One more thought from Robert Collin

Vladimir and Vladimir vs analysis from Robert, Aftonbladet.se

Full Aftonbladet article here

“I wonder if it’s a coincidence that Putin is here at the same time as Antonov is in final negotiations regarding Saab.

I can hardly believe that.

No, I’m guessing that Putin is equally interested in Saab as Antonov. Just as the Chinese state is behind the nouveau riche Li Shofu and the Volvo deal, I believe that the Russian government wants the Saab deal to go through.

Antonov repeatedly mentions that he wants to open a Saab factory in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad by the Baltic Sea, and Russia needs both jobs and cars.
I think Vladimir will fix the deal. At the last minute. I´m keeping my fingers crossed.”

Do I agree? I don´t know, not all of it, but it is a valid thought and well, Robert is right when it comes to the need for jobs.

Robert… Fancy a spot of lunch? 🙂

Cheers/Tom

46 thoughts on “One more thought from Robert Collin”

  1. VA in baltic today….VP in Stockholm tomorrow….
    Robert’s story sounds good to me!
    Each day more confident !….but please go fast!

  2. As much as I would like SAAB to be that important so that even the Mighty Vladimir P would come to Sweden to ask the King and the PM about it, I simply think that is not the case. What I think is that VP has asked the King and the PM why is a Russian investor treated as a criminal and mafia laundry, interrogated and crossed in the Swedish press without any evidence or prosecution. What I want now more then everything is to see the PM’s face and hear his answer.

    • Well, VP actually asked the question about Russian investor treatment but without mentioning any specific reference to names or deals.Maybe he was clearer in the talks with the PM.

      At the press conference he also got questions about Saab, and his answer was: “Come up here if you want to discuss Saab” – my interpretation of that is that the question was not appropriate at this moment (the issues discussed were very widespread and general).

      However one of VP’s goals since a couple of years is to develope the Russian car industry to be competitive with the rest of the world.

      As many of you here at SU probaly know, Bo Andersson the former Saab-employee and vice President of GM is now successfully leading Russian car/truck maker GAZ.

  3. My nerves cannot take it any more-I’m fetching the single malt Scotch Whisky and watching mindless stuff on You Tube!!

    I hate Saabs United. (I’ll be better in the morning)

  4. As much as I like Saab, I think we should be realistic. Saab appeals to a number of people, which number is not huge. It’s in fact one of the reasons why we like Saab so much. Therefore, I’d say it’s quite unlikely that Russia would so desperately want to invest money into Saab. Even more unlikely that Mr. Putin would be in Sweden due to invest in Saab.

    And even if they do (the Russian government), they’d probably want more volume afterwards. I just can’t imagine a government willing to invest money into a company, only to produce 120K cars/year. Well, except maybe for the government of a very small country :).

  5. As much as I’d love Saab to flourish, I would loathe it to be politically motivated. I believe Saab has a business raison d’etre and I hope politics and diplomacy would stay away from it as far as they can.

    I also hope VA is as far from friends with VP as possible. Which I believe might be the case, as he seems to have moved both his personal life and his business out of Russia.

  6. “The russian prime minister Vladimir Putin didn’t give any answers about Vladimir Antonovs interests in Saab Automobile.
    – You want to talk about Saab? Come up here and we’ll talk!”, he said before leaving.”
    DI.se

  7. I have SU daily for the last few months.

    Saab could be a great manufacturer, not small, but also not massive.
    My problem is, is that the longer this goes on, the more damage it is doing. It is being played out in public.

    The average Car buyer that is looking for something good, will just see this as an unstable place to put their hard earned money, ie; what happens if??…. will I get the warranty honoured.. NO, will be the thought & off they will go & buy another make.

    I too hope Saab survive, as one day I’ll trade up from my lovely 98′ 9K and 04′ 9.5 estate..

    BUT MAYBE THEY WON’T BE MADE IN SWEDEN THEN, THERE”LL BE RUSSIAN MADE…

    Be careful what you wish for, as it might come true…..!!

      • ivo 71 (and turbin)

        I know, I know….

        When I’d typed it I thought what the hell are you saying….

        Believe me, there have not been many more faithful Saabers, than myself over the 9000. I have one of the last made (registered UK, September 1998), with the little wrong parts fitted, because of lack of parts/stocks).

        This is the 10th 9000, I’ve owned( all the back to a 9000i, in 1985), so know what you mean…!!

    • All:
      Selling SAAB to a Russian firm would help SAAB to survive but will for sure dilute the brand image. This has happened to “Jaguar” when it has been sold to “Tata”.

      My suggestions is that the new structure of SAAB should be ambidextrous. “Product differentiation at Sweden”, and “Cost leadership” at Russia.

      From the point of view of “Product Differentiation”, SAAB’s factory at SWEDEN should remain as the Research and Development center, and should focus on making and selling of new cars and models: 9-7’s, 9-5’s, 9-3’s, 9-2’s, 9-4x, phoenix, whatever it is.
      SAAB should align its strategy with its macro/external environment throughout all the phases of product lifecycle, i.e., SAAB should neither be an expensive car to buy nor to maintain.

      One the other hand, “Cost Leadership”, the Russian firm could establish a factory at Russia to produce “A new Brand name: e.g., (A name of species of a moose/elk) “, but not “SAAB”. The aim is to reduce the cost of production, and achieve the economies of scale. The aim is to generate a revenue that would cover the operational expenditure of the firm, make reasonable profit, and generate reasonable funds that are required for Research and development to sustain “SAAB’s” differentiation and “Quirkiness”.

      A new brand would be based on old SAAB platform/structure/body. The end product would like somehow classic from its exterior, but, would have somehow a contemporary interior. “A lovely car that will never let you down” inspired from the old heritage, or old models like: ” SAAB 99, SAAB 900 classic, SAAB 9000″.
      This could be achieve by choosing the right good material, good quality of craftsmanship & supervision, and the installation of environmental friendly, trouble free, reliable, and reasonable maintainable engines.
      It wouldn’t be good for the new brand to have an image of a “LADA”!, that would be bad for SAAB, perhaps, you’d then wish that “SAAB” has continued to be a subsidiary of GM, which had somehow a positive impact on the brand.

      • Osama

        Russian part ownership in Saab Automobile AB would no more dilute the brand image than Tata owning Jaguar. Jaguar is healthier than ever and asking a Jaguar owner he/she would never think of the product as anything but British and neither do I.
        So stay to facts please.

        Cheers/Tom

        • Tom:

          Would you buy a British Jag or an Indian Jag? ; What’s the difference between them?

          When SAAB was saved last year, somebody mentioned that SAAB will be produced in Sweden. that’s why the production of the convertible version of SAAB 9-3 been transferred to Sweden. Why?

          In the future, If you have a choice between buying a Swedish SAAB and a Russian SAAB, which one would you prefer? ; What’s the difference between them?

          I’m somehow unhappy and surprised of what’s happening to “SAAB”.
          Why couldn’t “SAAB” find a local Swedish investor to “SAVE” the brand, and help it in making future “SAAB SAABs”??

          Let’s hope that any future ownership of SAAB would help the brand to flourish and prosper.

          Cheers/Osama

          • To me, it doesn’t really matter all that much who owns a brand. If I like the car then I buy it, period. If Saab sells good cars under the flag of Russia then I will buy and drive one. If Saab stays in West-European hands but doesn’t sell cars I like then I won’t buy one. It’s as simple as that.

            And Chinese, Indian, Russian or whatever ownership doesn’t necessarily have to negatively affect a brand’s quality, technology or appeal, all of that depends on the approach to the brand’s management the owner adopts. Volvo isn’t selling less cars or introducing uglier, less reliable or technically more backward models since passing into Chinese hands, on the contrary.

            Ivo

          • it’s right that legal ownership should not matter too much in an era of globalization. However, the appeal of a brand would become severley changed, if research and development, the production facilities, the design and character of the products, the management and the culture of a brand should get overhauled as well. We are not talking cheap mass products with low brand identity, but expensive consumer products with clear quality connotations. Not to imagine Swiss watches to be made in Hongkong, German or Swedish cars to be made in South East Asia. For Saab, this means all development, engineering, administration, production for its core European and US markets should be concentrated in Sweden/ for SUV’s in the US. Production/assembly in emerging markets might be done for reasons of import duties, other forms of restrictions, but not in order to produce/export from there to the core markets. Jaguar and Volvo up to now are success stories exactly why the new owners sticked to this agenda and apparently invest a lot into those brand’s future. They furthermore have not changed the top management, but given a framework and mission with apparently substantial leeway, how to achieve the results.

  8. Seems to be no end to Robert Collin’s now-so-intense interest in Saab. He is also falling all over himself in finding positive comments about VA – the same guy he raked over the coals when he was first mentioned as an interested party in Saab back when the deal with Koenigsegg fell to pieces. RC behaves just like the other Swedish journalist windbags – though he seems to have forgotten all the negative thoughts he spread earlier and now conveniently is a full fledged supporter of Saab. He is just too much to take.

    Aside from that, and on a more positive note: regardless of whether the money comes from China or Russia – Saab needs it, and with some cash on hand, I think we have some great products to look forward to.

    • I wonder what happened to the western world? Why do we nowadays have to rely on the former communist countries to save OUR economy and OUR industries… It’s crazy if you ask me.
      Hopefully bureaucrats see the big picture and start making wise decisions today!

      • Well
        The communist countries are better at Capitalism than we are -)

        Every child born in DK at the moment has a lifetime total cost of about 1 mill DKK to Denmark..
        ie. the average danish citizen is more expensive for the country than what he can earn for the country during a lifetime
        That is probably one of the reasons.
        I think that Sweden is doing a little better.

  9. I love SAAB. Having owned the mighy 99 turbo in 1979 to my curtain fleet (2 9-5’s, 06) this whole involvement with the Chinese, the Russians is really putting a bad taste in my mouth regarding the future owners. I don’t want to be driving around in a Volga style, Chinese made (BAC) vehicle with a SAAB badge chirns my stomach,

    I know SAAB needs funding but come on? Arent there plenty of American/Aussie/Canadian/European/Japanese billionaires out there that would love to secure SAAB’s future?

    I would not buy a SAAB knowing that it is being built in Russia who have notriously poor manufacturing and quality control practices?

    Oye Vey but not thanks.

    Just my two cents.

    Seb

  10. So off topic, ithink I just bought myself a 1980 900 Turbo 5 door in Aquamarine Blue with very low mileage. That should be fun finding parts for. It is so grotesque, it is good looking.

  11. I haven’t been able to post lately, due to improved employer control of internet functions, but here is what I think. Saab as we know it, is about gone. However, we should not be downhearted; there are too damn many of us. If this brand goes away, as I think it is about to, but don’t wish for, I think it has a great chance it will show up again somewhere in the near future. Why? The brand value is too high. Same reason they are making MG’s in China, and Jag’s in India. Does that mean they will be made in Sweden? Mostly no, Russia, maybe, China, yes, perhaps India. We have been watching this pattern for sometime. As an American, and speaking for Americans in general, we do not want this.

    So I have too wonder, what is wrong with the government in Sweden? Are they suicidal? Say what you want about our current President, he found a way to save GM, in the name of National Security, Chrysler as well. (love that M&M song). It seems to me Swedish National Security is diminished with the shutdown of Saab. Does anyone really think Volvo’s will be produced in large numbers, in Sweden, twenty years from now? Just because the monthly unemployment rate in Sweden is a little down, do they believe it is forever?

    History will tell you something else. This has all happened before. It was called the destruction of the British car industry. Or, if you will, the Japanese invasion of the west coast American market in the early 1960’s. These were permanent games changers.

    What is my point? Someone will pick up the Saab marque and make it somewhere, and sell it to somebody, but it will not be a car most of you will be willing to buy. But many of us will, anyway.

    Oh, by the way, if more people buy Saab stock, it will drive up the asking price, which in turn, increases the value of the company. I finally did so today. People who don’t understand this are most likely former socialists.

  12. I don’t think that the “boss of bosses” making the Swedish Government an “offer it can’t refuse” is going to help Saab that much, there are two many big ego’s around Saab as it is, adding an even bigger one into the mix would not be a good idea!

  13. I think that Swedish Government’s major concern right now is that a possible sale to Antonov can lead to a possible closure of the Trollhattan factory in the future and the opening of new one in Kaliningrad. That means new jobs & cars in Russia but … lost jobs & technology in Sweden!

    Of course such deal is much more preferable than Saab’s immediate closure right now.

    How Volvo managed to secure jobs in Sweden by the sale to BAIC?

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