Simon Padian works for Einar Hareide again

Many of you have repeatedly asked what is currently Mr. Padian doing. I don’t know if it is a good or bad thing, but Mr Padian started working for a Swedish Design Studio from June 5.

But it is not only Simon Padian. I get the impression that the Saab design is clustering around this design studio that based in Gothemburg, which means that those former Saab employees may work on projects for Volvo, but it also means that they are there and any new owner of Saab Automobile could have access to them as well as they could have access to those former Saab engineers that have been clustered around engineering consultancies based in Trollhättan.

On June 5, Anders Gustafsson, a former senior designer at Saab Automobile, joined Einar Hareide’s Gothenburg studio.

Anders Gustafsson started his career at Saab on 1991. During his time at Saab he worked on different Saab concept cars like the 9x, the 9-3x and the AeroX. Regarding the production cars, he worked on the 9-3 Sports Sedan and the interior of the NG 9-5.

From 2000 till 2005 he was assigned to Saab Advanced Design in Pixbo, Sweden, and from 2005 till 2009 he was part of the Saab design team.

Anders Gustafsson’s page at Hareide Design.

On the same day Simon Padian also started his work at Hareide Design as design director – Sweden.

This is how his new employer describes him

Simon started his career as a designer in 1987 and got employed by Saab in 1989. During his time at Saab Simon had been working on all the major cars from Saab like the 9-5 estate, 9-3 Sport Combi, 9-7x including a number of great concept cars.

The most unique period of Simon’s career started in 2005 when he was asked to establish and run the Saab Brand Design team, this was partially formed from the original Saab Design department, which at this time became fully integrated into the GM global design organization. While still maintaining design responsibility for all Swedish produced Saab’s, the focus was to lead the only permanently brand specific design team within GM, developing the Saab Product Pillar (Progressive Design) and feeding the GM design organization with Saab relevant design trends, strategy and conceptual proposals. This not only covered mainstream products but also included the task of developing and being responsible for the design of Saab Expressions merchandising. The design strategy and many of the ideas from this work were realized in the new (2010) 9-5 as the first of Saab’s next generation products. The work also targeted a longer time frame working on defining and visualizing the Saab portfolio for 2020.

Simon Padian’s page at Hareide Design.

And why am I saying that Mr Padian works for Mr Hareide again?

Einar Hareide is not only the CEO and founder of Hareide Design he, for the ones that did not know it, was also chief designer at Saab Automobile.

Einar Hareide, began with Saab as a designer in 1985 and worked until 1989 before he decided take a job with Mercedes Benz briefly, then returned to Saab in 1991 as a designer until 1994. In 1994, he was appointed design director until 1999. It is important to note that Hareide worked alongside Björn Envall on the new generation 900 designs (Envall-Hareide era).
Einar Hareide was also responsible for the early introduction of the 9-5 until the first modification was made in 2002, the 9-3 which was the successor to the new generation 900, as well as the 9-3 Sport Sedan designs from 2003 until 2006, and exterior design until 2007.

Einar Hareide’s page at Hareide Design.

On what kind of project will Simon Padian be involved in the future?

It looks like the Gothenburg studio has done some projects with Volvo Trucks and Volvo cars. One of the latest project they did for Volvo cars is the V60 PHEV. Hareide Design worked on the rims and the instrument cluster for the V60 PHEV (that will also be used in the V40), changing the typical 2-gauges Volvo Instrument cluster, to a more saabish 3-gauge instrument cluster with a central speedo.;-)

Volvo V60 Instrument cluster

Volvo V60 PHEV

(Pictures by Hareide Design, Einar hareide’s CV by Saabhistory).

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Well, we shouldn’t expect that he would just sit around forever waiting for a Saab solution. He has his own life to look after and is obviously exceptionally talented. I congratulate him on this new position. But I also hope that if and when things are up and running at Saab again he could be engaged once more–either directly as chief of design or contracted through his exciting new position. I am just bummed that his skills might be diverted toward Volvo, unless of course a relaunched Saab doesn’t happen. In that case, his designs might draw a lot of… Read more »


It is a good thing to keep your skills up to date working for Volvo.Volvo will benefit a lot from the Saab resources they got. I said it back December, GM didn’t wanted competition..guess what,now they face even more (at least a bit worse than they could have managed to control themselves by be a part and regulate Saab).

As for that speedometer, um, makes it non-linear if even more true saabish.


They probably made the call after meeting the Masters of Disaster – The Admins!


OT. I wonder how much they charge per hour for the crappy work they do?
If companies could place bids in March they must have known the value of what’s left, so the question is why didn’t they pick a winner back then and start working on the final paperwork and the one with the dotted line? Oh, it must have been the instructions from Stockholm that they can’t sell SAAB to M&M because they’d just continue making Saabs and we can’t have that now can we?


Padian? Swedish Armenian? Sorry for being so ethnocentric – but there really are very few of us left.


He’s English, I believe. But his wife is a Swede and he has lived in Sweden a long time. He could be ethnically Armenian though…


And Hareide is Norwegian. 😉

Nate 9-3

Good for him. Seems like a nice man and definitely has skills.


Here is a good interview with Simon Padian from 2009 during the Frankfurt Auto Show. He traces some of the recent history of Saab over his 20 years as well as his role within Saab. You can see why so many Saab drivers are loyal to him, just as he has been to Saab.


As someone who was behind the gorgeous design of my 9-3 I both wish him well and hope to see him possibly rejoin Saab in the future.

I have to admit that despite the non-driver centric look of the gauge dash+gauges above, I do like the look.

Dan P

Good luck to him. As someone who appreciates Saab AND Volvo (less so.. But still) – good luck to him! Please carry over some Saab thinking – I might need it later!


These guys defined what Saab became. Einar Hareide’s 9-5 was a timeless design until it was ‘DE-ified’ by which time the original simplicity of its design was well and truly messed up. His collaboration with Bjorn Envall on the NG900 made what was, IMO, a perfect interpretation of the Classic 900 and one of the best designs Saab ever came out with. Again, said car was mess up a liitle by adding those chunky bumpers turning into the 9-3. The 9-3SS shows what is best in Scandinavian design. The original model still looks timeless even though it is 10 years… Read more »


You’re absolutely right.

Allan B

Gustafsson, Padian, Hareide … that’s the head, heart and soul of Saab design right there. The dominant centrality of the speedo alone is one of the things that makes the dash of a 9-3ss a prime example of form och funktion – stylish and functional, and not to mention more intuitive than the dual set-up where speedo and rev counter fight for the driver’s attention. I do think that both Audi and BMW make attractive dashboards of that twin-dial type, but I would have the Saab style over them any time. Another appealing point for me about these designers is… Read more »

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