Interview with Steve Shannon – here it is

UPDATE – The interview has now been removed as it was not serving consistently. I’ve broken it up into parts and will be posting them over the coming days.



As at the time I put this post together, the video was loading. Hopefully it will come online soon.


Last night I recorded an interview with Steve Shannon and Jan-Willem Vester of Saab USA.

We covered a lot of ground in the hour or so that we talked, from the State of Saab in the US to the Mexican European Delivery Program, to Bluetooth and tuning your Saab.

We also get an insight into Steve Shannon himself, how he spends his day, what sort of input he’s got and the car he didn’t quite buy when he was working in Europe years ago.

I thoroughly enjoyed the chat and I hope you’ll find it helpful as an enthusiast looking out for what’s going on with the Saab brand looking into the future.

I want to express my appreciation once again to Steve Shannon and Jan-Willem Vester for taking time out of their busy schedules so that I could plug them with questions for the benefit of everyone here.

Thanks guys. I don’t necessarily agree with everything, but the discourse was certainly worthwhile.

To everyone else: the transmission goes for around an hour and 7 minutes. I’ve thrown some photos in just for something to look at while you listen.

Comments are open. I’m sure everyone concerned would enjoy getting your feedback and the point of view that Steve shared during the discussion. Fire away!

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  1. I am probably the exception being on 56K dialup but the video stops downloading 8 minutes in the conversation. I tried to download the file from Google but the link doesn’t seem to be valid. Any chance this would be become available as an iTunes podcast without the video? It would also be nice to be able to download to an iPod and listen on the go.

  2. Listened with high-speed cable and it worked great.

    Great job on the interview. I think it’s pretty cool that Shannon agreed to the interview and I thought he was pretty honest and up front with his answers. For instance, with the OnStar questioning, he could have stuck to the corporate line but he admitted he was disappointed where they are with it and Bluetooth.

    Nice to hear him explain the reasoning behind the current BFJ ad and where they will take it after the new line-up hits the States.

    Also encouraged they have plans to send off the current 9-5 platform with something special. Don’t forget to send him your notes.

    Nice try on prying some 9-4 info out of him. Sounds like you’re going to be busy the next few years with new product and variations.

  3. Great interview. Steve Shannon is pretty enthusiastic, and it shows.

    So Swade, do you have your tickets for Detroit yet? A firm itinerary yet? (I’m working on ways to get into the press section of the show).

    You know, the jokes about Mexican delivery are pretty funny, but I bet if Cadillac offered an American Delivery Program for its European customers, that would help it in Europe quite a bit.

  4. Wow, Swade!
    This is the last day at work before I go on vacation, so you know how busy it is getting ready…I still sneaked in 10-15 minutes here and there and heard the whole thing. Awesome to hear his (their) thoughts! Thank you, Steve, Steve, and Jan-Willem! 🙂

  5. My general appreciation is that Steve Shannon is just doing is job and didn’t say anything really interesting. I mean, he wasn’t going to say he doesn’t like Saabs! As for the questions, except for the magic wand (the best one IMHO), bluetooth and European delivery, I’m sorry to say I’m disappointed. Nothing on hybrids, on quality, wither perceived or real and on Cadillac in Europe. Swade is much more poignant behind his key board. In any case, who on earth needs another 300 hp car. At this rate of pollution, we won’t be driving any cars in the future, period.

  6. congrats swade on the great interview. it was worth getting up at 0300 to hear.

    my observations:

    1. no confirmation on the 9-4x timeline. (why? if not in ’08, what’s coming up next year? give us something to anticipate in ’08–new product; not facelifts.)

    2. i don’t think steve_s mentioned mercedes benz; although, he mentioned audi, bmw, and volvo. (why? is saab not to be competitve with that brand?)

    3. onstar. …looks like it’s here to stay, and that it will co-exist with bluetooth in future models. (well, …ok. but i’m still not paying for an onstar subscription.)

    4. swade’s nice “explanation” of the issue surrounding hirsch–that saabusa would have to warranty the product, not that hirsch would be developing products for a small market, i.e., saab. i can also understand the response that saab’s resources are too thin at the moment for serious work in that direction. (frankly, saab just needs to get the next-gen models out, as soon as possible. i can see hirsch coming after that, though.)

    5. 300hp in a couple years, across many models. great!

    6. interesting to learn that saab’s looking at the sales results of the volvo c30, in determining whether or not to “hatch.” (should we be cheering for ovlov?)

    7. good to hear why he couldn’t attend the 60th anniversary in trollhattan. (swade didn’t have to ask, but steve_s could tell it was probably on a lot of people’s minds.)

    8. bring a coat and a gun to detroit. lol.

    9. good to see steve_s change his company car to a combi, especially since he’s disappointed that the u.s. isn’t as enthusiastic about them as europe.

    10. the pre-sale program for the turbo-x sounds interesting.

    11. i didn’t know they’re shipping saabs by rail.
    (silly me.)

    12. good to hear the emphasis in keeping a healthy dealer network so that there’s a good pipeline for when the “good stuff” comes (out).

    13. nice dig on i.e. (internet explorer). that website shouldn’t be locked down for i.e. only.

    14. “mexican delivery program.” no one wanted to divulge any possible “strategies” in that direction. amusing.

    15. plausible explanation for the cancellation for the ’08 european delivery program. once the kinks are smoothed out, it should return.
    (come to think of it, one of the reasons that the program is apparently too complex is the tracking of the car. couldn’t they use onstar?)

    well done!

  7. Good to hear Shannon himself saying he is not running SAAB, he’s only responsible for SAAB USA. Beeing a large and important market he, of course, has a say in the future strategy, but it’s Jan Ake and the Swedes that are still in the driving seat. There is hope that SAAB will remain SAAB!
    What about technology, new developments (useful developments) like DI, new engines (100 % ethanol), new (smaller and larger) diesels. Please try to dig out more info during Detroit, Steve.

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