The Geneva Motor Show was Saab’s opportunity to get it’s message out – We’re alive and we’re here for the long term. It seems that message has been effective.
I know from personal experience that Victor Muller has been extremely difficult to contact over the last few days. I finally got hold of him earlier tonight – in a car – and he said the last day or so provided a furious schedule of press interviews and corporate presentations. I’ll have text from my interview with Victor as soon as possible, by the way.
So to some of the press coverage, then. These are just a few of the articles that have come out, but they’ve almost all been quite positive – telling the story as it’s been told to them. The message is starting to get through, it seems.
TTELA’s Magnus Nordberg is in Geneva and as usual, he’s been filing some excellent copy.
He had a short conversation with Vladimir Antonov, who was present at the Saab stand at Geneva to show his support for the company. Antonov spoke of how he learned of the decision, just off a plane that had landed in Stockholm. He also speaks of what’s needed to get back in:
It’s up to GM. We do our best to make it happen as soon as possible, but it’s not my decision, it is GM. They say tomorrow, it can happen tomorrow.
Nordberg also spoke with Jan-Ake Jonsson, who indicated that the goal for the future is to break even at around 85,000 vehicles per year.
Production will begin in earnest in Week 12 of this year and there are several thousand vehicles on order already. That number is due to rise by a fair bit when US orders come in.
Jan-Ake has also given an insight to Saab’s 100-day plan, which includes kick-starting the marketing for the 9-5, a lot of work carving Saab out of GM, establishing Saab’s own admin where it was previously done with GM, establishing distribution channels, etc.
The new 9-5 has eight of the ten features most wanted by premium buyers in today’s market. They’re working on the other two, as well.
That’s from another great TTELA article, Magnus Nordberg speaking with Andreas Andersson, the Saab 9-5 Product Manager. He says that the efficient diesel that’s coming in the 9-5 will be the most sought after model over all, and that all the technology in this new Saab – communications, adaptive drive, modern engines and gearbox options – set the 9-5 up as a genuine alternative to their main competition, the Audi A6.
The #1 concern for many of these customers is design. Performance and technology come after that.
Of course, TTELA is Trollhattan’s local news service, so you’d expect plenty of Saab reporting from them. It’s not just them, though…..
Auto Motor and Sport in Germany have this great photo from the Saab stand:
Text: The Moose shown in Geneva is a little tired. The good news: Saab is represented despite all the problems at the Geneva Motor Show.
Allt Om Motor, from DN.se, also has an article from Geneva.
Lasse Sward speaks with Jan-Ake Jonsson and asks many of the usual questions, getting some good answers from JAJ.
The most interesting one, for me, was at the end:
LS: Victor Muller said in Detroit that the Saab to be successful, Saab be Saab, Saab may not be the Opel. It is well as many customers perceive the new 9-5, as an Opel in the shell?
JAJ -?No, there is a kind of mental thing that we need to disconnect. Take our 9-3, how many see it as an Opel Vectra? 9-5 is a Saab, but certainly, it was developed with GM. Next 9-3, however, in that we can further develop the Saab’s identity.
It certainly seems they’re aware of the need to separate identities and it’s a good thing. Victor Muller had some interesting things to say on this last week, which I’ll get to covering shortly in another article.
Swedish Radio are reporting on the potential effects for Spyker sales, with a possible doubling of sales in the offering.
Spyker will be looking to gain further profitability by using some of Saab’s engineering services. Services they would have had to purchase elsewhere previously.
– Saab has many expertispomr