Victor Muller on ‘Agenda’ – Swedish TV

Swedes….. make sure you tune in to Agenda, on SVT at 9.15pm tonight.

Victor Muller will be a guest on the show, which will look at Saab’s situation one year after the company was purchased from GM.

I’m quite sure of two things: #1 – there will be plenty of skepticism in the questions (at the link, above, they wonder how long the money will last), and #2 – Victor will represent the company well, as he always does.

Hopefully there might be an online version that we can see after it’s done.

Thanks to Dippen for the tip.

87 thoughts on “Victor Muller on ‘Agenda’ – Swedish TV”

  1. Off course the interview will be skeptical 🙂 Jante-law in Sweden

    The task bringing Saab sales back to 80.000 untis will be gigantic! But given the future and whats in the pipeline. I’m positive that Saab will be successful eventually even though I think it will take longer time that expected.

    Go Saab!

    • Perhaps one could explain what the Jante Law is. I don’t think it’s commonly known outside Scandinavia. It’s:

      A pattern of group behaviour towards individuals within Scandinavian communities, which negatively portrays and criticizes success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate. (source: Wikipedia)

      For more information, see

      • That doesn’t only exist in Scandinavian communities; we have it in the Netherlands as well…VM mostly met with skepticism (and at best silence) over here…

      • What success are you referring to!? To sell 28300 cars with a target of originally 60000 in the business plan?! Come on.. open up your eye:)

        • I meant that the term Jante Law (Jantelagen/Janteloven) is Scandinavian and perhaps not commonly known outside Scandinavia. This pattern is however likely to exist in different forms all around the world.

          When it comes to Coco’s comment I can agree that selling half as many cars as intended isn’t a success, but the Jante Law is more complex than that. The Jant Law is also, or perhaps more, about criticizing people who are too self-confident, too ambitious, etc. If you read the Wikipedia article I linked to, then I think you will understand more what Tomas A (and I) meant.

      • The “Jante Law” is very useful if you want to find the correct answer to this question:

        Q: What is an entrepreneur?
        1: Someone who can start a factory, or rescue a factory from certain death.
        2: A fraud who deserves to be put away forever.
        3: Satan.

        Depending of the religion of the indiviual, someone following the “Jante Law” will choose between 2 or 3. Never 1.

        So now you know who started IKEA. 😉

        • Aha! Now I understand why IKEA moved their HQ to the Netherlands. It’s, after all, the devil’s own home country, a true Netherworld, with half the population peddling drugs to the other half, everyone euthanasizing their grandparents and generally doing all kinds of satanic stuff like trying to make a buck…

          Given all that, I for the life of Satan don’t understand why VM would even contemplate to move Spyker shares from the AEX to the Stockholm exchange. As another diabolical entrepreneur, he ought to feel much more at home here. Maybe he should move Saab to this Netherworld of entrepreneurship instead?


          Ivo (from the Netherworld)

          • I would try to get away from public listing on any stock exchange, especially the Swedish ones, and run the ship as a private equity company to get rid of obligations to report information to the public and to be able to speak freely when they choose to. To make the organization more entrepreneurial and less bureaucratic – just like VM’s brain. So the press cannot rant and get away with it because they consider themselves speaking on behalf of the poor shareholders. What about IKEA:s company set-up where everything is kept secret through Dutch trusts. I would stop speaking about sales forecasts since they are such easy targets for mocking – before and after. Would limit press releases to announcement of products, enhancements and cooperations. I think it would suit entrepreneur VM better whose valuable time shouldn’t be wasted on explaining arithmetics to victimizing journos to lazy to do their homework. These heroes deserve better company. Would be great to see VM&JAJ+’Tech/Design big shots’ on John McElroy’s couch conversing about brands and industry while zipping beer.

    • Since the Trollhättan factory alone produced 102,915 vehicles in 2007 I think the targeted 80,000 vehicles for 2011 globally is very realistic. I believe that the Swedish market sales will increase a lot this year with the introduction of the 9-5 SC and the 9-3 low emission diesels.
      BTW, what is the realistic, or practical, maximum yearly capacity of the Trollhättan factory?

      • Of course the 9-5 SC will help increase the sales in Sweden, but still it is more than 6 months before the cars will be delivered…

        The 9-3 SC on the other hand is said to be launched in week 12 with a sub-120 g/Km engine.. hopefully they will get it to the market even faster.

  2. It’s a good thing that VM is given the opportunity to speak for himself in the public eye and explain that it’s safe/plausible to buy Saabs again. To take on rumors and speculative/biased reporting where he isn’t given the chance to defend himself. Looking forward to it.

  3. In looking at the reality of one year later and the numbers, especially in the USA and getting to 40,000 cars from 5,400, the problem is the messaging and an anemic ad / PR budget to communicate that Saab is still alive and kicking with great new products, and not just one of the four GM castoffs. Saab enthusiasts know that, but the general public does not. Saab needs to move beyond the objective that they only need to attract ex Saab customers to succeed. Saab needs to target Volvo / Volkswagen / MB / BMW / Audi / Buick / and Taurus prospects to prove that the new 9-5 and other new products as they come on line are worthy of consideration … and in a tough economic environment, Saab needs to deal with growing sentiment to buy domestically manufactured product supporting the local economy … an uphill battle no doubt, but achievable!

  4. To put this 40,000 cars in the USA in perspective, in 2010, the total market was 11.6 million cars.
    BMW 266,000. VW 258,000. Subaru 260,000. Mercedes 230,000. Audi 102,000. Volvo 54,000.

    40,000 is a realistic goal … just need to invest in effective marketing!

  5. Why should SAAB not be able to reach at least (a tiny) 1% of the market (116.000 cars)? It’s one single person in a hundred that choose a SAAB.

    Looking forward at a lineup with 9-5 (sedan & sport combi), new 9-3 (three versions), new 9-4 and maybe even a 9-2, this is a 2-3 times stronger product range than ever before.

    What SAAB need is more capital to profit from this and from rumors (for example in Swedish business paper Affärsvärlden) that is what Müller and JAJ is up to now. The products are great, now they need to invest in marketing and entering new markets,

  6. Another way to look at it, Saab needs to convert just 3.4 out of every 100 BMW, VW, Subaru, Mercedes, Audi or Volvo buyers!

    • sounds excellent, getting that down to just ONE day a week!

      Luckily one never has to worry about Victors performance in these circumstanses!

    • “wife free day”

      Isn’t that when the wife gets send off to the mall with sufficient credit cards and the guys sit in the man cave watching the SuperBowl on the 60″ while swilling beer?

  7. I bet the journalists at SVT Agenda reads SU. So speculations on what they will ask could wait.
    Lets just enjoy the show!

  8. Saw a short news snippet with VM on SVT local news right now. He was geared up for the Agenda appearance and as sharp as always. Very clear on that they anticipate to produce 80k this years and that they do not need extra money. Fully funded Business plan.

  9. Muller was speaking about viggen with bi turbo in march 2010, hope he still remember. Too bad spyker does not have own engines, with saab bi-turbo engine it can be used both in spyker cars and “viggen” versions of saabs.

    Get 2 B235R with turbo TD0419t (or same level garret), put inline (straight 8 instead of v8), install good gearbox. 800hp 1000Nm monster is ready.

      • I say even if Saab installed a flux capacitor producing 1.21 jigawatts in each car, the doomsday folks here would still be disappointed.

        • Is this flux capacitor going to be available as a V-6 in the US in the 9-5sc? Otherwise, we won’t hit 88mph in time and SAAB is doomed.

      • I do not work for saab, I am not car engineer. I never do something I do not know, so if I do something I do it very all-right. I already did everything it was possible with my current 9-5 to make bmw killer from it. I can not make car for saab, the only way I can help – purchase new one.

    • You’re kidding. We talk about daily drivers and no speedparts or so on project cars. Downsizing is the keyword.

  10. I love SAAB but they have an uphill battle. I believe (IMHO)that Saab would of sold three times or cars this year if Victor’s PR and advertising guys did not drop the ball regarding marketing. They had all the tools to develop a powerful and effective ad campaign using persuasive elements from the past (like Sinclair’s ads illustrating the main reasons why Saab is a better choice than the other brands like from the 80’s print ads). The public wants to know why SAAB is a better choice than the other brands. Spell it out for them! It is obvious! I am not a markering expert but it does not take a rocket scientist to figure it out! Keep it simple! Victor could of also stepped up his appearances in the US. He could of presented himself like richard branson does (ceo rock star type) by going on tour and visitng dealers all over north america and putting together a little video markering piece for the web and for tv exclaiming that “saab is alive and well.”

    • I agree. The most interesting part was that Victor seemed to believe that Antonov will become a part owner of Saab. Maybe we will know more about that the coming week. I remember that Antonov said in an interview that he would not comment on the ownership question until January 26, one year after the deal between Spyker and Saab. So maybe there is something about the ownership structure in the deal and that this can change after one year?

    • In swedish media there is nothing to win on being forced and speak fast.
      The interview showed some cultural differences.
      It looked like VM had his outside coat on and a big multicolored scarf. Was he in a hurry? Or was it cold in the studio?

      The report from Trollhättan was nice some women carbuliders showed how to bulid a 9-5 and a 9-3 convertible (just a few moments)

      Trollhättan GO GO!

      • VM was only dressed very handsome, he seems to be a bit of a Dandy. I belive he handled the interview very well, but maybe it shined through some, that he had answered these kind of questions a zillion times before…

        • But more important; How were the woman car builders dressed? With the proper attire that could be a huge PR opportunity.
          [nope, I’m not going to say what they should have been wearing, otherwise my comment gets nixed again…]

          • Just watched the video.
            Nope, no skimpy dresses, a missed PR chance.
            I assume that the guy who looks like he just swallowed a lemon is the wise automotive professor?

            It’s always great to see all the different Saabs coming off one assembly line. I don’t there are many car manufacturers that can match Saabs versatile production methods.

  11. The reporter tried to get Victor on the sales-numbers, she had picked them to make them look worse, ex. target was 60.000 cars (instead of 50-60.000 which were the businessplan) and only sold 28.300 instead of 31.000. Victor corrected her, told her that paid cars are what counts no mather who pays.
    Then automotive prof Christer Karlsson (?) popped up again, saying that Saab could never develop a new car after the GM cars. Amazing that they didn´t know about the 2012 9-3! Victor told them that it´s under developpement, that shut her mouth. They were badly informed (or only via and Victor did good.

    • One fool can ask more questions in a minute than twelve wise men can answer in an hour.
      –Nikolai Lenin

  12. Just watched Agenda, VM was as always excellent and the interviewer not that good…

    I noticed one thing thought. When they show some pictures from the production line there is a red 9-3 in the front that definitely has the 2011.5 front. You can clearly see they lower part of the front bumper looking more like the 9-5s, sweet!

  13. I hereby declare Christer Karlsson an idiot.
    I hereby declare myself an expert in tomatoes.
    The tomatoe producers must sell tomatoes inte order to survive.
    End of expert declaration.

    • Very strange, he didn´t seem to know that a new 9-3 was being developped, if he doesn´t know this, what does he know? Why ask someone who knows less than the majority of people?

      • In a way it was good that he didn’t seem to know about the new 9-3. When Victor said that the new car was being developed and coming 20 months from now, the so called expert must have looked like an amateur in the eyes of the viewers.

        • yes I agree, I just hope that people got the point. At least it made Victor tell the viewers about it, including the hybrid part.
          But it´s rather strange, the digging reporter and the automotiv professor did not knew info that´s been published in every car-mag in sweden,

    • Some of what he said sort of made sense. Saab can’t afford to put on a fire sale with huge rebates. They got to keep the margins in line and earn money so they can continue developing new products.

      That he did not seem to realize that the next 9-3 is not far off is a bit of a give-away though. He cannot have been following Saab news very closely.

      • Isn’t this Mr. Karlsson the same that DI interviewed in early January ?

        TT: So when will the moment of truth?

        – At best, it may take up to three years. But maybe two years. Saab has no resources to develop a new product generation, it costs several billion dollars.

        • Yes of course, they already know what he´s going to say, if they took a gamble and the “expert” was optimistic they would end up without a show.


      • Agree Rune!

        Christer Karlsson was a bad choise as an “analyst” if you ask me. But people who like Saab as a brand will not leave Saab after having seen the program, I think.

        The good part is the peoples enthusiasm in Trollhättan and the car saleswoman (Maj Karlsson) which sold two (9-5?) yesterday.

    • Please remember Swades rules for commenting here. Let us just conclude that Christer Karlsson stated the obvious and that his knowledge of Saab was… well…unsatisfactory

  14. It is strange to watch.
    The journalist was very hash, like she were cross-examining a criminal politician or so – the “expert” was harsh as well, but clearly without knowledge about the facts about Saab. Sometimes it seem like some swedes want their death-prophesies come true for whatever price.
    Meanwhile some of the beautiest person-cars in the car-industry kept rolling from the production-line…

  15. That was… something.

    My wife Anna was quite surprised by the reporter’s total lack of respect. Here she is, interviewing a man who has put his neck out in order to save jobs in Sweden, and she is trying very hard to paint VM in a bad light. “So, how many cars did you sell?” Constantly interrupting VM as he patiently tries to explain that his customers are the dealer and that they had to fill up the stocks first. (I like critical questions as much as the next person, but why ask a question if you’re not interested in waiting for the answer?)

    Oh… Is VM worried about going into business with Antonov, given his “reputation”? Sheesh.

    No, the temperature in the Rune household sank drastically. Luckily, we watched this through the internet. We’re not paying any license fees for Swedish TV. We got what we paid for I guess. 😀

    But good to see VM on the screen again. Remarkably calm given the moronic questions. But I wonder if he is surprised how willing nordic people are to sabotage themselves? The general thinking (atleast in the media) seems to be “Saab might fail at some point in the future, so they might as well lay off their employees now rather than later”.

    OTOH, the segment from Trollhättan was good. A couple of familiar faces, including one of the dealers I spoke with last year.

    • “But I wonder if he is surprised how willing nordic people are to sabotage themselves?”

      Come on! Victor is Dutch. If there is one country that loves to mow down its own heroes then it’s The Netherlands. The only solution is to emigrate.
      This interview was pretty benign compared to a couple that Victor had on the Dutch television. Luckily Victor is a cool operator, I would have punched someone in the nose.

    • True, she just read her pre made questions, she could not discuss freely at all. A bit embarrasing to watch actually :-/

      • @ ARUK, thanks fort posting the link….

        Our of respect to our rules of engagement here, I cannot comment my thoughts about the interviewer.

        VM kept a cool composure against a hostile reporter. I like his upbeat mood even if I don’t dig his choice in scarf.

    • Thanks a whole lot for the link.

      The first part was borderline painful to watch. VM was very aggravated and there is much more bitter determination than cheerful optimism in his face a year later. The journalist was indeed very much entrenched in her position, and for a Swede she has been very disrespectful towards VM at the beginning.


      If you go to the OTHER part, which seems to be a bit of a “take 2” on the same, shorter and much more pleasant, you will get a better impression. Plus a look at the 2011.5 9-3, which indeed seems to be pretty much a lower bumper excercise – though a very nice one.

      But what is really important to me is the lack of substance in the interview. The journalist spent a good 2 minutes of the first take bickering with VM about the sales numbers, and when he finally admitted Saab sold less than he predicted, she forgot to inquire exactly WHY. VM got away with vaguely mentioning the supply chain, which was an issue in the first half of 2010, but surely something ought to have happened later on and didn’t.

      We’ve got dealers here and apart from all-new markets, not many are complaining of lack of stock. On the contrary, US dealers are desperately trying to get 2010s off their lots with industry-leading 😉 rebates.

      Then there is the issue of sales management quitting or being removed accross the world, which the interviewer didn’t even mention, and this is something deserving much discussion – if there is so much commotion in the sales area, what went wrong, what was the original plan and why it didn’t work, and have the obstacles been overcome or at least remedies devised.

      The first part was simply bad, unprepared journalism – this should have been the rehearsal/warm-up, not the on-air thing. The other part was a nice bit about the factory and impressions of those working for Saab (plus the “bilanalityker”, who does look like somebody who hasn’t got a clue), but nothing really substantial apart from the accidental reveal of the 2011.5 9-3

      PS: Note to VM – this scarf did not look that well in that studio setting 😉

  16. Using scarf tells that he has been sick and could been that also during the interview. Good interview from Muller apart from “true Saab” phrase that he is over-using. Interviewer was acting like Muller was some sort of known finance criminal.

    • TuuSaR,

      You been around here long enough that “true Saab” is CRITICA, if not a deal breaker to a lot of people. Only good Saab are early Saabs… you know, the pre GM years? Overused, maybe…. but for some people, not used enough.

      Eh… So long as it’s a Saab I’m happy…

      • True Saab – no true Saab.. this is a discussion that only die-hard fans are able to take part of 😀

        But when it´s been repeated all over, it´s like stressing the thought no Saab from recent years is a true Saab. Is there a more true Saab than the first generation 9-5? It was for sale more than ten years and even in it´s last year, it still was a very competitive car.

    • There could be no better spokes person for Saab than VM is. He stays in facts, do not loose his thoughts even though the interviewer tried very hard. Tried to make a criminal.
      The guy who saved (at least for some time) a lot of Swedish jobs and almost the whole city of Trollhättan. This is really weird. Almost as stupid as Finnish media.

      Very interesting to hear they may assemble cars for some other brand as well (BMW?). Also a possible new platform sharing sounds really good. But as long as those reporters keep the %¤# flying all over, the task to gain trust is going to be tough battle.

    • To me it looks like VM is trying to educate the Swedish people.

      Those of us frequenting SU associate Saab with quality and excellence. As a Norwegian who’ve recently moved to Sweden (one hour’s drive north of THN), I am continuously surprised by the lack of enthusiasm and pride they show over here.

      I think it is a good strategy to remind Swedes that they should be proud of Saab.

    • My bad, everyone. Just noticed that there already is a link to this clip further up .__. Sorry!

  17. As said, nothing really new. I don’t think there was anything wrong with the woman, if anything VM was probably a bit defensive at the beginning, and that kind of set the tone. In fairness, it’s probably a very sensitive subject for him and he must be under a lot of pressure. His face at 2:43 is priceless – his face says ‘here we go again!!!’ or ‘what now?!’

  18. Couple of things. Jante law? I think the US “Prairi Home Companion” Garrision Keeler talks that way about Lutherans now and again.

    I note there are no woman’s views on this site and women buy a lot of cars. They look for different things in a car. Sometimes I have to sit in the back seat and control a car salesman when he is talking with the girl friend and thinks she is a 20 yr testosteronic to redirect his conversation to things that are important to a woman.

  19. Interview at Agenda
    New info:
    – Supplychain in bad shape more or less collapse
    – Next 9-3 Hybrid
    – Rental of productionlines to other manufacturers
    – Chances are good getting Antonov back.

    Google translation

    Dead stop Saab halfway towards the target

    Spykergrundaren Victor Muller.
    But Chairman and Spyker founder Victor Muller is nevertheless hopeful
    Spyker would be a revival of the SAAB – but so similar sale a fiasco.
    Forecast a year ago was 60 000 cars sold – the reality: 31 000.
    – There is definitely less than we expected, “said Victor Muller, CEO Spyker.
    A year ago, bought SAAB up of the Dutch sports car maker Spyker. The prognosis then was to sell 60 000 but when the year is summarized SAAB reached only about half that figure.
    The subcontractors had given up
    – The supply chain from our subcontractors had been damaged more than we thought. But it is restored now, “said Victor Muller, Spyker’s CEO and founder and chairman of Saab Automobile.
    Subcontractors who a year ago thought the Saab brand was dead and buried had simply ceased production and started to lay off staff. When Spyker then came in, it took time before production got underway again.
    – We lost a lot during the first and second quarter of last year, “said Victor Muller, despite poor sales figures are positive.
    Next year he expects that Saab will sell 80 000 new cars.
    Scandal much spoken of Russians becoming a partner?
    How Spyker will finance the continuation of Saab, although it has so far sold less than expected is unclear. What seems clear however that Spyker-founder eager to see the notorious Russian Vladimir Antonov as a new partner.
    He had a large part of the financing of the purchase a year ago but was ported from the official ownership of the company. The Russians were accused of involvement with organized crime and GM stood as a requirement for a sale that he was not allowed to own shares in Saab.
    – He was almost crucified by the media and accused a total without foundation for their involvement with the Russian mafia. A year later, nobody has presented any evidence of this. I would like to see him as the official owner of Saab, said Muller.
    “A banker is an asset”
    He hopes and believes that GM will dissolve their requirements, noting that a banker who Antonov is always an asset for a company.
    Recently, the new 9-5 SportCombi on the market and this is seen as a very important car for Saab in the near future along with four-wheel drive crossover model 9-4x, which begins production this spring.
    – In autumn 2012, a brand new 9-3 on the market with more low-consumption engines. Then we have a model range that is greater than någonsisn earlier in Saab’s history, “said Muller.
    Before Christmas, 200 workers leave their jobs at Saab, you can guarantee that there will be more layoffs?
    – It was temporary workers who could not stay. And of course I can not guarantee it. Who knows what will happen. Is the price of oil for example, up to 200 dollars a barrel, many automakers have a hard time, “said Victor Muller and points out that Saab last year also employed 400 people.
    Can you promise not to move production in Sweden anywhere else?
    – Why would I do that? Instead we have moved more production to Sweden. 9-3 convertible built for example in Austria, but moved to Trollhättan.
    Victor Muller interviewed in SVT’s Agenda tonight at 21:15.

    • The aftonbladet articel seems toi mis the issue of GM cutting dealer network for Saab in the US. As the US is very important that is essential for Saab to go ahead. This has to been fixed asap/ yesterday.
      Model line is in better shape then ever – for the actual Saab customers.

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