Last night I was fortunate enough to spend just over an hour on the phone with Steve Shannon, General Manager of SaabUSA, and Jan-Willem Vester (JWV), the Communications Manager for SaabUSA.
I’m currently putting the audio together with some images so that I can load it up to Google Video and present it here. All things going well, it should be up in the next 24 hours.
We had a great conversation. Whilst I’ve been in touch with JWV from the very early days of this blog, this was the first time I’d been able to chat with Steve Shannon and previous communication with Jay Spenchian had been in written form only. I think it was a great thing for Saab enthusiasts that Steve took the time to chat and I hope you get some value from what he had to say.
Unfortunately, I don’t think any of you US readers are going to get any short term joy from his responses to questions such as performance products and bluetooth.
Aside from the new 9-3 arriving as we speak, all the good news seems to be in terms of what’s coming down the pike, from the Turbo-X and XWD early in 2008 to all-new models in the near to medium term after that.
After speaking with both Jan-Ake Jonsson and Steve Shannon in the last week (what a week!) I can’t help but get the feeling that Saab really did dodge a major bullet just a couple of years ago.
The fact that we’re here and still talking about them now probably wasn’t a fait accompli even as recently as 2005. Jan-Ake mentioned several times that decisions were taken at that time that laid the foundations for the model lines we’re seeing emerge now. Speaking with Steve Shannon last night solidified those thoughts, with there being very little wiggle room right now for stuf that isn’t included in the basic fundamentals of the car business.
I’ll put together some more on this after both interviews have been posted on site.
I do it enough in the recording, but I want to place my gratitude in print here.
Thanks very much to Steve Shannon and Jan-Willem Vester for the time they took yesterday to communicate their message with the wider Saab community. Being able to access your thoughts and opinions on things helps us all to understand what’s going on, and it definitely helps me to provide a better service here.