My thanks to Alexandros for sending through this Googletrans from Autogazette.de
Interview with Spyker boss Victor Muller: Saab will be profitable again in 2012
The Swedish car brand Saab will be profitable again in 2012. In an interview with Auto Gazette speaks with Spyker CEO Victor Muller about the sales targets, new models and the booming Chinese market.
The fact that Saab is significantly behind sales expectations this year, on its way to profitability of the brand, is of no concern for Muller. “Although we will miss our target of 50,000 cars this year, we are more fully [engaged] in our business plan [now].” As the 51 year-old Muller said, he expects this year sales of at least 30,000 units, ideally perhaps 35,000 cars. Muller expects a boost for the brand in the coming year due to the introduction of two new models: the 9-5 SportCombi and crossover 9-4x.
“Enjoys it, that Saab is a part of Spyker»
Auto Gazette: Mr. Muller, do you regret that Spyker Cars took over the Saab brand in February this year?
Victor Muller: No, why should I? I enjoy every day that this traditional brand is now part of Spyker Cars.
Auto Gazette: To what extent can a brand owner enjoy that the sales expectations are so misguided as Saab? Originally you wanted to sell 60,000 cars this year, now it will probably only 27,000.
Muller: How did you get that number? Our business plan called for a global sale volume of 50,000 units in 2010. These numbers we could not achieve because GM stopped production in early January and we therefore could not solve problems with our suppliers to the extent as we had planned.
Auto Gazette: What numbers do you expect for 2010? In September it was around 18,000 sales.
Muller: We are expecting at least 30,000 units, ideally perhaps even 35,000 cars.
Auto Gazette: With this quantity Saab is far from reasonable profitability. How long will the financial reserves last, in order to keep Saab alive?
Muller: Do not worry. There are sufficient funds available to lead Saab again to profitability.
Auto Gazette: When will Saab be back in the black?
Muller: [The goal is] unchanged that from the year 2012 we will sell every year 120,000 units. Although we will miss our target of 50,000 cars in this year, we are more fully [engaged] in our business plan. Also, many things are already from next year for Saab much better.
Auto Gazette: Because then the new 9-5 Sport Combi, and the Crossover 9-4x will be two new products to market …
Muller: … exactly. These two cars are going to give strong economic growth and take the brand forward. For the 9-4x I expect sales of 9,000 cars in 2011 and the new 9-5 Sport Combi 17 000 units.
Auto Gazette: You have brought the new 9-5 Series sedan this year in to the market. Why isn’t this car so far well received by the customer?
Muller: The 9-5er is received very well, but unfortunately this car suffered especially from the consequences of the production stoppage in January, February and March.
Auto Gazette: How many units of the 9-5er are you going to sell this year?
Muller: Originally, there should be 17,000 units of the 9-5er, but because of production problems, it will probably be this year around 8000.
Auto Gazette: In Germany, the 9-5er had in November just 49 registrations. So the car is almost non-existent …
Muller: … of course we are not satisfied with these numbers. The German market is the market where we have to breathe new life to the brand again. We have with Matthias Seidl a new Sales director brought on board …
Auto Gazette: … and also the job of Managing Director be appointed ..
Muller: … yes, here it will be a change at the top. Germany is an important market for us, but not the most important. The key for us markets are Sweden, England and the U.S.. Here we make two thirds of our sales.
Auto Gazette: You’ve just announced that as of mid-next year, together with state-owned CATC the Saab brand will also sell in China? How many cars are going to be sold in 2011?
Muller: We calculate at the beginning with very low quantities, because we have to built up the sales structure. Therefore, we will probably start in mid-2011 with no more than 2000 to 3,000 units and from 2012 we are planning for 5000.
Auto Gazette: And how does it look from the sales perspective in China?
Muller: We are eager to get up to 10,000 units. From this quantity, it is equally interesting for us, to have a partner to build cars in China. But this will be no earlier than 2013.
Auto Gazette: What cars would you want to produce in China?
Muller: We would first like to produce the new 9-3 in China.
Auto Gazette: From 2012 BMW will supply Saab with modern four-cylinder engines. In which series are these engines going to be used?. Exclusively in the new 9-3, which should come in the same year?
Muller: In the beginning, these motors will be used only in the 9-3.
Auto Gazette: You have said that a small car, a Saab 9-2, is missing from Saab. From when [do you think this could be produced]?
Muller: Whether the car will be build is still undecided, it is also not part of our business plan. One thing is clear: if there should be a decision for this car, it can only [be with] a partner to implement. Currently, discussions have begun with a potential partner. But such a car would be placed on the market only after the launch of the new 9-3. This means the earliest in 2013.
Auto Gazette: Can Saab from its know-how and its financial possibilities in a position to offer its customers an electric car?
Muller: We will offer our customers a hybrid for the first time in the new 9-3. We also presented at the auto show in Paris this October the purely electric-powered 9-3 ePower, of which we will build 70 cars for test runs. After evaluating the test results, we will see if such a car will be built in series.”