RedJ Sunday morning coffee Snippets

I’m not quite awake, so be kind to me if what I write doesn’t make sense. 🙂

The Dalai Lama has visited Sweden lately, it seems that not only his car but also the escort were driving Saab.

I think this is good for Saab in Sweden, as the good guy can’t drive a gangsters car.
Otoh, the impact in China could be negative with their paranoia about that poor old man. Hope that intelligent people buying Saab in China do dare to think differently.

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Friday Morning Snippets

Consider this the morning edition of snippets, short and to the point. There were two noteworthy stories from overnight and a few updates from the Swedish government this morning. As we’ve said all week, the situation is complex and they’re extremely close to a solution. Keep your F5 keys handy today.

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Depending on who you trust more, DI and TTela have similar but different takes on how quick the decision will be regarding letting Vladimir Antonov in as an owner of Saab. Both quote Maud Olofsson’s office and state that they’re working around the clock to expedite the process.

We are handling the matter expeditiously, but the material is quite extensive and we can not now provide any information about exactly how long it takes,” said Johanna Martin, Maud Olofsson’s press secretary.

DI goes further and states we might hear an answer about the short term finance solution today (doubtful but if it does happen today you’ll have a strong indication of how deeply involved the Swedish government plans to be) updated: they made the announcement that the collateral for the loan is freed up– you can see just how important they think Saab is and understand the urgency.

“We’ve been working evening and night and will make an announcement as soon as we possibly can,” said Maud Olofsson’s press secretary Eric Bratthall.

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IAC, who supplies the dashboards for Saab, had to lay off 55 temporary workers due to the production stop at Saab. From the Wall Street Journal:

“We work under the assumption that production will resume by the end of this week,” (Svenake Berglie) said. “If Saab does not solve this (liquidity problem), we’ll have to review our structure again, but I do not wish to speculate on that.”

Sad to see the cycle complete itself where it began, with the suppliers. Saab is still not commenting until the deal is finalized and approved, a good move in my eyes. No need to give anyone else morsels to speculate with.

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I hesitated posting this, and since it’s completely based on behind the scenes rumblings, I’m giving the disclaimer that this is more from the don’t believe it until we get more details column. That said, it’s coming from an extremely reputable source, so it’s probably true. Hilton Holloway at Autocar is suggesting that Saab is going to buy the current mini R56 platform from BMW (which means moving tooling somewhere else, Trollhattan, Latvia maybe? ;)). If they can pull this off, and launch a new 9-3 on time despite the supplier mess, and break even in 2012, that would be a herculean achievement. As optimistic as I always am, I don’t know how pie in the sky this whole thing is. My caution: Saab needs to get it’s core models back together before it goes building new platforms, it’s got its hands full as it is. And yet if they don’t think long term, they won’t be able to grow their business in the medium-long term. Quite a conundrum.

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For all you Edmonton, Alberta residents, you finally have a place to buy a new Saab.

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Autocar and Auto Express have reported their findings (and taken some sexy pictures) from their drive in the 9-5 estate.

As Cerulean said in his tip to us, it looks promising. Their basic take– Saab has done a great job adapting the magnetic Drivesense system for UK roads, but the diesels are still not quite as refined as the BMW or Mercedes competition. That they’re coming in so much lower in price than their rivals will make them a very interesting choice though. The test used preproduction units, so we’ll still hold off on reporting about real world impressions of the interior or true road tests.

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I’ll have a post up later in the day about some exciting marketing going on in the states, led by the head of the US Saab Dealer Council, Kurt Schirm. Stay tuned.

Thursday Snippets– Beatles Edition (updated)

The pace of news articles from competing media agencies, be it Dagens Industri or the Wall Street Journal, has been blistering this past week (so fast in fact that I updated this with a late breaking New York Times article). Where there’s usually one or two Saab news articles that make the rounds each week, every morning we’re greeted by the latest updates of old headlines from the day before spun a new way. In an attempt to make it all more consumable and go down easier, I’ve compressed it all into one long snippets, organized around each player and their interest in Saab. Rather than regurgitate news (anyone can set up a news alert for Saab and read what pops up), we’re trying to make it easier for you to find all your Saab goodness in one place while we reflect on whatever insight we’re hearing from inside Saab.

We’d also like to lighten the mood a bit. As I said in the last snippets, in snippets I want to give you a quick overview of what you can expect. This time, instead of doing it graphically I decided that the Beatles might help me out. Let’s just say the thought hit me while on my morning jog with a certain playlist 😉 The lyrics certainly fit.

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Tuesday Snippets: JÅJ and VM talk product

While we’ve been talking a lot about Jan Åke’s retirement, Vladimir’s intent to invest in the company, and how certain members of the Swedish press feels that Victor is the antichrist, we may have lost sight of what really matters– the cars. Consummate professionals that they are, Victor and Jan Åke continue to talk to the responsible members of the press about the business plan. They confirm things we already know, but also leak new details about the ePower lineup, partnerships, and drivetrains. Also I take a stab at playing angel’s advocate to Robert Collin and Co.’s devil’s advocate and speculate on another outcome that isn’t often discussed here– the ramifications of Saab’s success on production and partnerships (something I hope we’ll be able to do a lot more of soon).

As you can also see, I’m incoporating an introductory graphic as a quick visual representation of what’s covered so you can get an idea what you’re in for…

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