mouse.
There are probably some very good reasons for this; this is a seemingly small group taking over a large group – they’ve got a lot on their plate. Also, they’re under no obligation to talk publicly about the company whilst they’re still negotiating ownership of the company. They have confidentiality agreements to uphold. And they have information that they themselves want to keep confidential.
All of these could be relevant reasons, or they could be no reason at all. One thing I know, however, is that this silence hasn’t done them a lot of favours.
If they didn’t know it already (and I suspect they did), Saab is a company that has a larger following than its sales suggest. It’s a company that engenders a lot of sympathy and interest from the motoring public.
Given that situation, I think it would have been wiser for them to be more engaged and communicative. They could have set the boundaries and all would have been fine. Being in touch wouldn’t have hurt their cause one little bit. As the publisher of just one of the sites that gathers public opinion on this deal, I can confidently say that being out of touch has harmed their cause just a little.
Having said that, it would serve us all well to sit back, take a collective breath and remember……
– Remember back one year ago when Saab were owned completely by GM and there was no light at the end of the tunnel as there is today.
– Remember back over all the years when Saab contributed so much to GM’s general portfolio, yet seemed only to receive the crumbs that fell from GM’s table.
– Remember how Saab became the butt of media industry jokes with the 9-2x and 9-7x, and how we became used to it.
– Remember how Saab built exciting concept cars years ago that were earmarked for production, only to have those plans killed.
– Remember Born From Jets
– Remember every freaking column-inch of newsprint that wrote Saab off for dead – from years ago right up to last week.
– Remember how mad it made people to see that Saab had lost much of its identity in the last half-dozen years. How much people wanted Saab to be Saab, to be Swedish again. To be distinct again.
– Remember back to when the possibility of separating from GM was first mentioned – did you feel exhilaration at the prospect?
– Remember (if) how you worried that Saab would fall into the hands of Fiat, where they might become just another brand, or Renco, where they’d be overshadowed by the reputation of their owner and cease to be the story themselves. Do I even need to mention the prospect of Chinese ownership?
– Remember when you first read that Koenigsegg were the successful bidders – how exciting it was than an exotic, desireable car company was going to be involved in the running of Saab. Perhaps even more to the point, how exciting it was that a Swedish company was going to be in control of the running of Saab.
– Remember the excitement that every spyshot of the 9-4x and 9-5 brought to your screen. Remember the frenzy that was the early release of real photos of the new Saab 9-5.
We get frustrated by the lack of fast-moving news. We get frustrated because we want so much to get engaged with this company and see it do well. We get frustrated because we know – in our bones – the potential that a company with a philosophy and following like Saab has.
Take some time in the next 24 hours or so to think on those things above. Take some time to enjoy the knowledge that even though it’s going to be tough once this deal is announced, Saab will be back in the game. They’ll be Swedish, they’ll be free to make many of their own choices and that freedom will only grow with time.
Take some time to consider the 2010 Saab 9-5. I know there’s been a few people feeling a bit down about it in recent weeks – the naysayers have outnumbered the cheerleaders, that’s for sure – but I can guarantee that there won’t be one person that reads these pages who won’t turn around for a second, third and fourth look when they first see one on the street. You might never be a prospective customer for one (due to money and a preference for smaller cars, I know I won’t) but you’ll stare at it just like I will – and I think the vast majority will like what they see when the real thing finally hits the street.
60 years of doing it tough didn’t kill Saab. Even 20 years of GM control couldn’t kill Saab. Saab are the three-legged dog of the car industry – very lovable and hard to kill.
Koenigsegg are coming. They’re coming soon.
And me? I’m looking forward to ending this waiting time and watching the future unfold.