Saab 9-5 production coming back to Trollhattan?

With many thinks to Daniel B, here’s a translation of an article in today’s Dagens Industri newspaper in Sweden. There’s no link as at the time of publishing, it wasn’t online.
Maybe this is why Klaus Franz was trumpeting goodwill towards Saab and the German factory continuing to produce the 9-5 for Saab even if they’re sold off by GM.
Saab wants to take the german production home
Saab Automobile is working hard to get the production of the new 9-5 from Russelsheim in Germany, back home to Sweden. It has shown that the factory in Trollhättan lately has passed the German factory in aspects of effeciency and cost.
According to the sources of Dagens Industri Saab has studied the options of taking the production of the new 9-5 home to Trollhättan as well as the 9-3 convertible. The suprisingly fast improvement of the efficiency in the Swedish factory presented itself at Saabs most recent board-meeting last Tuesday, when Carl-Peter Forster reported on the status.
Håkan Danielsson, the chairman of the union Swedish Engineers says: We had requested a presentation about which of the two factories were the most cost-efficient as per manufacturing cost per vehicle and the Trollhättan factory turned out to be the one.
The cost per manufactured 9-5 at Trollhättan is about 20 000 SEK (swedish kronor) which turned out to be approximately 2000 SEK less than the Russelsheim factory (Approx 20% ) (I’m not sure of the math there – SW).
This means that the original desicion to move the production of the new 9-5 from Sweden to Germany is being questioned.
“It is obvious that GM´s leaders in Europe first will protect the German interests as well as German jobs. One reason is probably fear of the German unions”, Håkan Danielsson says, who participated at the GM board-meeting.
“It was never an option at the meeting to change the desicion of manufacturing the NG 9-5 in Germany, on the contrary it was discussed to further move jobs to Russelsheim” Danielsson says.
Now they are speaking of design workers to move their jobs away from Trollhättan.
“For example designing of roof-boxes (for skiis), bike-holders and other optionals that we always have been good at in Trollhättan is being moved even though we are more cost-efficient.” says Danielsson.
One reason for Saabs efficiency, is the billion-class investments that has been made in the factory. Bodywork, painting, steelpresses and assembly departments are completely new with state of the art equipment and facilities. Manufacturing has been improved multiple times and the salory-costs is much lower than in Germany.
“For engineers and other white-collar workers the salories can be up to 40% lower in Trollhättan compared to Russelsheim and for the blue-collar workers the difference is approximately up to 50% lower at Trollhättan.” Danielsson says.
He tells us that more than few of the engineers makes approximately 3000 euros per month while the German engineers are being paid between 5-6000 euros.
The calculation of costs does not include logistics where Russelsheim is doing better, “but according to our calculations we still are cheaper then the Germans. Especially in Saabs big markets as Sweden, the US, UK we are better of then Russelsheim due to the fact that we are close to a major harbour”. (Gothenburg).
I like it when the engineers talk. They seem to be pretty straight shooters.
You might remember that this same guy was speaking last week about the possibility of Saab and Volvo merging, in the company of a Volvo engineer. They were speaking as one and as representatives of Sveriges Ingenjörer, the association for graduate beer drinkers engineers.
I hope he gets to talk some more.

Thanks Daniel B!!

Djup Strupe and the future Saab time line


Djup Strupe (that’s Swedish for “Deep Throat”, the name for our secret Saab insider) has been in touch recently and provided me with the following Saab future model news.
I should mention that this comes direct from one of Saab’s major markets. Whilst timing may differ for other markets, seeing this is one of Saab’s top 6 markets, it shouldn’t differ too much for most.
There’s good news and there’s bad news. I’ll give my thoughts on which is which afterwards.
December 2008: We’ll get to see initial info and photos for the new Saab 9-5 sedan (Jan 09 – no pics came)
February 2009: Motorshow appearance for 9-5 sedan (Jan 09 – not happening)
September 2009: 9-5 Sedan on the road
February 2010: Launch for the Saab 9-4x
September 2010: Saab 9-5 wagon and 9-3x launch (Jan 09 – 9-3x to be shown at Geneva in March 09)
2011: Saab 9-3, written to me as being a facelift
2012: Saab 9-1 launch
The good news is that there’s news of all four cars in the proposed Saab model range there. The 9-1 right through to the 9-5 with the 9-4x and 9-3x there as well. Whether the 9-1 is actually definite or not at this point is anyone’s guess, but it looks like it’s definitely in the plans and with a date like that being circulated around Djup Strupe it means a decision might be imminent.
The bad news could be a calendar-year 2010 launch for the Saab 9-4x (a little later than expected), or a late 2010 launch for the Saab 9-3x (what could possibly take so long??), or maybe the 2011 Saab 9-3 being described as a facelift.
However you consider the news, it looks like Saab nuts are going to have to exhibit considerable patience for some time to come.
My tip: buy a cheap fun car to throw around in the meantime.
I’ve received another Djup Strupe email (different DS) indicating that project 540 was earmarked for 2011, meaning that the 9-3 due that year will be the all-new model rather than the ‘facelift’ noted above.
I used the word facelift as that’s how it was communicated to me, however the meaning may have been lost in translation.

A recent communication with Saab indicated that they were looking to the XWD 9-3 SportCombi to cross any gap between the 9-7x’s demise and the release of the 9-4x. I’d imagine the correspondent was referring to the 9-3x, which would make sense in that particular market (the US) and this would infer that the 9-3x would be seen some time in 2009.
Regarding the 9-3x info from Djup Strupe, above, it’s fair to draw the conclusion that the info doesn’t come from the US market and therefore, that the 9-3x might be released there first and in other markets at a later time depending on the demand they anticipate.

2010 Saab 9-5 photochop

Auto Motor and Sport in Sweden have posted a new photoshop CGI of what they believe is the forthcoming Saab 9-5, which will be a 2010 model year vehicle released for sale late in 2009. The illustration is from an outfit called Schulte Design, who apparently make a habit of being very close to the real thing in their renderings.
There’s a story there too, for those who read Swedish, but I’m told there’s nothing additional to what we’ve already heard. It’s basically a summary article of all the 9-5 news that AMS have collected in the last year (which has all been posted here, too).
Click to enlarge, and if you’re a Swede-reader, click through to AMS for the full story. That AMS link will also get you access to a version twice the size of the one I’ve posted here.

My thanks to Par Brandt at AMS for the tip!

2010 Saab 9-5 spotted by

Auto Motor and Sport in Germany are claiming an illustration of the new Saab 9-5 in their latest print edition. WooDz was kind enough to take a quick snap of it with his mobile phone and shoot it into my inbox to share with everyone.
Here it is. Click.
Saab 9-5
This is actually pretty similar to previous images shown by AM&S in Sweden. I’ve heard from a number of Saab people who have seen the real thing. One recently commented that whilst this is reasonably close to the real thing, the real thing is much nicer. That bodes well for the future as I think this looks pretty good.
Apparently the lights on the real thing aren’t as Aero-X-ish as this (which is sad) but a lot of the front and front-quarter profile we see here is reasonably close, with the real thing having more of a four-door coupe look. The AM&S article mentions a length of 4.9 meters and a head-up display making it onto the equipment list (finally!, some will say).
My TS prediction is that we’ll see the real thing at Geneva in March next year (and the 9-4x at the Saab Festival in June). It should prove to be an exciting time!

Thanks WooDz and Jan

2010 Saab 9-5 to show in Geneva, 2009

I mentioned to you that there was going to be a GM Next presentation this week, right?
Hot off the press from Djup Strupe in Europe….

Well to be short, the new 9-5 is absolutely magnificent (both the sedan and the estate are beautiful). The cars were presented last in the GMNext conference, almost 6000 people joined this event last evening.
Unfortunately the 9-5’s weren’t real cars but dummies without engines and real suspension, so the cars had to be pulled in with ropes.
We also saw the new 9-4x, the final version (even better looking than the concept, more European)
And finally a 9-3 CrossRoad kind of car, something like the Audi A6 Allroad or the Volvo V70 CrossCountry.
The introduction of the 9-5 will not take place in Paris this Autumn, it’s going to be Geneva once again.

Oh yeah, baby!!!
It seems that my previous prediction, based on a quote from Steve Shannon, that the Saab 9-5 would debut at the Paris Motor Show later in 2008, was incorrect. I’m more than happy to exchange an error for a confirmed date, though, especially when it means we’ve now got something else to look forward to in Paris later this year 🙂
Bring it on. And in a hatchback form too, please……

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