Tuesday Snippets

Steve Shannon wants to infect you!!

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Memo to Robert Farago – 150 is a nice round number and you’re really reaching now. You’re using the ‘feelings’ you got at the dealership for content now?

What’s next? Tea leaves scattered on the hood of a Yukon? Cupi dolls of Bob Lutz?

Kill the GM Deathwatch series – or will you kill your own site if GM reach stability again instead? Just askin’.

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Swedish women are angry!! They want equality.

You go, girls.

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Just-Auto is talking Saab-sale again. Not “sales”. But “sale”. As in selling the brand itself.

Subscription only, so there’s no useful link. This was sent in to me by Kroum (thanks, mate!).

On Wednesday, GM’s CFO, Fritz Henderson, had been closely interrogated about Saab. “We have continuous challenges at Saab,” he said. The product isn’t in a good position. There is not enough excitement and the model clarity is not great, but GM’s viewpoint is that currency is the killer. “Sweden to the US is not easy. Translation of the Euro and the Swedish Krona to the dollar is very tough,” according to Henderson.

Planning a car business around currency forecasts is no way to go, but negative trends are usually enough to nudge managers into reviewing the competitiveness of the whole business. That is clearly what is happening at Saab. It’s a good brand and the people that buy it remain extraordinarily loyal but conquest sales are very hard to come by.

The article also discusses Volvo, which has been rumoured for sale recently. Interestingly, whilst Ford’s CEO says Volvo has great products, he also says their costs have to be reined in. Saab have already done the cost restructuring and are now looking to develop model range.

To me it’ll be interesting to see which company did it the right way. To the author, it’s not so interesting:

It is clear that both Swedish brands would be sold if there was a buyer, but the established motor industry has wised up to the idea that growing your own brand is far better than trying to consolidate an established one.

I don’t believe that Saab is for sale.

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If it were up for sale, though, maybe the Wallenbergs would see some value in the future products and buy back in.

Whilst I’m thankful to GM for the lifeline they’ve extended, I’d always prefer to see the company in enthusiastic, safe, Swedish hands.

Knowing a bit about the Wallengbergs is one of those essentials for knowing a bit about Saab’s history. Here’s a quick article on who they are and what they’ve done.

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7 Comments

  1. As you’ll recall Fritz Henderson was the keynote speaker at the Saab Owners’ Convention in August. He obviously only had glowing praise for the brand. His own wife drives a Saab despite his trying to convince her to get an SUV (why?).

    I stand in full support of those Swedish feminists. I think this group should come to their aid in a flagrant show of solidarity! 😛 When, oh when, will “bikini” be a team sport accepted as an official Olympic event? I mean, which would you rather watch, the Romanian Badminton team or the Swedish Bikini Team?

  2. Did Steve Shannon just use “ultra-hot” and “pretty cool” in the same paragraph?

    Back to my question from the ‘suggested questions to Steve’ entry: Has Steve Shannon owned or does he currently own a Saab?

    Would he also be so excited to see a Buick at the show, seeing as he was the grand poo-bah of that medallian just last year?

    Is the enthusiasm displayed part of the job function, or is it genuine?

    I mean, if I sold blenders door-to-door and was enthusiastic about it, don’t you think the customers would see in my eyes and hear in my voice if I was truely genuine or was blowing smoke to get that sale? When I gleam with proudness about the product that I am backing, would I be blown off as just being another ‘salesman’?

    I guess, only Steve knows… I’m just saying, is all… you know? Devil’s advocate and all that jazz.

    I will say that I’ve yet to take an hour to listen to Swade’s interview, as I must. Maybe I’ll feel differently? Or not?

  3. Nevitz,

    SS’s car ownership is coming up in part something-or-other of the interview. I’ve taken down the hour-long version and am posting it in parts as the long version was proving troublesome.

    In short, he has a company Saab and his wife now owns one (purchased, I believe) but he’s also got some old classic Buick convertible.

  4. Swade,

    Finally got through the interview yesterday. Great stuff, good insights into the brand, the advertising and the man. Good you let him talk, have you heard enough from him now?? LOL

    As expected the current BFJ TV as is to show that something has changed at Saab. In the current media environment there are many arrows in the quiver and I believe modern consumers are well resourced to dig deeper once their interest is piqued.

    It seems he has been infected by Saab and it seems to be more than just a rash.

  5. The blog entry is pretty short. I guess that was intended.

    Swedish bathers? Whatever.

    Saab isn’t for sale. Currency is always troublesome, and it will be just as troublesome for German and Japanese automakers, too.

  6. And the indomitable ‘Truth about Cars’ website gave the new Malibu a pretty good review a few days ago – things went sour pretty quick over there. Robert Fargo’s rants are entertaining overall and #143 remains a classic in my book, but he is a little out of control at times. Alas, asking him to quit complaining about GM would be like asking Bill Maher to quit ranting about the current George Bush.

    One has to wonder what was going on at that Chevy Dealer. The new Malibu looks good on paper, but after doing nine hard years with the one of the better dealers in the area – I am not sure how they will do with a good product. Or a good customer for that matter. Time will tell.

    As for those Swedish girls… Hilarious. I fully support their cause.

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