Independence Day – on-site thoughts

Our friend DaveR has been assisted at the celebration, and while it was able to send some pictures during the event, it is now that he had some minutes to write down his thoughts about the event today.

Enjoy !!

Arrived at the factory at 11.00 today on a bright,sunny but cold (minus six) morning. The Press assembled, a bit daunting for me as a complete amateur surrounded by so many seasoned professionals, including regular SaabsUnited visitor Graeme L from AutoExpress.

Jan Ake Jonsson greeted us by outlining where Saab stood at present. He stressed that they were part way through a three year plan, upto 2012.It made me realise that those who want ‘everything now’ ( myself included) should view events and actions with this in mind.

Then Victor Muller spoke. What a truly inspirational bloke! He began by saying what a desperate shape Saab were in just over a year ago. ‘Buried’ as he put it.But now they are ‘alive and kicking’, emphasising how proud he was of everyone involved who had fought to achieve this.Employees, suppliers and ‘most importantly’ the customers.He also said, not all together jokingly, that he was about to collect the bets from all those who last year had said to him that Saab would not last a year. Pointedly, he added that no-one would repeat their bets if he were to offer odds now.

Then we went out into the factory to view the new products.A 9-4X was on display, but under covers were the new Griffin, 9-5 Combi and the Independence convertible. Each was uncovered seperately As he did so , Victor was questioned quite closely, even in some cases aggresively, by some members of the Press. It is truely amazing to see Victor operating in such circumstances. He knows all the relevant facts, politely correcting his questioners ( or even inquisitors) when they try to trip him up .In some ways the style of questions was self defeating – the harder the questioning, the better his responses become.

Interpersed with the new model displays were stands providing food – loads and loads of food and soft drinks.Thousands of hot dogs. Hundreds of ‘ Independence’ cakes .Containers of coffee. Boxes of soft drink cans.There were about sixty Press present, and I thought I would be hard pressed to consume my share , but would do my best.My initial fears for my health were unfounded, as at 12.30 back up, in the form of the four thousand or so Saab employees arrived for their part in the celebrations.

They had their well deserved chance to see what they have been instrumental in achieving so far.Jan Ake gave a speech ( naturally in Swedish) , then Victor Muller introduced Jason Castriota, saying that the ‘concept 9-3’ would be displayed at Geneva in around a weeks time.

But it was not all Saab facts and figures. It is Independence Day, so it is a time for celebration. Those who have worked so hard over the past year, including representives of many suppliers, were entertained by Asha Ali and Tomas Ledin. As a Saab fan I have obviously heard and enjoyed Asha Ali’s music in the past.It was my first acquaintance of hearing Tomas Ledin, but his enthusiastic reception by the assembled Swedes made it obvious I was in a minority of one.

Events at the factory came to a close, and I have returned to my hotel for a brief respite before heading to the Museum for more celebrations (including cake!) and meeting up with Saab owning friends.

What an amazing day I have had so far. I am priveliged to have been able to attend this event, on behalf of all the fantastic Saab supporters who gather together here on SaabsUnited.

My overwhelming feeling is one of great optimism both in the factory and in the town . I was here in Trollhattan last year on February 23rd. The sense then was more just of relief that Saab was not going to be shut down after all. Now the sense is far more positive – the worst is over, and the hard work is begining to bring its just rewards. There is no point looking back any more and dwelling on the past . The future is bright, so let’s just look forward to the suuccesful future of Saab.

Dave R

30 thoughts on “Independence Day – on-site thoughts”

  1. Absolutely great report, especially about the atmosphere. Thanks a million Dave! Keep on partying, and a little bit more if possible, for all of us who can’t be there but would love to. It’s a great day for a Saab lover…

  2. Exellent reporting, lucky you to be there, historic.
    Nice to hear VM gives as good or better than he gets!

    Tomas Ledin is a sort of Swedish Bryan Adams I suppose – only know of him through his early days on duetting with Agnetha of Abba fame – Sweden has been good to us 😉

  3. It is truely amazing to see Victor operating in such circumstances. He knows all the relevant facts, politely correcting his questioners ( or even inquisitors) when they try to trip him up .In some ways the style of questions was self defeating – the harder the questioning, the better his responses become.

    Gotta love VM!

    • You took the words right out of my mouth, so I will just tag off of your post.

      I also want to join the others in thanking Dave for his write up. It was very fun to read. You knocked it out of the park, sir.

  4. Thanks a bunch for the reporting Dave!
    The Swade spirit lives on….oh wait…Steve is not gone yet……

    Looks like SaabsUnited is finding its new, Swadeless, way already. I also noticed that there are a lot of new names popping up in the comments. Not only a Saab revival but a SU revival too?

  5. Thanks to Red J, Swade and Dave R for all this great coverage!

    “Concept 9-3” set for Geneva sounds interesting. There have been conflicting reports earlier about what the concept for Geneva will display. Some claim it will be a 9-3 concept and others that it will be a concept for the long term design direction for Saab. I know that I want to see a 9-3 hatchback concept with 1.6T BMW engine and e-AAM drive line! 🙂

    • Yes, Jason C. has talked about both the new 9-3 and this other “concept” car so it is quite intriguing to guess what will be at the Geneva show.

      • Aaaah so that is what the 374 cakes mean…its the “look forward…” hint … on day 374 is the unveiling of the concept 9-3!! Very clever.

        The Reporting is good Dave. Thank you for a good job.

  6. Great read, thank you for taking the time to document things the way you did. I imagine the town to feel like your team just won the trophy, with the celebrations going on. Wish I could have been there for the unveils of the new models and all the excitement. Great job on reporting.

  7. Thans for the report!
    I don´t know if this has been noticed before, but according to there were
    1990 orders, in week 7! Amazing!

    • And the 9-5 SportCombi hasn’t been launched officially and the 9-4X isn’t at the dealers yet! Add a few hundred 9-5 SC and 9-4X and Saab will reach 80000 cars 🙂

      • 🙂 yes, and they say february is supposed to be slow? Well, we´ll see for real when they start up second shift.

  8. It’s pretty remarkable to hear such a great report. When you spoke of Victor’s deft skills in answering pointed questions, I remembered again how crucial is days as a lawyer has helped him to make critical arguments. He’s an incredibly smart man, and knows how to sell his case.

    Regarding the “Concept 9-3,” I guess there’s no clearer statement about what this concept is. Whether or not it’s a close or literal concept of the new 9-3 or a much bolder concept that inspires the new 9-3, for JAJ to come out and call it such, at least we now have a rough name.

    Thanks so much for going and I hope you had a great time, Dave!

    • They really have got a lid on it haven’t they? I’ve seen everything from the current facelift version (today) to somoe really wierd Audi A3 type design more in line with what I would call the 9-2 bandied around as the next ng9-3 only Jason, his designers and colleagues and Swade really knows. its driving me nuts, here’s waiting until day 374-it has to be a little whacky though…its a concept and Saab has done conservative under GM for too long-time to relight the fires…

    • I found it interesting that he referred to it that way because in LA I saw illustrations for both the design concept and the 9-3 replacement and they were definitely different vehicles. Interesting times, and only a week (or less) to wait!

  9. Love the way Victor handles himself when faced with a rough crowd. Maybe the theme song for this day should have been ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ by D-ream.

  10. Very well written Dave, and thank you for your excellent reports from Trollhättan! 😀

    It has been a magnificent day with truckloads of great news arriving and it has been extremely nice to follow this Saab Independence Day, even though I could not attend personally and had to follow it through the Internet. I take the opportunity to once again provide a sincere thank you to Swade for providing this great enthusiast website we know as Saabs United as well as Red J for your very good contributions to it. My sincere congratulations also go to everyone at Saab, executives and employees, for having done a tremendous work and I wish and am sure that our beloved car manufacturer will have a very prosperous future! 😀

    Best regards from a bit further north in Sweden,

  11. Thanks a lot for your report, Dave.

    It would be interestig if you could give some details of the tough questions and the good answers.

    Congratulations to all the Saab family in such a fantastic day to remember!

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