I thought it was frustration

Some weeks ago the amount of bad news on Saab reached a level where many used this platform for venting their frustration. It felt just right that people used different targets for their frustration. Some used the Swedish government, others the EIB, and some the Saab management, specially Victor Muller.

But the weeks have passed by, and the situation at Saab hasn’t changed that much, so I thought that most of the readers here at SaabsUnited had understood the situation at Saab, that they had learned which constraints are keeping Saab in the current situation, and that the management are working to get things sorted out.

But this is not the case, people keep repeating their assumptions ignoring what is happening and what not. People keep blaming other people or institutions for the current situation at Saab. It can’t be frustration any more. Anyone learns sooner or later that things might be moving slower than expected, but things are moving in the right direction, so what do I think is the reason for the current negativism?

Anger

I don’t know why, but people seem to be angry versus Saab. I don’t know what Saab has done to some people, but it is clear to me that some people are concentrating all their anger towards Saab. It is really sad, as the world would be much nicer without anger. I still don’t know why people go to enthusiast sites like this just to try to convince other people that they should stop being interested in Saab.

For me it is very frustrating having to write about this instead of writing about the really interesting and very competitive Saab products, but I know that some of our readers are too angry and some others are to anxious to know the outcome of the whole affair that articles on the product tend to become ignored.

But for the small pack that is still interested in Saab as a car manufacturer, here is a nice picture of the first Saab prototype I saw life in a auto show. It was the IAA in Frankfurt in 2001, and Michael Maurer was presenting how far he thought the Saab brand could reach in terms of design.

This car, the 9x, was way off from the Saab cars in 2001, and some people thought it was not a real Saab, but now 10 years later it feels as Saaby as the 99Turbo.

I think it will be a history repeating with the PhoeniX concept.

123 thoughts on “I thought it was <em>frustration</em> …”

  1. the world would be much nicer without anger.

    Actually, anger is a perfectly valid emotion, that is very much necessary (sometimes even healthy) in situations where one needs to convey a sense of urgency to others, often with the purpose of correcting unacceptable behavior in others. For example: it was perfectly acceptable for us to be angry at “twirix” yesterday, as he was stirring trouble within our community.

    What I would argue, (and what I believe Red J really means), is that “the world would be much nicer without misplaced anger”. And that is a key distinction here. When Spyker NV rescued SAAB from GM, this was a great victory for us all, no doubt. And it was from that point forward that we realized that VM has earned the right for us to entrust the future of Saab Automotive in his hands. Yes, that does put a lot on his shoulders. And the stakes are no doubt, very high. But, VM has earned that trust. And frankily it is both unfair and counter-productive to direct anger towards him. Yes, we can question his moves, and those that have a personal stake in SAAB (as most of us do), certainly have the right to, but the vile commentary against him and/or any Saab employees is completely uncalled for. The fact of the matter is, the future of Saab, rests in his hands. So even if he deserved our anger (which I don’t think he does), it would still be counter-productive to direct it towards him.

    Now, anger towards the Swedish government is an entirely different story, as they have been blatantly blocked SAABs management at every turn. But, even then: from following comments posted here, I see a lot of the same complaints being iterated over and over. So, there comes a point where we just have to agree with other (or “agree to disagree”, where needed). The SaabUnited Crew has expressed on multiple occasions that the aggressive comments can be and have been incredibly cumbersome, so I think our focus here should be to stick with productive discourse as we discuss the issues that face Saab.

    • “anger towards the Swedish government is an entirely different story, as they have been blatantly blocked SAABs management at every turn.”

      Could somebody please explain what the governement has done wrong? It is the EIB who are blocking Antonov’s entry. Not the government.

      If and when Antonov pays off the EIB loan he can join SAAB the next minute. Even Lars Carlström seems to have given up blaming the Swedish government.

      But back to the government. There is another “Swedish” car maker called Volvo with a plant not far from Trollhättan. They are doing fine. So what is it the government has done that helps Volvo but puts SAAB up shit creek without a paddle?

      The government HAS helped SAAB by saying OK to the EIB loan in the first place. Without that – where would SAAB have been today?

        • The Swedish Government has made serious mistakes in their statements about Saab.
          That is what people is reacting to, just like you are reacting to the statements that SweGov has been blocking.
          I agree that they are the ones standing as guarantee for the EIB loans, and as such has helped Saab
          I also think that they will be Saabs closest friends in obtaining a China deal.

          However the general picture from the government statements is not a helpfull attitude

          • I know members of the government have made som comments that I too think were pretty stupid. But what I reacted to was that the government had “blatantly blocked SAABs management at every turn.”.

            I think that is a pretty stupid comment too, on a par with some of Maud’s.

      • It was my understanding that the goverment has not yet approved VA. I also thought they were dragging their feet when approving the real estate deal.

        Please correct me if I am wrong. But if I am right, well these actions were unacceptable.

        • Firstly, the government has clearly expressed their view that if and when GM and the EIB approve of Antonov they would do so too. Now we know the EIB will not say OK to Antonov, and he has been aware of this for close to a month. Moreover I can’t see why the G should approve Antonov before the ones who are financial stakeholders present their opinion.

          Can you please clarify what you mean by the G “dragging their feet” when it comes to the real estate deal? The deal was between SAAB and Hemfosa and required lots of talks between the various stakeholders in the original SAAB sales-agreement (GM, EIB and the Swedish state).

          • Don’t you think EIB would have shown VA the green light already in April if Minister Borg would have given them a call saying ”- Hey Eva, our Debt Office has just approved VA to become an owner of Saab. Get cracking, Saab’s factory is standing still and BTW so did GM with the condition that you give your approval. I was just on the phone with them”.

            It’s the Swe govt stalling this whole process. Why didn’t they stop Geely from buying Volvo? This is politics and a power struggle. Nothing else. Politicians are in no hurry. They get their salaries what ever they do, that’s why they should stray away from having to make business decisions like these.
            If they wore going to say ‘no’. They should have said it four months ago to make it a bit more fare for Saab to start looking for other alternatives. But they a) must have had zero on VA and/or, b) fear of become liable for all kind of things if the decision was based on false or prejudice information.

            I’m tired of explain this over and over. In the future I will just provide the link to this comment.

            PS.

            STOCKHOLM, April 28 | Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:24am EDT
            (Reuters) – Sweden’s Debt Office and former Saab owner GM (GM.N) approved a plan for Russiafinancier Vladimir Antonov to take a stake in the struggling car maker, though GM attached conditions, Swedish media said on Thursday.
            The Debt Office approved Antonov as an owner, Swedish public service television said, without quoting sources.
            Production has been stopped at Saab in Sweden since early April because the company cannot pay some suppliers.
            Antonov wants to buy into the firm and help it with its strained finances.
            Swedish news agency TT said separately that GM had placed conditions on its approval. TT quoted a GM statement.

          • Who is the financial stakeholder here Sadim?

            is it the EIB that lends money they have 100 % securities for or is it the Swedish state that stands as guarantor and also the sole entity that will have to pay for all the costs (of course not counting the millions suppliers stand to lose) in case of a bankruptcy?

            The government, could have, and should have in my opinion, have spoken out for antonov as soon as the debt office gave their approval. The Swedish government is responsible for all citizens in Sweden, the EIB and GM are not.

            It is more the utter and complete lack of support for Saab from the government that is pi–ing me off. From the beginning they have been talking about all the money they have set aside, of course without spending anything, How Saab doesn’t sell any cars, a statement so outrageous in the first place that it hurts, but coming from the Prime minister so utterly disgusting I almost feel sick just thinking about it.

            Even if the government’s stance is that the state should not own any companies they could at least help with what they can help, the first being always talking positively about Saab – read Swedish industry – so that potential investors don’t get cold feet from a disinterested, or outright negative Swedish state.

            This, IMHO, is where the Swedish government started out wrong and for which it will be very difficult to forgive them. A lot of the woes that Saab are in could have been avoided if the government had acted positively instead of negatively. Right from day one, not necessarily after Muller saved saab from the brink of death.

            But I am sure you will soon tell me how wrong I am.

          • For some reason I cannot comment the on the replies posted by RS and Grumpy so I have improvised and post my reply here.

            RS
            http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2011/07/i-thought-it-was-frustration.html#comment-147118
            “Don’t you think EIB would have shown VA the green light already in April ?”
            No I do not. It seems Antonov quite clearly is not going to be let in by the EIB, and isn’t it so that this was stipulated in the original GM-Spyker agreement?
            It’s the Swe govt stalling this whole process. Why didn’t they stop Geely from buying Volvo?

            Why should they have stopped Geely-Volvo? Geely had lots of cash. Ford owned Volvo and no state securities were involved. The two deals are not comparable from the point of view that you present.

            .
            Grumpy
            http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2011/07/i-thought-it-was-frustration.html#comment-147120
            It is more the utter and complete lack of support for Saab from the government that is pi–ing me off. ………
            I agree many govt-statements have been very poorly phrased, and now I am being kind. To say that SAAB are not selling any cars is disrespectful and foolish.

            I also ask you to read a few other of my replies to similar/linked questions/issues
            http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2011/07/i-thought-it-was-frustration.html#comment-147076
            http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2011/07/i-thought-it-was-frustration.html#comment-147122

          • You then forgot the following statement from EIB:

            “När det gäller Saab följer vi utvecklingen noga. Vi är en bank, ägs av 27 medlemsländer och styrs väldigt mycket av hänsyn till banksekretess. Vi kommenterar inte våra affärsrelationer”, säger Pär Isaksson, presstalesman för EIB, till TT.”

            In short. EIB does not comment on their business relations. What the guy from CLEPTA has heard is either breach of EIB Bank secret or misunderstanding.
            Both situations pputs one of the parties in a very bad light

          • Sadim, you hit the nail right on the head and my point exactly. They should have said right away (by early May) that VA will not be accepted as an owner if that was the case.
            That would have put VM on the next plain to find new alternatives.

            This feet dragging is what makes it all looks very suspicious. They don’t need months to make up their minds. The Swedish Debt Office did their investigation in a couple of weeks.

          • Well Sadim, that being the case, do you not think it would be appropriate for the Swedish government to put the foot down and instruct EIB to not sabotage Saab?

            My first question to you was more about ‘why?’ EIB should not approve Antonov. (not clearly phrased I admit) Your statement seemed to be that it is ‘obvious’ that Antonov won’t get approved and that this is a dead end. IMO it is still a very much viable route, especially in case the government does their job and intervene. They are a part in this too, seeing as they are the guarantors for the loan. EIB run no risk either way, and have been sabotaging for Saab for at least this year if not longer. I think the guarantor should speak up at this point.

          • @Khrisdk July 28, 2011 at 15:21
            “What the guy from CLEPTA has heard is either breach of EIB Bank secret or misunderstanding. Both situations puts one of the parties in a very bad light.”

            I agree, Khrisdk, and my very own interpretation is that the EIB chairman Philippe Maystadt has been careless.

            @ RS July 28, 2011 at 15:30
            “They should have said right away (by early May) that VA will not be accepted as an owner if that was the case…..This feet dragging is what makes it all looks very suspicious. They don’t need months to make up their minds. The Swedish Debt Office did their investigation in a couple of weeks.”

            I agree that if a strategic decision not to let VA in has been taken, this should have been communicated at once.

            Re the Swedish Debt Office’s investigation, I believe the EIB considered it a rather poor investigation, especially after finding out about Lithuania’s criticism of Snoras.

            @Rune July 28, 2011 at 15:31
            “do you not think it would be appropriate for the Swedish government to put the foot down and instruct EIB to not sabotage Saab?”

            No, I do not. The EIB have much better and wider sources of info. My view is that the EIB should look into the matter, evaluate all possible risks, present them to the Swedish govt who then can decide if they are willing to accept the risk.

          • From DI (publ 2011-07-28 15:38)

            No EIB-loan with Antonov onboard

            The EIB now confirms that the loan to Saab has been issued provided that Vladimir Antonov is not given the opportunity to take over ownership of Saab, says Pär Isaksson, spokesman for the EIB, the TT continues: This was made clear by the EIB to the Swedish authorities at the beginning of the project evaluation in 2009.

            TT: Why have you waited so long to say this?
            “The EIB and other banks, have a policy not to comment on business relationships, but in this case we decided to make an exception”, says Pär Isaksson.

            The Swedish Debt Office and Govt Departments have received information, said Per Isaksson,spokesman for the EIB without describing which departments or how information has been passed on.

            TT: If a decision like this are normally not made public, why do you now make an exception?
            “The EIB’s management has chosen to make a departure from this policy. Why I can not discuss,” said Isaksson.

            The only thing that would change the decision regarding Antonov’s unsuitability as owner of the Saab is that Saab pays the loan back to the EIB in full.

            Vladimir Antonov has known about the EIB’s decision not to allow him in as a partner since a few a weeks back, says his Swedish spokesman Lars Carlstrom to TV 4News West.

          • Sadim, which sources of information do the EIB draw from?

            And why would it matter to them? They are not the ones running any risks. The Swedish government and Saab are the ones put in a squeeze by EIB’s two year delay.

            Are EIB going to spend two years vetting potential russian investors in all cases where an EIB loan is in the picture?

  2. I agree on the 9x – I sure didn’t see it live, but it left me with a weird feeling back then. Fast forward (that’s life to you 😉 ten years, and it’s a classic. So it seems there were, and are, new Saabish qualities that were cultivated in the greenhouse even under GM. It just takes time both to cultivate them and nurture them. It’s all simply taking a long-term perspective – and investment.

    • The difference with the PhoeniX concept is that it feels like a modern, spot-on, interpretation of Saab, whereas the 9-x fells like a (useful) widening of the brand which needs adoption. Witkout badges, the 9-x concept is not unmistakenly a Saab, but the PhoeniX concept is a car that is instantly recognized as a Saab of the future.

      • Yeah! PhoeniX does have this more immediate feeling – when the design finally pops at you, you can really sense the saab lines in it, maybe all at once. The 9-x was more ambiguous design-wise (arguably in a Saabish way – Saab does ambiguity very well IMO), but what finally sold it to me as a Saab was the concept of a really versatile car – a car with a real and new idea. Of course Saab was an early bird with that concept, which didn’t exactly take flight … but better late, and like a PhoeniX, than never – heh.

  3. I can’t speak for the other readers, but what I feel is anxiety. I’m anxious over the possibiity of losing my favorite automobile brand, anxious over the possible loss of over 10,000 jobs and anxious over the long term health of my NG9-5. I paid good money for my car and I don’t want to see it devalue by 50% over the next couple of months. I’m also anxious about the warranty and parts for a car that hasn’t sold many units in the US. So, I’m trying to relax about the situation but each day brings more bad news which adds to my anxiety. The only anger I feel is towards myself who bought the car while not knowing about Saabs precarious state – I was ignorant of the situation which really bothers me. Again, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think many are also feeling anxious.

      • +1.

        All the reports on missing spare parts have added a lot to my anxiety. I do also feel a little bit angry that the management (probably VM) have emptied the spare parts company of money to such as an extent that the spare part company can’t function. To relieve the Saab-mother company of some financial pressure for some 10-15 days they might have ruined the future owner experience for 100 000 Saab owners… That part makes my angry.

        It is not easy being a Saab fan these days. 🙁

  4. I am a believer that Saab can be saved, however I can see how high emotions have overcome many people as the situation becomes more tense. In fact If I am truly honest, at times, I have also felt both frustrated and a little angry as I feel that Saab has been managed into a position that could have been avoided with better operational and financial planning, however these are my own views and the strength of my emotions are undoubtedly linked to my passion for this iconic carmaker. As I said, I remain positive that a solution can be found and I wish the best of luck to all of those working hard to make this a reality. I also look forward to the day that we can discuss new cars without fears that they will not be built.

  5. I think you should differentiate between two kinds of reactions.

    There has been and will be reactions on a more general level against Saab, not really because Saab is important to people, but because there is a strong political history of failed government support of industy in Sweden and the fact that many Swedes thinks that their government is doing very well, and doing the right things for maintaining Sweden as a welfare state.

    As most US commenters will probably notice, Scandinavian perceptions of how to maintain the rights of the workforce and the general protection level of workers and their wellbeing are different that most other places
    And as some have noted before, there has been some pretty unsuccesfull experiments regarding this

    Most of the more aggresive people here have been Swedes upset by what they see as a direct attack on the government, and a wish for a return to nationalisation of factories just to keep people employed, but not contributing to the country.
    Sweden has had a hard time for a while, and some people place the blame, rightfully or wrongly, for this on former policies.
    And when we end up in discussions based in politics there is a tendency to get very bitter discussions.

    The other kind of reactions comes mostly from anxiety.

    We are caught in Limbo, awaiting life or death of a company that means a lot to commenters.
    It is hard to understand or grasp how much money is needed, how quickly they can disappear, and the plain fact that most information is for the involved parties only.
    Which we as an enthusiast community is not

    There has been errors and blunders on all sides, and the press will report on these if they can lure anybody into commenting on record or get access to any information.
    Saab is news, just like anything else.
    The problem with most media is that they do not report more than parts of the information as they mostly can not get the full picture, and are also able to get people to take discussions that should be privat in public.
    That will lead to PR disasters on all sides.

    The natural reaction here will be to get upset with most of those involved in the latest news from different perspectives, simply because we are emotionally involved and want the complete picture, which we will never get.
    But we get little dripples of whatever the media can find, and react to that.

    For what it’s worth, I find the PhoeniX the most interesting Saab Prototype ever, simply because it contains the future of Saab in a real life drivable vehicle.
    Contrary to most I do not find the design language to be the defining factor of Saab, and I would love to have a complete series of walkthroughs of the diffferent technologies and their applications together with some more reports on the Så Nätt Project, if any of the suppliers is still in on that

    Said the man after relaxing with 5 hours of Guitar playing at monster volume with the band. It helps. trust me 🙂

    • +1
      I’d like to add that we should keep in mind that not too far ago SAAB was closed down by external decision. Now SAAB is still alive, and has developed products that are worth it’s survival. So there is hope, and in average, there is progress when compared to that winding down process that was started by GM and holded by VM. Even though things looked better half a year ago than they do now. So I decided to keep my fingers crossed for SAAB and to think of ways how to support my local dealer.

    • Most of the more aggresive people here have been Swedes upset by what they see as a direct attack on the government, and a wish for a return to nationalisation of factories just to keep people employed, but not contributing to the country.
      Sweden has had a hard time for a while, and some people place the blame, rightfully or wrongly, for this on former policies.
      And when we end up in discussions based in politics there is a tendency to get very bitter discussions.

      Well, i cal tell you that Sweden as a state, including Government, is doing very well and havent’ done this well in decades. I guess I fall in the cathergory you describe the most “agressive” around here. For me the reason being here and on di.se is to try to open up the eyes of people that are blinded by the community feeling around the brand Saab.

      The second reason, i don’t want government involvement for many reasons, in my view Saab has been more or less dead since a long time back, talking about 2-3 years. It better to take the hit of 3700 employees now when the market is glowing than in two years time when the market is down, all this people have a better chance to find new jobs now than later. Cuase they will have to sooner or later, i think deep inside everybody, even you guys, knows this.

      Just the fact that SO many on this site and others blame EIB, government, Maud etc for the failures of Saab triggers me even more. Saab went to EIB with open cards, the conditions were known regarding ownership etc of the company, government securities, etc etc… but YET you are saying the EIB, Government, Maud or who ever it is is preventing Antonov to invest? Why do you say that? There is nothing preventing Antonov to pay off the debts and invest. I could go on and on with stuff like this above to explain what drives my realism (what you call anger) around here. I just hope you all can realize that it’s better to put an end to the story now when the times are good, to help workers get new jobs.

      The sub suppliers i don’t worry about anymore, the large ones have never been dependant of Saab because of the relativlivy small volumes and the small ones.. they have already moved away from Saab after soon 6 months of stop in the factory, they have already taken the hit. One of my best friends wife down the street work for a small ex Saab sub supplier (some form plastic processing thing). They have already moved on with other clients after being so bad treated by Saab not paying them, trying to be cocky in business relations trying to get more credit, lying about payments etc etc.. they are doing great now with new slients and would never go back to deliver to Saab again, they are at full capacity.

      All these things you have to understand, Sweden is not going down with Saab, Saab is not that important you all think they are, not anymore, maybe 20 years ago people had beliefe but now…. nada.

      Just the fact that you don’t see where all the money has gone I find pretty comic. But i DO really admire you all for the faith in the brand Saab even though i dont understand it, and that ido say after being a Saab owner twice in my early years of driving. What is lacking is realism.

      • This is exactly why I will preserve the right not to answer anything you say or argument against it.
        You already KNOW.

        What I would like to say is hat you are now again pushing the notion that the money have gone into the pockets of VM in a criminal way.
        For that I would on my own forum have banned you for life. It is both libel and a personal attack

        Unless you provide us with documented facts that the above is the case , it is you that is doing something criminal and punishable

      • I’m sorry but you fail to see the responsibility of EIB. You don’t start demanding -one year after they’ve received the loan- a company in start-up phase to pay a 280 million euro loan back in full or you won’t accept new investors to get the thing going again (and be able to pay their bills).

        • I think it is important we have the original GM-Spyker deal in mind when disscussing many of the curresnt issues.

          My understanding of the original GM-Spyker agreement is that GM wanted out before they would accept Antonov. The deal Antonov and GM recently cut supports this.

          When it comes to the EIB loan, isn’t it so that it stipulates that Antonov would be kept out until at least 2014? For obscure reasons the EIB seems totally unwilling to change their position on Antonov, and they are in a position to do that. One can only assume that they have their reasons, be they good or bad. But the EIB-loans had certain conditions. All the EIB is asking is that SAAB stick to the original conditions. No more, no less.

        • EIB lend the money to Saab on the grounds of the business plan produced by VM. A very unrealistic business plan. The plan failed big time. EIB is a business driven bank and not charity, why would they risk breaching the conditions of the loan if they see the risk is to big? VM and Saab failed to live up to the business plan and then of course they have the responsibility to act there after, to search for other ways to finance the show. Either within the conditions of the EIB loan or to pay off the loan (Antonov) and continue on their own. Simple as that.

          • For once you brought out something working.

            Yes, you could be very right
            But what I don’t understand is why noone comes out making this statement in public?
            As opposed to having te spokesman of CLEPTA claim that he has asked the EIB and given the information that they will not accept Antonov
            That is not very much in concord with the EIB claims of not discussing clients in public

          • GM is basicly the reason for the failure of the business plan. They business plan was created by Koenigsegg and taken over by VM… with a working factory!!! GM was stubborn, closed the factory and ended a lot of supplier contracts, while negotiating with VM. From that point on, the businessplan was not viable anymore as it took a lot more money and extra time to start the factory again instead of taking over a running factory. With the ever changing demands from GM during the negotiations, VM had no choice other than accept the conditions.
            Agreed, they should have adapted the businessplan to the situation as soon as they signed the deal, but then you loose credibility towards investors and banks. Something he could not afford at that stage

      • Now I get it Leeloo, you are only concerned with our well being. You are truly worried that we will breakdown in case, well this is inevitable according to you, saab would close shop. It is truly touching and very friendly of you.

        But I guess the majority of us still here are so because we actually care for the brand, the employees and for what can be made out of the company. We are not gathere here to convince ourselves it is better to hate Saab than love it.

        I think your place is back on the DI Forum where the naysayers and Saabhaters can vent their life frustration freely eagerly supported by DI.se with their own agenda, and don’t try to push that they seek the truth crap.

        Sometimes it is better to agree to disagree.

        But thank you for your kind concern.

        • @Krisdk
          EIB can not make a public statement about their business relations unless both parties agree to make a pressrelease right. I’m pretty sure VM (and perhaps Antonov), is informed about the situation and reasons why EIB eventually won’t accept him as new sharholder. From where CLEPTAs spokesman has got his information is irrelevant and not important, he is a third party and can not in this case be trusted more than you and me.

          @Obelix
          It doesn’t matter who wrote the physical text or made the calculations in the business plan, it was signed off and accepted by VM and used as base for the EIB calculations and loan applications.

          @Polle
          Of course VM had a choice… he could always have backed out and let Saab go bankrupt or been shut down by GM. After that he could have bought the factory and started up a new manufacturing of what ever kind, cars, winmills, busses, bicycle or what ever… but to just take over the business as it was without any major changes was in my view already then doomed to fail. He never had the financial muscles for this project.

        • Now we have the Press release.
          Stating that it is the person, not the business plan.
          Also stating that they made an exception to their normal procedures.
          We have also had responses from NDO and Eric Geers.

          Now, tell me honestly:

          Do you feel that SweGov and EIB has showed proper conduct in these matters?

          • Yes i do. Since when is it the role of the Swedish Government to inform about business transactions between EIB, VM and Antonov? EIB i can not answer for but i stongly suspect they are tied not to comment or inform third parties because of legal reasons.

            Now you tell me honestly, do you feel VM and Antonov are showing and have showed proper conduct in these matters and towards it’s employees??

          • Well..EIB chose to inform 3. parties. and breach Bank secretesse.
            SweGov is an involved party, standing as guarantors for the loans.
            It is SweGov that have been financing NDO investigations into VA on Tax Payer money, not being informed of the fact that EIB would never change their stance.

            Actuially EIB have effectively taken over SweGovs rights to decide over the money the are guaranteeing.

  6. I want to add that I don’t understand anger with Saab. I can think disappointed, but angry? I will be disappointed (selfishly) if I never get to buy a brand new Saab. But it seems like the real focus should be on the Saab workers that may lose their jobs at any time. The stress level for them must be awful. Those who have been sticking it out and those who have had to jump ship simply because they need to support themselves represent what I have seen as loyalty to the Saab family. Being angry with Saab as an outsider not involved with day-to-day Saab business and being critical at every turn is like watching a sporting event and yelling at the players for missing a catch. We aren’t there! We don’t know all the circumstances that are happening. If nothing else VM has shown his passion for this car company and is doing everything he can to make Saab succeed.

    For me, I love my Saabs. I’ve owned a Saab since 1989. (My black 1980 3-door 900 Turbo was awesome!) I also love the culture that is “Saab” that all started with the old “wave” way back when you saw another Saab on the road. And now, websites like SaabsUnited, continue the “wave.” If I was lucky enough to have a newer Saab, I would just love owning the car and enjoy every moment with it just like I do with my current ’96 900 SET and ’99 9-3 convertible. I didn’t buy these cars as an investment, I bought them because I love them. It would be worrisome if there were warranty and parts issues, etc., but, we should think big picture…Saab workers, Saab families…Saab culture.

    • @Khrisdk

      Why you always avoid my questions? Here it is again.

      Do you feel VM and Antonov are showing and have showed proper conduct in these matters and towards it’s employees??

      • Leeloo, Ruune or whatever new name you choose tomorrow.
        You have one opinion about Saab, VM, VA and others most of the people her do not share.

        You are free to state your opinion, but not again and again and again.

        You seem to be one of the porters of the torch of pure and absolute truth. Maybe if you come down from your pedestal and discuss with us, more people will follow your thoughts.

        So this is my advice:
        – use 1 nick so everybody knows who you are.
        – if nobody reacts on your argumentation is maybe because nobody is interested in doing so.

        //RedJ

  7. I dont think anger is correct – emotional intensity at adverse events at a brand people are passionate about (here at least) may be another way of trying to describe it.

    I am here, not because I own a Saab – but I find the story totally compelling. I live in the states, but had for a while an ownership stake in a group of companies in Sweden (not that far from Trollhatten), and was on the board. We had a Dutch entrepreneur CEO (sound familiar??) and he also took a storied swedish brand and drove it into a ditch. As with Saab, there were unpaid suppliers, pissed off customers, grandiose plans that no one believed any more , least of all the employees and long standing industrial processes that fell apart, due to the daily mad hunt for cash. As things got fiscally worse – the deals got more and more desparate : a bit like whacking a hammer on one of those fairground attractions , where if you hit it hard enough, the ball goes up and rings a bell.

    Luckily for me, and our investor group, we sold before the wheels came off, but the next group of investors were not so fortunate , and got the double whammy of an under capitalised growth oriented business plan in a rapidly declining market. When they got to the point of not paying salaries – by then the board had also bailed (other than the dutch CEO) The investor group kicked out the dutch guy, recapitalised at huge amount and its been a long, expensive road back. (we were 1/ 8th the size of Saab , employee wise. What I am seeing at Saab, in many ways is a deja vu for me.

    I love Sweden, the people, and way of life, I admire what Saab is, and I was in Trollhatten, by coincidence, the night before the workers didnt get paid in June. I want it to survive, for fondness reasons, but unless Sweden steps in massively (not likely) or VW/BMW/Mercedes/GM/Ford – even Fiat – step up ( about zero chance) then sadly the thing is basically cooked.

  8. I have to say that I am both frustrated and angry. I am frustrated that SAAB finally has some great products for the marketplace and they have no money to produce or promote them to the marketplace.

    I am EXTREMELY angry at the Swedish government, the EIB and whatever agencies or companies (GM?) that have blocked SAAB from moving forward every step of the way.

    I am also incredibly angry at VM and the people at SAAB who didn’t seize the moment when they had the product to price and equip cars appropriately and more importantly promote cars to the US market when they had a window of opportunity to do so after the 9-5 arrived. They totally blew their chance to sell cars! The Aero wasn’t the car for the mass SAAB market and it was overpriced to get the ball rolling. No advertising, no dealer support. NOTHING! And the NA sales office was impossible–and run still by GM idiots. It took me 6 months to get a 9-5 brochure after calling, emailing, and ultimately visiting the Chicago Auto Show before I finally got the marketing material. I never got it from SAAB NA. It came from a great, aggressive DEALER–Just SAAB in Cincinnati, after I visited their site. The SAAB NA site and phone numbers were run by GM until only recently–and they even tried to send me Cadillac and Chevy and Buick info–when I called for SAAB! Talk about the foxes guarding the hen house!

    Had SAAB siezed the moment–they would have sold cars in the US.

    I am a SAAB enthusiast and love my SAAB and want another. But I feel like the war has been lost. The cat has lived its nine lives and won’t come back a 10th time. I hope I am wrong, but I feel like SAAB, the Swedish government, and the competitive auto market that has lots of good alternatives for a better value has managed to make SAAB increasingly irrelevant in the auto business.

    • You’ve encapsuled my frustration as well.

      When the intial Saab separation went through, I posted something here to the effect of, “I really hope they’re capitalized through to and including the launch of the NG 9-3, because this is kind of a dead brand until then. They need to be capitalized assuming almost no sales for the next 2.5 years.”

      Well, my “anger” is because that was obviously not the case. And recent events have made it pretty obvious that they were undercapitalized to such an extent that their “business plan” basically assumed a break even or even better first year, and did anyone but the most wildly optimistic Saab fan believe that was going to happen? And did that “break even” number include costs like marketing?

      I’m doubly “angry” because the product aspect of their business plan worked… It’s the best lineup in Saab history, and you know what? No one is going to notice or care. Blame the government, the EIB, etc all we wish (and they deserve a lot of blame), but the bottom line is that their business plan barely took them to a year and a half after GM separation, and that’s their fault.

      I’m triply “angry” because it’s been blatently obvious to most US Saab fans (and absolutely obvious to US Saab dealers, who’ll talk about this all day) that SCNA was incompetent on most fronts, and the “New Saab” management seemed to leave that crew in place until the 11th hour, and that SCNA bunch badly bungled the US 9-5 launch in every conceivable way. I’ve read some (usually Euro fans) apologizing for aspects of the US launch (“Who needs a sunroof?”) but anyone here in the US will tell you it was a disaster… Essentially a US non-event.

      Now I understand why Saab rushed that launch… Their undercapitalized business plan wouldn’t let them wait 6 months to do it right! They needed cash flow right away.

      Tragically sad. I know VM is the hardest working man in the industry, I know he saved Saab, I know Saab is a brand bursting with potential with great people working behind the scenes to create great products (although some people at the brand who deal with materials quality, base Saab decontenting, pricing, and detail decisions like monochrome green SIDs need to be gently moved along), but undercapitalizing the the first 3 years may be the mistake that does in an “independent” Saab…

      And I say independent because I think Saab will indeed survive all of this… eventually… As a Chinese controlled company. There’s waaaay too much equity in the world’s last available European automotive brand for the Chinese (or Indians or Russians) to ignore. Saab will be available suuuper cheap to Youngman or any maker to instantly catapault them to worldwide automotive relevance. It will happen, but the near-term future will be dark.

      All I can do is continue to drive my Turbo-X and support my local Shaw Saab dealer and wait for my NG 9-3. I’m sorry to say at this point I don’t care if it’s Chinese or Swedish built. The government (and thus people) and the suppliers (who precipitated this whole crisis needlessly) of Sweden haven’t earned and don’t deserve my dollars automatically…

      • Well said Iiari. We’re not some dumb VM fanboys like most of the ‘visitors’ here like to believe.
        In fact many on SU were highly critical of VM running around last year telling all about great things that will happen in 2013 when business lives in todays world and costs must equal sales.

        But I understand the situation (we’re all humans) as VM must have been on cloud nine after just becoming owner of the Saab.
        The cash from the BAIC deal should have been protected like the Crown Jewels until the launch of the 9-4x and 9-5 SC and not just send loads of 9-5’s to the US without having any information how their going to be received and SCNA not ready by a mile.

        The chicken has come to roost and VM has hopefully learned his lesson and will be a very good chairman in the future if he can get Saab out of this one. A very tough CFO should have been in place since the start of the independence but it’s water under the bridge now.

  9. We all have our own way of viewing and handling information. Sometimes preconceived notions influence us and we’re unaware. Everyone has an opinion about what’s going on… You just have to be careful with what you’re reading or saying. I’ve never met the management at Saab, nor do I have much information on the parties involved, so I don’t feel angry at anyone. I want Saab to pull through and continue, but business is business–and today’s modern business seems far too complex for me to understand. I’m anxiously waiting for the celebration post that gives the all-clear! 🙂

    • Business is complex today, yeah. Crucially, i think there are very few instances of sufficient and adequate information about why company A does x. We just don’t happen to know the small things that really contradict the publicly circulated stories.

      Reality is so complex, that even if you ask the main actors you will get contradictory information and no single easy answer to ‘why’ things happen. In spite of this, or rather because of this, we continue to be fed simplified accounts which smooth over the strange things which actually cause reality to run the way it does.

      It’s all the small, previously invisible, “weird details” that take us from the mostly pretty accurate Newtonian common sense physics to hydrogen bombs. Humans love stories, because it’s how we think … but any one single story won’t capture what goes on. And every story is valid only until we invent another, a bit more functional. Laboratory experiments in natural sciences take a lot of practice, lots and lots of skill and not even then is it easy to obtain the repeat outcomes our beloved theories – stories – say should occur. Let’s just say Saab’s situation isn’t an easier subject to explain.

      So, I highly doubt VM knows why all parties act the way they do – and that the other parties know precisely why he acts the way he does. The same goes with VA, the government and so on. WE almost certainly don’t know. I think that the Saab situation sort of expresses the generalized frustration that people feel with the global economic situation at the moment – not least with all the cocksure but often false stories we’re being fed, and our worries about the implications of those supposed but false realities.

      We’re all really sailing between the last nuclear disaster in Japan (where the power company basically lied to us about the meltdown, from start to finish – not that even they knew everything), an outrageous economic situation in the US following an economic crisis which also defies simple explanation (not least when you see the kind of profits that are being made right through this “crisis”), the very uncertainty about what will become of the Euro, and the events in Oslo, and pretty much the same in the rest of the world.

      So it’s not exactly a high-watermark for our collective confidence in “the way things used to be”, for most of us. It’s not just Saab – it’s a rough spot in so many places. We’re all confronting the impact of all sorts of “weird details” that weren’t dealt with adequately in our previous stories about reality, and that we don’t know much about the meaning of yet. All the while many traditional wisdoms are basically trumpeting out that we’re all basically going to a place without Saabs – in a handbasket. They are, probably, wrong as usual – but the frustration makes perfect sense.

      I don’t think we’re even close to knowing how things really are, but I too am waiting for good news from the medicine man :). There’s more than a little magic and mystery (or witch-craft, if you prefer), involved in all good things coming to pass.

  10. I hope this humble post can help to explain the roller coaster ride we have been experiencing. I for one was a little trigger happy in a post earlier today.
    Listening to the news this evening, we are informed in the middle of the broadcast that an Air Canada flight is reported having problems (smoke in the cockpit, noting less) between Sydney and Vancouver. The regular news broadcast continues and before the end, a very happy commentator announces that the airplane has safely landed back in Sydney (or Melbourne, whatever). When they announced the problem at first, I was pissed off because they didn’t know shit what was going on. I couldn’t believe they where broadcasting such a possible catastrophe on so little information. Imagine the impact on people who thought they knew people on that flight. What useless stress!
    That’s how I feel about the SAAB saga. Too much speculation on all this instant, unreliable, unchecked, unwarranted information.

  11. Red J and TimR:
    What you are seeing and continue to see is a lot of frustration, about things that were said and promises that were broken. However, you have also seen a lot of unacceptable posts that should have removed. If you had asked me if I ever thought I would see the level of ranker I saw last week here on SU, I would have said, “no that group is much classier.” Well, guess I was wrong, and maybe have been wrong all along. I remember the open attacks against GM, and it’s management when Swade had this act. Steve seemed to agree, so the attacks when on. Later we have attacks against the Swedish press, again not much was said, then later against the government, and so on. I think we have to understand that when we all allow unbalanced attacks against people or forces we don’t like as a group, this tends to encourage people, in the future, to lash out at will as they did last week. I’m still in shock over the attack on Anders, and with the greatest respect, I think all of it should be redacted.

  12. This rollercoaster has been going on for a long long time and there have always been very tough moments when emotions boiled here at SU. I wrote some time before that the reason we get that emotional is just because we love Saab so much.

    But in the last week it really went to another level with the absolute low being the attack on Anders. We face a small number of people who show their misplaced anger here, even stating that VM put all the investors money in his own pockets. I don’t think we need them here, we have more class.

    If you are frustrated or feel fear that Saab could go under you’re welcome to come here, get informed and state your feelings but please keep the comments policy in mind. We’re an amaizing group of people from all over the world that treat each other with respect regardless the color of our skin, language or origin. And that is what we shall remain. We can still discuss, but we have to be aware of the tone.

    We’re here to support Saab in tough times and we can’t archieve that by fighting each other.

  13. Maybe i am a dreamer… maybe i am insane, but i will never give up believing thing will get better.
    What i do NOT understand is why everythhing came in this position.
    About 6 hours ago when i tried to fall in sleep i thought about Saab a lot…
    I asked myself is it maybe that this brand is with the most passioned fans… and why is that.
    It is a way of living… a lifestyle. Hm… could it be that everything has to be that way… because
    look… imagine eveything would be like this.. Saab sells 250.000 cars every year since 2003…ok…
    wold you know every Saab to your work.. would you feel so special and unique knowing that the 3 Saabs to your work are actually 53… And evey kid or person drives one? Is it maybe that we love it so much because it gathers people like us… believers…individualist. Maybe… or maybe not, just a thought.
    Anyway i hope Saab builds this great cars, in one way or another. Maybe the world we live in is so
    f$##$ up that a brand with a stong character and charisma is going to die once or twice…and people will suffer…
    just like the good people die younger. People prefer driving robots…and ugly robots the are…
    Anyway (the second) i will keep on dreaming and keep on waving ebery Saabist and they will answer with a smile…
    every Saab owner i met was a great person. So i will drive my whole life Saab no matter what they do to it..
    It has a great history..and i don’t get it why they do’t use it to make better and agressive commercials…
    llike who invented what? Saab invented so much stuff every car has…
    Last thing before i have to leave…
    VM is in the US somuch times… why not ask the other brand that has or had this charisma, why don’t ask for a partnership this company that was something like Saab befre inventing this thing called Ipod.
    I mean for them money ain’t a thing… It will be enough to convince mr. Jobs to order 500 e93’s for his new head office http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2001026/Apple-plans-new-spaceship-HQ-Steve-Jobs-wows-Cupertino-council.html

    call me an idiot… but i would ask him.. who knows maybe he likes Saabs..

  14. Apple would be the perfect partner for Saab. At least money would not be a problem. Let’s all email Steve Jobs and convine him of the iSaab idea!!! Does anybody have his cell phone number? 🙂

        • You’ve gotta admit: its gotta be pretty funny that Steve Jobs is likely to get at least 20 emails from us SAAB fans now :-). I admit this idea has serious merit but we might have a better shot just having one of the crew members ask VM to make the call to Mr. Jobs.

          • I found this from 2005:

            DETROIT, MI – Saab Cars USA announces a licensing deal with Apple Computer, Inc of Cupertino CA and joint testing with the US Deptartment of Transportation. Saab will revolutionize the way in which cars are driven by applying human user interface tools developed by Apple Computer. Initial prototypes are in testing in the US under the supervision of the US DOT.

            “Our qualitative data indicates this may be a safer way to drive.” says Miller Frank, Director of Navigational Technologies at the US Department of Transportation. Tests have been run using 4 different Saab models at their facility in Tyson's Corner, VA.

            “We're looking forward to another Saab first in the car industry,” says Jay Spenchain, General Manager of Saab Cars USA, “And anyone with any knowledge of Saab knows that Saab is THE leader when it comes to incorporating safety, performance, design, and efficiency into each of our models.”

            “Saab owners are like Mac owners,” Steve Jobs was quoted in a written statement. “They are independent, smart, and open-minded about new technology.”

            Saab expects DOT approval in late 2005 which would allow the new interface to be offered as an option in 2007 models. Saab Cars USA, is the importer and distributor of the new Saab 9-7X, 9-2X, 9-3 and 9-5 automobiles, parts and accessories.

            First, this gives us some clues as to where some of the thinking behind iQon came from. But if we ignore the Android element of iQon, there is some written evidence of Jobs’ knowledge of Saab.

            I’m not sure it would be a match made in heaven, but, as I often say, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

      • That’s the problem with blogs…it’s kinda hard to express irony 🙂
        But whoever wants to email him, go ahead! And just for the record, it was i.ant.kal. that came up with Steve 🙂

        • i am thinking about that for a long time… why do we need iqal… if there are so many i’s around…
          I love Saab… i have apple’s allaround me day and night…
          irony… well… i mean it.

          would be to nice to happen…

          • because Iqon is open source 😉
            Franky, I admire the apple products and the way Jobs has created and marketed them. What you can do with those products, you can do it easily and the products will do it very well. The downside for me is that if you want to add functionality or want to do things your own way (and not the iWay), you’re left wanting (unless you jailbreak your product). For me, Saab and Apple aren’t similar brands at all.

  15. The emotions frustration and anger are close together. The last few months we saw lights at the end of the tunnel and then again the light was not the sunlight we were waiting for. I once drove in Norway through the world’s longest tunnel, the Lærdalstunnel. We drove an open 9-3 convertible on a sunny day and suddenly the tunnel showed up around a corner. With no way to park, we had to continue a dark, noisy and cold trip in a never ending tunnel. Every now and then we saw light at (which we thought) the end of the tunnel. This appears to be a ‘catherdral’ with daylight simulation. It was a very frustrating trip and we sometimes were angry at eachother for not closing the roof.
    Finally we drove out of the tunnel, we were freezing cold, deaf from the noise and for some reason exhausted. But we were driving in the sun again.
    I always have to think of this adventure when I think of where Saab is in now. I’m confinced the sun will shine again and we can warm ourselves up on the brand that’s so dear to all of us.

    • Wow robbert, very well put.

      However I think we all here but also the crew need to get a grip on ourselves. From a beakon of hope and support SU is turning into a depressing place. Mainly because of comments getting out of control, but also the actual SU pieces are showing signs of too much involvement and their writers not keeping a sane distance on events.. Maybe you should consider turning off comments as a standard, and keep discussions in the forum.

  16. I think a lot of negativity is directed towards VM, but it gets generalized towards the whole company. Within the Saab enthusiast community, he is the savior of the brand. But for many others, they are judging him differently. You can’t deny him having a passion for the brand, and that goes a long way, but on a business level, and this is a business after all, he’s not exactly irreproachable.

    The thing I worry about most is not the current production stop, but what this bleeding of cash from all orifices does to the development schedule of the next generation 9-3, which is the car, together with the 9-4X that would, or should put the company back in black.

  17. Hello everyone.
    I am a Saab fan and i will continue to be even if the times stay very hard.
    That said, i would like to state that this site is doing a very good job in covering this incredible times for the brand.
    VM is worst our respect.
    The only thing i do not undersand, in a comercial perspective, is the reason behind the disastrous press releases of Spyker, turning public details that should remain internal affairs (ex: problems with payment of salaries).
    Why do they do that? Other brands probably have faced the same isues but kept them in secret…
    Long live Saab!!!!

  18. The 9-X is an amazing concept, especially when you see it in the flesh (at the museum). And I think that the idea behind the concept is at this point the missing link for Saab’s bright future. Offcourse, it is a concept and not really usable in real life, but when we take a limp and look at the 9-X Air, we see an evolution of it in a usable car.
    If they can provide a very strong, sporty design à la 9-X and 9-X air in both open and closed (3/5d) version, it will be a succes. It will be bought as a second car and persuade many young people to opt for Saab. Which increases the chance that these youngsters are hooked and stay with Saab.
    This is what made Audi succesfull… youngsters start with the A3 and end up in the A4, A5 or A6.

  19. I really do not understand the current (opportunistic) negativity towards VM. It is simply not an option to have him replaced at this stage since this will certainly be seen as another sign of weakness. Moreover, who would be willing to step in?

    All these recent events are understandably very frustrating and disappointing and I am sure that a lot of us, SU-readers, know better than the Saab-people involved (including VM) what Saab should do and what they have done wrong. Saab management simply cannot do anything good at the moment but I am afraid that it is a matter of surviving which means that whatever option is choosen, it will have a lot of weak points and disadvantages.

    Bear in mind that we all are speculating on the basis of incomplete information which speculations can probably too easily be published on sites like this here.

    We should stop blaming Saab, the press, the government, the EIB, VA and certainly VM and simply hope for the best.

    Please, enjoy your Saab!

    • Bear in mind that we all are speculating on the basis of incomplete information which speculations can probably too easily be published on sites like this here.

      Hear hear, Goose! Right on spot!

  20. If you want to know why people are angry, look at Jason Castriota’s open letter to the community on this very site. Here it is for people to read (link). And look at Swade’s open letter which prompted it.

    Communities and movements need leaders but, above all, they need followers. VM positioned himself as the leader, but it was Swade who cast himself in the mould of the ‘chief follower’, guiding the movement to support the leader.

    If you want to see how that works, have a look at this fascinating (short) film on TED about How To Start A Movement.

    VM, I believe, has committed two major sins. First, he brought Swade within Saab (rather than, say, finding ways to fund SU) and, in doing so, lost his ‘chief follower’ (well, strictly, he clipped the wings of Swade because of the constraints of a public company). Then he stopped leading in public, and had nobody left to guide the movement in a positive way.

    The current SU crew do a good job, but their ambitions are different. They are not trying to lead the movement, nor are they trying to be VM’s ‘chief followers’. As a result, the movement is a little rudderless. Without Swade to interpret and present VM to the ‘faithful’, VM no longer seems the man he once was, and people feel anger for that loss of intimacy and connection; after all, we were incited to be followers, but now there is nothing to follow.

    What we’re seeing now is the natural conclusion of all of that. VM has not been visible, nobody has been there to be his proxy to the ‘movement’, and now everything is going wrong and there is no focus to the movement. People will naturally turn on those who gave them hope when that hope gives way to despair.

    If it were me in VM’s shoes, I’d be trying to find a way to free Swade from the shackles of the corporation, and allow him to speak more freely to the Saab community. The level of (in)activity in comments on Inside Saab speaks volumes for the level of (in)visibility that VM has given Swade. Swade may feel he has his dream job, but is it really?

    So there’s a void. We were asked for our support, many of us turned out in convoys or whatever, wrote letters and signed petitions, communicated with our peers about Saab, and so on, and would have been prepared to do much more. And in return? Nobody talks to us any more. Nobody listens to us. Even our own site (SU) tells us what to talk about now, rather than leading us towards the path of enlightenment!. Hell, yes, we’re angry.

    It is the followers who define a movement, not the leaders. When those followers move on, there is little that can be done to bring them back. Apple understand that. Nobody in the car business understands that. Saab looked as though they would, but they haven’t. I can love Saab without the company existing any more.

    ‘Cult of Saab’ is important; it is what – in part – defines Saab as something different. But it must be cultivated. Yes that needs a social media strategy and so on but, now more than ever, it needs a strong and visible leader, backed by a trustworthy and approachable ‘chief follower’.

    When Swade said ‘keep calm and carry on’, we trusted him; his view had been supported in the past, and he had ‘a hotline to God’ (well, err, VM). This is why I’ve been upset recently at TimR & co; they’ve told us what to do, rather than leading us to think the ‘right way’. There is a huge difference.

    I’m sorry if this is rather long, but that’s the challenge: the movement was started, but it will not continue without active ‘leadership’ by somebody in whom the community will trust. Who will pick up that mantle? This movement is enormously powerful; so powerful that it might just save Saab all over again. It has been hard-earned, but it is oh-so-easily lost. I hope that somebody, somewhere, stops for a moment to think about how that can be avoided.

      • skwdenyer,
        you have put more than 1 link in your comment. You can use as many links as you want in your comments, but if you use more than 1 your comment has to be manually approved by us. How long it takes till we approve the comment depend on our real-life work, but we try to approve comments ASAP.

    • Why should you delete it? I think it is a good and fair post. And I think you touch some things that are very important for all of us.

      One thing also to understand is that Swade built up this site and started this community some time back. TimR took over in a very turbulent time and let in some other people (me included) to help driving this site forward. There is of course always a glitch then, because people who follows the site are used to one thing and then it changes. We do our best to guide this community forward, but it is not easy, as we are many who have very strong opinions (which isn’t at all bad).

      Thank you for a good comment entry!

      • Sorry, it was stuck as ‘awaiting moderation’ for a long time, so I thought I’d delete it rather than giving everybody on the ‘back end’ yet more work to do!

        • That happens sometimes. And don’t you worry about being the only one worried. I am seriously thinking of getting my self a 9-5 SS right now even if my financial situation will be pressed to the limit, but I love the looks of that car. But yes, the present situation makes it more difficult and I also wish for things to get clearer so we know what is happening.

    • Interesting post. Well reasoned.

      I don’t have time to respond now, but I’d like to in the next few days if that’s OK.

      • I agree it was a fascinating post, but I’m not sure I agree with the conclusion. I think it tangentially touches upon some truths, but then heads off into some analysis with which I don’t agree.

        I do believe he’s right that the relative silence from Saab (be it VM, PR outlets, etc) has been problematic and has been a Saab problem in many ways since day 1 of the new “independent” Saab. When the head of the Saab Canada Club mentioned in a SU post that he had been trying to contact Saab to help get them out to auto shows locally and had no response back from anyone in corporate for months, I knew that was a deeply troubling symptom of a larger PR disease.

        I do believe he’s also right that people who voluntarily put themselves emotionally or otherwise “on the line” in supporting Saab (writing congressmen, companies, banks, etc) are right to feel a little let down by the relative silence of the company. This is especially true given how undercapitalized the original business plan seems to have been and given that Saab, newly “independent” of GM by the help of its fans, now seems so eager to sell controlling elements of itself to others for such paltry sums less than 2 years later. What was the point?

        I believe he’s absolutely wrong about SU, though. It’s not your role, SU’s role, or anyone’s role to be a “leader” for the Saab “movement.” Even you, during your SU days, inspired not because you seemingly wanted to take on a leadership mantle, but because you lead by example of your own personal passion.

        Saab is a business, a company, not an political, religious, or philosophical ideology, and if they want to lead, then they, the company, has to do it. I’ve personally been disappointed ever since the fight to be free of GM that seemingly no one from the company (save for, now, you) seems to have any fight or edge to them at all. The attitude seems to be, “La-de-da, business as usual” from Saab and SCNA. People love underdogs and love to back a cause, but there’s been no public face of “bulldog, can-do, underdog, we-have-your-back” spirit from Saab. It’s interesting, and disappointing.

        • Your perspective is interesting. I wasn’t necessarily talking literally; did you view the TED video I linked-to? That was rather the point.

          Swade was the ‘chief follower’ and ‘showed us how to follow’ by being positive and passionate, and by getting involved. That role is vacant now, and – I’m sorry to say – SU now shows the lack of it.

          I agree with you wholeheartedly about the ‘feel’ of Saab from outside; this didn’t feel like a start-up, or a bold-new-era business; it felt like a small company struggling not to think like a big company.

          Some companies have a Steve Jobs-like figure, who can lead at all levels; most do not. VM is not inspirational to individual Saab owners; he needs somebody else to bridge the gap.

          As regards Saab being ‘just’ (my word) a business, no it isn’t; if it were, we wouldn’t be here in the first place. I watched the MG Rover situation unfold over several years; there was nothing like the passion there is here, nor the commitment, despite the similarly-fairytale story.

          If ‘we’ didn’t want Saab to survive, we wouldn’t have acted. I don’t care if VM stays or goes; I do care if Saab can – finally – live up to its promise to do something different.

          What do I wish VM had done differently? Got a better CEO from outside the company. Put the Gordon Murray T25 into production as a Saab city car. Cut the workforce quickly. Realign prices. So the list goes on.

          But above all? Talk to people. A visible leader of a plucky new chapter in the history of Saab should have been a front-page mugshot in every publication, on every billboard, in every dealership. ‘Listen to me, trust me, buy one of my cars’ it should have said. And if that doesn’t work, put Swade on the posters and have him say it!

          Saab is a ‘religion’ in the sense that it represents an idea for many people who could – perhaps should – buy other cars. No Saab has ever, objectively, been better than the competition. But it has been different, usually for a good reason. But, objectively, many other cars were better; they just didn’t suit me.

          Diversity in car design and manufacture has been declining. I truly want Saab to succeed, just to make a point about how ‘different’ can be, well, ‘different’. But, like Christianity in Europe, I guess plenty of people discovered that the sky didn’t fall in when they changed their beliefs; once gone, hard to convince to return.

      • I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Have fun at the Saab GB meet!

        Out of interest, does Disqus allow you to see who has commented on IS, or do you not get to build a following if you use that system?

  21. i hear negative stories about parts availability and have personal experience of same. if the parts business is the cash cow why is it not running at full capacity?

    • My thoughts: A lot of suppliers connect the contract from production with that from spare parts. Once production is up and running, spare parts will also have full capacity again.

      • Unfortunately, however, if that is so, it means that Saab Parts is worth much less than it was claimed to be; if it cannot buy parts, it cannot sell parts. This may be why there are now new problems getting money – the collateral may not be worth what it once was.

        As we saw with MGR / Caterpillar, if Saab Parts are prepared to work with new suppliers to tool up for parts production then all will be well. But who owns the IP to the parts? Who owns the tooling? Who will fund that activity?

    • Because the mother company have taken all the money and there for the parts company cannot pay it’s suppliers.

      The decision to take the money was extremely short sighted because now the mother company can’t collect the profit from the parts company. And as I have said before; this decision will only give our beloved cars a extremely poor resale value and will give a couple of hundred of thousand Saab owners a really poor owners experience.

      This is as I have understood it. I wish somebody with some insight could provide us with the full picture!

      • That is wrong, at least according to Saab Automobile Parts AB ‘s CEO. I read an interview with him some days ago, I will see if I can find it again.

        • The SAAB Parts situation is difficult to understand. In 2010 net sales were MSEK 1700 and gross profit MSEK 569. During 2010 they contributed MSEK 680 to the mother company SAAB Automobile Aktiebolag as well as supplying parts valued at MSEK 315 for which they were not paid (in 2010).

          I find it amazing that profitability is so good in the parts business so close to 50% of the turnover can be shipped of to SAAB Automobile while still managing to cope and pay suppliers etc.

          There seem to be different opinions on whether there is a general shortage of spare parts. Joachim Lind, president of Ana in Trollhättan, sayd there is a great shortage. But SAAB Parts president Lennart Ståhl says there isn’t.

  22. About frustration and harsh written comments.
    I believe it is good to add some smileys, glad or sad, to explain or/and emphasize the words. 🙂

    When we speak we use facial expressions, the voice in different registers, hands arms and body, to deliver what we mean. Beside the actual words. 😉

    Saab still on new registration plus regarding YTD. http://www.bmsg.se/saab_sales.pdf
    >10.000 YTD 2010
    >15.000 YTD 2011
    But it could have been so much more if ……….. 🙁

    • About frustration and harsh written comments.
      I believe it is good to add some smileys, glad or sad, to explain or/and emphasize the words. 🙂

      When we speak we use facial expressions, the voice in different registers, hands arms and body, to deliver what we mean. And to get all that into a text is isnt easy at all. 😉

      Saab still on new registration plus regarding YTD. http://www.bmsg.se/saab_sales.pdf
      >10.000 YTD 2010
      >15.000 YTD 2011 🙂
      But it could have been so much more if ……….. 🙁

  23. Trouble attracts trouble. When Saab is in the shadow, the dark voices start sprawling around. Then there was a madman making insane comments yesterday. That is pretty much business as usual. Happens tons of times daily on internet.

    SaabsUnited ROCKS as it always did!

    We are here to stay and no, we never ever give up, as our firmwares just don’t allow it.

  24. SU cant have it both ways, on one hand deeply and aggresively critisising anybody on here who dares post a negative comment about VM or VA, and now as more of us are staring to realise that they arent quite the heros we were being told they were, now SU seems to be begging for support.
    this site really needs both sides of the story, in the past it has been far too political and forgetting about the cars that we know and love

  25. Anger is valid feeling. there is nothing wrong about being angry if you manage to stay out of rude.
    everyone has right to be angry, sad, pesimistic.

    It is one thing about SU I hate:
    If you are not optimistic, hopeful and write anything different than “It will be ok” you are immediatelly labeled as troll, troublemaker, naysayer and so on.

    Almost, like Saabs situation is caused by people that are not optimistic about its future and dare to express their opinion.

    It is like writting something negative if you really think so is bad.
    It is not. Making anyone look or feel bad because he or she is negative (about anything) is bad.

    Compulsory happiness (“world would be much better without anger”) makes me angry.

    • You may be missing the point here gannet. Of course it is our [Saab enthusiast community’s] firm common interest for Saab to succeed. We all want to see Saab prosper at its best.

      Therefore you will find the majority of the loyal blog readers being optimistic. No, it is not a compulsory thing. But you may understand that expressed negativity above a certain level is hurting the majority’s sentiments, when they trust in Saab’s success. Besides, if you’re always negative about something, then it is really questionable whether you are really supporting it from your heart? That said, if you are hurting the majority, then you need to bear the consequences (eg. they may be angry at you). And you pretty much have the only option to accept it, I guess or look for another site where negativity towards saab is a favorable thing.

      • not really. I only made comment about certain trend that I observed. I was not reffering to myself, so no need to question my loaylty to saab.

        but if someone express sign of pesimism, it does not equall he or she is against Saab (little too simple dont you think?), probably it only means the news are bad, as unfortunately they are quite often.

        I am trully sad about Saabs situation. I genuinelly hope Saab will make it and survive and moreover will be succesful. I really do.
        but at the same time I think chances of this happening are smaller and smaller everyday when factory is not working, with every near death experience, even if solved by some hotfix and so on.
        I have serious conflict between heart that hopes and brain that looses the faith.
        I am sure I am not the only one. And maybe here comes the anger from disharmony between facts and figures ones brain sees and wish in the heart.
        the reason why I come to SU everyday is that I love reading good news and I hope there will be some, because I love Saab.

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