Report: Subaru to build Legacy and Outback in Trollhattan

UPDATE II:

OK…..

The exact nature of the story isn’t clear, but further communication indicates that there will be something going on here, relating to work being done using Saabs facilities, but nothing like cars actually being built on the site.

It seems the exact nature of the engagement will be announced later today.

UPDATE:

The initial reports spoke only of things from the Subaru side. There was no comment from Saab.

The first report mentioned was at Dagens Industri (at this URL), but they seem to have removed the report. Other services such as TTELA, Swedish Radio and SVD ran the report as well.

The initial contact that I’ve been able to make with Saab, via email, indicates that this story is most likely in error. There are further checks taking place, but right now it looks like this was a speculative report based on some comments from a Subaru executive.

If I hear anything more, I’ll let you know.

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This is just hitting the news services in Sweden…..

From TTELA:

Subaru wants to develop in Trollhättan

TROLLHÄTTAN – Japanese car giants Subaru wants to develop two of its car models in Trollhättan. The plans have been confirmed by Subaru Nordic’s CEO Torbjorn Lillrud.
Subaru plans to further develop the model Legacy and Outback for gas.

Torbjorn Lillrud stated the following to Dagens Indusri, DI:

– It is unique to a foreign car company will start manufacturing in Sweden of a model that is partly developed in Sweden.

According to DI Legacy and Outback rebuilt in Saab Automobile’s facility in Trollhättan.

Victor Muller’s very keen to drive down Saab’s break even point and increase profitability. One way to do that is to reduce costs. The other is to bring in outside revenue.

Sure beats building windmills 🙂

I’ll trace other reports and see if there’s anything more to report about this.

Saab 9-3x vs Subaru Outback

People seem to be fond of dropping very quick, back-of-the-envelope comparisons into comments at the moment and invariably, those comparisons involve flowery language about how poorly a Saab compares and occasionally, how if Saab don’t do anything about it those people will be off to another brand as fast as their feet can take them.

That’s a generalisation, by the way. It’s not aimed at anyone and is a mish-mash of various lines that people take.

I will pick out one comparison that was made today, however, and deal with it in a little more depth. The reason I’ve picked this one is that the Saab/Subaru comparison is an oft-made one around here, so it’s highly relevant to tackle it.

This comparison involved the Saab 9-3x and the Subaru Outback.

Read more

Saturday Snippets – Saab 9-5 pricing for Switzerland

Swiss Saab 9-5 pricing is available here.

Swiss9-5Pricing.jpg

Again, not all these models are available immediately. It seems many variations will be held over until MY2011.

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As mentioned yesterday, it’s my understanding that full production of new vehicles at the Saab plant in Trollhattan is scheduled to begin on March 22. That’s from speaking with people at Saab.

There’s a lot to do to prepare the factory for that, however, and it seems work is well underway.

From Swedish Radio

The work in the body shop at Saab in Trollhättan is in full swing and later in the spring it may be necessary to recruit more people, says the prospective club chairman Håkan Skött on IF Metall’s homepage.

– It is good that we are finally running again, says Håkan Skött on the website. The break has been long and there will be a special restart, with everything starting from scratch. We need to get started and fill all the feeds again.

There is a slight concern that all the material will not arrive in time, but the company does everything it can solve all such problems.

According to Håkan Skött, Saab is going to produce about 100 cars per day. But it is still going to be 28-speed which means 28 cars produced per hour, so the production stops during the day for not producing too many cars.

– In week 16 we will start with 28-speed, which is what we are manned to cope with. [translator’s note: probably this means full 28-speed since it was 28-speed before too.]

The company’s plans is based on that it will increase the production speed at more than one occasion during the year. Today Håkan Skött does not want to say when it might happen, only that it will be “later on”.

– But I can say that at first we probably will have the greatest recruitment needs in the body shop, so it is likely that the first recruitments will be there, when the time comes.

Thanks to Johan for the translation!

——

There’s a good story about Subaru and customer loyalty at USA Today.

Comparisons between Saab and Subaru are not new and it seems Suuby definitely have a similar clientele, with similar loyalty levels.

Of course, Subaru also have actual sales, which is what Saab are going to have to regain.

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Volvos are not the safest cars in the world.

That’s the conclusion of a Swedish court in a case bought against Volvo by …… wait for it…..

…….Toyota!

Volvo ran some ads in 2009 claiming that their XC60 was the safest car in the world but in Sweden, you’ve got to be able to verify any claims you make in advertising and the judge concluded that Volvo couldn’t adequately back that up.

Toyota couldn’t back it up, either, but they could drive it forward relentlessly……..

Saab 9-3x vs Subaru Outback

Auto Express has conducted a comparison test involving the Saab 9-3x and the Subaru Outback.
Saab9-3xSuubyOutback.jpg
Let’s cut to the chase: they award the result to the Subaru and we shouldn’t be that surprised. Subaru virtually created this sector of the market. They’ve been at it for years, their models have been getting bigger and better and this is the latest car in their range to get the update treatment.
The Outback has the full Subaru getup including their new diesel boxer engine combined with their proven AWD system.
AE could compare diesels or they could compare AWD systems – but not both. Saab don’t have a diesel/XWD combination on this car and maybe that’s what tipped this test. Saab’s XWD system is second to none, and combine that with their excellent TTiD engine and you’d have one heck of a way to get around the paddocks. If only.
The Subaru was more expensive but they say, better equipped. It was also more practical due to bigger size, AWD and greater ground clearance.
The Saab was better to drive, had a better and more powerful engine and looked a whole lot better. It is actually cheaper than the Suuby as well (which surprised me).
The bottom line – Saab have done a damn good job to produce a first effort that gives an interesting challenge to a well established player in the marketplace. But they really do need that XWD/diesel combination in order to run with the big boys in Europe.

Saturday Night Snippets

How’s the weekend going?
I still have to get to the Q&A #3 questions, which I’ll hopefully do tomorrow. I’ll give advance notice now that there’s a few there that I can’t answer.
——
If I’m reading my translation correctly, then it seems Saab’s factory in Trollhattan is a chance of winning a lead production award for 2009. The story is over at TTELA.
The award is for efficiency and minimal wastage in production, and it reads as if Saab are one of three finalists for the award.
I wonder how the Swedish press and Industry Ministry will put their negative spin on that one (if they win it).
——
If you don’t know about them already, this is a must-bookmark site for owners of older Saabs (incl 95/95, 99, 90 and C900) though they sell bits for newer Saabs as well.
Skandix are a company who sell a lot of the harder-to-find bits for older Saabs. You can choose your model and download a PDF dogalogue here.
pdf_catalog.jpg
Many thanks to Drew B for the heads up! I’ve downloaded the 99 version already 🙂
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The 7 stages of grieving Saab model introduction – by Jon

  1. Excitement of waiting to see spyshots of New Car.
  2. Fingers crossed its a remake of the [insert favourite old Saab model here].
  3. Horror as it slowly dawns on us that there is no hatch. GM screwed us again.
  4. Sheer rage that our own impossible demands for the perfect SAAB have not been met. Compose angry entry to SU.
  5. Model Launch. Turns out some of us actually LIKE it.
  6. Mid-life face lift. Whay did they do that? We liked it as it was.
  7. Car replaced, now has national treasue status. The replacement starts the cycle over again…

That’s pretty darn accurate, actually….
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More fodder for those who believe Subaru are shaping as being the modern day Saab.

The litany of changes to the Subaru Legacy and Outback for the 2010 model year have helped them earn the Institute for Highway Safety’s coveted Top Pick accolade. The award means the cars scored “Good” (the best result) in front, side, and rear crash tests and have standard stability control.
All Subarus now bear the IIHS award. The Subaru Impreza, Forester, and Tribeca are also Top Safety Picks, making Subaru the only carmaker to have its full line honored by the IIHS.

Potential Saab leavers – Why Subaru?

This is a pretty decent looking car, agreed?
Saab9-2x.JPG
The Saab 9-2x was a decent looking car, it is still reputed to be a blast to drive and if the stats were tallied, it would probably take and hold the title as the most reliable Saab in history.
It’s a pity GM made such a mess of it.
Whilst a great mechanical package with a reasonable exterior, the interior execution was convincingly non-Saaby. There were a lot of people whose interest might have been piqued by a smaller Saab who gave the idea away fairly quickly.
It didn’t help, of course, that the car was pretty much lampooned as a classic exercise in GM badge engineering by the media. It killed the car and tarnished the brand, a fact only admitted to by some senior Saab executives a year or so after the 9-2x was discontinued.
The irony now, of course, is that an early Saab 9-2x Aero is still a very desireable piece of machinery. It’s better looking than the standard Rex of the time, with all the standard WRX bits and a few STi bits thrown in as well.
As I wrote back in 2005 – the best WRX that money could buy was available at your local Saab dealer (in the US and Canada only, though).
——
One of the interesting things, both then and now, is that there really is some sort of ‘spiritual’ connection between Saab and Subaru amongst the people.
And one of the problems for me is that I don’t get it.
I know that both chose their own paths early (FWD/turbo, AWD/boxer), both have been a little funny looking in the past, both are/were considered as utilitarian type vehicles, both have a decent safety record.
But I drive the two and I just don’t get how jumping from the Saab to the Suuby could be a satisfying transition. I want to get it. I want to understand and believe me, I’m completely open to the connection.
I know of at least one regular at this site who traded his Saab 9-3 SportCombi for a Subaru, and interestingly, a few people in comments last night mentioned that they’d go looking at Subarus if Saab couldn’t get their act together in reasonable time.
The Saab/Subaru connection has been noted many, many times in comments in the past, too.
I’ve driven plenty of Forresters through work and we have a 1995 FWD Impreza at home now (it belongs to Electro-Man, the 18y.o) and whilst it’s got a personality of its own and is a truly excellent first car for him, I can’t make any Saab connection at all, even if my brain can acknowledge the similar paths and ethos of these companies.
So……….
To those who have figured out this elusive nexus, please fill me in. There’s got to be something about these two companies that makes sense, other than a well executed 9-2x.
It’s a pity they didn’t get that right, eh?

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