We’ve had some nice stories today about Tim’s visit to the factory and about some options that Saab is exploring. To me, where we are now is a place where it is of the utmost importance to get something done now. Now that I’ve stated the obvious, what does Saab mean to you and why do you want to see it survive? I’m not a fan of the I hate GM stuff that I’ve seen as I see it serving no purpose at all, what I am a fan of is the customer and employee stories of why Saab? Some of you have had a lot of years with Saab, what keeps you coming back? I’ll start with what sticks out in my mind.
One of the biggest things to me is the people who work for Saab. These people who have families and a community that depend on Saab’s survival are incredible. Last time around with GM, the employees protested for a deal and celebrated when a deal was made. A little story, when we sold our first new 2011 9-5 and I posted it to facebook, I actually got a message from one of the workers that read something to the effect “I hope we did a good job and your customer enjoys her car”. My question to that is, what other company do you get that kind of care for a job well done? These workers too have had many months of delayed payments and have continued to work when asked to and today I saw a comment stating that even without pay, if they didn’t work they could be fired. This is not something that I was aware of, but do you really think that the only reason they go is to not get fired? Some of these people haven’t left Saab because they live and breath Saab and can’t imagine something else and whatever their reason for showing up to work without being paid doesn’t matter to me, what matters is that they do show up and come prepared to work.
Another thing that sticks out to me is the dealers and sales staff. One may think this is tooting my own horn, but it’s not. Dealers have had it really tough for the last couple of years. Some dealers have paid the ultimate price by shutting down and others and I would dare to say ALL others have had to reduce staffing. At my store we have two sales people and with the current rate of traffic, this is all that is needed because we want our staff to earn a decent living and when you do like a lot of other dealers do and load the sales floor thinking you will sell more cars, you just end up going through more staff as turn over then becomes an issue and in the end you really don’t sell anymore cars. For the dealers that have stuck by and continue to work hard everyday making less than they are accustomed too, I applaud you all and share all your joys and pains. You are a part of what makes Saab different.
This is turning into a long post. The next thing that stands out to me is you, the customer and fan of Saab. The first time around with GM, Saab fans across the globe got together to protest to GM to “Sell Saab” and “Save Saab”. My dealership was a Saturn dealership and I remember a website called saturnfans that really tried to save Saturn, but not to the level and commitment of what saabsunited did to get a movement started to save Saab. Saab fans have more to be united with rather then divided by. It’s time like these where we need to show how united we are, I read about people wanting to come together and do just that and I would say that if there is an event planned in your area, you should go out and show your support for not only a brand but each other. You make Saab what it is.
Lastly and almost most importantly is Victor Muller. This is probably the touchiest subject when it comes to the why Saab question because there are so many different views on him. My personal take on him is that he has worked his butt of trying to save Saab and has had many obstacles placed before him to try and weave his way through. In the end regardless of what he did or didn’t do, everything will rest on his shoulders which is not a position that I would like to be in. Truthfully in the last couple of months it seemed like to me that he had been bullied into different deals and had little to decide on because if he didn’t go one way reconstruction could or would be terminated. I still believe that he can get this done and that he will continue to work until it is and I for one thank him for doing the best he could given all the circumstances.
So there’s my two cents, I believe that Saab should survive because we have the best employees, dealers, customers and a man that has put his all into trying to secure a future for all of them. Don’t forget, united we stand, divided we fall.