A small ray of hope for Saab, thanks to Brightwell

Cross-posted from Swadeology

For months now, we’ve heard GM spokesman James Cain come out and say things like this:

TT: Why did you not agree to meet them?

– We stand by our policy not to sell technology licenses to a new owner for Saab.

TT: Not in any way?

– No.

TT: Typically in business, everything has a price tag.

– Not in this case, says James Cain.

So…… They stand by this policy and from earlier in the original article at e24, they responded to Brightwell’s requests for discussions with a big, fat “not interested”.

Not according to Brightwell’s President, Alphan Manas.

We have to rely on a Googletrans from Manas’ own blog here, but it sounds very much like they reached some agreement with GM in relation to the 9-4x before GM demanded a $73million “tooling fee”. This was apparently an unexpected development and it’s quite possible that tactics like this are part of the reason that Brightwell dropped out of the race to acquire Saab.

Of course, it’s not the first time GM has done something like this, either. Back in December 2009, GM halted negotiations with Spyker – quite suddenly – and announced that Saab was to be liquidated. Later they backflipped once more and ended up selling the company.

What does all this mean?

Not a lot, really. The changing of terms in business deals is commonplace and GM are as prone to it as anyone else. The fact that a Saab fan might find it distasteful doesn’t alter the fact that it happens (nor that PR people would ‘forget’ such things in public statements).

Perhaps the ‘tooling fee’ is a blessing in disguise for a Saab fan. If I’ve interpreted what Manas has written on his website correctly (a significant “if”, but I think I have), it means that GM might actually be willing to negotiate with a possible purchaser of Saab Automobile under the right circumstances. I’m sure they’ll charge a massive fee for such access, but it’s a glimmer of hope if ever I saw one. The 9-4x deserves to be produced for longer, and as a Saab, too.

Again, I have to stress that I’m relying on a web translation of Manas’ blog. I tried to get in touch with Manas via Twitter last week but got no response. The translation is all I’ve got to go by at the moment. If you know Turkish perhaps you can clarify things a little for everyone.


Thanks to Gregg for the tip.

One last shot for me, too.

Well, since I’ve not been around much of late, it’s as if I really ended my involvement with SU some nine or ten months ago.  My time pressures will get no better in the next few months, and so I will no longer be around much, either.  Like Swade, I’ll have new challenges work wise and with a planned house move on the horizon,  Saab networking online will be taking a back seat.  I’ll get a number of hours more actually driving the convertible rather than writing about it.  I may pop in from time to time with some photos, but that’s the extent of it for now.


Thanks for everyone, especially Steven, for allowing me to participate.  It’s been loads of fun and I’ve enjoyed all of it.  If you take just a day or two in Steven’s seat, you gain an immediate appreciation for the man and you gain perspective on the prodigious amount of time required to operate SaabUnited.  It is overwhelming.


Special thanks to Andy, Grippen, Greg and Golfhunter for ideas and information.  Special thanks to Robin for all of the excellent photos and the spirit.

Also, thanks to Mike Colleran, Steve Shannon, Pierre Belperron, Marty Adams, and the late Jan-Willem Vester for being such gracious hosts.  It is not forgotten.


P.S. I’ve been saving a screed about how auto dealer compensation is not aligned with consumer interest, but this simply isn’t the time for it to appear here.  I’ve posted it on my own (nearly defunct) blog site if you’re interested in my thoughts.



Robin’s Comprehensive Geneva Photo Gallery

Robin, aka Trollpowersaab, our officially unofficial UK ambassador, has posted a huge number of photos from the Geneva Motor Show on his Flickr photostream.

Here’s a keeper:


Here’s a photo that I believe answers a question posed in comments.  A reader asked if the rear seat headroom were significantly greater in the 9-5 SportCombi vs. the 9-5 Sedan.  It would appear so.



I particularly like this use of the projection background as an attention getter.  Well done!

SU – tackling the tough questions

The more serious stuff is below, including a very good look at the Saab 9-5 SportCombi.

I’ve only just had a chance to settle in front of the computer after another travel day, coming from Geneva to Gothenburg via London. You wouldn’t think it would take that long, but it did.

Anyway, I’m knackered. But I did received the following question via email from Rikard tonight.

[Let’s imagine] You need to fit 4 kids and 2 adults into a car along with luggage. Will we ever see a SAAB that can manage this equation… legally…?

The serious answer to this question, according to everything I know, is “No”. There are no plans for a 7-seat Saab as far as I’m aware.

However, given that I’m rather tired, my mind has entered that creative space where you come up with unusual solutions.

My proposal is that Saab allow customers to register their children with their local dealers. When the number of progeny reaches three, the dealer can then send out Saab-branded birth control solutions, for either the male or female, depending on customer preference.

This would save the customer from the embarrassment of having to get a minivan and it would keep customers in the Saab family.

I’ve even come up with a slogan for the campaign:

Regular ‘servicing’ is important. Just make sure you do it safely with your Saab dealer

How am I doing?


Like I said. Serious Saaby stuff is below.

My 2 cents on the PhoeniX and a visit to the Saab museum coming up tomorrow 🙂

Have a good one.

More photos and video from Geneva 2011

Well, let’s start with the fun stuff, shall we?

From Swisstroll, we have our inimitable host, Swade, along with Jason Castriota and Golfhunter.  Looks like they’re having a good time!!



I laughed out loud at the photo from Golfhunter. It’s certainly not the Saab 9-5, which I may add, looks absolutely magnificent in this color — Java Brown. Can you guess why I laughed?

That’s right! I chuckled at this picture because one can clearly see the Opel and the Subaru logo and banner, respectively. They both had a shot at being closely related to Saab, and neither was able to make it work. There, right in front of them, is this gleaming 9-5, full of potential and energy. I guess that you could call it schadenfreude. (Of course, Subaru is on a roll of their own, but it’s still an odd juxtaposition.)

In another bit of fun at someone else’s expense, check out the write up over at Autoblog on the Chris Bangle/Jason Castriota confrontation as noted in these pages yesterday. Hint: one of the designers was called out for “hassling” the other. I’ll let you be the judge.

We’ll wrap up with a one-minute long review of the new Saab 9-5 as posted by MotorsTV France.   Good capture.

Well, it turned out that it was all fun stuff. Who knew? 😉

Driving Octavia

Hello peoples.

I’m off to Melbourne tonight. Another weekend with Mrs Swade, and visiting the rest of the family.

Euopcar says this is the car I will be driving. I’m hoping they’re correct and not planning to slot me into something else at the last minute.

Given the reviews that Skoda have been getting in the press here, it’ll be an interesting drive for a few days.

I’ll still be posting over the weekend, just not as much.

Have a good one.

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