Updating the sales figures for June and reading the last press release from Saab is like being in a pitfall for days and hearing the leader coming to you. You know you are still in the pit but you will come out soon.
And while the rope leader keeps falling, yes it is a deep pit; I would like to share my thoughts on this last press release.
Pang Da and Youngman
One or two weeks ago the CEO of one of those two companies said that the current situation of Saab didn’t worry him, because the long term perspective for Saab is very bright.
So why did they first do a non binding MoU? Why did they wait till now to convert it into a binding agreement? We all know what happened to Hawtai for, maybe, trying to be too fast. So Pang Da and Youngman simply decided to be more cautious and wait for a positive sign from the Chinese authorities before moving forward.
This is pure speculation; as I have as much insight as most of you, but would show the confidence those Chinese companies have in Saab and the future of the Brand.
But why can they be so confident if Saab production line is still stopped? I think that from now the factory restart is only a question of time. Some suppliers did not only ask for money to deliver Saab once again with parts, but they wanted to see a functioning mid-term financing. I think many of those sceptics will be convinced now, and they will be taking the gamble that all those agreements are approved in autumn of this year as already anticipated by Saab.
From my private point of view, I would love that Saab is able to build cars before the summer vacations, as I am one of those customers waiting for the delivery of a car, but if it is only possible to restart production after the summer break it will be also be OK for me.
9-1, 9-6x, 9-7
The second part of this press release is the announcement of three new models that should broaden the Saab palette.
The first thing that I read out of it is that the cars will have odd numbers, where the SUVs will get the even numbers.
- 9-1, 9-3, 9-5, 9-7
- 9-4x, 9-6x
There is still space for a future 9-2x.
Secondly, by the numbers we only see how those cars might be positioned, but we don’t know its size. Yes the Phoenix platform is able to underpin a 5.20m long car, but being able to do something, doesn’t mean that you should do it.
There is still the possibility of a smaller next-get 9-5 and a 9-7 of about the size of the current 9-5, and the same is valid for the 9-4x/9-6x.
But this is more the European view on it. If I go to the US/Russia/China, it seems like people are asking for different things. How many of our US readers did ask for a third seat row in the 9-4x? And why is BMW building a long wheel base 5 series or Audi building an lwb A6, for China?
So there is still a market for such cars, and if you don’t believe me, why is Audi working on the next Q7?
My point of view is that Muller wanted the funding to build the 9-1 and the Chinese wanted the bigger 9-7 and 9-6x. At the end of the day Muller got the funding for the 9-1 and the Chinese the development partner for the 9-6x and 9-7.
All in all, it bodes well for Saab future, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that the Chinese authorities also see a future in those joint ventures.