Where There’s A Will, There Will Always Be a Saab!

There are two types of news out there right now regarding Saab: the very positive and upbeat, and then you have the very negative. What can be perceived as negative is sometimes just stating the reality of the situation, and what must happen in order for Saab to make a comeback. Saab is in deep trouble, we must not ignore that. However, we need to remember all the positives and that where there’s a will, there will always be a Saab!

Saab is like a plant. It will flourish when it is out of its constraining pot, has deep roots, and can grow broad and green. For many years it has stayed in a small pot, not being able to grow and has slowly turned brown. Victor Muller came along and tried to revive it by taking it out of its pot, putting it shallow soil, and tried to get it to grow using a restricted amount of funds, hoping the dirt would appear and grow deep around it while the plant would continue to grow. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, and the plant was left dried up, brown and drooping. It is not Victor’s fault, it was just going to take a lot more than he had expected and could offer, to revive Saab. But we have a great opportunity for this plant now, with the right owner! The right owner will firmly plant the Saab plant into the ground with deep rich soil, and with proper attention, love, and nutrients, this plant will broaden its roots and grow into a very beautiful green plant. I have no doubts this can happen, and we can be there to witness it. There is no need to think Saab is dead, and no reason to spread negativity. Saab has a strong history of survival against the odds, and they may once again come out on top!

With that being said, the biggest struggle for a Saab comeback will be its reputation. Through the last couple of years alone, Saab has really taken some hard blows, and now the company is in bankruptcy. It has done its damage. The soft core Saab fans are slowly leaving the family, and there will be fewer and fewer people willing to take the risk of buying a new Saab (or even the current ones out there).

But why should that stop us? We can help get Saab their image back. For every Saab we drive, we are representing the brand in a small way already. Do we show our love for our cars? I’m sure we do! How do we talk to other car owners about Saab? We need to keep positive and upbeat, and also keep it realistic. By accepting what got Saab in trouble is step one, but its step two- how they get out of the problems- is most important. People are very interested in hearing there are investors out there wanting to buy Saab and revive it. They do care. Its cheering for the small people in the crowd of big people. People love that sort of thing.

This is just the start. We need to liven up our culture and really take it out there on the road! One suggestion would be to use our clubs. We need more clubs, and we need better attendance to the clubs already in place. We need to announce the fact that these clubs exist, and we need to gain new members continuously. Saab clubs give you a chance to connect with other Saab owners in a relaxed atmosphere where you can engage in good conversation. They can help host events! Through these events, we can show the public that Saab is very much still a viable brand, no matter what is going on right now with the parent company. Please stay tuned for more information about clubs and events in the near future!

We can keep our cars in great shape inside and out, and that will really impress people. For instance, I was driving a beautiful but older car several years back. A lady approached me while I was refueling at a gas station, because my car caught her eye and she wanted to see it up close. I told her the age and her jaw dropped. I almost had to show her proof! After talking about what a wonderful car its been for me, she was set to go out and buy one! (Unfortunately for her the model was no longer in production). But it will definitely work with our Saabs. They can be traveling advertisements for the brand’s survival. I know some of us already practice this, but I’d love to see more!

A second thought is to start giving Saab a name in our communities. As an example, the club I’m part of, the Minnesota Saab Club, sponsors a stretch of road that we keep clean. In exchange for our time, we get our name on a sign. Now, when people drive that stretch of road, they can see that Saab does good will in the community. They’re not going to think of us at stuck up wannabe BMW drivers any more. It helps get the name out there to those who don’t really know what a Saab is (and yes, there are still many people that will go, “that’s a car brand?!”). The more exposure Saab has, the better. And right now taking part in the community and showing goodwill are on the top of people’s lists. With all the bad out there, why not do some good?

Third, we can use the internet to help the Saab image. I wanted to take this short break to ask everyone to stay off the GM Facebook page, please do not post anything there. Instead, we would be more than happy to see your positive Saab posts on the Saab Cars Facebook page, and also on the Saabs United Facebook page. Its interesting when I’ve visited other car makers Facebook pages, I’ve seen a variety of complaints on their wall. Sure, people post their photos and all, but its the negative comments that really stand out. Social media is such a powerful tool, that it can help make or break a company, regardless of what the company is doing/not doing. But, that is the cool thing about Saab’s social media. We love our new models as well as our old models, and each car tells its own unique story. We share these stories everyday with thousands of people. And we need to continue it. But please keep it to the Saab pages. 🙂

Finally, we can welcome people to the family when they do something as small as join a Saab group online, or a Saab club, or as big as buying a new/used Saab. Whatever it is, let’s welcome them in! Its going to take as many people as we can get, to help Saab get a positive image in the future. This is our job now. The administrators have their job, and us fans have ours. Let’s get to it, and see what we can do for Saab’s image!

14 thoughts on “Where There’s A Will, There Will Always Be a Saab!”

  1. I do want to state that Saab has a strong image and that now just enough money must be made available to re-start.
    I do strongly believe that Saab did not go bankrupt due to a bad image or reputation.
    But I do agree with you that all Saab enthousiasts must keep on going in their believe in this brand.

  2. I’m very sorry, but I think your post is mistaken in a number of ways. VM failed not because the resources were unavailable but because the Company was financially grossly mismanaged during his tenure. It lost over Euro700m in under two years. Only Heaven on high (and possibly the Chinese or US Governments) could sustain a loss rate like that indefinitely. VM seems like a very personable and motivational individual, but he is certainly not an industrial manager. He has said so himself. Mr Pang has said that too.

    Also, it’s beginning to get about that parts are now available through the Swedish Government and everybody I know who drives a Saab now seems to have a broad smile on their face and has lost not the slightest amount of respect or loyalty for the brand. It follows that an investor with deep pockets who can give the general motoring public confidence in its long-term future, will be able to reap the rewards of a long-established brand image – a la Tata/JLR.

    The real problem is the immediate lack of product. But the general motoring public does understand that it takes time to turn round a poorly managed company and I am sure will flock back to the brand in droves once product is available.

    • Jond: I’m a patriotic American but I have to acknowledge that the way our government is currently running things, you need to amend your post—-and say that only heaven on high or the Chinese government could sustain a loss like that infefinitely—-or the American government if they borrow the funds from China, like they’re doing for everything else these days. I hope China doesn’t run out of patience with us. If we get Washington, DC back on track, we’ll turn this around and they’ll be paid back. As for Saab: I can’t speak for the rest of the globe—-only the U.S. I don’t think Saab’s “reputation” with the average American car buyer is all that much different than it has been the last few years. Most Americans don’t pay attention to Saab when they are car shopping and have no idea Saab is in bankruptcy. Even our major car magazines haven’t covered the story much—-blurbs here an there, maybe a one page “retrospective” of Saab that I have noticed. I think core Saab fans here will give a “new” Saab a chance. However, there are some people they have lost. Fans of “Swedish cars” have been following this probably—-and Volvo has gained enormous ground. An American who just wants to “buy Swedish, for the safety and and stuff” will settle on the much more stable Volvo now. That hurts, but it doesn’t mean Saab can’t claw their way back. If a new buyer can put together a deal fast enough and get some cars to remaining dealers (who want to still sell Saabs) quickly enough—-or at least ANNOUNCE that they are planning to do that in less than a couple years—-Saab can survive in the U.S. and then one brick at a time, rebuild things here. I know that is a lot to ask—-but the key here is a decision in March and a future outlined in April at the very, very latest. Anything other than that? I’m afraid it’s over for all intents and purposes at that point. No one will try to revive the corpse after it’s been declared dead for that long. There’s a very small window we’re now operating in—-the “E.R.” that is the bankruptcy court is about to be accused of malpractice if the marathon pace they’ve set continues.

  3. The second motivatorial piece in two days? Do you want me to panic? Hithertoo, I have been quite optiistic, but what are you telling me about a future where we happily drive ever after (our present Saabs)? Do you know something I don’t?

    Anyway, I totally agree with jond that image has several facets. Saab’s financial image is destroyed for now, but given the right “big bang” investor would be restored within five seconds. Technically, it was also somewhat harmed (by the GMlink, and giving up the hatchbacks), but in either scenario of Youngman/Mahindra or BMW/Magna, also this could easily be solved, either as a development powerhouse to the former, or as a participant in another well-renowned, competent company, in case of the latter.

  4. Ad Springer, and Anglo:
    I argee with you An and Tim. We must keep driving the Saabs to keep them in the public mind. Saab is not dead, if one goes out to the motorway, and sees 15 before he gets home on a short trip. I drive mine everyday, both of the them! This is the best way we can keep Saab alive, and help the new Saab sell cars if that is to come about.
    As far as Angelo comments are concerned. I have read almost all his posts since he started posting and here is what I see. A strong American who does not feel that GM did anything wrong, as far as a business practice is concerned, that helped Saab last another 18 or so years beyond it’s assumed death . And who here is not driving a GM build or engineereed Saab? Only a very few. So in general I think Angelo has it rightI also think he is right in being mad at GM even if they were only following best business practices. Everyone has the right to express their views. Let us all work to help the new Saab sell cars and forget the backstabing that we see all to much here.

    • Actually, I strongly detest GM for not giving IP in December to facilitate the sale of Saab to Youngman. We had a buyer and things could have gotten back on track—-but GM nixed it. I vowed to never buy another GM vehicle after that. However, I do agree that while GM was not a good steward of Saab, at least they kept Saab in business for two decades.

  5. Actually this post is 100% correct.

    The references to the reputation of SAAB are correct.

    About VM and SAABs troubles, correct again.

    There is quite honestly not enough time to explain the how & the why but one thing I will say is this: anyone that thinks you can make wholesale changes to the structure & day to day operations of a multi-national organization that was operated the wrong way for 20 years of GM ownership and make those course corrections in 2 years you are mistaken. The shortage of finances is a crucial reason the changes couldn’t be implemented. It takes money to make operational paradigm shifts in the business world and when you don’t have the money to execute then you end up where SAAB ended up.

    As far as perception of the brand; this is not talked about as “through our eyes”, we all have rose colored glasses.

    The general public is who is being talked about.

    If you take Suzy Homemaker who is out driving the kids around in the Grand Caravan, all she will know is what the mainstream media or other people have told her about SAAB and probably her next door neighbor who has a BMW and an Audi that told her SAAB is crap and is dead – if she even knew they ever existed – it is people like this that do not already have a connection to the automotive world and/or the SAAB brand that have their outlook and perceptions being shifted negatively.

    We need to stop looking at everything from a micro perspective because SAAB and it’s problems are macro in nature and therefore articles like this are looking at and discussing it in a macro way as well.

  6. I’m still here, but sort of on hold. Even though my Saab is very easy to spot I don’t know that I have sold any new Saabs. Still waiting for good news.

  7. Sorry off topic…the ”Sunday Times” in gear magazine page 3 quote…….” CARS OWNED BY DRIVERS MOST LIKELY TO HAVE A MOTORING CONVICTION”…..1.Saab 2. Chrysler 3. Porsche 4. Audi 5. Bmw 6. Lexus 7. Volvo 8. Jag 9. Subaru 10. MG

    What’S all that about then !!!

  8. Yes. For those with a motoring conviction and you’ve got people that already have a connection. The reputation and image problems are for people like my father:

    A CEO Making low 7 figures per year (2million USD) and drives a 2010 Kia Sportage (base trim) and says that it’s no different than a Mercedes or a caddy or my SAAB etc.

    In his eyes a car is only fiberglass over metal sitting on 4 tires with a steering inside and it gets him from point A to point B. beyond that a car is a “waste of money and there is no difference or reason to buy anything other than the cheapest availabl”

    So for people like this, their perceptions are moldable and are influenced by what they hear rather than a hands on relationship with a car. When I say “oh the weather is perfect for me to get in the SAAB and really DRIVE it today” he doesn’t understand what I mean.

    Those people have their personal paradigms shifted by negative news.

  9. I totally agree. The best image for the brand SAAB, is to keep your car polished , clean and looking good. If more owners would do this SAAB would create a better image. I see to many SAABS looking dirty and uncared for. This doesn’t show pride of ownership, to the world, and people perceive this.

  10. It is going to be difficult, but Fiat did it, and Saab can do it too. I own 4 – we are 2 drivers, and one isn’t doing so well after a quarter of a million miles, but well enough so my granddaughter can learn to drive on it – she can’t destroy it, and we’ll just keep putting in coolant. The others are less miles, and just great including the 96 convertible. It’s a question of funding, and you know what, I would put my own money towards this, if it would help.

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