DI.se cover the Saab sale anniversary

It’s good to see more and more of the Swedish press covering the 12-month anniversary of Saab being sold to Spyker (well, the initial deal, at least).

DI.se are the latest to join the party. They got a little poopy with my last translation, so here are some snippets only. You’ll have to hit the link and Googletrans the whole thing for yourself.


It was much harder than expected to launch the Saab Automobile after GM’s liquidation. But it worked. And doing better day by day. It says Saab President Victor Muller in an interview a year after he took over the automaker….

….”By this time last year I was in a bed at the Grand Hotel and gasping for air. I was completely exhausted after the last days of negotiations with GM, “said Muller.

How does it look now?

“We see a lot better situation in 2011 than in 2010 when we do not have supply problems during the first half of last year. I do not think 2011 will be a normal year for Saab, but it’s becoming more normal than 2010 was.”

Do you earn money on every car sold?

“No, it depends on what market it is sold on. It is particularly tough on the American market, given the weak dollar. But it’s not just Saab, but also BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen.

“The difference is that the producers have great production in the U.S. also. It is one of the reasons we are not moving production of its 9-4X to Trollhättan. ”

While remaining part to settle from the period when the Saab was in reorganization. Enforcement argues that Saab has a debt of 110 million to pay from the government wage guarantee that the company received. But Saab believes that the debt is written off in conjunction with an arrangement.

“It is a question that it is now up to the right of deciding. We believe we will win, but if we do not, we have the money to pay for it, “said Muller.

Thanks to Micke for the tip!

56 thoughts on “DI.se cover the Saab sale anniversary”

  1. “No, it depends on what market it is sold on. It is particularly tough on the American market, given the weak dollar.

    What will the European car manufactures do if the dollar continue to weaken compared to the Euro and SEK?

    • The other way around I don’t understand why the 9-4X has to be so expensive in Europe when exchange rates would favor moving metal east across the pond. It sells in the US from ~$35k. Say that you are looking at, worst case, 25% fees (incl VAT) to get it on the street in Europe in Sweden, Belgium, UK, Germany or any other Eurocountry without crazy car taxes like Denmark or Norway (think it’s a high figure). That’s $44k. Belgium prices for base is EUR50k ~$67k. I see a opportunity to maximize export sales of $-made cars when the $ is weak.

  2. This is the million dollar question at the moment, if I understand it correctly.
    It seems to be the policy of american politics right now to lower the value of the dollar, to increase export and domestic consumption. (And they are not the only country with that idea, I suspect.)

    European (import) cars will get more expensive on the american market, sales will drop, and Cadillac will rise again. 😉

    • Imports will get more expensive but I don’t think sales in the European premium vehicles will drop. Acura and Infinity could well have a problem on the other hand. Where SAAB will be in amongst the mix is a different question. Hopefully SAAB could keep prices steady which may see slightly lower dealer margins to remain competitive.

    • The fluctuating currencies are indeed a huge problem for carmakers. A large part of BMW’s losses with Rover were related to currency fluctuations. Most European and Asian manufacturers have built up production facilities in the Dollar area to counterbalance these effects. Saab clearly gets negative effects on the revenue for Trollhättan- built cars in the Dollar area, alternatively comparative price disadvantage. The Mexico-based 9-4x will however not suffer on these markets, in Europe it may even generate more income or become more competitive!

      • Swedish finances are comparatively good (budget, debt) and the swedish crown SEK has become the alternative to the Swiss Franc, some say. However, swedish export industry suffers, including Saab & Volvo. Still, Volvo has manufacturing and assembly plants around the world including Euro zone (also weak) and cannot produce enough of the rather nice XC60. What is going on right now in the world is nothing less than a currency war, with Europe, China and especially US as main actors. The fact that US is indeed bankrupt makes their money printing less surprising, let alone the high inflation that has already started. US food prices will increase with double digit percentage this year (some say around +14%), so get that Saab, cash, now, while you can!!!
        /rant over/

        • “The fact that US is indeed bankrupt” Really. That’s a pretty hefty “truth” you casually toss out there.

          • Unfortunately it is not me tossing it out there, but I tossed in in here, for which I apologize. This is a Saab enthusiast forum and blog, and I do enjoy my Saab and I truly hope and wish Saab will continue building exciting and different cars as long as I live (another 30+ years, hopefully).
            There are big problems in US, not only for the auto industry. What I maybe was trying to say is that though US is presently, today, an important market, maybe the key market for Saab could be elsewhere. I recently met with a person in US working for the remaining british SUV manufacturer, who stated they could not get enough of their SUVs into the US, as they were sold much easier, with a better profit, for cash (no complicated financing) in the East, countries named were China and Russia. The mature car market in US is very very tough, while in newer, younger markets (can be) easier penetrated and built, especially with an iconic brand with a fantastic history…
            BAIC & Antonov, hello???

            For the first topic, a quick google can point you to these places, I am not clever enough to understand all of this, but others (say they) are….

        • The quote about the US being bankrupt or not is academic if you ask me. If we are not there, we will be soon unless something changes drastically. The Fed was finally forced to open it’s books for a day and what was found was astonishing. The Fed used 13 Trillion dollars of US Taxpayer money to buy up bad assets and or interest-rate free loans with optional payback to other investment banks in other countries. That is about 1 year of US GDP and it was done secretly. You will not find that in any treasury numbers.

          The US governemnt seems been on weakening the dollar to usher in a new currency in the next 10-15 years. So I agree with Sandy, that the inflationary picture is glum for the future. This will affect the SAAB (or BMW, Audi, Mercedes, etc…) situation(s) a great deal.

          • North American Union, Amero….
            IMHO, the American taxpayers are being tripple ****ed, without even realizing it. Savings, pensions, muni bonds etc, will become virtually worthless…
            Google “Inside Job”, William Bill, Max Keiser for some interesting stuff…
            WSJ – hmmm….. Hope these guys many Saabs with their moneys….
            Few Main Street guys will be able to afford any new cars….
            Still, good that the 9-4x is manufactured in Mexico, paid for in USD, a little bit of leverage against the continued currency debacle….
            I believe in 80.000 for 2011!

          • Sorry, should be William Black, not Bill…
            Thanks for correcting the *****.
            On “demography”, I hope Saab’s is maybe a bitt less price sensitive – a Saab is a statement, different from an asian import, even a german (nicht), even at a slightly increased price point. It is interesting though, while we loathe someone wearing the same suit or dress, we wave to drivers the same car (or at least Saab)?
            Anyways, we here, are not typical Saab buyers, no?
            Thank goodness for variety and choice!

  3. “Do you earn money on every car sold?

    “No, it depends on what market it is sold on. It is particularly tough on the American market, given the weak dollar. But it’s not just Saab, but also BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen.”

    Ah…Victor…sorry to burst your bubble…but ALL four German marques had RECORD sales figures, not only in the US…but world wide, for 2010.

    And no…they are NOT losing money in the US. Sorry bunkie. 🙁

    • ehh, don´t you think he´s talking about currency-losses? I´ts hardly good, at least not short term to sell cars with a loss.

      • I agree completely it is not good to sell cars at a loss…EVER. It’s a sad state of affairs that SAAB have to do this in the US right now…and I sure hope it stops sooner than later.

        However, what anyone “thinks” he may have meant…and what he actually said, are two different things.

        The fact remains he SAID the four German marques were having a tough time earning money in the American market. Being that they have all set record sales figures…as in all time sales records…both in the US and worldwide…it is highly unlikely that any of them are losing money in the US…regardless of where the automobiles are manufactured…or what the exchange rates are.

        I sincerely doubt any of these manufacturers would sell their cars at a loss in the US, or anywhere else. Unless it was to move very old stock from inventories.

        The Japanese (and probably other Asian car companies) have done this in the past…but I have never heard of this being done by European automobile manufacturers.

        • Well, what he says is that companies producing in europe and selling in US has problems making it profitable because of the weak dollar, but it´s easier for the germans who have production in US. I don´t really see why you should call that living in “a boubble”, I think it makes perfect sense:

          “Do you earn money on every car sold?
          “No, it depends on what market it is sold on. It is particularly tough on the American market, given the weak dollar. But it’s not just Saab, but also BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen.

          “The difference is that these producers have great production in the U.S. also. It is one of the reasons we are not moving production of its 9-4X to Trollhättan. “

  4. Sometimes you wonder if all horses are home for the people that comments on this site and other internet sites! 🙁

  5. Objective article. OK, I think.
    But all of these jaundiced (bitter) people out there……..believing that the sales 2011 will end at 30.000?

    My comment on DI :
    “30.000 sålde man 2010 på i realiteten 6-7 månaders försäljning. Och det med 9-3ss, 9-3sc och 9-5ss. På 12 månader År 2011 klarar man lätt 55-60.000 med den uppsättningen.
    Lägg dessutom till ytterliggare modeller/varianter som 9-5sc, 9-4x samt 9-3ss(119gr), 9-3sc(119gr).
    Då klarar vi 80.000. ;-)”

    “In 2010 there were 30.000 Saabs sold on 6-7 months. And that with 9-3ss, 9-3sc och 9-5ss.
    Year 2011 you just double the numbers to 55-60.000 for that config.
    Add to that new models/variations as 9-5sc, 9-4x samt 9-3ss(119gr), 9-3sc(119gr). Then we easily manage to sell at least 80.000!”

    • Wonder if there are any monthly _production_ figures available that support that ’10 pretty much was half a year. Coupled with the demand driven policy going on would force the haters dissing 80k for ’11 to argue that Saab are plain lying without being to able to support it with facts, right before they start crying.

      • Yes, are there any statistics on that.
        VM says this in the DI article :

        ”Kanske var vi överoptimistiska som trodde på 50.000-60.000 bilar. Problemen som uppstod efter likvidationen var större än vad vi väntat oss. Det tog oss längre tid, ungefär ett halvår längre, att komma igång igen.”

        “Maybe we were too optimistic who believed in 50-60.000 cars. Problems due to the likvidation process were bigger than we anticipated. It took us longer time, About half a year longer, to get back on track.”

    • Ah, it was you who wrote that comment on DI. I read it and thought that it was exactly my position. 🙂 Have become so tired of commenting on DI. Sometimes I only rate up and down some comments without writing a comment by myself…

    • exactly what I usually write, also the 9-5 ss is for sale the whole year and not just june-dec.


      Altough there are many trolls, especially at DI.se, I´d say that opinion has changed a lot in this year, watch the grades at DI for example.

  6. One thing that I don’t understand is why the problems with the supply chain is the reason for the missed figure of 50-60.000 cars.
    Didn’t they produce 30.000 cars becuase that’s what they have orders for? Could they have sold more cars if they could produce them? Where there a que of 30.000 customers who wanted to place orders for Saabs that they turned down?

      • I think what this means is due to the early supply chain problems they were not able to restock dealer inventory as widely and as early as they had hoped to in 2010. (Remember lots of discussions here of dealers in the US and other places with very little new inventory…and very little to no old inventory.) Without inventory, you can’t get many people into the showroom to look. If they don’t come and look, you don’t get sales and/or orders. By the time they could restock the dealers, sales began to pick up….slowly, but it shows a trend.

    • Good question. One answer is probably that they would have delivered more cars to the dealer, and especially in the US, and those cars would increase the sales figures. And the more car on the roads, the more sales. But I don’t think that accounts for 30 000 more cars sold.

      • Agree. Ther were some double effect there, I think. at least they sold appr 25-30.000 cars the second half. So the double numbers 50-60.000 carsfor the same lineup. Plus the new ones.

      • I think the answer can be found in the recent news concerning Saab’s coming ad-blitz in the US.

        Why advertise when you have no product in stock? That has recently changed, or will change soon, hence…: We will see more advertising.

    • If production would have been in full swing as of 2010-01-01 U.S. stock would have been filled earlier, where people buy stock cars like we buy milk at grocery stores considering imminent delivery. In other markets where it’s common to place customer THN-orders I guess dealers weren’t pitching to hard until factory could deliver in a timely/predictable fashion. We’ve heard about early ’10 orders being postponed several times likely because of supplier problems. Makes both customers and dealers hold their horses until the back-end operation is running smoothly. Furthermore, these dealers often hold some stock for swift delivery, typically common case configurations. This would perhaps not account for additional 30 000 sales but sheds some light on why ’10 sales data shouldn’t be used for extrapolation as a full normal year.

    • Really good question. Don’t know either. OK they were somewhat late with starting up the factory again. But even orders must have been considerably lower than expected, otherwise one could have catched up later during the year. On the other hand these are semmingly things that go together. If there are no cars in the showrooms you have a hard time to get people there and to place orders. In some markets you simply can’t sell any cars if there are no cars to choose from in the stock. Not to forget, sales numbers have remarkably increased after the summer break when deliveries to dealers started to work well. Maybe it is even their strategy not to produce too many cars on stock. At some occasions, Jan-Åke said they wanted a solid re-establishment of the brand, and that sales figures were not the only important thing to look at.

    • for example another problem is that they had to seperate the national organizations from gm. I think i´ve read saab austria was established as a seperate unit in may-june. and this also takes place in many countries of the world. the first quarters were really reorganization months. for example in the first 20 days of jan more saabs were sold in austria than in the first quarter 2010. the first dealer cars of the 95 we saw in august – september. and usually if you buy a car from 40000 eur to …. euro you want to make a test drive. i think our first real deliverys to customers took place in december

    • There are probably many aspects of selling cars that are affected by not being able to produce for several months at the first of the year. I know many American dealers simply had little or no stock. Anybody that came by the dealerships for the first six to eight months of 2010 had nothing to look at. Some dealers had some old 2009 9-3’s in stock but because of the expected shutdown of SAAB beginning earlier in 2009, many dealers weren’t ordering sufficiently to keep any sort of decent stock. The new 9-5’s, which have been a draw to the dealers, weren’t available to view “in the flesh” at the dealers until later in the Summer of 2010. Not having any stock to display, or to let potential customers drive, meant that SAAB lost the opportunity to sell cars to anyone who was looking to buy during the first half of 2010. Unless those customers were unusually fanatical and (uncharacteristically for American auto consumers) willing to wait months and months for a new car, they simply went to other manufacturers that were able to supply vehicles immediately or within a short time. I don’t know about the buying characteristics in other markets, but it is not uncommon for an American auto consumer to go out on a Friday night and look at a vehicle and purchase it on the spot. The more careful ones might take a weekend or a week to comparison shop, but that is the the norm. I normally take months or years looking at the various competitive models and making several test drives over a period of time before I finally make a decision, but I think I am in a pretty small minority in the United States for doing that.

      So, no dealer stock = lost sales that can’t be recaptured. I believe this is part of the problem caused by ramping production back up and then resupplying dealers. No doubt there are other impacts on sales caused by the early 2010 production problems.

  7. The quote about BMW etc.. is correct, when you’re referring to the cars shipped from Europe. They lose money on nearly all of them (VW GTi for 24K for example). The vehicles they manufacture in the US, Canada, & Mexico, such as the Jetta (which makes up 90% of VW US sales), X5 and X3 for BMW, all make money.

  8. Can’t we all just celebrate that SAAB has been independent for 1 year and is now making exciting new cars? Come on…who really cares about the data? We can’t know the financial details of the company – that’s up the Victor and his team. If the owner of the company says its financially sound – so be it. They have a business plan – give them some time to execute it. Everything doesn’t always go exactly as we plan, but I think that if any company can adapt, its SAAB.

    As a sidenote, I much prefer SWade’s articles that discuss the details of the cars, the new stuff coming out from Hirsch, etc. The last few articles that detailed Till72’s adventures with a perfectly modified 95, and showed the autobahn limits of the new generation of SAAB’s, those posts made my day. This agonizing over sales stuff we can’t change is just depressing. All we can do is keep the faith, recommend SAAB to out friends, and buy what we can afford.

    That’s all. Hope this doesn’t come off as a rant – I really do appreciate reading the discussion on this site, but it really has gotten really negative lately.

    • I believe its with forum topics as it is when You read car magazines. Some articles you like and some you dont.
      For instance, the ad competition didnt really interest me and it kept coming up for quite some time. 😉
      But all along I knew there would be some other interesting topics coming up.

      • I totally agree Stefan, we are all individuals with different favorit issues on this site.

        I for instance like to discuss everything about sales and the prospect of new models. My consern is why I write and maybee sometime sounds negative. It´s not that I dislike, it´s the opposit actually. And just to comment everything in a good way is rather dull to read. I think it´s interesting to questioning subjcts that can be analyzed differently.

        You know what I mean!

  9. Just throwing it out there because it’s been discussed before- what would be the effect on margins if Saab set up a plant in Latvia as Antonov was interested in doing? Even if they’re only producing Last Generation 9-3s (as in the current one), how big is the currency/labor have upside vs. Sweden. This seems to be the post to ask about it since it’s all about trade.

  10. Here it is! First look at the ads that will be appearing in the Wall Street Journal as part of the campaign to tell people the Saab survival story. First ad thanks VM and also the Saab fans who put on the Save Saab events! Very well done!

    WSJ ads

    You don’t have to be a Facebook user or login to look at the photos in this album.

    • Now these are the kind of ads that have been needed in the US for a while! Simple, informative, clever, and with a touch of humor.

      • And just to be clear, I did not have any special knowledge of these ads. I just follow Saab’s official Facebook page and saw them announced a short time ago.

      • “Nicht German” is a little evocative of the 1989 Spring Offensive ads penned under the Sinclair reign of SCUSA (such as the “Neutral country strikes Germany and Japan” print ad). Humorous but to the point, with genuine credibility and not much BS. And arguably one of the 9-5’s best angles. Can’t wait to see more.

      • Yes, fine with the humoristic tone.
        Wish they will also come with better pictures off the cars.

        Anyway: Congratulations everyone with the rebirth-anniversary !!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  11. Finally… Finally, it all comes together. Cars getting to dealers in numbers, ads are out, interest rising! This will be an interesting year. 80.000 here we come!

  12. I like these ads, but the first one could make people wonder about the state of the company right now. It does not give you very much confidence. The second one is on the other hand really great. I especially like the respectful tone about the Germans. It is true and it also goes well with a brand made for true Gentlemen.

    OT: I bought a 1992 OG900 2,1i 3-door yesterday. I also have a 2010 Dame Edna SC. The latter will now become my wife’s, while I’ll be drivin’ the real McCoy. :-)))))))

    • I don’t think there is such a problem with the “funeral-ad”. I don’t think it actually will make people worried about the stateof the company. What it does show is that Saab has a side that is very human wich I feel that many brands lack. It is also an example of a sense of humour and that is always to be seen as an asset.

      Saab may be a brand for gentlemen but don’t forget about the ladies (wich you clearly don’t, in the last part of your comment).

      • I agree. I think that ad does several things well for its target audience (which is not us, but the general public, most of whom have forgotten about Saab). It does the following…

        1) Highlights some good news from the GM shakeout that many might not know.
        2) It states simply that Saab did survive.
        3) It also states that this is in part due to passionate fans of the brand around the world (people love a story where the common man/woman can make a difference).
        4) If the reader then wonders about the current state of the company, that is a PLUS!! (Since they did not even think about Saab before.) The additional ads will show what Saab currently has to offer and it may prompt readers to check out the Saab web site and perhaps visit their dealer.

        I see nothing but positive results from these ads.

        • “The additional ads will show what Saab currently has to offer and it may prompt readers to check out the Saab web site and perhaps visit their dealer.”

          Hopefully, the Saabusa website will be revamped by the time these ads appear.

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