Saab to concentrate all activities in Trollhattan

Ever seen a sticker saying Made in Trollhattan by Trolls (but marketed by Goths from Goteborg and managed by stocky guys in Stockholm)?

Of course you haven’t!


Which is why it makes sense in these financially strained times for Saab to move everything back to Trollhattan.

Saab Automobile concentrating all its activities to Trollhättan, reported Dagens Industri.

Offices in Stockholm and Gothenburg closed, but all the staff offered to move with. In total, it will involve 150 people.

Concerned departments in the Gothenburg area are the marketing department who had an office in Gothenburg and parts of the design department in Pixbo, outside Mölnlycke.

– We will include building a separate, new capacity [for] Design in Trollhattan,” said Eric Geers, Communications Director at Saab Automobile.

Hey, Saab. If any of them don’t want to come to Trollhattan, I’ll gladly stand in their place! Let’s have your people get together with my people and talk this out, huh?

* subject to financial assurances from the Koenigsegg Group that blah blah blah yada yada yada

Swedish Saab sales data – August 2009

Sales data is out for the Swedish market and yes, the numbers are low.
We know how they’ll compare to last year, but perhaps the more pertinent question is how will they compare to last month? Well, in those terms, there’s finally some good news to report.
Saab 9-3
Saab sold 285 units of the Saab 9-3 in August 2009. Whilst that’s a fall of some 55% from the 630 units sold in August last year, that fall is much lower than the almost 70% falls they’ve been seeing in previous months.
In fact, Saab sold 30 more 9-3s in August than they did the month before.
Small steps, but important ones.
Saab 9-5
This trend did not occur for the Saab 9-5, where they sold 90 units of the ageing Saab in August compared with 136 in July.
The August figure is around 76% down on sales from the same month last year (383 sold in 2008)
41 of the 9-3s sold were diesel
16 of the 9-5s sold were diesel
208 of the 9-3s sold were BioPower
73 of the 9-5s sold were BioPower

Swedish sales data – July 2009

It’s another killer month for Swedish Saab sales. This is really getting painful and when things get this painful, I quite naturally turn and blame the government 🙂
First to the data:
Saab 9-3 sales have slipped to #6 on the Swedish sales chart (organised by YTD sales) and now sits behind that inconic Swedish masterpiece, the Kia C’eed in the sales table. I’m sure Maud’s enjoying driving her Kia even as we speak, but I digress.
There were 255 sales of Saab 9-3s during July 2009. This is a remarkable fall from the 880 sold in the same month last year. And we thought that was bad at the time.
There were just 136 units of the Saab 9-5 sold in July 2009, which is down from the 508 sold in the same month last year.
191 of those Saab 9-3s were BioPower models. Whilst the 9-3 still ranks solidly in the ‘green’ sales chart it is way down on last year and there are a number of new vehicles entering this category from different makes.
111 of the Saab 9-5 sales were BioPower.
Cars are selling in Sweden, albeit at reduced numbers. Saabs are selling in numbers that are way below the fall in the total market and I can’t believe that this is not doing harm to Saab’s reputation in their all important home market.
That sales total for July is less than 400 vehicles for all of Saab’s range in Sweden. This time last year they sold 25% more than that – 508 vehicles – just with the 9-5 range!!
I know the Swedish government have a party platform to uphold and I know that the bashing of Saab and GM has been popular with the voter base (heck, bashing GM is almost becoming a past-time here at SU central) but surely they also have an obligation to assist vital national industry where it’s warranted.
They indicated this when they set up their emergency fund, but so far not one cent has been paid from it to what is one of their most vital export industries.
They don’t have to build the company and make it successful, but surely they can assist and give the company a fair chance at holding on until new owners come on board.
I don’t know whether it’s low inventories or a decimated public opinion about the company, but sales are in the toilet and Saab needs help.
What’s the bet that if it were an election year, they’d have got it already?

Wednesday Night Snippets – Ashes to Ashes edition

The away trip with the dodgy internet connection continues….
The ruling Swedish government aren’t doing a whole lot to push the Saab-Koenigsegg deal at present, and report that the 22-member government ministry aren’t fond of Saabs on a personal level, either.
That goes for Volvos, too.
The Swedish Wire provides the news in English:

The Swedish government struggle to get the crisis-hit auto industry back on the road. But on a more personal level the commitment to support the local brands is somewhat shoddier.
Out of Sweden’s 22 cabinet ministers only three drives a Volvo or a Saab, business daily Dagens Industri writes.
Göran Hägglund, Minister of Health and Social Affairs, drives a Volvo V70 and Eskil Erlandsson, Minister for Agriculture, ownes a Volvo S80. Minister for Development Assistance Gunilla Carlsson is the only minister that drives a Saab.

Good to see a Carlsson in a Saab.
Al Aero’s Trollhattan adventure continues, with the following seen in the Saab factory carpark.
It’s a little bit modified compared to standard, but absolutely magnificent. My dream Saab!
The article by Ezra Dyer on GM’s sale of Saab, which I referred to via a scan a few days ago, is now online. It’s a satirical piece with Dyer writing from a self-depricating GM’s point of view.

While [Volvo] were rolling out a modern SUV and all-wheel-drive, turbocharged R models, I was busy killing Oldsmobile and wondering if a Saab grille would fit on a Chevy TrailBlazer. (You don’t even want to know about the badge-engineered Saabs that I didn’t build. Let’s just say that Pontiac Aztek tooling was available.)

Recommended reading.
Thanks Roger!
I didn’t know Koenigsegg had a previous tie-in with BSR, who make the excellent PPC tuning module that’s popular amongst Saab owners.
The Koenigsegg transaction does make me fear a little for Hirsch as Saab’s factory tuners, but then again Hirsch do offer a lot more than just tuning upgrades.
Thanks Martin!
The Ashes
All of you not from cricket playing nations, feel free to tune out now…..
I love test cricket. The 5-day game is the purest form of the sport and I curse the ADHD-afflicted munchkin who invented 20-20, which might just prove to be the demise of the gentleman’s game as we know it.
But for now, another Ashes series has begun. It’s lunch on day 1 as I write this and whilst I won’t post on the series again (probably), here’s just a few observations from the opening of the latest edition of one of the greatest rivalries in sport:

  • That funny looking Welshman singing the Welsh national anthem had a fine set of lungs!
  • Didn’t anyone tell the Welsh that cricket is traditionally played on an oval?
  • It feels pretty good to have three Englishmen back in the sheds by lunch.
  • Why are the commentators only referring to the 2005 series? It’s as if the 06/07 series never happened!
  • I believe former Saab mechanic, Matt the fudgepacker, is back in Wales on holiday. I hope you’re at the ground, Matt, and if so then I expect a streak!
  • Good luck to Ben Hilfenhaus, the second Tasmanian in the Aussie lineup for this test (and already rewarded with the first wicket of the match.)

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!!

Sunday Snippets – the kitchen sink edition

Here’s something I didn’t know:
The Saab factory team still holds the Pikes Peak Open Class hillclimb record.
I’m not sure which run it was, but the 2002 run by Per Eklund in a 9-3 Viggen was pretty darn good. You can see the video here. Wait until about 3:20 when you get to the in-car camera so you can see just how scary-fast that car actually was.
Yes, PT, you should buy that Viggen.
One of our Aussie Saabnuts and former Chairman of the Saab Car Club of Australia – AlAero – is in Sweden at the moment and is loving it.
“Sleds everywhere!” was the email I got.
He hits Trollhattan on Monday so if you’re there and you see a dark haired bloke with a funny accent at the Saab Museum, go up and say G’day.
One of European mates, Z!, whipped up a pretty good sketch of the 2010 Saab 9-5 wagon back when the spyshots came online.
He’s now turned his hand to the sedan, which is once again, looking good.
I’m not sure we’ll get the Nesbitt-nose on this one (the U-shaped swoop on the hood a-la the 9-3) but these do look really good.
And isn’t the look of pencil on paper somewhat akin to the warmth of music on vinyl?
More of Z’s work is available on Flickr – and in bigger sizes, too.
Ezra Dyer is a young automotive writer who’s already established a considerable reputation. I love his work and don’t get to see enough of it.
His latest print work is in Automobile Magazine, where he’s written a piece from the point of view of a sad General Motors that has to get rid of it’s favourite Swedish project car because the wife says it’s taking up too much room and he’s never going to finish it, yada yada yada.
If your local news stand sells Automobile, look for the August edition.
Click to enlarge this snippet. The last line’s a doozy.
It looks like there’s a new magazine in Germany with a feature on the Saab Sonett.
The webpage is here, though the online preview doesn’t show the Saab.
Who’s seen Transformers 2?
Did you spot an Aero-X in there? I didn’t think so.
There were several websites last year that were adamant that there was going to be a Saab Aero-X in Transformers 2, despite evidence to the contrary. I won’t mention them here but this is a small, subtle reminder that linkbaiting false stories is a no-no and the results will be noticed.
Big daddy swadediddly is watching…..

Swedish sales data – June 2009

Another month, another sales data entry. And if you listen to Saab (and Aftonbladet), perhaps a small ray of light.
Saab sales are still way down on previous years, but dealers are getting to a point now where they’re more confident of Saab’s future, even if the Swedish government isn’t.
Sales of the Saab 9-3 totalled 555 vehicles in June. This is still a rather large fall from the 1224 vehicles sold in the same month last year, but it’s a significant increase on the 390 sold last month.
396 of the Saab 9-3 sales were BioPower vehicles, and the 9-3 is still in 4th place on the “green cars” sales table.
Sales of the Saab 9-5 totalled just 295 vehicles, well down on the 862 sold last year. Again, though this was up from 169 sold last month. 252 of the Saab 9-5 sales were BioPower vehicles.
Aftonbladet reports as follows:

For the first time in a long time, the figures up for the ailing car manufacturer:
– We can see a general increase in confidence for Saab’s future, “says Gunilla Gustavs.
The deal with Koenigsegg, which is now approaching its final stage, is reported to be a contributing factor.
Car with Saab in Sweden will now increase after holiday periods. This is to meet the market’s increasing demand.
…..A ring-around by Aftonbladet to Saab dealers in the country also shows that the current stocks are about to die.
– You can no longer pick and choose among the Saabs [in stock] as you could have done before,” says Johnny Schmidt at Järna Car in Stockholm.

Numbers are still down, but it’s nice to have something good to report in a sales data article.
This coincides with Saab’s identified need to lift production in the near future. They’ve been saying they’d need to increase production for the last few weeks and Jan-Ake Jonsson mentioned a need for bridge finance to do so just yesterday.

Glad Midsommar och skal!

It’s midsommar holiday time in Sweden this weekend so there’ll be beer and schnapps, potatoes, herring and lots of grown men dancing around maypoles.
For those who are new to it, here’s a few introductory notes:

midsommar-w2001.gifMidsummer is a national holiday in Sweden and is celebrated on the weekend nearest June 24.
Swedes celebrate Midsummer with equal gusto to Americans partying on the Fourth of July. Families and friends gather and are especially fond of doing so in their summer cottages located around lakes and along the shore.
Every Swedish town, city and province celebrates Midsummer – the longest day of the year.

And of course, the good news for we Aussies is that it’s around the shortest day of the year. Geez I hate winter!!
My guess is that midsommar celebrations around Trollhattan will be particularly enthusiastic this year given the story of Saab’s survival and new ownership we’ve seen in the last week or so.
Live it up, Sweden!!!!

Saab sales data – Sweden – May 2009

Saab sales are down, alright.
They have been for some time and it won’t be until we see some upswing again that we’ll get some rises that look as monumental as the falls that we’re experiencing now. Let me tell ya – if Saab can announce an owner soon, hit the ground running and get the 9-5 and 9-3x in dealers yards then May 2010 is going look like a party month when compared to a base like May 2009.
So on to the numbers during what is hopefully Saab’s last sales month as a subsidiary of General Motors.
1 Volvo V70 -2% (-24%)
2 Volvo V50 -2% (-21%)
3 VW Golf -20% (-36%)
4 VW Passat +7% (+10%)
5 Saab 9-3 390 cars (1320 cars YTD), -70% (-66% YTD)
– actually 6 more cars than April 🙂
13 Saab 9-5 169 cars (1300) cars YTD, -76% (-61% YTD)
The numbers are interesting as there’s a few models in the Swedish top 20 that did, or are doing amazingly well.
The Passat you can see, above.
Then there’s the KIA Cee’d, which is up 25% for the month and 18% for the year.
The BMW 3 series is up 11% for the month
The Toyota Auris is up 25% for the month
The Swedish market – in total – was down 31% for the month.
The Saab 9-3 BioPower has slipped to fourth in the ‘green’ market. The big mover there seems to be the VW Golf Multifuel, which was the third best selling green vehicle for the month.
Thanks ctm!!

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