For our friends in the UK, namely Canterbury, Saab Parts UK has added an authorized repair facility. Team Traction is now an authorized Saab Service Center. From the Saab website, below is an introduction to their facility:
We received an email today that pointed to a great Automotive News piece on Charles River Saab. The article is more or less telling the story of one dealerships commitment to Saab and the people. From what I read, this is one dealer that truly understands customer service and what it means to take care of the people who helped to make you who you are today.
Ray Ciccolo is the owner of Charles River Saab which is the oldest Saab store in the country. One of the quotes that stands out from the article to me is the following:
“If a customer trades in a Saab, someone else is going to buy it and they’ll need service,” says Ciccolo, president of Village Automotive Group in Boston. “So that’s our goal: We’re going to be the go-to Saab dealership for the Northeast.”
When a lot of previous Saab dealers have either thrown in the towel, called it a day or moved onto another brand, Ciccolo is expanding his Saab service and parts operations.
Specifically, Ciccolo wants to be the largest Saab service and parts operator in his region and he is spending about $100,000 to do so. He is buying as many Saab parts as he can. He has consolidated his Saab parts warehouse and service center near his Volvo store in Boston to cut costs.
Ciccolo will hire two additional Saab service technicians. He will launch a direct-mail marketing campaign to Saab owners in eastern Massachusetts this month.
On the sales side of the business, they are looking to purchase as many of the 2011 Saab’s being auctioned off by Ally and foresees potential profits from Saab sales.
“Dealers aren’t doing anything with the brand and so their customers are going to look to go someplace that’s expanding to get good service,” Ciccolo says. “I see at least three years of good business.”
The article goes into a little more detail as to how they see the opportunity and the numbers involved. Ciccolo it says believes there to be 5,000 to 8,000 Saab customers in the Boston area who are orphaned. These numbers alone to me look like a huge business opportunity. Of that 5-8,000 customers, I’m sure they could move a lot of the vehicles up for auction from Ally. Then you look at the service side where they are currently servicing 25 Saab’s a day and he believes that could double with expansion.
He seems to not be overly optimistic about Saab being revived, in fairness I think just as fans are cautiously optimistic, so too are they. In the meantime they are prepared to take care of their previous customers as well as any who have lost their dealership in this process.
“We’re going to treat it as a business opportunity and if the brand comes back, fine.” Ciccolo says. “If it doesn’t we’ll take care of the people we’ve sold Saabs to.”
The full article from Automotive News was written by Jamie LaReau and can be found here.
The following is a very rough translation of a recent article in ttela. Keep in mind that I’m not a native Swedish speaker, and the last few paragraphs were a bit lacking in detail.
Saab Parts were not included in the bankruptcy trustees’ sale to the National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs).
– There is a lot of shared ground between our companies. What we have discussed so far is the access to the production tools, says Lennart Ståhl, managing director of Saab Automobile Parts.
There are between 10,000 and 15,000 tools out among Saab’s former suppliers.
Today they are owned by the bankruptcy estate and few of them are part of Nevs’ deal, but not all.
– There are 1800 suppliers in total and 1000 of them are in possession of our tools, says Lennart Ståhl.
Now it so that our means Saab [sic!], which means they are still owned by the estate. These tools are used to manufacture parts for Saab’s cars. The only tools that will not be used are those for the Saab 9-5 wagon which never made it into regular production and as such need no spares.
Saab Parts has leased part of the factory from the receivers. Partly the press shop where spare parts are manufactured, and also the northern office where 50 people work today.
– In the foreseeable future we will continue our presence in Trollhättan due to the high level of specialized competency among our employees there. A relocation from our current offices will be determined by what plans Nevs have, says Lennart Ståhl.
The National Debt Office earlier announced that they will acquire Saab Parts which was used as collateral for the EIB loan. As of February this year half of Saab Parts’ board of directors consists of representatives from the National Debt Office.
– They are well versed in our business and know exactly what kind of company they take over, says Lennart Ståhl.
He believes that a handover will take place in the near future.
– There is likely a desire of the bankruptcy trustees to liquidate the companies that remain in the bankruptcy estate. My guess is that a handover will happen within the next few weeks.
When Lennart Ståhl met with representatives from Nevs, they said that they need Saab Parts’ assistance.
– We also need help from them. We hope that they, for example, can produce parts using the press shop. The discussions we have had so far concerns the tools that currently resides with various suppliers and how to put the tools to use, says Lennart Ståhl.
Lets take a little break for a moment if we can on the discussions on NEVS and what it means to the future of the Saab brand. Everyone has their own opinion of what this means and a lot of predictions good and bad. I want to discus for a moment here the newly formed Saab Automobile Parts North America.
With all the comments about whats going on right now and some of the people who are lets say less then thrilled, I find it important to state that regardless of some predictions of what any of this means for future cars, your present car is still worth driving and parts will be easy to once again attain. Weather you’re happy or sad about the buyer of Saab, your Saab is still just as much fun to drive today as it was yesterday and dare I say it maybe even more. I only mention this because I’ve heard crazy comments about “well I guess I’ll get rid of my Saab now” and I think that would be a shame.
As noted in Tim’s post on the press release on SPNA, they were formed June 5 and will be responsible to provide genuine Saab parts to North America including the USA and Canada. This newly formed company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saab Automobile Parts AB in Sweden. As we have seen in a couple of posts from RedJ, Saab Parts AB has been taken over by the NDO which some see as a bad thing, I personally see this as a great thing as the NDO will bring Saab Parts AB back to where it once was as they have no real option, they need to get it making money again to get their money back. We also saw from the press conference today that NEVS have an option to buy Saab Parts for 200 million Euro in 3 years allowing the government time to rebuild Saab Parts and the Network.
Back to the North American Saab Parts piece of the puzzle, I received a very welcomed email from Tim Colbeck. If you remember, he came on as the head of Saab Cars North America just as everything fell apart. I know a lot of people in his shoes would have packed up and walked, scratch that, ran away from the issues he had to deal with in his first few months at a new job. None of the issues Saab was facing were issues he at that time could have changed or fixed but this man has been there through every step of the process with us all. He attended two of the We Are Many, We Are Saab events and to me has proven to be everything that Saab is meant to be. The important parts of the email are as follows:
With the sale of the parts, the wind down of SCNA is near complete. I have agreed to support SCNA as needed going forward. Now that there is a new company for Parts Distribution I have signed on to be the CEO for the initial period to help bring that company up to speed. Hopefully the new company can make life infinitely easier for Saab owners and Saab retailers going forward. I am happy to be working to that new goal, versus winding down operations.
So again, Tim is with us all through this and I see this as great news that someone who knows inside and out what to do and how to do it is at the helm. I have spoken to people that worked for him under SCNA and everyone has had great things to say about him and his commitment to the brand, the customers and the dealers. I think we are fortunate to still have him there to help get things back on track. He has also told me they will be contacting Saab owners shortly too, so we will continue to monitor.
I know some will ask the big warranty question here and before you do, I have to tell you that I right now know the same as you which is nothing in regards to warranty. Saab Parts is its own company run by the NDO so I think it’s safe to say that they will not be the ones to get those answers from.