Jason Castriota is Saab’s Head of Design. In part 1 of this series, we talked about his appointment at Saab and a little about the successor to the Saab 9-3. In part 2, we focused more on the 9-3 successor, the expectations on Saab Design and the Saab concept car that will be shown in Geneva, 2011.
This is the final segment in this 3-part series based on phone calls in September and October 2010. My thanks once again to Jason Castriota for taking the time to chat about so many different issues for the benefit of the wider Saab community.
SW: The workload is very heavy at the moment, with that concept vehicle (that will show in Geneva 2011) on top of the work for the 9-3 successor. How is the Saab design team functioning on a day to day basis at the moment? And what size team do we have at the moment? You’re in New York right now, so how is that working?
JC: Well, I’m constantly back and forth. My month is broken into around 10-14 days in Trollhattan. There’s a week of PR commitments and a week in New York. It really is a time of constant travel.
The team is absolutely flat out. We’re a team of around 35 people in total. There’s around 7 designers in total, including my people, then we have about 15 computer modelers, a handful of physical modelers and a handful of project managers. So around 30-35 people in total. It’s a very small team, but it’s the way it should be because the ideas are very clear now, and it’s all about having that synergy with your collaborators and executing.
We have the exterior and interior programs for the 9-3 successor going on right now (mid-October) – one main interior theme and then with the various body style changes, there’s mild variations because of rear door panels, or a lack of rear door panels, etc. In parallel we have the exterior and interior of the concept car happening.
SW: OK. Switching tack for a moment…
You’re part of the board now and you’re doing a lot of PR work, etc. I know you’ve got a particular interest in branding and making sure something suits the brand. Are you playing a part in the visual design in Saab’s branding efforts in the next couple of years?
JC: Absolutely. I’m working hand in hand with Knut Simonsson, the head of marketing. Simon (Padian) and another guy in the studio, Matthias, are working together with me to help design provide support to marketing and branding. We have to make sure the new message from Saab is very clear.