Saturday Night Quick Snippets – 2nd place edition

Hey everyone. I hope you’re having a great weekend.
Today I started the cleanup of the MX-5 ready for sale so that I can get stuck into the new 99Turbo project. The ad should go online tomorrow.
Tonight I went to a trivia night, an annual fundraiser at my old church. Our team came 2nd for the 2nd year in a row. Darn history and local knowledge questions!
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I didn’t know that Autoblog had a UK affiliate. They don’t give them much publicity on the all-conquering US site.
Upon reading this entry, I can see why.
Outsider view – Will Saab go to the wall?
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Nationwide Vehicle Contracts have new pricing out on Saab leasing in the UK, supposedly with the addition of the Saab 9-3x to the list, though I can’t see it there myself.
Considering the lack of Saab leasing options anywhere in the last little while, this is a good and noteworthy thing (I think)
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The Local reports that an employee/dealer buyout is looming as an option for Volvo. It seems the people really don’t want to work for the Chinese.
Geely are still regarded as the favourites to purchase Volvo, but the natives in Sweden are restless.

The engineering trade union at Volvo Cars is reported to be behind the initiative due to provide opposition to the possibility of a Chinese owner, reported business daily Dagens Industri.
Konsortium Jakob AB was listed at the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket) in July. Employees in Sweden and Belgium will have the chance to buy into the company with two monthly salaries. Volvo dealers will also reportedly to be offered the opportunity to buy in. AB Volvo, as well as an unnamed Swedish institutional investor, is also to have expressed interest in joining the consortium.

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And finally, some nice HDR work via Flickr.
Saab9-3SC-HDR.jpg

Wednesday Night Snippets

Amidst all the frustration we’re feeling, there are signs of life on the Koenigsegg-Saab deal.
Dkup Strupe tells me that the K-Segg movers and shakers have been in the US this week, which is significant in that the GM board were meeting for the first time this week since emerging from bankruptcy.
Further to this, Swedish Radio tell us that there will be K-Segg meetings back at home in Sweden later this week:

Saab’s future is determined by the negotiations taking place between General Motors and Koenigsegg Group, discussions are extremely secretive. So far, however, the negotiations as intended, it says Paul Åkerlund, klubbordförande for IF Metall in Saab in Trollhättan.
– Hopefully, we see the results of this in the near future, “says Åkerlund to Radio West.
– My impression is that they have a high work tempo.
Saab information officers, Gunilla Gustavs says that Saab is pleased so far, and she says that discussions are progressing. Mer vill hon inte kommentera. More wishes she did not comment.
According to data from Koenigsegg as Koenigsegg Group will meet for meetings at the end of this week.

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Potential good news for UK Saabers looking for a lease.

ALD Automotive will manage GM’s own lease operations, which include Vauxhall Leasing, Saab Contract Hire and Chevrolet Lease, from the end of the month.
Masterlease had managed the operations for the past eight years but cracks in the agreement between the two companies became apparent when Masterlease stopped writing new Saab business in March.
Despite other lease companies renewing their Saab business at the end of June Masterlease kept its Saab order book closed.
Now General Motors UK (GMUK) has moved the contract over to ALD, which will see the country’s tenth largest lease company manage the entire GM UK leasing operation.

I’m going to do something rare around here and pat GM on the back for this as well.
The ability to lease a vehicle is an important sales carrot for dealers working with business customers and the inclusion of Saab into the lease list will be a major gain for UK dealers.
I know that US dealers are hurting, too, due to a lack of lease availability. Here’s hoping that some of the US banks start to view Saab favourably once again, too.
The other takeaway from this the further evidence that Saab’s systems may be tied into GM’s systems for some time to come. This announcement so close to Saab’s sale indicates such, much like the recent advertising announcement.
That has it’s good and bad sides, but I guess we have to trust that some of those decision makers know what they’re doing.
Thanks Per!
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And here’s a brief note that I found interesting for writers….
The Wall Street Journal will no longer honour embargoes on stories, unless it is a story they get as an exclusive.
This is, of course, not directly related to the car business, but it’s an interesting development that reflects the electronic age that we live in.
Embargoes had their place when print ruled the world. Recent events with the 2010 Saab 9-5 images tend to show that they don’t work in the internet age.
Yet another reason why Saab should consider what I’ve been saying all along – that they should control their own newsflow and relationships with enthusiasts.

Saab lease residuals downgraded in US

Here’s yet another reason why it’ll be good if GM and the Swedish government can sort out their situation in relation to Saab’s future.
US leasing advisory service, Automotive Lease Guide, are cutting the expected residual rating for the 2009 Saab range. These residual estimates directly effect lease rates and also have an influence on vehicle perception and used car prices.
The 2008 Saab range had an estimated three-year residual of 43.2%.
For 2009, this has been downgraded by seven percentage points to 36.1%
A depressed market. An uncertain future. Now, a further disincentive for people to consider picking up a Saab in the US.
I really hope GM and the Swedes can get the act together soon.
Here’s Keith Crain, editor in chief of Automotive News:

Retail customers are starting to shy away from the endangered brands. If GM doesn’t act immediately, it will not make any difference to those dealers whether GM declares bankruptcy. When customers feel that the future of a brand is uncertain, it doesn’t matter whether the company is insolvent. In many instances since World War II, customers sensed that a brand was near the end, and they abandoned it. If GM has any hope of salvaging those brands, whether for itself or a new owner, it must act and act swiftly.

Too true.
Link: Automotive News (sub)

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