Good News from GB

On the back of some poorer sales news from the UK earlier in the week, I thought it was worth posting the comment left by Neale Dougan, Managing Director of County Saab.

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I have 3 Saab dealerships in the UK, the 1st of which opened over 16 years ago, prior to which I spent a further 2 years working for another Saab outlet. I therefore feel entitled to comment as follows:

Over the years we have witnessed many false dawns for this proud brand; seen many underrated cars fail to sell in acceptable volumes due to poor marketing, watched as exciting future products were scrapped at the 11th hour, coped with the sometimes very difficult integration with General Motors and had to sell vehicles with incredibly long product life cycles.

But do you know something, the people involved with Saab, from the factory, through the National Sales Orgs to the dealers have one unique quality – they have PASSION for what they do and PRIDE in what they sell, as a direct result of which relationships are formed that transcend the norm and it is these relationships that ensure we remain positive in the lean times such as we find ourselves in at the moment.

The point of this comment is to let you know that GM have finally decided there IS a bright future for Saab. The UK dealers were recently given a glimpse of the future for Saab and allow me – an historical cynic, to tell you, I have total and absolute confidence that in 5 – 7 years time we will have a range of cars that will be the envy of the PREMIUM sector; exciting cars with individuality and taste oozing from them.

So stick with it, we are!!

Neale Dougan
Managing Director
County Saab

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Sounds good to me. Neale quite likely has the inside running on some stuff that we don’t know. Just the mention of “a range” of cars is enough reason to be enthused, I’d say.

And it’s good to hear of the passion and pride there in the UK. It’s definitely something I like to convey here on this site and it’s something that a lot of regular visitors to this site exhibit.

We could do with an injection of it in the official channels here in Tasmania – but more on that later.

Thanks Neale.

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4 Comments

  1. Wow that sounds good to me as well. I think all of us Saab loyalists should take a step back for a moment on the news of production shifting to Germany, and think about the positive possibilities and not the negative ones. I am looking forward to the future of Saab even though Germans will be building them, as long as the Scandinavian presence(aircraft) is there I can live with it.

  2. I agree with you.

    First regarding move to Germany of the 9-3 and 9-5. I do not see anything bad in this. If we are going to see more product lines, they can not be produced in one factory. It makes sence to produce them in russelheim together with the vectra to get economics of scale.

    I would guess that Trollhattan takes care of higher margin products instead such as the convertibles and why not a aero X together with the subsequent model of the solstice etc which are already “hitting the roof”.

    I think that it is engouraging that we hear comments like this from the dealers as it shows that GM beleivs in the brand. When it comes to the 9-4 as showed in Teknikens varld – I have to say that I like the size of it and think it would be a hit. It might canibalize a bit on the 9-3sc XC version, but we will see about that. After all being the worlds smalest manufacturer, there has to be room to grove. Think it is great that the cars look agressive anyway and I think that saab has to broaden its perspective with regards to who the compete.

    Caddie goes against MB etc. SAAB is one step below competing against BMW/audi/infiniti/lexus on one end, and the high end of mazda (nice design), VW and Toyota etc. The price difference between a camry and a 9-3 is not huges and it should be doable for people that want something different.

    I say go for it!

  3. So it seems that GM may be flying under the radar with future plans for Saab?? If the die-hard Saabisti (plural? :P) have trouble finding out information…. Just think how the competition is gonna’ feel, if/when this does become true!!

    Maybe the General has taken note from the US military and is learning to work covertly?

  4. …so what does Saab do until 2012? Counting on patient shareholder?

    And yes, Saab production should move to a more economicly traditional country like Germany. Maybe quality will improve. Sweden is a post-industrial country. I am not sure with Germany. People move to other industries. Who wants do work in a car factory at a band and assamble/or put together plastics and metal? Good educated Swedish university graduates? There are a lot.
    Ok, right. People, that do not like Math or Latin should get a descent job as well – if they agree being low paid. It´s the way it is. Earing are set by cultur and a bit of calculations.

    The German economy on the other hand is more old fashioned. There is a large stock of easyly aviable blue colour labour. As you know, they have a three class educational system until the 9/10th class in most of the areas that they call Länder. Only one third gets a degree sufficiant enough to enter university. Two thirds are being trained for basic blue and white collar jobs. Poor chaps – among them a lot of boys of the Muslim comunity which by the way are going to assembly the Saab in Germany.
    And there is a government that supports sunset-industries like car industry. We will see this industry moving to Asia and Eastern Europe anyway. Even the large Porsche Jeeps are produced in the former Eastern block. And is not a cheap car. Nice profit on each I guess. The small boxter is produced in Finland by Valmet (you remember?).

    So, for the next one or two production circles, it would be better to move to Germany or even into Slovakia or Poland. Yea, why doing a detour. Look, the 9-3 cab is already produced in the old Habsburg empire, ok, by South Germans calling themselve Austrians (Easterners). Remember, Bohemia (now in the Chech Republic: Skoda!) was the industrial center of the old Habsburg monarchy and the so called Austrians just farmes.

    Unfortunately, Swade has to changer the name of his home page into “Ruesselsheimsaab” or even “Bratislavasaab”.

    Who cares, think, white Southern States people (USA) are buying BMWs produced by blacks in South Africa. So, why not getting a Saab from the Slovaks or Poles? Opels are produces in Poland as well and by Poles in Germany.

    Only we can hope that there remains a bit of clear “Scandinavian” design (what ever it is?)with the cars then produced in Germany.

    Like Ikea, designed by Swedes, produced by Pakistani.

    Everything is image, isn´t it?

    (Had only Subaru produced the Saabaru with a nicer shape and cockpit.)

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