Auto Motor and Sport Frankfurt Snippets

Auto Motor and Sport are here and once again, they’re providing some fantastic coverage of the event.
ctm was kind enough to translate some summary points of their article from yesterday.
Thoughts on the 9-5

  • “Better than expected”.
  • “A smash hit.”
  • Only drawback: The roof line a little low when getting in the back seat. Also, the headroom in the back not that great, but could be due to the glass roof.

I can confirm that the sunroof does push back the roof area where the lights, etc, are contained. I sat in the back yesterday, however, and it didn’t impose at all on headroom. It does ‘feel’ a little more squeezed just in psychological terms, however.
Talking to the head of BAIC and to Kjell ac Bergstrom

  • Learned to drive in a Saab in the U.S 30 years ago.
  • “As long as there is a win-win, then the cultural differences are irrelevant.”
  • All my colleagues here have been educated in the West and many of them has also worked there.”
  • “I undertand the worries [for the Chinese], because people in Sweden do not know our company, we are new to you.”
  • Why interested in Saab? “We like Saab, the brand and the cars. But we will build our own brand and need help with technologies. We have to be a global company. And Saab need to enter China, everybody must. Together we can grow, we can help with production and with dealerships in China.”
  • Product development? “We have to help each other, and Saab has a fantastic green profile that needs more technologies. We have good battery technology and electric cars are the future.”
  • “I have met Christian, a good guy…”
  • AMS talks to Kjell AC Bergstöm (manager for the drivetrains). He is responsible for the group working on what intellectual properties Saab are allowed to license. The stuff that BAIC can use. The plan calls for Saab to develop, in Sweden, the technical solutions for BAIC. BAICs problem is that they plan to go from a large local manufacturer to an independent car producer with their own products.
  • “It looks like we this Friday will be able to summarize a plan on how to move forward but all depends on the deal being finalized. They can read and see all we have, but not copy. First and foremost, they want to manufacture their own engines and gearboxes in China.”
  • The danger with China? “Manufacturing moves towards producing where you sell. It’s insane to ship all those big cargos across the world. I may be naive, but I’m not afraid of the Chinese. We can see that there are those more nearby that don’t care about their partners…” [hehe]
  • “GM want’s a clause about being able to buy into future solutions that we can deliver. and that is very good, that means money in. And it show that they have a huge respect for our know-how, something that they didn’t always showed earlier.”

Talking with Jan-Ake Jonsson

  • About BAIC: “The plan calls for them buying 20% of KG but they will not be represented at the board. And they didn’t put forward a bid themselves on Saab, but they were one of the 27 interested parties. They can assist us in China, and that is of huge value. I don’t think you should be afraid of China, the media has blown this fear out of proportion, they [the Chinese] are really good in many areas. And if we reach a higher volume we can discuss local production.”
  • About European buyers: “I think the segment with the 9-3 is growing, but many have to consider the situation in their life with the family when it comes to the size of their cars. I don’t think the changes will be that big, but many will chose smaller engines.”
  • About electric cars: “KG is much more aggressive than GM in their plans on electric cars and hybrids. That is positive. We have definitely electric cars and hybrids in our business plan. But it is all about the costs and the battery technology.”
  • About China in five years: “I wouldn’t be surprised if they make the same journey as the Japanese and the Koreans. The Chinese will definitely move outside China and threaten the mass produces from the low-end segments. The brand will be even more important, and there Saab has a good chance, even BMW, Audi, and Mercedes are beginning to look like mass producers with an incredible amount of models…”
  • About the 9-4X? “Autumn 2010. It’s on track as planned.”

Thanks once again to ctm!

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