NOTE: I’ve just been reminded that some gatherings will be on the 15th rather than on the 14th. Check outside-saab.com for when a gathering will be on in your area (or start one yerself!). Obviously, what’s written here is applicable to all, regardless of the date.
Greetings from the dark side of bankruptcy. It’s been a difficult week for everyone, I’m sure. Personally speaking, I’ve spent most of it responding to email and figuring out the same question that’s probably on many sets of lips right now – what next?
The immediate future of Saab as a car company is in the hands of those with the authority and the resources to make decisions about it. The sad fact about that situation is that their intentions when it comes to Saab’s facilities may not be the same as what you or I would hope them to be.
I’ve written numerous times about the incredible talent and product that’s been locked up within the fences there in Trollhattan. Like others, I still find it hard to believe that the stuff on the drawing board may never see the light of day with the name ‘Saab’ emblazoned across it.
Plans are afoot to make January 14 a day when the fans of the brand can add their voice to the conversation. Meetings are being planned around the world right now. Saab fans will gather and at the very least, celebrate a car company that means something special to them.
From my perspective, January 14th offers a couple of different opportunities.
If Saab is still a chance to be sold as a whole company, January 14 offers a simliar opportunity to what we were presented with the Saab Support Convoys back in January 2010. It’s a chance to keep the sale in the spotlight, and perhaps more importantly, it’s a chance to let any potential buyers know that there’s a significant community supporting this brand’s continued existence.
If the worst happens, and Saab is broken up by then (or a decision is made to do so), then the Saab community needs to consider it’s own future. This is a chance to not only celebrate the brand’s 64 years, but also a chance for people to get together and see just how big the global Saab family is.
I’m not sure what direction Tim has planned for SaabsUnited in the event Saab is no more, but I think the site can have a vital role to play in continuing to celebrate the culture of the company, as well as providing an important global portal for connections between clubs and enthusiasts. There will still be great opportunities for many years to come in terms of the community and I think SU has a great base to take a role in that.
Whichever way things work – and we all truly hope that someone recognises the value in this company and things work out well – January 14 can, and should, be a red letter day for Saab enthusiasts around the world.
If you want to get a gathering going where you live, I believe things are all being centrally coordinated through the Mad Dutchies ™ over at outside-saab.com. In January 2010, we had around 10,000 people, in 6,000 vehicles driving in 60 cities around the world.
That ought to be a decent benchmark, eh? Get on board.