In my post last night, asking who’s signing up for a new 9-5, a few of the US commenters mentioned waiting for the European Delivery Program and asking if there was any new information about it.
Yes, and no.
Back in early March, Eggs n Grits did a great interview with the head of Saab Cars North America – Mike Colleran. Eggs asked about the EDP during the interview, with the following exchange being on the record:
Eggs: In the past, Saab has had one of the best European delivery programs available. Do you have any plans to reinstate it? Perhaps 2011?
Colleran: I’d like to re-start the program; customers loved it. It was a very difficult program to manage for us, so it’s not my first priority to bring it back as we try to work those priorities that I gave you earlier, but it is on our radar screen to examine and potentially bring back if it makes sense.
Here’s a tip for Mr Colleran – it makes sense.
The European Delivery Program was loved by everyone I’ve ever spoken to who participated in it. It’s a premium offering and befits the market that Saab are going after – especially when you’re looking to lure back old customers who may have done the program in the past.
My concern – Colleran’s answer to this question, and a lot of what I’ve read or heard from him since his appointment, is straight out of the GM playbook. I heard answers like that about diesel from SaabUSA for 5 years. I would have preferred if they just said “no, it costs too much”.
GM had a decades-long culture of not taking risks, not rocking the boat, because it might stall your career. I’m worried that Colleran has that culture ingrained in his psyche so deep that we’re going to see a few years of GM-like non-behaviour as a result.
The challenge for him is to not merely survive, but to do something in order to flourish. There’s no ass upstairs to kiss. There’s no-one who’ll get upset in the US if he rocks the boat a little.
The buck stops with him and his team. What are they going to do in order to blow things up and put Saab back in people’s minds and shopping lists again?