Time is crucial…

Whenever there is a story on the progress in the bidding process criticism comes up about the timeframe. Many here think the receivers are working too slow and that every day more it takes to sign a deal does even more damage to Saab, be it through bad press or employees finding new jobs.

To be honest, I cannot follow those argumants at all. On the contrary, from what I get to know, I see the receivers are doing a good job. The impression of a slow process mostly comes through the little information we get. But as always the look from the outside does not reflect what is happening behind closed doors.

Another issue is that for our feel the whole thing started with the production stop over a year ago. But when it comes to the people in charge right know we have to admit that they got to start their mission just before christmas. This is a huge difference.

A serious number of former Saab employees have found new jobs – but many at engineering companies that are still in the area. So a new Saab can still hire knowledge and experience from there. With the right buyer Saab 2.0 will be able to re-attract former employees as well as new, experienced people who want to be part of the recreation of a heritaged brand. Something that will be hard to find at any other place in the world.

Since bankrupcy was declared, all parties (with the exception of Youngman) that showed up had to get a picture of the company and to evaluate the assets. They had to set up a solid business plan. Not only to present it to the receivers but also to judge the chance of succeeding by themselves. All things that are not done in a second. A process called due diligence, as in making absolutely clear which risks are to be located where is something that takes time. But the more time is spent on this, the less disaster any possible surprise can and will achieve.

I know Saab had an original business plan for the next five years. It was used in the presentations for potential investors, but this plan is void now, it ended with bankrupcy. Almost all basic conditions have changed since then. You need different ideas, looking at this just like it was a startup company. A huge task but also a enormous opportunity if you take the right steps.

And designing such a plan takes time. We should acknowledge this when we judge the process and the parties in it. Hastiness has done too much damage in the past. I tend to believe that for example the production restart in 2010 was too quick, though with the best intentions. Something like Cheetah should have come first in my opinion. At the moment things were restarted in 2010 a lot of stuff still had to be freed from the GM days, and indeed the GM integrated systems. A lot of contracts had to be re negotiated, some of which actually provided the new owners with major headaches. Let’s not forget that when this process was taking place, a number of suppliers all of a sudden took a very aggressive financial stance, which in the end was nothing but a shoot yourself in the foot exercise. Many of us seem to tend to forget where things went South. Any possible new owner/investor will obviously wish to avoid such a drama from being reinacted. But this is easy to judge with today’s knowledge.

It’s of no use to cry over spilled milk, we have to look at the future. Once Saab is back in a safe port there will be some time to analyze what happened in the past two years. If we believe the Swedish press there are now two parties left in this game so the whole process is entering the final stage.

When thinking about venting critisim regarding what is going on behind closed doors, remember that none of us (apart from very few) have the full picture. If parts are indeed missing then one should really consider if writing is really the best way to go. Remember we as a Saab community are to a degree the face of this process. Remember that a Saab driver is seen as very individualistic but also someone willing to wait before he or she can invest in a new car.

In the end we will see that time is indeed crucial. The time that the receivers gave the bidders to set up a proper plan. This made sure they remained in the process. If they had rushed them, they might have been gone long before. I, for one, am willing to wait if this means Saab gets a place where it can prosper.

76 thoughts on “Time is crucial…”

  1. Good thinking and well written. If no more production in Sweden it could maybe been a quicker handling but if we really wish Saab to survive it may take time.

    • Agreed. But on the other hand, “paralysis by analysis” has killed more than one project and more than one company. Time to get the show on the road. Time for an announcement.

      • I both agree and disagree. Last year the announcements were many but look where it all ended up…
        I´m dying to know who the buyer will be though…:)

  2. I agree. I think that the silence from the lawyers is good for the process. As soon as the slightest little thing leaks to the media they nearly always turn it into a negative way.

    • Actually, because their communication and transparency has been abysmmal, there has been more conjecture and negative assumptions than can be measured. There are many things they can’t disclose and I can respect that—-and they can easily explain why they can’t offer up every single detail of this process. But they’ve offered next to nothing—-and I don’t think that has been productive at all—-I think it’s been damaging.

  3. Yet another great piece from you Till.
    I for one being a Saab dealer employee straight from school and 37years unbroken service certainly wish for the same things that you mention above. However I have two points to comment on regarding your piece. Firstly with regard to experienced people being lost. Saab has in the past been blessed not only with probably the most loyal customers of any brand but also similar loyalty from it,s employees. My 37 years is nothing exceptional nor unusual within the Saab world. But I have to slightly disagree with the point that this lost experience may not be lost after all and that those that have moved on may well be just waiting in the wings to come back. That may well be the case for some but a lot will be gone forever having found possibly a new richer life elsewhere as we have already seen from senior key people right from the top. They will of course wish their beloved Saab well with a restart but like the customers it may take a lot longer after restart to woo them back and restore their confidence. I for one of course will be one of those waiting for a chance to come back! Nobody knows a Saab customer like an experienced and totally dedicated Saab employee. Only we have that passion that potential customers can pick up on and feel when considering buying a Saab.
    My second second point is to do with the criticisms you mention being voiced over the time it is taking. It is indeed a mammoth task that is being undertaken and also an extremely complicated one, so for that reason I have no issue. As far as I am concerned just get it done right no matter how long it takes. Yes there is a continual decline in consumer confidence but with the right marketing and product the customer confidence can be rebuilt. Indeed, the very fact it is taking so long can be interpreted as a positive that this time it will be successful! The point a lot of those that have criticised have is that of extended dead lines which build up a lot of excitement and anticipation only to then be deflated by yet another extension to them. We have on numerous occasions throughout this whole process and even beyond that during VM’s dealings been given information that we can not help getting excited about only then to be left by the frustrations of it not materialising.
    For those reasons I can fully understand the reluctance to release information and indeed I fully endorse this very responsible stance both by the administrators and SU. So no more speculative dates, dead lines or time frames please. it will happen when it happens. Only when a new company is established can we then start working to a time frame and agenda. My passion has certainly not been lost and never will be no matter what happens, I also hope I am wrong about the lost experience which will be crucial to a strong restart. Here,s hoping!

    • +1! Very well written, I agree wholeheartedly with you!

      Cheers from Norway
      Always on the longest road home when out there with my SAABs. Always!

  4. The small window to set deadlines and work quickly and efficiently to select a new owner has passed. Dealerships are gone, in large part because they had/have no way of knowing if there’s a future. I spoke to two of them. They could have found a way to bridge to the future if they knew there would be a future—-without that, they’ve let most employees go, preparing for a complete shutdown. They’re keeping their service department open as long as possible, but will move to a more isolated, smaller location soon. At this point, I think it’s probably true that if we get an announcement now or a month from now, it makes no difference. I think there is still SOME sense of urgency to get it done in the next couple months, but since the window is closed, I guess it doesn’t matter too much. Hopefully we’ll see some Mahindra sourced vehicles sold in the U.S. soon—-perhaps at least one or two cars branded as Saab.

    • There never was a quick window to restart anything,… most dealers were gone by october-november anyway. Those who still remained had ongoing plans on moving somewhere else… a lot were hoping but very few believing in a save for Saab.

      Nothing in big business like this happens fast, those companies who do act fast in these things are not credible and probably just luck-seekers.

      Also remember that the sales process in 2009 lasted for well over a year with several different business plans coming and going and in retrospect, none of them were really good… more time would have been needed in order to sort out all the details and not made the Saab deal a compromise which is to a large extent, what it turned out to be…

  5. In addition I would also like to take the opportunity to say what a fantastic day the SAAB community had yesterday at the annual Swedish Day event in Yeovil here in the UK. The weather was perfect, the atmosphere infectious, the turnout exceptional and the organisation spot on. This really is now a major event in the SAAB owners calender and can only grow bigger each year as it has already done since it,s beginning. Robin, Alex and all, you are true Saab fanatics just like the rest of us and we thank you and all those that contributed to this great day for the huge effort you all put in. May there be many more.Oh and the bacon rolls were great too! Well done all.

    • Damn, I wish I’d realised that was happening in Yeovil yesterday, I would have travelled up from Cornwall for that! Glad you had a good day there, anyway. I spent much of the day working on my “Project” 9000, so a day not entirely wasted…. 🙂

  6. I agree, the window is small, and time is tight; but, and very important, Saab people will wait for their car, it has to be the right Saab, not a GM version of what could have been, but the Saabs that have given me years and almost a quarter of a million miles with very few problems, that is the car that we are waiting for and that is a mammouth undertaking. We can wait for news, we can wait for our new Saabs, but we can’t be waiting for mediocrity.

    • That’s it exactly. The total lack of consumer acceptance of the Spyker Saab cars declared loudly and clearly that the public wanted more than mediocrity from Saab. Everything Saab had should always have been directed at the production of post-GM era cars. The Spyker plan of selling the 9-3 one generation longer, selling the 9-5 half-baked and selling the 9-4x at no profit due to the cost of buying them turn-key from GM while also streamlining all operations and also planning new products wasn’t a realistic plan at all.

      That said, that entire fiasco kept Saab “alive” long enough to attract more qualified buyers than Spyker ever could have been. I’m not hating on Spyker, but they were never up to the task and rushing into the purchase is exactly what kept them from understanding it.

      So, it took another bankruptcy and another 2 years, but it looks like Saab is finally getting back on the right track. The last thing Saab needs now is another buyer to rush in and come up with a bad plan and sell old products or mediocre products. Rushing to produce of a bunch of unwanted cars shouldn’t be a very high priority for anyone. It is time for good solid planning and innovation in the engineering group and that is all behind the scenes and the general public will get a lot more of silence before they get much of anything else. Why rush to retain your consumers (and make a mess of everything in the process) when you don’t have any product for them to consume yet?

      • You might be in for disappointment. I’ve never been a cheerleader for Spyker—other than the fact that they kept Saab alive—but I find your criticism of them interesting. Selling the 9-3 one generation longer was the only way they could come close to an affordable, entry level Saab. It was also their convertible, which has been a popular Saab for decades. I don’t know enough about the 9-4 plan to comment—-but I don’t think the 9-5 was halfbaked at all. If anything, it needed to be offered with less content/fewer features, for a lower price. It is a beautiful car inside and out. It needed better marketing, as Saab has needed in the last 20+ years. I could easily see this going opposite of what you’re hoping for—-positioning the brand one rung down, not two up.

        • By half-baked I mean that I think it was not finished when it went on sale. In 2010 Saab was so constrained they offered only a strange quasi-aero package with limited engine choices, limited drive-train choices, limited interior choices and no sunroof (supplier problems). In 2011 they added engine choices and interior color options but much remained unfinished the entire model year. For example, the suspension received harsh criticism from the press (especially in the UK) and Saab promised to address it for 2012 when the SportCombi was released. In light fo their issues, I read this as “we will finally find time and money to finish the suspension tuning.” The interior materials were poor in variety and quality at launch and were criticized here and by critics. Saab promised improvements in 2012 with the Sportcombi launch but they never became available. The Sportcombi itself was delayed which arguably left a full half of the line-up unfinished at launch. So, for a car with a 6 year expected run (although it would no doubt have been stretched to 8-10 years in Saab fashion) the first 2 model years of cars (at least) were unfinished. This is why I chose to say half-baked. Didn’t mean to offend those who bought it. I think it’s a defensible position. I personally agree that a much less expensive price point should have been aimed for and then they should have polished the hell out of the car before it showed its face even if that took another 12 months of development time launch.

          The 9-4x wouldn’t have made money for Saab in the US if the trend of massive discounting at the time was continued and I can’t see any way it wouldn’t have been. Saab wasn’t buying them cheap enough to sell at discounts in the US which was the intended market for the 9-4X.

          The 9-3 is simply a very old car and a very familiar face. You can’t reinvigorate a brand by relaunching the same car (basically) that most Saab owners have already owned or chosen not to own.

          But my point was that it is better to do something right than do something half-way. That is just as true now as it was then and I hope they take longer this time and do it right. They have very little to lose now so what’s the rush?

          • A slight correction. The 95 Saloon did get enhancements in response to the suspension issues here in the UK with the chassis set up being revised, 18″ alloys becoming standard along with full leather trim and Sat Nav.

      • But if they had not sold them…then the dealers would have had nothing to sell and they would have been in the state they are now just a couple of years earlier. If Saab was going to wait until all “new” cars were ready, they would have had to restart the dealer network just as will have to be done now.

        I think it was only part of the problem that some people did not like the “GM Saabs” (and that was people who were even aware of the issue), but the bigger problem was that a lot of the casual buyer (i.e., the ones that do not follow all the news on SU) stopped going to the dealers because many people thought that Saab had never survived past when GM dumped it. At least many people I spoke with here in U.S. kept asking me in 2010 and 2011, “So what are you going to do with your 9-3 now that Saab is out of business?”

        • That wasn’t/isn’t my experience at all. I’m in the Washington, DC area and I don’t think anyone ever asked about Saab going out of business in 2010 and 2011. In fact, I’m not even being asked about it now—except by people who I have told that Saab is in bankruptcy. The reporting of Saab’s demise hasn’t been too noticable in the U.S.—-little blurbs here and there. Even the major car magazines haven’t done a heck of a lot to “wave goodbye” to Saab. Again, little articles, but not major coverage, at least not that I have found (and I subscribe to a weekly and a monthly). In fact, I think most “casual” buyers in my area don’t even know what’s going on—-though they will when they go to the dealership and see an empty showroom. It’s why I kept saying back in February how this needed a fast resolution—-a plan and an announcement to start producing cars in months, not years (maybe 12-18 months, as Youngman was promising—9-3 until more cars could be developed). I know of a couple dealers who would have stayed in the game if this could have been pushed through.

          • Well for those that did not think Saab was dead, Saab was just off their radar due to little to no advertising during the sale process and production startup by Spyker. I certainly understand why when money is tight you cannot do big ad campaigns (and we discussed that here in great detail on SU back in the day), but without much advertising….most people had stopped even thinking about Saab. The 9-4X and the Pheonix concept at Geneva began to get some buzz going in the press….but by then the financial situation was in a bind and then the suppliers started demanding payment….and we all know how that all played out.

            But for your last point….how could there be a quick announcement “…to start producing cars in months, not years” if they are not going to do it with the existing 9-3? There was NO WAY that the new 9-3 on the Pheonix platform could have been ready in “months”. If back when Spyker bought Saab, they had not moved ahead with the 9-5, 9-4X and 9-3 Griffin then there is no way new models would have been ready in months. The design work on Pheonix was still in early stages at that point.

              • Forget about the current 9-3, no dealer is willing to put money into selling a 10 year old design… anyone trying to restart production and make money with that car is really living in a dream world…

                Gamling millions of Euro’s on selling 80k of them in 1-2 years is probably the worst gamble in the world. Saab needs to restart with brand new products if it is to survive at all. Leave the old behind and move on!

          • it was my experience, I even went so far as to test a Mercedes and a BMW, and they are fine cars, just not my fine car – I want a Saab – did buy a “transition” used one, and am hoping for the best – advertising is key to turing around Saab – and here it is all is for a good agency – we are SAAB!

        • I think it was a disservice to the dealership network for Saab to make promises they couldn’t keep. Saab was very wrong about its “fully funded” business plan and they had to have known they were going to run out of money pretty early into the affair.

          It would have been kinder to tell the dealers sooner to either diversify or scale back rather than making empty promises that hurt in the end anyway.

  7. I think most of us would agree that the only important thing right now is to make one final deal with one new owner. No quickly put together temporary solutions that will fall apart next week or month because someone somewhere managed to kill it, but a real long term solution with a new owner that has a serious and well thought through business plans for how to put Saab Automobile back in business again.

    There’s no guarantees to ever get there, and plans A, B, C, … didn’t do the job. VM is a true master of quick solutions and VM & Co really did their best, but unforunalelly there were too many other obstacles in the way, so now it is up to the receivers to first untangle the mess of leftovers from old temporary solutions that unfortunately didn’t do the job, and then to find a new owner who can do a fresh start. As long as they spend all their time on that rather than on informing us about what they are currently negotiating with whom, I think they are doing the right thing, and can only wish them all luck in making the right decisions. Saab Automobile only gets one more final shot, so it had better be a good one. Fingers crossed…

    Well, enough rambling from me now. I basically just think that till72 described the current situation quite well. 🙂

  8. I for one am a little surprised that the Receivers seem to be managing to tie things up so quickly. The Hemfosa deal is just one of the many things that happened as the business approached bankruptcy that they will have had to revisit and, perhaps, renegotiate. Also, they will have had to do complete due diligence on each of the bidders and their proposals. I expect that on most days they have had their heads down in the books wearing a puzzled expression and probably are a bit short-tempered with anyone who interrupts the general flow of their work.

  9. I own/have owned five GM-era Saabs and two pre-GM. I became a fan because of the GM-era Saabs and I do really appreciate the pre-GM cars, too. I appreciate moving beyond GM and am looking forward to the next era of Saab, but those of you who suggest that Spyker’s failure was due to mediocre products are wrong. I pass dozens of inferior cars on the way to work that sold 50 times more than the 9-5 I drive. Making good products is not enough. I hope the new owner can capture what IS because plenty of good business minds at Spyker could not and for us to speculate that it’s all because of GM DNA is unfair.

    • Saab had some of its best sales years under GM ownership so that says something. All 6 of my Saabs since ’99 have been GM era Saabs with the later cars being the best ones in almost every aspect save a few features I would have liked to have been kept. I still have 3 of them, including a 2011 9-5 Aero, a truly wonderful car that could have really evolved given the chance to stay in production. I for one wish GM could have been able to get through the financial crisis while holding onto Saab so we could be debating if the new 2012 9-3 was really a Saab or not, sadly I don’t think Spyker ever really had much of a chance to make it all work.

  10. Chris: Very well said. My Saab is an ’04 9-5 ARC wagon—GM era—and it’s a wonderful vehicle. The final Saabs, also derived from GM, were beautiful cars. I haven’t driven the final 9-5 but I did ride in one. I thought it was incredibly stylish inside and out—-quiet but spirited, fast, comfortable—-all good virtues. I’m not sure about the reliability of them, but assuming that’s okay, it was a great final effort from them. The new owner needs a really good advertising agency, that is certain.

  11. I really, really hope that, whoever the new owner will become, they use Castriota’s design.
    It was/is such a beauty. A perfect mix of 650, Aero x and Phoenix concept and still very recognicable as a Saab. Think 99/900/NG900.

    • For the new 9-3 you mean? I second that, awesome design and a strong, powerful presence (last model/version I saw was in the fall of 2011).

    • I don’t like it all if I am to be honest… I don’t believe in going retro… whats been has been, lets look forward in design! Trying to “revisit” the old like Jason has done here might be good for some people but in a general public, I think it will fail.

      I grant that the new design takes some getting used to, especially the rear part but having seen what Simon Paidan and the others developed, I would have preferred the pure futuristic and very Saaby clean Aero X styles rather than the retro inspired new JC design…

      I have been trying to get used to the design for some time now, the convertible is something I do like from the front and sides, but not the rear… but it should be said that I didn’t like the NG900 either when it came, but a few years afterwards, I was in love with the car! 🙂

      • I think Castriota’s design will do great with the general public, in that sense that it does exactly the same as the Phoenix Concept: either you love it or you hate it. No middle of the road. You don’t like it at all, I think it’s great: and that’s how it should be. Any new Saab needs to be an opinion divider, imho. Castriota’s convertible was a bit of an odd creature though: most of all it looked and felt huge. More a Bentley than a Saab, but that is not necessarily a bad thing 😉 The cross-country, or X, version looked great as well.

        (Btw, there are some comments about the new 9-3 scattered all through this post – maybe put them together?)

  12. Gents, with the greatest of respects, none of us are actually participating in whatever part of these negotiations. I am a tad surprised by the mere fact it is stated above that this silence isn’t good. I can imagine we are all more than avid supporters of the brand and all want the best for it. But, I somehow don’t see why we seem to have a right to information…..

    Yes, I agree the loss of dealers isn’t a good one. I agree some of the products that came out weren’t the best. But then, read Saab’s here and there checkered history. It isn’t the first time things sort of went in a direction which was less than desirable. What Till is stating in his piece is the fact that not all the blame lies within Spyker, that lessons are to be learned from what went wrong. And yes, I also saw family enterprises, having invested heavily in Saab, go under…. That did hurt, a lot.

    Hiding in Till’s piece is something you seem to overlook, Angelo. The most disadvantageous role played by some of the suppliers. Ever given that any thought? Ever thought about what that meant to the whole staff at Saab? The fact that was one of the main (be it often overlooked) reason why the financial problems started.
    Weren’t we all wanting to get Saab to start producing cars asap after the purchase by Spyker? Wasn’t the public opinion one of “let’s get (them) started?” the 9-5NG was pushed out too fast. Now, we can all point the finger at Spyker, but hey, public demand etc?
    BUT, who of you actually showed support then and signed on the dotted line?

    I did.

    Never got the car in the end, but I did. Simply showing my little bit of support. Something nice & new next to my classic in the garage…

    • I might be missing something—-isn’t the Swedish goverment one of the creditors (and possibly the EU as well)? If that is the case, why do you think a closed door policy with cryptic information sometimes given, sometimes not—by the aloof three—is acceptable? Isn’t there a taxpayer aspect to this that should justify the feeling that more progress reports/projections should be disclosed? I’m in the U.S., so you’re right in my case—-I don’t have a right to any information as I’m just an owner of the brand and an enthusiast. But I would think this is “public” enough to warrant the request/demand for more and better information, in Sweden.

      • A closed-door policy and media blackout is nearly always the usual course of action in private transactions, including those involving taxpayer money. It’s pretty common in the EU, and even here in the US, some aspects of transactions that could be adversely affected by widespread broadcast — property sales and similar negotiations immediately come to mind — are exempt from the usual open-government laws.

        Let the talkers talk. If there’s an agreement, or not, it will come out. Better one correct report than a dozen breathless blurbs citing rumors about mystery buyers…

    • “BUT, who of you actually showed support then and signed on the dotted line?”

      Well I did, I was in process of ordering another 9-3 convertible then production stopped, then I waited, then I got a 9-5 (before 12/19/11) and kept ,my ’08 vert. That all said if I support the new owner of Saab or not depends on how they support me and my 2011 9-5 which support is pretty dicey, good thing the car is good. I’m not as worried about my remaining 9-3’s but support has to be there too to get me back in another Saab if they ever make one.

      • Well said.

        The concept that a “new” Saab company only provides support “new” models will be flawed. Of course it is easy enough to see that providing parts will succeed for the orphan models because parts profits are lucrative. But support includes ongoing software updates, service training and interactive support for dealers and mechanics. And it includes support for owners along with some basic warranties.

        Remember that the very parts suppliers that finished off old Saab made money by increasing the price of the parts they sold Saab to allow for their warranty for defective parts. They have now had a “free” ride on all those parts that they supplied as there is no structure bringing claims back to them for reimbursement for failed parts. In some cases that reimbursement can extend to collateral damage caused by part failure.
        Not unlike an insurance company that received all of the premium on a 4 year policy, but after a few months the insured item requires no more insurance coverage and there are no refunds of the premium. Great business for them !

        Is it not ironic that those who who have taken the greatest personal financial risk to provide support to Saab are now in the worst position. The very people who should carry the new Saab forward may in fact may no longer interested in Saab when a “new” Saab shows no interest in them !

  13. I wonder what JCs 9-3 (900?) actually looked like. I am guessing it was fantastic and hope we all get to see it one day. 🙂

    • I need to repeat myself here, since Tim does that as well 😉 It was awesome if you ask me. I really, really liked it. Think Saab 900, Porsche Panamera and the Jaguar XJ thrown in a blender, topped off with a touch of Audi A7. Like it? 😉

  14. I have been driving Saab since 1999, with my first 900. Currently I have a nice 2007 9-5 TiD estate; I’ve loved all of my Saabs. I have been following these blogs daily as the future of Saab means much more to me than I could have rationally imagined. In the process of watching and reading, I’ve had a range of feelings – from delight to complete disappointment. As such, as we near closure, (personally) I would much rather a Saab that managed to retain it’s visual identity and celebrate those idiosyncratic quirks that me want my car. Without those elements there will be no Saab, regardless of outcome.

  15. Just came back from the Barcelona F1 grandprix, about a 1500km drive, with aV70 D5 geartronic. Hurts to say, but what a nice car to drive. Saab better hurry up!

    • I know, but you cant say that here without getting crucified and that is why i more or less gave up posting here.
      Saab is Saab, drivers car and IMHO timeless design but Volvos recent attempts is not bad and calling them Ovlov and trying to make fun of them w/o even driving their line-up (i suspect) is not getting Saab anywhere, never had and never will.My recommendation is like your did, go out and drive different cars (incl volvo) and we can have a chat. Sure, they are far from perfect IMHO and not a Saab, but bad..haha no man, not even close.

      As for Saab 2.0 and getting people back, the only thing i can think of is that you have to create something that Volvo lacks and that is lean and rewarding job satisfaction (due to successful work tasks).I am not saying Volvo is not innovating, i am saying, they could push the dev even further and faster.

      For example to develop a service to change a parameter collection for the EMS (engine) control is being handled by atleast 7 layers in between customer (internal ones) and Devs.Including Biz Analysts, Test leaders, Architectures, Scrum-masters, Team leaders, Product Owner, Solution Responsible managers and god knows.I argue that it can be cut by putting faith in people rather than faith in the process.

      It is not that people are not important, but i think Saab needs to work differently.Sure they need a process in order no to go bananas but they need to keep the focus, the car, not the process THE CAR, THE CAR.That in itself will reward the people in the org.

      We can not use or M.Sc or PhD people to write excel, word and ppt stuff for presentation, it just aint cutting it.Sure you need to do that as well, but don’t do it all the time. Stop the madness. Dont create organisation where you loose focus, create superartifical titles (similar to the IT-industry) and no one knows what they are doing. Work globally, sure, but dont make crucial meetings and gateways depending on getting all onto the same page/meeting at the same time, that will be the showstopper for SORP (release).

      Overall dont try so hard being a modern fancy workplace and loose focus.Am i just dull and just being grey in my thinking here ? I dont think so…

      To give Saab yet another chance is almost too good, think about it, and see it as a development to a leaner and ultimate organiation (albeit an extremely expensive road towards that goal). To take all the good things from former Saab and replace “bad” things. Including IT systems and organsation. If done correctly i think Saab can truely be unique…again.

      My advice, keep it simple, stupid! Put faith in the people. I dont understand how that message got lost in the industry and replaced by put faith in the process and make it complex so it looks good and idiot proof.I think people, new and old, will join Saab forces.

      • Lundin, don’t take the ovloV stuff too personally (ever though you work for V now 😉 ). It’s more about brotherly rivalry than anything else. Like in sports. Go ask a ManU fan what they think of Liverpool, or how many Steelers fans love the Patriots and you’ll be stoned.
        I know a few people driving cars made by the Geely owned company in Sweden who think Saabers are total d-bags, but everyone is entitled to their opinion 🙂
        To be honest if Saab would disappear from the face of the earth and we’d have to buy a new car I think the product from Göteborg is that much more comfortable than all the iduA’s, Mercs and Bimmers that I’d probably go for one.

        I’m even on the record here from a few years back when I said that I actually liked the V70 on a long journey. The NG 9-5 SC would have been just that much better imho.
        There’s no harm in being proud of SAAB and not promote other brands on SaabsUnited too much even though we don’t know what the future holds, right?

        • Hi RS,

          Yeah, you are right (of course=)) (btw i just re-read my post above, damn did i had a bad day or what ;)). Anyway, you have a valid point. I suspect being in Manchester, UK, these days and wearing a red Man U Shirt will get you some reallly nasty comments…

          But i think you are spot on. In fact i think there are very few Saab customers out there willing to buy what every may come.However there are many, “illoyal”, brand X car customer out there looking for what car to buy.To think that Saab only needs to sell to its Saab customer denying Volvo or brand X and refuse to take that battle just about every day is nonsense (yes, that kind of attituted did existed. Sure there where some internal comparision-sheet, but thats it).

          Me myself, I am not buying a Saab car if the Saab seller denies Volvo as in a “a bad car, cant run on winter roads”. It just feels wrong. However, if he has actually driven one he can directly say many truth like this one:

          -Saab has a more responsive infortainment system than Volvo.

          That a fact. Good, now we are talking!Keep it coming. Although i am hearing Volvo is upgrading it…of course..

          And yeah, being a proud Saab owner on SU and not promoting other brand(s) i am fine with that, but future Saab and us need to keep it transparent.


          • Maybe this is also the opportunity to gather the ‘dream team’ for SAAB to build the modern version of this one (incl. a wagon variant) after all the sales process hassle is behind us: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4XV_K1pGjE

            And yes I agree. Healthy competition is a good thing as long as SAAB and Volvo target the rest of the world. Not just each other.

  16. Back in the country after a long, long trip. Great points Till (damn autocorrect), completely agree and will write a follow up shortly.

  17. This is how I see it. These are private, tough negotiations by serious people, vying for control of a business that has now become infamous for entailing great risk – but potentially much, much greater rewards.

    Sure it has been frustrating not to know who the winner is yet, but there’s no point stamping our feet like spoiled brats because we, the general public, are not being kept in the loop. Until the deal is concluded and the parties involved decide to make it public it is, at an official level, none of our business – and nor should it be. It is particularly tough on a new 9-5 owner with two years’ warranty left, but that’s just the way it is. You just have to hang in there. The fact Saab parts is up and running and there is still a network of authorised repairers relieves the worst nightmares any of us with current Saabs would have faced.

    On the other hand, speaking from a journalistic perspective, if a reliable source can be tapped for inside info as to what’s going on with the purchase, well, provided it doesn’t prejudice a good outcome then I will take whatever comes our way – provided the source is robust. There does seem to have been some pretty off-target stuff coming out, including from SU it has to be said, but I know and accept that that the guys here are doing their best under challenging circumstances with completely honourable intentions – unlike a lot of ‘professional journalists’ who have danced on Saab’s grave a thousand times and should be made to eat their words if – no, when – Saab is back in business.

  18. Time is not the most important of elements here. Number one is the securing of a deal that absolutely this time around must ensure a long-term future for our beloved SAAB. Whether that deal is for a single owner or a conjoint project that does not matter. As owners of Saab cars we all must demand that the heritage is carried forward in the shape of new cars that we can be proud of in the broadest sense. A much broader choice of cars will be needed. One thing Iwill say is that I personally wish that the SAAB name can stand for HIGH QUALITY. I do not want to see it go cheap and nasty like a bad cup of dishwatery tea. I trust we can soon learn who the final contenders are and maybe a bit more info too, as we have been starved for too long. Even the lid on the teapot has been tight or has someone forgotten to put holes in the sieve.

    • I saw that on TTELA. It is about time, although I’m not confident in a positive outcome. I contacted all of my congresspeople here in the US and got one form email back in late January. Better late than never for the union….

  19. At this point, I just wonder what kind of business plan any of the buyers could realistically come up with. If GM is totally out of it, and the Phoenix is a couple of years off with perhaps many of the key designers and engineers gone with key computerized componentry on someone’s hard drive or CD that is now gone, what do you start with if you are Mahindra or Youngman? You got no gas engines unless you get BMW back on board and since I am in the US, I don’t know where they would get diesels from.

    Just seems like a huge problem to me. More and more I am afraid that Mahindra or Youngman will be buying a pig in a poke.

    • Mahindra has access to vehicle platforms/engines from partnerships. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a Chinese product rebadged as a Saab—-the other option was/is to use the existing 9-3 with a couple minor changes and offer that. Those are the realistic ways to get product in showrooms relatively quickly. Otherwise, Saab hibernates like a cicada. When they come back, it’s anyone’s guess who will be left to support the brand—-and getting new buyers will be like pulling teeth from a lion. It’s why a fast resolution and the most minimal of delays was the best way to move forward. Alas, that’s over. We’re into unchartered territory.

      • Saab is at its best tweaking someone else’s car. But there are limits. I don’t know if any of the Asian designs could be tweaked well enough to attract interest in Europe or the US.

  20. I keep checking this website daily hoping that I’ll read the headline “Mahindra buy Saab”. Can’t be too much longer now till we get an announcement.

    Whoever buys Saab, I think the best thing to do is to immediately allocate funds to an extensive facelift of the 9-5 assuming GM allow the new Saab the technology, if GM won’t play ball then I think hibernation with perhaps a new concept car rolled out at every motorshow is the way forward.

    • If GM plays ball—-I don’t even think there would need to be much of a facelift to the 9-5 (or 9-4) as they were barely brought to market when Saab imploded. A few new colors would be nice—-maybe some very minor changes on the exterior/interior (badging and wheel styles for example). But I doubt GM will be playing ball—-which might leave the 9-3 as an option and that would require some quick re-tooling to freshen the design. I know people are down on the 9-3 as too old—-no excitement left—-etc. I still believe that line (convertible, sportwagon and sedan) could generate just enough sales to be viable—-particularly if Mahindra light duty diesel trucks and other small trucks were sold in the same showrooms/dealerships. There are Saab enthusiasts who will need a car in the next few years—-and without a new 9-3 or other new Saab to buy, I think it’s true that a lot of them would be peeled away by Volvo or others—but a lot would remain loyal and buy an “outdated” 9-3, which is still more competent in many ways than plaforms introduced far more recently. It’s still a Saab and a good one.

      • I only reckon that a facelift is needed just for the new company to say to the world that “Saab are back and under new ownwership and will be here to stay”. A facelift, featuring a new design direction would achieve this in my opinion. I agree though, the 9-5 doesn’t really need a facelift, it’s just that I think it may be needed to help change peoples perceptions. Same applies to the 9-3, but the 9-3 has had too many facelifts already and would need a Golf mk6/mk5 style change with every panel new but same structure underneath. That would probably cost too much though. Hibernation may be the only option unless M&M or Youngman do some re-badging of their own products which I don’t think anybody would favour!

  21. If GM plays ball—-I don’t even think there would need to be much of a facelift to the 9-5 (or 9-4) as they were barely brought to market when Saab imploded. A few new colors would be nice—-maybe some very minor changes on the exterior/interior (badging and wheel styles for example). But I doubt GM will be playing ball—-which might leave the 9-3 as an option and that would require some quick re-tooling to freshen the design. I know people are down on the 9-3 as too old—-no excitement left—-etc. I still believe that line (convertible, sportwagon and sedan) could generate just enough sales to be viable—-particularly if Mahindra light duty diesel trucks and other small trucks were sold in the same showrooms/dealerships. There are Saab enthusiasts who will need a car in the next few years—-and without a new 9-3 or other new Saab to buy, I think it’s true that a lot of them would be peeled away by Volvo or others—but a lot would remain loyal and buy an “outdated” 9-3, which is still more competent in many ways than plaforms introduced far more recently. It’s still a Saab and a good one.

  22. I guess the only question pertinent to answer is wether they have a fixed sum or if they are charging by the hour.

    There is a tendency to believe that highly educated persons are more honest than, let’s say your average plummer or electrician. If they are on a fix rate I assume they are trying to wrap this up as soon as possible, if not, well then it is a question of honesty and greed.

    Sweden is a small country and although there are a few big companies in Sweden there is no real experience from the scale of the Saab bankruptcy. Germany has seen bankruptcies far larger than Saab’s but they have been handled much quicker.

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