Monday Night Snippets

I hate being IT-illiterate. But once this new wireless laptop is connected, the world will be mine…..mmmwuhahahah!! The router thingy won’t connect to the whatsit just yet, but I have a 14-day window to return it for the right widgets and when I do…….it’ll be unrestricted blogging access and there just might be a new site in the wings.


Everyone was pretty warm and cozy at Aero-X time in Geneva. Saab had a 5 year plan and the backing of GM Europe. I still think there’s a pretty good chance Saab will turn a profit this year, but last week’s news could turn the future on its head.

Many of you would have heard about GM’s big Oops! last week. They forgot a little thing like $2 BILLION DOLLARS on their P&L statements. You think Jerry York was in a spin when the losses were just $8.6 billion. Now it’s $10.6 and given that Jerry is on a contract to earn 4% of whatever he makes for Captain Kirkorian (he has a $50K a month retainer, too), you can bet Jerry is sliding from neutral to overdrive when it comes to Saab.

Those figures come from a Newsweek article, which gives a pretty decent overview of the whole GM/KK/JY thing.


And whilst we’re talking about GM’s vulnerabilities……

GM still retains the title as the global sales leader in the car industry. Narrowly. Toyota are gaining steadily and could even overtake GM this year. The companies are worth castly different amounts, however. Even with GM’s mountainous sales volumes, their margins are so low thanks to the various on-costs they have to cover that as a company they are worth around one-fifteenth of Toyota.

The full fish and whale story here at the International Herald Tribune.


How about something Saab-specific?? From Automotive news:

Saab and Opel are working jointly on a hybrid drivetrain that could see its way into the new Saabs – sooner than you think, too.

Saab Managing Director Jan-Ake Jonsson said a hybrid will likely appear on the next generation of its 9-3 and 9-5 vehicles.

“We are part of the development process,” Jonsson said. “Eventually hybrids will be in Saab vehicles.”

Jonsson said the development of a hybrid system, which Saab is currently working on at its research and development center in Sweden, makes sense for a brand that continually wants to separate itself as a leader in technology.

“It fits into the image of the brand,” Jonsson said.

For some people (not me), the most amazing part of that story is that there’s still a Saab R&D centre in Sweden.

Could this be a fourth drivetrain variant? Gasoline – Biopower – Diesel – Hybrid. What’s the bet that the regular gasoline engine is eventually phased out in favour of all engines getting the Biopower treatment. Why not? It can run on gasoline just fine.

I’m just not sure about this hybrid trend though. It’s got plenty of knocks on it with regards to real ownership costs and seems just a bridge between the more mileage/enviro friendly fuels of today (i.e. diesel and ethanol) and the hydrogen drivetrains of tomorrow (IF they get up).

Ten minutes late and a dollar short?

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  1. Perhaps it’s not all that bad if this comment on Autoblog is true:

    “To a certain extent, the restatement of its 2005 results would seem to be an attempt to pull ahead costs from future years in an attempt to improve profitability going forward (a strong clue to this is the additional $300M taken to cover ‘costs it expects to pay during periods after the current labor contract expires’).”

  2. Anything’s possible Ted. Combine corporations law and double entry accounting and the world really is only limited to the amount you can pay your lawyers and beancounters. If you can source some ex-Arthur Andersen auditors then you really hit the jackpot!!

    I realy do want the best for Saab, which right now means a stable environment to get the new stuff bedded down. this has got to be a worry though.

    When the losses were 8.6 bil, GM were reportedly losing 24 million a day! I haven’t done the maths on the new number, but regardless of the exact figure I’m still amazed that I haven’t tripped over a chunk of it in our back garden or something.

  3. “Eventually hybrids will be in Saab vehicles.”

    Be careful when an english-speaking swede says “eventually”.

    In swedish, “eventuellt” means “possibly”, and not all swedes know that it means “at a later time” in english.
    This also applies to big guys. 🙂

  4. You are so right Swade!
    The word “eventuellt” is often misused when Swedes speak English.

    A bit of topic here but…

    An even worse mistake is the Swedish word for vacuum, “damsuga”. In an direct interpretation it would be in English: “dust suck”
    The famous vacuum cleaner manufacture Electrolux did a commercial some 10 years ago. It was: “nothing sucks like Electrolux”
    That wasn’t any good was it?!?

  5. Thanks for the tip on that patent, TuuSaR.

    You would think that there is already a patent covering this ground from Toyota or Honda or something, but maybe SAAB’s doing it a little differently or something?

    While this patent is encouraging, I’m skeptical. Remember last year when a new SVC patent was filed? I’m still waiting for my SVC-enabled SAAB!!! Or even for SCC technology to make its way into production. There are many patents filed which are never used, it seems.

  6. Gripen,
    I haven’t looked into this but Toyota or Honda may indeed have a patent on the basic technology. Oftentimes, a patent is an improvement on an existing patent. If this is the case, Saab would still have to license the basic technology from Toyota, etc. to produce their improved version. Of course, Toyota, etc. would have to license the improvements from Saab if they wanted to make the improved version.

  7. Swade, I reported to you after Detroit that a hybrid was coming before 2010.
    Thanks to the Saab blushing school girl.

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