Lutz at it again

Surely retirement has to be an attractive option……

I thought Bob might have retired already actually. He’s been pretty quiet ever since the Geneva show. He’s popped up again in the UK for the British Motor Show, and he’s touting the idea (again) that Saabs can be Swedish without any basis in Sweden.

Gert has sent me a quick translation of an article appearing in Swedish paper Dagens Nhyeter. There’s no link, but Gert’s translation is as follows:

LONDON In the future SAAB may not be manufactured in Sweden, not even in Europe.

Even if the Swedish car manufacturer now is the strongest GM brand all design, engineering and manufacturing work may be moved to the US.

It was revealed for DN by the GM development director Bob Lutz during the ongoing car show in London.

-But SAAB is and remains a Swedish brand, where the cars are manufactured isn’t that important, Bob Lutz says.

– SAAB is now completely integrated in the GM family and we are delighted over the success of the SAAB brand.
And now they have been given better prerequistes to develop completely new models based on a common GM-platform.

Saab Design has already been moved to Germany.

Production of the 9-3 and 9-5 is scheduled to move to Russelsheim in the near future.

The arrival of the Cadillac BLS was supposed to keep things ticking along until the 9-1 turned up, which at this point is still around 3 or so years away.

Despite being flat out right now with heaps of 9-5 Biopower orders, I’d say the good men and women of Trollhattan have some reason to feel nervous about the future.

I don’t mind Rick Wagoner, who I think is doing a pretty good turnaround job under tough circumstances. I’d share a steak with Jay Spenchian and any of the Saab USA folks I’ve dealt with. But IMHO Bob Lutz can go take a long walk off a short pier.

I could write a whole heritage piece, but it’s 11.30pm and I’m tired, so I’ll make it simple:

Keep Saab Swedish.

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  1. When will Saab and GM recognise that homogonisation (if that’s a word) is what has brought a lot of people to Saab? I could go buy an Audi but in the back of my mind I know I am really just driving a VW or a SEAT or a Skoda.

    For GM to retain the following their generating with their excellent sales figures they need to keep Saab DIFFERENT.

    I know lots of Swedish folk (outside the Auto industry) who really lament Volvo becoming part of Ford and that the Saab factory in Trollhattan is something which makes headline news in Sweden when there’s something happening.

    Moving the design and production of Saab out of Sweden is stripping the brand of a coolness and style other brands don’t have.

    If all we’re getting is a GM clone with a Saab badge, how is this any different from Audi?

  2. Why not move design, engineering and production of Buick, Pontiac and Hummer to Poland? Sureley, it will still be an American brand? Ain’t that something, Mr. Die-my-hair?

  3. Bob, same may be completely integrated ( read lobotomized) into GM but where is the upside? 15 years down the track we are still milking two models and 10+ year old ( albeit very good) engines. Where is the range? The investment? The new V6? its Saab application reeks of afterthought and production line optimization, not development for Saab.
    The saabs of today are sweet cars and amazingly hold their own in the market but don’t look sideways at Audi, VW, Volvo or Honda and their develpoment over the same timeframe. And how many of them have walked away from their heritage?

    Maybe you’ve caught me on a bad morning Bob but really, fuck off.

  4. If all the Saab brand image will be based in the “Pilots Wanted” campaign and all related to the Aircraft Heritage. For me it has no sense. For one reason, if you would like to make a relationship with both ideas(Saab and Aircraft origin), then it must be a real connection and explain where is that connection.

    But nowadays there is very few connection in that, and if all the Design and engineering, and building it would be outsourced to others that hasn’t the know-how and Saab heritage. Then what sense it has the Saab brand?? and all that idea of the “Pilots Wanted”??

    For me its quite disapointment to see the JEremy Clarksson review of the Vauxhall/Opel Vectra OPC, that its says its rubbish and the worst chassis it ever tested. Thanks to Saab it make a lot of changes to make it competitive, and the good sign is the good reviews and surprise of Jeremy when it test it, and the recomendation of the 9-3ss against the german rivals as the BMW 3 series e90, and also the consideration of a “cool car”. That is a good signal that Saab made a good job, but if the next generation of the 9-3 will be more Opel than Saab, then……….


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