Robert Collin wants Swedish youths to peel bananas

JÅJ’s recent announcement has naturally caused quite a stir in our community. My soapbox is small, but I will deploy it nonetheless.

Certain stories have surfaced in the Swedish press, and many have been discussed in comments.

This calls for a summary.

First of all, there was a TV interview (TV4) which didn’t come up with anything really new. They like to remind us that Saab has never earned any money (despite what people close to Saab may say) and people who buy Saabs are like cult-members who only buy them to support the factory. Oh, and Robert Collin again claimed JÅJ and VM had a shaky relationship based on a raised eyebrow and supposed eye roll during a dinner last Fall. Robert already predicted the 9-5 would not sell over a year ago. Now we are told it won’t sell because JÅJ is leaving Saab. And of course, it’s still too big. It strikes me as funny how my MY11 9-5 isn’t too big, but I guess I got one of the few good ones?

Also present at that fateful dinner was our own Swade. Swade writes:

Well, I was at the same dinner and I can tell you that I have no recollection at all of VM leaving significantly early at all. (…)Well, I was at the same dinner and I can tell you that I have no recollection at all of VM leaving significantly early at all. The fact that he might have wanted to get back a little earlier might have had something to do with his recovery from some surgery he had not long before.(…)So to anyone who wants to take the opportunity to give Victor a backhander, I say there are two sides to every story and you ought to make sure you get both.

The same event. Two different accounts. Who do you trust more?

As for Robert’s “cult” reference– it’s unfair and uncalled for. Personally, I bought my first Saab as late as 2008. The 9-3 SC was then the safest car in its class according to Granted, the following year Folksam reduced the 9-3’s rating, giving it the same score as other European brands, but it still remains one of very few models that have been tested for moose impacts. I drive a lot through moose infested areas, and I need this extra safety. I also require Saab’s excellent winter skills. Saabs usually win when magazines compare cars in the winter. The 9-5 that I bought last year is no exception. I drive 720 km every week on some of the worst winter roads imaginable. I know from experience that a Volvo V50 can’t cope properly with such conditions. Saab 9-3, 9000 and 9-5 on the other hand can. With ease. The “too big” 9-5 is extremely comfy, and it is difficult not to smile as I’m able to dig through parts of the road that seems to stump others.

In short, TV4’s coverage painted a very bleak picture of Saab. It would not surprise me if Saab eventually drowns because of the Swedish press alone. It is no longer a question about them being right or not, it is a question of why they so desperately want to bury the company with its thousands of jobs and likely the entire city of Trollhättan. Swedish people should feel upset with their one sided journalists, because otherwise… perhaps Swedish youths peeling bananas in Norway is the answer? Does that sound like a fun and interesting job? Is that really an improvement over working for the evil entrepreneur Victor Muller? At least he’s trying to create something of value.

63 thoughts on “Robert Collin wants Swedish youths to peel bananas”

  1. Well spoken Rune! I was actually at my dealer today to try out a very mildly used 9-5 and in my opinion it really doesn’t feel that big at all once you’re on the road… So Robert Collin please try to check your facts next time!

  2. You’re hitting every nail there is, rune. Excellent writing!

    It would be really interesting, SU being such a big site it is, if you guys could contact other experts, professors (maybe someone från Handelsinstitutet, or maybe some of the lawyers who worked with the deal) etc to give their view of the Saab-situation. The Swedish press is going with the same journalists and “experts” all the time. Not because they’re necessarily right or even close to being on spot, but because they tell people what will sell magazines: dooms day stories.

  3. Sometimes I wonder what the Swedish press will report when there is good news. We all know that sales are not what Saab hoped they would be, but as we have also discussed, there are many factors in the US contributing to that (lack of awareness of Saab still existing, lack of awareness of the new 9-5, 9-4X not available yet, etc.).

    As for your comment, Rune, on need for a safe car…..”I drive a lot through moose infested areas”, I could only smile. For some reason, all I could picture in my mind was a Monty Python-type sketch of an old woman looking out the window saying, “Awwwhhh, look! We have an infestation of moose in the woods again.” 🙂

  4. Thank you Rune,
    You are spot on, I might be in the SAAB cult, not that I for the moment own one, but because i really like the brand.
    However, its so frustrating that so many almost feel good talking sh*t about SAAB, the media and all the nasty comments that follows. Apperantly nothing else is going on in Sweden or the World. They need a Charlie Sheen or someting to focus on.
    What we need now is more good reviews, more comercials and the volyme numbers. And I would like this bashing to stop, starting with the Swedish media.


  5. All I can say is that at Geneva , at the end of the first press day , JAJ and VM have left the Saab stand in the same time together and looked to be confortable together .
    United 🙂

  6. @Robert Collin
    I simply don’t get it !! – The new 9-5 too big ??!! Buying this car just for the sake of saving a company ??!! What’s wrong with that guy? I recently bought the new 9-5 MY11 not because I wanted to support a company, but of it’s simply beautiful, subtle design (inside and outside), its awesome ride – yes even the 160 hp/auto diesel rides greatly, it’s sovereign road holding and feeling of safety and although it is 5 meters long, there are many even longer cars on the market. The reason for this car was not so much passion about saving a company but simply a decision for an awesome product, and yes, SAAB simply knows how to make great cars. I didn’t choose a jag, bmw or audi because they were NOT convincing, averagely designed (?darth vader?,..) and often the feeling of arrogance of the dealers towards its customers saying “lay down 60 euro-grants, don’t complain and be grateful for what you get”. That’s why it’s already my third SAAB, and why one says “who tries SAAB once, stays forever”. All the best to you Mr. Collin, may your future be as bright as SAABs.

  7. Well Spoken!
    Collin’s argument that a V60 sells better than a 9-5 is completely useless. Price is different and size is A LOT different. It’s so sad to see and hear Swedish press every single time making stories up to get attention. Yes, It’s sad to see Jonsson leaving and yes, one can discuss about the timing, but seriously: saying things like “he’s leaving the sinking ship” is shameful and based on no facts at all! Is there really noting that can be done to change their attitude? 🙁



      XXactly !! Thanks YERRUN 😉

  8. Maybe its wishful thinking but maybe JAJ and VM should just post a short comment on SU that their is no kind of riff between the two and that, although, different personalities have a lot of respect for each other and are actually good friends.. yes friends! Just to cut the lame doomsday stories from the press about SAAB, enough already. I would think that people would be rooting for the underdog amongst the powerful and sleazy conglomerates, guess I was wrong.

    I read somewhere that Saab might be thinking of manufacturing other brand cars in the Trollhattan factory? Is this anyway true or just more rumor-mongering?

    • I read somewhere that Saab might be thinking of manufacturing other brand cars in the Trollhattan factory? Is this anyway true or just more rumor-mongering?

      I think it was VM who said this a couple of times.
      For sure they are exploring any ways to increase the profit or decrease the break even, but as long as they don’t sell the (rights to build a car based on the) phoenix platform, I don’t think they will be building any non-Saab in THN.

  9. No one can be a prophet in his own land, maybe this is why Saab has to face its fiercest enemies at home. This causes very strange things, while Saab is heavily in the battle with word wide competitors, it is it’s hearth trying to cause a severe damage. Otherwise I can’t get what’s the driver for their… SABOTAGE.

    Apart from that, my biggest concern what Saab will be facing soon, is whether she can retain the genuine swedishness. For many decades, there were lines no one else could draw, and way of engineering no one else could do similarly. Never forget that this is the key, where all the developed world wide cult originated from.

  10. It is apparent that the new Saab has a severe public relations problem. VM did not create this problem, but his management style (quick! decisive! with no advance preparation for the automotive press!) is making it worse. If it is true that JAJ discussed leaving as early as last October, then the public relations groundwork for the transition should have been well prepared. VM had to have known that JAJ’s departure would produce a whole boatload of “Saab is dying” stories – and if he didn’t know, he needs to hire someone who does know these things and listen to him or her.

    Not only was the handling of JAJ’s departure a debacle, but it was an enormous missed opportunity. Imagine if a reporter had been given exclusive access to JAJ during his last week, for an emotional “last look around” interview piece about the man who saved Saab – to be published on the day that JAJ’s departure was announced. At best, it was a chance to repeat the triumphant “Saab is alive” message, and at worst it would have blunted the inevitable “Saab is doomed” stories.

    Even if the press hates you, you cannot ignore them. Brand management requires press relations management. Press management requires a level of message discipline that the new Saab has yet to achieve. The last two P.R. problems were essentially unforced errors (this and Vladimir Antonov’s recent comments).

    This is a problem that needs to be fixed, and quickly.

    • Well thought out, Greg.

      I’ve spoken to a few people about the JAJ decision and these are people who have known him and worked with him for a long time. All concur that this decision has been a long time in the making. As you say, this means that the preparation for it’s announcement wasn’t handled as well as it could/should have been.

      • The Collin guy tries to make it look like as soon as JAJ tries to say “nice weather today” immediately Victor is there to put him down with his vivid personality and flamboyance (and perhaps his shortsighted business ideas) and that this is the reason JAJ had enough and suddenly decided to retire. Also saabs are to big, especially their “JEEP” (literary) that only has gasoline engines no one wants .

        But of course this speculation got new food when JAJ leaving this suddenly and i’m sure i’m not the only one that had an uneasy stomach over this for some days.

      • Hey swade, its still not too late for some damage control, some interviews with Jan-Åke and so on. Your are one of the team now so please pass it on. SAAB must learn to be much better at these things!

    • Right you are, Greg. JAJ has explained that he feels he can now leave because SAAB is in good hands and headed soon, he says, to profitability. In other words, his stepping down is a vote of confidence, not a vote of no confidence. (I’m taking JAJ at his word here but have never had a reason not to.) So, the opportunity VM missed was to convey stability by unfolding a normal transition. Instead, he announced that he would become CEO. And then that he wanted “the next CEO” to be — well, it didn’t matter, did it? If VM really had known about this retirement then he shouldn’t have been conveying a charge to a yet-to-be-named search committee. He should be announcing a selection of a genuinely impressive replacement, one JAJ is already known, by insiders, to admire. With the VA mess still toxic, this was poorly played indeed. Process, not content, is the sign to watch.

    • Gregg;
      Another excellent email, spot on. I do however think everyone is missing a point here. This guy is over 60. As a general rule, most Forture 500 corporations are run by the under 55 group. As one about the same age as JAJ I can tell you most people look at the number of really good years you MIGHT have left and start making different decisions. I think that is all he was thinking about. Anyone who is reading the tea leaves any other way is too young to understand.

    • Greg, I completely agree with you as always. What Saab has isn’t a business problem, it’s a PR problem. With very few exceptions (they throw great parties), their message from an advertising and company PR platform is pretty weak. I don’t know if it’s because they’re understaffed, they have the wrong people working for them, or there is some other underlying problem, but it hasn’t been working for a long time– going back to the GM days.

      I’m heartened to see that Swade is joining the team, and I sincerely hope Victor and the board listen to him if he finds deadwood or critical failures within the PR and advertising teams.

    • I was just reading this article: This guy (Metthew DeBord) did make a good analysis. Mid-luxury car brand that can perfectly fill the gap that is occuring in the US. Ignore the repeating journalists and so-called experts that, out of attitude and misjudged pride, will never change their opinion.

  11. I would not be surprised if there are some media “agendas” at work here. Certainly in the U.S. the media ownership is very consolidated and I find the only way to get truthful information is from non-main stream media sources. (Thank God for the Internet!) The U.S. media wants the U.S. to fail and I would wager the Swedish media would also relish the thought of Saab going down due to their agendas! Not far fetched at all, in my opinion.

  12. I was kinda upset for a while before i watched the tv4 interview. I’m a bit upset still but i don’t feel like mailing Collin telling him what i think about his irresponsibly whoring on the crappiest morning tv-show in Sweden. Well, if i’m gonna be honest there are only two morning tv-shows in Sweden but the the channel that makes the good one not long ago did a very funny parody series of the crappy one that was on the spot. Anyhow, at this parodied show sits an aged, tired car journalist with a hair looking like a birds nest talking about Saab and its management in the same way as some of his colleagues report the whereabouts of Swedish Royals or Charlie Sheen. Collin is obviously very tired and looking forward to retirement. If he ever cared about Saab he cares less about Saab than hanging out with, and getting paid by, those who run the parodied morning tv-show. The guy with the Victor “scandal” book seemed really balanced in comparison and i think that says alot about Collin and other (swedish press) attention whores that use Saab, the name of Saab, as a commodity. Its sad.

    • Not that i’m a big fan of Robert Collin and TV4 but you should watch what’s coming out of your mouth before saying something like this.. Robert Collin is one of Swedens most respected car journalists and TV4 is the largest tv network on the private market… its not a parodie, its serious tv broadcasting, one of the two morning shows in sweden worth watching.

      Using the word “attention whores” about the swedish press does say quite a lot about the frustration and bitternes in the Saab camp.. see this bitternes and overwhelming selfconfidence that surrounds you people here will punish you in the end. The rest of the “world” outside of the Saab camp is not stupid no matter how much you believe so…

      The critisism against VM, VA, JAJ and Saab in general doesn’t come from nowhere, there is a lot of “funny” stuff going on whether you want to see it or not.. period.

      • there is a lot of “funny” stuff going on whether you want to see it or not..

        I.e. it should be pretty easy then for you to compile a list?

        Robert Collin’s attack on VM: “Det är skräddarsytt på Saville Row, yviga gester och insmickrande halvsanningar.”.

        How VM is dressed is, I hope, not one of the things you consider “funny” stuff?

        It seems the list of real grievances is pretty short, so the critics of VM are left with commenting on how the man dresses. Why else even bring it up?

        Be also careful for what you wish for. Stab VM enough, and Saab could disappear. Saab has a lot going for it at the moment, but it still needs someone at the helm who wants the company to succeed. Actually, that is the primary difference now and before. Under GM, Saab lacked a clear and consistent vision at the top (management played too much musical chairs).

        So a list please. And also a few words on what your own agenda is. Why are you here Chief? What do you want from Saab?

        • The “list” you ask for is basically the business history of VM and for that matter Saab as well. Of course i don’t mind how VM is dressed, don’t know why you bring this up.

          What i want from Saab? I wish they were that successfull that they did not need the government support they currently have. And yes, i know there are supposed rest values in the business that should cover for the money borrowed by EIB in the case of a bankrupcy… however; i don’t believe in that. A business like Saab should be able to stand on it’s own like any other. Cause i know in the end VM will one way or the other run away with a bag full of money. I wouldn’t mind if he earned them the good way, but this story with his involvment in Saab is just to much to accept. You will see…

          • What specifically about VM’s business history causes you concern? And what relevance does that history have to him running Saab?

            Saab’s assets have been scrutinized by the government. That has nothing to do with VM, VA or even Saab. If you believe the loan is in jeopardy and that Saab’s assets won’t cover it, well… Tough cookie. Even if your estimation was correct, it is too late to gripe about it now. (well, that is not entirely correct, you could be able to make a few heads roll in the government I suppose, but first you need to be able to present some firm figures)

            Why I quoted Robert Collin is because I wanted to illustrate the kind of media attention he gets. I think it effectively demonstrates that the media are unable to dig up any real dirt, so… They comment on the way the man dresses. So far, they’ve offered more substance than you have. I.e. not much.

          • God damn you are bitter and sad. Your life mission is to hate this little car company and you hope all of us Saab cultists on our “high horses” soon will go down together with the company so you can sit gloat over our misfortune at various car forums and even here? Be gone! Please?

          • @chief
            “Cause i know in the end VM will one way or the other run away with a bag full of money”

            think different! if you are doing a bank robbery, would you show your face on television? no, you are masked. VM is the one who tries to be in the media as much as possible. he is the one who gave up his baby called spyker to concentrate on saab. so why the hell should he take saabs money and run away?

        • I’m refering to VMs history as car manufacturer and owner of Spyker, his reputation as businessman in general, words from the dutch stockholder association etc.. that he is depending of one of russias famous oligarks.. you name it. Google VM and you will see.

          Real dirt or not, it’s still dirt in the eye of the public and it will for sure not help Saab to build up it’s reputation.

          • that he is depending of one of russias famous oligarks

            I.e. VA? Who himself have been cleared of all accusations?

            Is this not circular argumentation?

            Has VM broken the law at any point? Has he been convicted of anything?

            You have basically got nothing. Again: Rumours, speculation and a hefty dosage of envy. Rather than form your own opinion of the man, you instead rely on rumours. Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

            I remember that VEB posed some questions to VM, but how that disqualifies VM from doing any business in the future is beyond me.

            I strongly suggest you do a bit of googling yourself and post a handful links that you feel are relevant. I cannot prove a negative.

            Guilty until proven innocent?

            Real dirt or not, it’s still dirt in the eye of the public and it will for sure not help Saab to build up it’s reputation.

            I think the media’s role should be to dig up facts, rather than spread rumours. And so far they have been very light in the facts-department. I welcome criticism, but I abhor speculation and rumours.

            Please do not reply once more stating the same thing as your previous posting. I realize I am feeding a troll here, but I also want to provide you with a decent chance to make your point.

          • Look at what Saab achieved over the last year, and that is pretty impressive. Marketing, PR, dealernetwork still need a lot of work, but so far Muller is proving to be pretty competent, no matter what his history looks like. So if people feel the need to evaluate him, please also include the recent achievements in turning around this company.

      • I am not so sure that commercial TV and serious TV are completely compatible.
        Not even i Sweden.
        Commercial TV lives off sensations and gossip because i gives most viewers.

        There are good reasons that “funny” things are going on.
        The problems stems from the fact that swedish government and GM choose to let allegations than have now been proven wrong stand in the way of the strongest investor in Saab, Vladimir Antonov.
        I does not help to reiterate that there must be some weird connections to illegal activities when Antoinov has been cleared.
        The delay in letting Antonov in is what’s causing transactions that are not clear to the general public because investments are needed now.

        Regarding Robert Collin, you can not take a journalist seriously that is using his personal perception to form basis of en evaluation. A journalists primary objective is to find facts. That is the definition of serious journalism.
        Everything else is just unqualified guessings and has as much weight as my personal opinions of Collin.

        Regarding the book.
        I understand that VM has suddently become interresting to the public, and that a journalist would like to make a book about him.
        To give it the title “Circus Muller” is a cheap trick that plays on the general suspicion of Muller.
        Muller may not be the right CEO of Saab, simply because he is too much of an entrepreneur, but that doesn’t make him a fraud or all glitter and glitz.
        He has an important role as the entrepreneur, the one that drives the changes.
        With the right management team Saab can go way beyond all expectations with Muller leading the way.
        I have had the somewhat mixed pleasure of working for a person of almost of the same mould as Muller for 20 years.
        He took over a dying company, and made a small empire and fortune because there were people to catch his ideas and work with him on them, or just make them become real.
        Muller is not Saab alone, but he is an important ingredient in the equation, with Antonov as another, and not the least the people who are actually designing and building Saabs.
        I think that JÅJ knew this when deciding to retire, and I also think he choose the right moment because Saab needs another kind of CEO for the next step
        I also think that it is his belief that Saab can stand on its own and survive by now without him.
        I will not call the PR handling of these thing by Saab the most brilliant effort, but circumstances are still a little strange around Saab, mainly because of other things than Saab and the business plan

      • I admit i had a beer or two to much when i called Collin a attention wh*** and i might have been a bit harsh. But i stand for saying TV4 is a generally crappy channel that tries to be something (especially the morning show) its not, and therefore often worth parodying. You should try watch the other channels morning show for a while and hopefully you will understand how low the level of of journalism and interview preparation is at the TV4 morning show. As respected as Collin might be (if years in service is what equals respect) he sat there looking very tired and mostly said exactly what the (as always) unprepared TV4 morning show host wanted him to say. When i talk about “parody” i was referring to the other channel’s humor show called “morgonsoffan” (the morning sofa) that i guess you never seen. Just because something is “large” or somebody is “respected” doesn’t mean what they produce can’t be crap now and then. When it comes to the TV4 morning show crap is produced frequently. Sure, i’m a Saab fan and frustration almost constantly walks by my side but i’m far from as bitter as you seem to be.

  13. “people who buy Saabs are like cult-members who only buy them to support the factory”

    Well this Saab owner is a GM family member legacy and why would I want to keep a factory in Sweden open when I live in Texas? I agree with the bnet article. I have coworkers complaining about their poor SUV gas mileage as recently as today. (By the way, 100%Saab equals the number of Saabs owned by my family divided by the number of cars owned by my family times 100.)

    Just a thought.

    • To give Collin a tiny bit of credit what he said at the same time as he called Saab’ers cult members he also kinda said “this is how its always been and saab always strangely survives”

  14. “people who buy Saabs are like cult-members who only buy them to support the factory”

    How is this any different from the other marques (automotive and otherwise) and their loyal fanbases who are repeat customers? And isn’t this good thing for a company to have anyway?

    The Swedish media still doesn’t get the big picture.

  15. This whole thing is worrisome. According to its own agenda, Saab’s turnaround in 2011/12 is depending on three major markets, Sweden, USA, UK. There are known problems with the US and the UK due to several factors – unfavourable exchange rates, poor market perspectives due to overleveraged households, in the UK fiscal policies. I always thought, Sweden is no problem, with the 9-3 Diesel and the upcoming 9-5 wagon Saab sales will flourish there. The worst to happen is if Sweden the home market for Saab will not take off due to bad press and perception.
    I agree that the whole process of JAJ departure should have been better prepared and handled. If a CEO indicates to leave, you have to look for a successor right away. But the worst are the consistent doubts about financing sources and medium and longer term company perspectives. These doubts really can deter buyers. Only due to those conditions the departure of a CEO may get just such a significance as an ominous sign.
    And with respect to that, there has to be more equity available and a plan B. If for whatever reasons the sales numbers won’t reach the target path, or profitability is not reached as quickly as anticipated, there still should not be doubts with respect to the survival of the company in advance. And with respect to that, Mr. Antonov’s interventions have not been helpful, quite to the contrary.
    In my view, there are three major things. 1) Noone is more credible about his true reasons for departure than JAJ. He should speak out about the true reasons to the Swedish media, also about the outlook for the company. 2) There is a necessity to bolster equity right away, and not only if sales will not pick up as planned. To restore confidence into the brand is a top priority, as now the model line-up for the 2011/12 is done and apparently very well done. 3) With respect to marketing of Saab, I am afraid VM will need some help. True, his presentation skills are outstanding, that is not the issue. But the story about not being commercially succesful as an entrepreneur with Spyker for 10 years will not help, it makes him open to attacks, if right or wrong.
    Now after JAJ departure VM is alone as a representative of Saab and confronted with apparently this potentially bad press. Typical measures include to take some credible outside persons on the board of directors, They will not come to just be a cover. VM should take it as an opportunity to broaden the expertise by attracting true succesful entrepreneurs, possibly Swedish industrialists, but also others from the car industry. (For such a role, Wiedeking would be a dream.)
    I fear, without broadening equity and representative faces of Saab there could be a risk with respect to brand credibiltiy.

    Too big car for the 9-5 is rubbish. The car has more or less the same size as an Audi A6, BMW 5, Mercedes E-class, it is a few cm longer, not really to be felt in driving. But nothing compared to those truly oversized SUV’s that are booming in sales all over Europe as well. And as opposed to those, the 9-5 drives very dynamically. Get real, guy.

  16. Michael… just one quick thought:

    Last year Cadillac produced 75,000 SRXs, mainly for US consumption. Dealers can’t keep up with demand. The 9-4x is the exact same price, and it’s equipped, looks, and drives better. If Saab could get a quarter as many sales, they’d be a great way towards profitability. The problem isn’t with product, it’s with dealers and advertising. Let’s see what happens in NYC and take it from there.

    As sales begin to pick up, the press will have to take note, and as new product is reviewed well, they won’t be able to ignore it. Yes there needs to be changes, but JÅJ is leaving when he knows the ship is righting itself.

    • I think TTELA had the best article about JÅJ’s retirement. They asked the Man himself the right questions and got the best answers. It could have been even longer… I hope someone does this with TV cameras as well. In this article he also explains that he is not leaving immediately: He will be working until September. Is that how a fired or unsatisfied CEO is leaving?

      Robert Collin in TV4: He should know better if he dares to give out business cards with the title “car journalist” printed on them. Cars aren’t developed in weeks: the 9-5 was already coming when Saab was bought by Spyker. The car might be big by some standards but what could be done about it?!! – Cut the car? If Mr Collin would have followed SU he would have known that there is a new smaller Saab coming as well – developed from scratch, by one of the smallest car companies in the world. The time has to measured with a calendar, not a stopwatch!

      I think all Media was jumping on the facts that Saab was making loss and the CEO left the company. The loss was expected during the build-up process. What wasn’t told was that that same process was proceeding: 2 big markets were announced opened.

      During this long period of negative Saab coverage by the swedish Media I have started to think about the motivation of reporting like this. It comes to the one single reason why the Media exists in the first place: Money. I strongly believe that they noticed a clear peak in the clicks and news sales during the Saab wind down process; and I think they can still see those peaks every time they produce dooms day headlines about Saab. They don’t care about how this affects the company they are writing about. They care about the clicks and the income it generates. To put it short: Greed drives the Media.

      Greg has a very good point: I think that you can’t ignore the Media. VM has learned this the hard way by cutting the ties with It probably didn’t help in the long run… I hope the people in Trollhättan are reading this thread.
      Saab as a company has had a lot of secrets from the Media: The financing of the sales; How is Saab doing economically (when it’s “always” making loss)?; is VA a mobster or not?; why is JÅJ leaving?; and of course the meeting of the sales targets.

      Saab is a perfect target for the swedish digging Media to explore some hidden facts that creates the revenue for the so called journalists and their employers (many of them are stock listed as well). And when the target is a consumer goods producing company that the majority of the population knows, the news are always a hit (or a click in this case).

      One very good friend of mine told me to always spell Media with a capital M: it has so much power that everything less would be an understatement.

      If I was a part of the Media people of Saab, I would open up the whole company: why not make everything exposed. One example is this video from BMW . I believe Saab could tell so many good stories about car producing that the negative Media coverage would be left into the shadows. It could be in form of a TV series where various departments are presented. It would probably put the producing of a car into perspective and give hard facts instead of Media guessing and questioning…

      Sorry for the extended thought…


  17. Got an Vip invitation to the Saab show in Nacka Strand conference center in Stockholm.
    I´ve emailed twice to the SU Crew about this, believing this is a major opportunity for Saabers on one of the major Saab markets to get in close with the PhoeniX, the 9-5 SportCombi, 9-4X and the Independence Day Cab.
    At least it could be noticed in the calender on the SU page.
    Vip on Thursday the 7th of April.
    Open for all on Friday to Sunday the 8-10th of April.

    Perhaps U have planned to announce it soon, but I think U should do it as soon as possible to give people a chance to planne for the visit.
    On the other hand. Everybody here knows about this great event, dont they?

    • I’ve emailed as well… but yeah, I sure hope all of us swedes know about the event anyway… wonder if I’ll get an invitation in the post today as well?

      Do you know what the conference center is like? Never been there… is it a nice venue?

      • I was there a long time ago, so the memory is quite blurry. bit I imagine that its a nice venue.

          • I also was there a long time ago, like 12-14 years ago when i worked nearby and was invited to free beers but sadly what was on display then was the products of Swedish match ie swedish snus/snuff. I got only one or two free beers and the whole thing was pretty boring. Also i think i actually payed for a small pin with their products on which is sad. I think this is the most off-topic comment i ever made.

          • The place i worked at was the (at the time) brand new Nacka mediagymnasium and i think that was a heavily renovated old car, or something factory if my memory serves me right?

  18. I agree that the 9-4X is likely to be as appetizing as the SRX. My worries are that supply/sales force is to small to achieve anything near 1/4 of SRX sales, at least in the immediate future. Partly because production (in the Mexico plant) is limited to 10k per year, partly because I fear that Saab dealer network and marketing muscle is much weaker, I don’t know if quantity of new cars available at can be used as a proxy, where there are about 10 times more new Caddys available compared to Saabs. But in the long run I guess that can change given great products.

  19. Good post Rune! Maybe someone from (Göteborg?) rang TV4 after they visited Trollhättan live the other week and ‘forced them’ to balance all the positives with the usual sh$t. I’m surprised the guys weren’t sitting with their ovloV caps on.
    Too fears (brotherly) rivalry will only make you vulnerable to attacks from the outside. I really don’t see the point in killing each other on home ground, especially when all this campaigning seems to be sooo one sided. Someone must really be scared of a strong and profitable SAAB?

    All this crap just makes me want a 9-5 SC more.

  20. In fairness, Robert Collin wrote a very favourable review of the 119g 9-3 TTid. He has also written positively about the NG 9-5. His remarks about the size of the car for European markets is true. It is after all one step up from the OG 9-5, both in terms of price and size. Nevertheless an excellent car.

    I agree that all the gloom in the Swedish (business) press about Saab is a pity, but SU should be careful bashing the friends of Saab among the journalists. There are positive reports as well.

    • I agree Nils! But he talked clumsy, they all do. As if they don´t know that GM decide the sice of the 9-5, or the fact that Sweds doesn´t buy sedans that much.

    • Sorry guys, I have to disagree. One of the reason the OG 9-5 was losing sales was the fact that competition was getting bigger all the time and the current NG9-3 is the same size (as wide and just a few inches shorter).
      I believe they actually had to make the 9-3 SC’s trunk a bit too small imo so that it wouldn’t be exactly the same size as the OG9-5 at the time.
      The JC 9-3 should with a longer wheelbase be very close to a OG 9-5.

      My family currently needs the extra space and I therefore welcome a bigger Saab with open arms 🙂

  21. If only the swedish press could stop bashing Saab and take the example of the german press and their “supportive” comments of german cars. They make sure you get the message and no wonder they “win” all comparitive tests……be at least objective and cut out the negativity. It`s a sorry state of affairs that hasn`t been helped by the RP mess of JÄJ departure .

  22. You know, after re-reading the above article you have to laugh, Cult-like members! You know I always wanted to be a member of a cult, but I missed the flight to Jonestown, and the space ship flying over LA. And yes, it is true, we have purchased 5, or 6 Saabs since the day the first one saved my life, and gave up it’s own. So yeah, I guess you might call that a cult-thing. I would rather call it payment on a debt due.

  23. Robert Collin became well-known as the guy who demonstrated the Mercedes A-class trend to overbalance. He argues also for considerably increased speed rates on Swedish highways, something that I also once was an advocate for. After that during a 10-year period of driving approximately 20 times the stretch Malmö-Alicante-Malmö, almost 55,000 km through Denmark, Germany, France and Spain I have a certain understanding for the authorities’ sights. I have seen multiple accidents on highway during this time. One which was lucky and had no injuries, occurred on the road to Sweden north of Barcelona in Spain. In the rearview mirror, I saw a BMW in high speed in the left file. When he just had passed me I heard a considerable loud noise and particles coming out from the BMW exhausts and he swerved considerably to the right. The comb-belt or chain had probably gone to pieces and the valves traveled out through the exhaust. Some kilometers farther forward after a weak slope was a considerable traffic jam. It was a smaller truck that drove into a bridge foundation and had been crushed. Had the accident for the BMW driver not occurred he would have probably driven into the cars in the traffic jam, which meant his fate would have been the same as the truck driver’s. So I can have a certain understanding for authorities’ decisions to put rate boundaries. Robert pointed out that Schumacher drives in 300 km/h on racetracks and doesn’t get into any accident. There’s a huge difference in driving-skill between a Formula 1 driver and your average motorist that I think he’s forgetting.

  24. I agree with most of what is written and find SOME of the media behaviour shameful. But it is what it is and a sign of the times. Bad journalism has low credibility and journalists who upset the general public create opposite reactions to what seemed to be intended. We are not the only ones who can detect poor journalism and we are not the only ones who care about the SAAB factory!

    We know that SAAB have been working in a furious pace, with very limited resources. Not all tasks are being executed with perfect precision, obviously including the PR detail. This is natural, given the circumstances. But still SAAB seem to accomplish what they must accomplish and this is what counts more than anything else. Have we already forgotten about Geneva? Or that the sales generated have been through old products mainly and that there will soon be excellent additions to the line up. And ethanol is coming back into fashion!Etc etc

    Disregard the surface and there is a very positive trend around SAAB. No handfull of silly media individuals have the power to break it. Now we even know – somewhat painfully through VA – that there is more cash available, should SAAB need it. JAJ is a true hero, but he alone no longer makes or breaks SAAB (and that is why he finds it OK to leave and spend time with e g old parents and grandchildren – making him even more of a hero to me).

    SAAB now have a better position than I could have dreamt of and 2011 and 2012 are going to be a very interesting years indeed. Silly journalists cannot touch me and I feel confident that they cannot touch SAAB either 🙂

  25. Thanks for all the nice feedback guys.

    Let us hope more people will (re-)discover Saab in the near future.

    maanders: My sister was bitten by a møøse. 🙂 Last year I spotted two moose in the road. One hit by a truck (the driver was redirecting the traffic while waiting for the authorities to arrive) and another I spotted at night; A young moose was running back and forth on the road looking somewhat confused. The speed limit was 90 kph. In December my wife told me she spotted a few a bit off the road. They are definitively there. My step-brother slammed his 9-5 into a moose a few years back, so my family has gathered quite a lot of experience crashing various generations of the 9-5. 🙂 Never a scratch on any of us.

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