Thoughts on our recent announcement re: salaries

Enthusiast first. Employee second. A very close second, mind you. But I’m still here writing this from my flat in Trollhattan, first and foremost, because this is where my heart is (family aside, of course).

Yesterday’s announcement was a kick in the guts once again for 1,600 of Saab’s 3,600 workers here in Sweden. For those who missed it, Saab announced that they weren’t able to pay white collar salaries on time this month. They’re due today. Factory staff were paid on time. White collar salaries will be paid as soon as possible.

So what happened?

As noted in the press release, there are several financial arrangements in place from which the funding that was promised to Saab has not yet arrived in our accounts. There are various regulatory bodies involved in these transfers, in various countries, and for reasons unknown to people at my paygrade, these funds have been stopped at the border.

We had planned on these funds being available as expected, but because the funds transfer has been delayed the payments to staff could not be made.

So where has the money gone up until now?

As you know, we’re concentrating on getting arrangements and payments made with/to our suppliers. Our core goal right now is to re-start production here in Trollhattan so that we can build the cars that our customers have ordered. That’s going to be (and has to be) our main source of cash-flow – building and selling cars – and getting the business back to where we can do that has been our priority.

We have hundreds of suppliers on the manufacturing side and we have had to make arrangements with all of them. We have been making agreements on several fronts. For many suppliers, of course, the payment agreements are first priority and we have been working with them on that issue. For us, getting arrangements in place with regard to delivery schedules is also a high priority as we need to co-ordinate delivery terms for the re-commencement of production.

With so many people to negotiate with and an ever-changing business environment, this is a very complex process. We are making significant progress, however, and we’re very thankful to the many suppliers who have supported us and want to see our business succeed. Our success will be their success, too.

——

As a Saabnut working on the inside of this company, it’s been extremely frustrating to see all this happen. I can see so much potential in this company. We have great products, we have a great brand, we have a great factory and most of all, we have incredible people.

Sales in 2010 were much lower than expected, and for several reasons. The end result was lower-than-expected cashflow and slower payments to suppliers than we would have liked. This reached a head earlier this year and the consequences included the factory stoppage that persists today.

Whilst 2010 was down on forecast, it ended with several stronger sales months. We started 2011 a little slower but we were starting to build momentum again. The low-emissions TTiD Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan was gaining traction in several key markets. More importantly, the release of the low-emissions Saab 9-3 SportCombi was announced just before we stopped production. This was such a significant car for Europe and the effects of the stoppage are magnified by its delay.

The stoppage has also tarnished the release of the Saab 9-4x to some degree. I can’t tell you enough about how exciting this car is for Saab, but some of the gloss has been removed by recent events. Thankfully, the reviews have been uniformly positive (as they should) and we’re seeing dealers in the USA delivering them to customers within the first week of their arrival.

The stoppage has also delayed the release of the Saab 9-5 SportCombi, another significant model here in Europe, especially here in Sweden. Many have been looking forward to the release of this vehicle and it’s painful for us that we can’t get it out there.

When GM sold Saab in early 2010, the company worked very hard to get the new Saab 9-5 built and released to the marketplace. Aside from a brief stint with the low-emissions TTiD and the recent release of the 9-4x, the Saab 9-5 Sedan has basically been the only new product since Saab’s independence that has made it to market and been for sale for a significant period.

And for a Saabnut like me, I guess that’s the most frustrating thing of all.

We have a lot of great things to show for our time, post-GM. The big problem is that we didn’t have enough time (or more to the point, we didn’t sell enough cars last year to buy enough time) to get those new products to market.

Right now, a Saab customer should be able to walk into a showroom and see the full low-emissions TTiD 9-3 range, the 9-5 SportCombi, and the 9-4x in addition to the Saab 9-5 Sedan and 9-3 Convertible that already existed. These new models and technical evolutions were supposed to be the evidence that the new, independent Saab could move forward after carving itself from GM. We’re thankful to have the 9-4x on the market but there could be so much more. It’s all there. It’s all developed and ready to go.

But right now we’re not able to build it.

A lot of employees are hurting about the fact that their salaries have been delayed for a second month in a row. I can’t blame them. They’ve rendered their services right throughout this stoppage period and it’s a hardship they shouldn’t have to bear.

I still love this place and I still believe in this company. It’s exactly the same as when GM were considering shutting us down: there’s simply too much good stuff – brand, product, plant and people – for this to be left to wither.

For those who have supported us – customers, suppliers, dealers and other partners – we thank you sincerely. We continue to fight. Never, ever give up.

——

Addendum

The following was entered into comments by Nic S. It’s an area that I haven’t touched on in my post, but it’s quite relevant. We need our markets – our dealers and salespeople – and I think Nic’s thoughts sum it up nicely.

This situation isn’t just about those involved in Saab in Trollhattan. Pray do also remember the dealers and main distributors who have been fighting their own battles. I have on a personal basis witnessed longstanding Saab dealerships simply no longer being able to support their staff and therefore their businesses. These people have been battling it out, have sometimes even been paying their staff from their own pockets.

Why am I bringing all this up? Because it is my firm belief that Saab as a whole has a product line that stands like a house. This morning I drove a 2008 9-3 1.8T in Norden guise and loved it. Loved the nimbleness, the ease with which that perky engine threw out 150 bhp when asked to do so.

That to me says it all. That Saab was on loan for a foreign colleagu who visited us and needed some wheels. A simple call to my dealer and there it was. Now, we all stand behind Saab, but we also need to stand behind all that make Saab what it is. It has been said before, if we as a community do not do our bit, then perhaps Saab may survive as a brand, but the sales outlets may not. So do your thing and not just show your loyalty to the brand, but also to the dealers and specialists. They all need it, and bloody soon as well.

You may also like

41 Comments

  1. I think this sums it all:
    “(..)we didn’t sell enough cars last year to buy enough time(..)”.
    This isn’t hard to understand for any reasonable person. But remember that SAAB was almost dead and a few months later there were already new cars rolling out and a few more innovations to come out. How many brands could pull this off ?
    Although there is an immense task to be accomplished, it can be done.

  2. The faithful are behind independent Saab…as we have always been, and at least for most, always will, ….and to the folks in Trollhattan…Thank you for your sacrifices that you have been “asked” to indure….and hopefully it helps a very small bit..that even folks in a little South Carolina USA town are thinking about you and pulling for you!……drive on!..(in your Saab of course!)

  3. I hate to bring this up, but this is precisely why Christian Von Koenigsegg pulled out at the 11th hour.  He simply couldn’t see enough time to get revenue coming into the company to execute his plan.  At the time, we couldn’t see it.  In hind sight, this is his vision coming true.

    Success seems very close now, so I think that Saab can pull it out.  However, it has to work this time.  It must be sustainable from here on out.  Sales must improve.

    1. I admire people like Christian Von Koenigsegg, people that can pursue their dreams no matter what. But managing company of 20 people who build 10 cars per year is one thing, managing 5000 who produce 100 000 (not now) is completely different story which require completely different set of skills, both professional and political.
      Which makes me think about Spyker…

  4. We – the enthusiasts – still stand united behind Saab…
    wish I could say the same about Swedish government…
    Come on, get things going!

  5. First there was the dream. Then came reality. Sales were lower than planned. OK, since the first and necessary rule of business is to make a profit the obvious course of action was a restructuring to lower the breakeven point. That didn’t happen and does not seem to be happening now. Why not? Instead we are getting incessant calls on third parties for support (the Government, Mr Antonov, the Chinese, the EIB …) in order to keep the dream alive. The present difficulties are not their fault. What is required is strong and decisive action by Management now to show that a recovery plan is in place. Otherwise, third parties such as suppliers, the Chinese etc. are unlikely to be impressed.

    1. Hi John,

      I have to pull you up on a couple of things there, lest others pick them up and believe them to be fact.  

      First of all, we have lowered our break-even point by quite a bit, actually. This was reported widely last year.  The problem is that sales were still quite a bit lower than that particular breakeven.  We didn’t expect profit in the first year but we did forecast sales of much more than what eventuated as part of the business plan.

      Point two – calls for intervention by government are not coming from Saab.  We have never asked the government for direct assistance.  All we’ve asked for (and received) is the EIB loan guarantees, which are covered by the assets of the company.  Relationships with Antonov and our Chinese partners are business relationships involving investments, not calls for support.  We are still seeking an outcome from the EIB, which is only fair in the normal course of business.

      Management are working their tails off, I can assure you.

      1. OK Steven, thanks for your reply. I stand corrected and am both sympathetic and remain supportive. But IMHO tweaking the breakeven point down a bit to reduce the ongoing losses is insufficient, particularly given the damage done to the brand by the current stoppage. Major surgery from a strong management is surely required to give the company a chance of survival? You can always tool up and recruit again when sales take off as the NG9-3 hits the showrooms!

        1. It is quite surprising – from a UK perspective, at least – that workers have not been laid-off rather than being stood-down on full pay.

          But I don’t know the ins and outs of Swedish employment law; it may be very different there. In fact, from what I’ve read, there may be a compulsory 3-month notice period, which makes even the UK seem pretty pro-business-flexibility by comparison!

          Is there a lot of agency working in Sweden?

    2. What do you know that everyone else doesn’t know? As far as I’ve heard they worked during 2010 and 2011 to lower the break-even point, cutting costs etc.

      But oh no, you state: “That didn’t happen and does not seem to be happening now. Why not?”

      If you don’t know, why speculate; and the work mentioned above can’t be seen in full until the production is up and running again, so I think you will have to wait for that.

      I see that Steven Wade has replied to you; still, how come that I, a Swede, with no connections to the company knew this, but you didn’t, and still you speculated. Not to mention the other part “Instead we are getting incessant calls on third parties for support …”. Have you seen this coming from the company? If not, why do you say so?

      1. As I understand it the original planned breakeven point was at a production rate of 80,000 units p.a., which did represent, as you say, a tightening. The actual outcome (again as I understand it) was sales of 30,000 units in 2010 with the potential for something over 40,000 units for 2011 (manufactured in Sweden) and we will now have had at least a five-month stoppage, which will at least temporarily depress demand into the future. The Company is clearly ultra short on liquidity and we don’t know how long demand will remain at this level, so the prudential course of action would have been major surgery to bring down the breakeven point to about 30,000 units p.a. and return the company rapidly to profitability. That would necessarily have involved massive layoffs, which would have been widely reported. Also the company would no doubt have shouted out loudly what it had done in order to improve confidence amongst the suppliers. No speculation is required.

        Maybe I’m not giving the Management enough credit for the extremely difficult task they have in hand, but the evidence as I understand it and in my view points to an inability quickly to address reality and to take the difficult decisions necessary to ensure the Company’s independent survival. However, I do not know all the facts and may well have overlooked some long-term strategic objective or something else, but that is my view given the evidence.

        I used the word ‘call’ rather loosely and inappropriately to imply looking for additional investment funds from third parties to cover cash-flow shortfalls, which stood to be misinterpreted. Swade quite correctly pointed that out (below) and I’ve apologized for that.

  6. IMO “working hard” phrase lost its meaning after 4 months. There are milestones ahead of Saab that MUST be achieved – 28th August – start production line again, mid of Sep – Frankfurt Automotive Show, where the new 9-3 has to be shown in its full glory, Christmas – everyone in Saab and community witness improvement of Saab brand image and meanwhile all 11000 orders delivered and twice as much cars produced / sold.
    Everything else sounds meaningless and if Summer holiday season is sort of excuse now, in Sep. another “production-halt-reason” won’t work for anyone.
    And I believe I will be able to buy new Saab after two or so years with full confidence!

  7. Every words written here by you Swade are true and I would have not written it better, even in french. Take care.

  8. Welcome to the World…..Companies get bought up and shut down, thats how America Works. A few names come to mind, Ames Department Stores, AMC, the list is endless. People get to big for their own, cough cough GM, and then go bankrupt, or go bankrupt multiple times CHYLSER….. Id like to see Saab pull through, but being that words like US, and Default, and Hyper Inflation, and NO JOBS and College Bubble, are being tossed around….. its truly SAD.

  9. This situation isn’t just about those involved in Saab in Trollhattan. Pray do also remember the dealers and main distributors who have been fighting their own battles. I have on a personal basis witnessed longstanding Saab dealerships simply no longer being able to support their staff and therefore their businesses. These people have been battling it out, have sometimes even been paying their staff from their own pockets.

    Why am I bringing all this up? Because it is my firm belief that Saab as a whole has a product line that stands like a house. This morning I drove a 2008 9-3 1.8T in Norden guise and loved it. Loved the nimbleness, the ease with which that perky engine threw out 150 bhp when asked to do so.

    That to me says it all. That Saab was on loan for a foreign colleagu who visited us and needed some wheels. A simple call to my dealer and there it was. Now, we all stand behind Saab, but we also need to stand behind all that make Saab what it is. It has been said before, if we as a community do not do our bit, then perhaps Saab may survive as a brand, but the sales outlets may not. So do your thing and not just show your loyalty to the brand, but also to the dealers and specialists. They all need it, and bloody soon as well.

    We also need to yet again do something about curbing the nastyness in the press. We know what Saab stands for. We know what the demise of this brand would mean to us all. I will put my 2 cents in at any forum, newspaper or indeed Internet published article to raise awareness and ruthlessly combat stupid Internet journalism. Let those at the top do what they do best, let us pull our weight and do it as we did during the sale of Saab.

    My 2 cents.

  10. So in a PR piece written only to boost morale and raise spirits Swade eloborates on why the cash is not available. In just under 1000 words the above-mentioned topic is covered in one sentence – the following:
    “There are various regulatory bodies involved in these transfers, in various countries, and for reasons unknown to people at my paygrade, these funds have been stopped at the border.”Surely you could have done better than that….? When sending funds from the Bahamas, how many borders does it cross? Two so far as I know. And how many regulatory bodies?And why would the EU stop a transfer from the Bahamas? We should not speculate on reasons behind such an event.I can fully understand that not all employees are priviliged to all information, but it would be interesting to find out from whom or from what level of hierarchy the “border-concept” came.

    1. Sadim,

      You don’t believe it.  I get it.  I saw your comments to that effect on SU and I can assure you that they make not one iota of difference as to the truth of the matter.  They are your suppositions.

      As to “from what level of heirarchy” this came from – every word written here is my own.

      1. Thanks for replying Steve, we can agree that we disagree, I guess. 

        Re the “border-concept” as a reason for stopped transfers – is this just an expression of yours or are you seriously saying that the transfer was stopped by some official body on its way to Swedbank or whatever bank Saab operates with in Sweden?

        I am quite sure you write all your material, but the idea that some official body withing the financial world stopped the transfer – where or from whom did that piece of information come from? Because it is quite uncommon that transfers are stopped, blocked, inhibited etc.

        1. What exactly is it you think you know?

          Last year I bought a small apartment in Sweden. I transferred a small amount of money, and the bank sent me a letter asking if I could come and see them… Turned out that the money transfer had indeed been intercepted and some government authority were curious just what I was going to use this money for…

          I assure you that the amount in question (my transfer last year) was much lower than the amounts Saab are hoping to get transferred. If Swade says it takes time to transfer money, then I am inclined to believe him.

          1. Well, what I know is that there is a great difference between corporate money transfers and those transfers made by private individuals and that corporate transfers are VERY, VERY rarely intercepted. When it happens it might be due to e.g. the DEA or similar agencies having a few questions. And although I am critical of SAAB management, I would never even dream of implying that either Gemini or SAAB are involved in anything illegal that would warrant a transfer interception.

      2. Is there any further news on what happened to the money in question? Surely there must by now be some idea of what “various regulatory bodies” were involved. Or is it so that this money was actually some of the cash that was anticipated to arrive in the wake of the Antonov-Spyker deal – the deal that never happened?

  11. I reading these comments, I’m just wondering why the taboo against having the Swedish Govt. step in and help tide things over for an important industrial symbol and employer, just as the U.S. did, more or less successfully, for 2 of our big 3? Obviously help is needed, why not ask the most obvious source?

    1. Tranquilo,

      Saab have never sought a government buyout nor government funding for the business.  We’ve sought (and received) government guarantees, secured against assets in the business, but that is all.  We believe that we can make it through with the right partners on board.  

      Even if that were a desireable course of action, the Swedish government have made it quite clear in the past that they do not intend to step in.  This was the case during the sale process (from GM) and it remains the case now.

  12. I admire the workers for sticking with Saab at this difficult time, and I admire my dealer for still being enthusiastic.  It has to work.

  13. I was thinking yesterday about the future with Pang Da and Youngman. I was thinking about how keen they still seem to be in stepping into Saab while those businessmen must know for sure much more then everybody here – maybe even more than you Swade ! ^^ – regarding Saab current cash position or Saab current negociations with its hundred of suppliers…

    Knowing this, before signing the agreements (that has been brought to us weeks ago), what could have made them go fast forward to step in?
    I imagine VM showed them firstly as simple as it could be : Saab range.

    What were their thoughts when they jumped into the new 9-5 or the all new 9-4 X?

    What might have been their reaction looping at the all new 9-5 SC? Not speaking about the Griffin series for the 9-3 sedan, SC, convertible or the 9-3X?! Phoenix concept, future technology with IQon, e-XWD and so on…

    They might have thought : european people have lost their mind! With all these pieces of art, resulting from a rich heritage of knowhow, “they” – the european people, not to speak of a political government – they think it could be not worth it?

    Well this is why I think that an end to Saab is something just NOT forgeable.

  14. I wonder what the marketing dept. is doing? Hear in Cali, last year I saw nice commercials for the Saab 9-5, billboards for the 9-5 which was great but… Around here? People are in love with other luxury brands, BMWs Audis…and if not those, then the cheap muscle cars like the new mustang, camaro, charger, and challenger. Competing against BMW and Audis would seem difficult despite the natural comparison. 

    People here like to see commercials of cars driving fast, hearing that engine roar, taking a look, highlights of the new technologies, hearing testimonials (a la hyundai), a look inside the interior… or how about some awesome footage of saab’s hacking through the tundra? Maybe that’s not saab’s character but it works.

    As for the low sales/not enough time. That is the crux of the problem. Why were sales so low? I know you said that Saab’s got an amazing line up of new cars, but what was wrong with the old ones that were around in 2010? Around here, few know what a Saab is, and definitely don’t know what it’s capable of. Fix that, and I think your sales will improve considerably.

  15. If Saab didn’t sell enough cars last year to buy itself enough time, how is it going to do so in 2011? Our local dealer here on Long Island has moved all its Saab inventory behind the VW’s, and it doesn’t have a single Saab in the showroom anymore. The only Saab visible is a leftover 2010 9-5 that was driven by the owner and says $32,000 in white crayon all over the windshield. I think the 9-4X was Saab’s only hope in the US for now, but how many of them are being made? People are still asking me about Saab being dead when they learn I’m driving one. I still have to tell them no, not dead (yet). No 9-5 wagon in Europe, let alone the US. Prices a good 20-30% overstated on sticker, discounting the cars as options before people even step foot into a showroom. How is there time to turn this around even if you could be getting cars into the showrooms? Once the factories start up it’s going to be months before even that happens. Do dealers in Europe even have 2011 cars available right now? 

    Yeah, I know, never give up, but when you can’t pay your employees and your product is at least a month or two from being even available for sale at the dealers, how do you recover from that?

    As it stands, my dealer is not a great dealer. I am not convinced they’re committed to the brand (they’re mostly a VW shop) and if I were to buy a new Saab, there is a very real possibility that within six months I’d have to drive over an hour to get my new car serviced. 

    I hate to be so negative. I sold my SPG last fall, but still own two 9-5’s and love them. I look at other cars available out there and none of them talk to me like Saab. 

    I just don’t know how Saab pulls this out without a total takeover by some Chinese company with unlimited pockets — and that’s IF the Chinese government approves that. How can the end game be anything else at this point?

    1. Aaron has a interesting point here:
      “If Saab didn’t sell enough cars last year to buy itself enough time, how is it going to do so in 2011?”

      Not enough time this year to build enough cars to sell enough cars this year.

      Hmmm. I don’t like the sound of that…

  16. Here’s the bottom line, as far as I’m concerned – Saab employees have not been paid yet and are probably hurting.  This seems lost in all of the comments.  The reasons for not getting paid are totally out of our control.  The only thing we can do is to support the employees and the dealers who are most hurt by this financial problem.  Let’s stand behind Saab and quit speculating as to the causes of the financial problems.  Only Saab management knows all of the reasons for the lack of funds.  It doesn’t help anyone to bash management or the Sedish government.  All we need to know is that everything is being tried to bring enough money into the company to pay the employees and to get production started again.

  17. I am writing from Saudi Arabia. Having been with the local Importer of SAAB for over 15 years, I am disturbed immensely at the continuous bad news emanating out of Sweden regarding SAAB. Luckily we have other products to sell but for people associated with SAAB it is a misery reading all this. However, all  of us writing here are well wishers and we pray and hope that SAAB survives and survives well. My recent observation regrading the way SAAB is being handled specially since the sale by GM is that things are not being handled properly. Marketing is poor, market coverage is poor, parts supply is bad specially for the 2003 to 2008 models with lot of back orders ( which seldom happened earlier) and untapped markets. Concentration has been totally and completely on USA & Europe, which is fine but do not forget other markets, which they have done. The need was to expand the base which was not done. Additionally, too many products one after another during this crucnh time was not the right move. SAAB should have concentrated on the 9-5, 9-3 and 9-4X instead of going into too many versions causing parts, tooling and supplier complications without funding and volume. Hopefully time is still there to make progress but they need to be lean and mean for some time before they start expansions and coming out with newer models and there variations. Stick to the basics for some time and expand your base, that seems to be the way.
    Good luck and all our prayers are with SAAB.
    Let SAAB – Find its own way.

  18. Please, plaese, please !
    You must come out with a serious statement from VM, it is very important for all concerned to hear from “the horses mouth” what is going on.
    Swedish media is full of speculation and people with different agendas, to no avail.
     
    Please take control and start to communicate !!!
     
    SAAB UP !

    1. Peter, I understand the frustration but I can assure you that 

      1) Any statement VM made would be the same as the press releases that have been issued.
      2) VM is much better placed actually working on solutions along with the rest of the executive team.

      The Swedish media will do what the Swedish media will do.  One thing I’ve learned over six or so years about writing about Saab is that they have their own agenda and their own mindset when it comes to Saab.  And the wilder and more panicked it gets, the better for them and their advertisers.  

      The only thing that we can – and must – do is to find a solution, and that’s what VM needs to be doing (and it’s what he is doing.  And yes, he’s working his tail off).

      1. Thanks Swade for taking time.

        It is still so that what really goes on is not communicated, I trust that you all do your best to resolve the situation, if not first succed try and try again.

        Good luck and please keep us posted !!

  19. Swade, Once again good stuff coming from your pen, or your finger as it is these days. I have been employed at Saab for 24 years, loved every minute of it even if at times it has been dodgy to say the least but the last three to six months have been a joke to be honest. One day it’s all sorted and then it’s this, that and the other, and once again we get the news that our salary will not be paid out on time. I fully understand the fact that if we are not building cars then we don’t get any money in but how long can this go on for ? There are too many if and buts here, will the chinese govt say ok ? Antonov ? How much patience does he have ? EIB WTF ? We are borrowing money left, right and centre to keep going and it’s going to be like this until we start building cars again. If we can hold out until Oct / Nov and all the ? are gone, and lets be honest there is a lot of them, then yes, it might go and I would love nothing more than to stick my middle finger up at everybody who have suddenly become car specialists if we can turn this around BUT as an employee we really need a bit of positive news and that news has to stay postive for more than a few days this time, as at the moment it’s one step forward and three back !

  20. I have been following the Saab story for a quite a few years, and to be fair I think Saab has done well for itself up until this point. The deal with Spyker in my opinion was sound. It just needs a little more encouragement and proper organisation of some reformation plan from management.As a businessman myself with an acute sense of business development knowledge (I have a BA in Business Administration, run my own million-pound business and excelled at Strategic Management, where we focused on isolating problems within firms) the problems that Saab is currently facing are really not that big. Yes funding is a main issue, but what you also need are three other things: new niche products, an improved product marketing plan and an experienced volume vehicle production manager (outside of Saab) who can advise and steer the company in a proper manner.Prioritise What Is Important FirstAs an experienced manager, the first task I would suggest Saab attend to right now is focus on the backorders. As I can see from this post, someone from Saudi Arabia is complaining about parts not getting through. I would suggest if the company has excess workers sitting idle, to re-schedule their work and concentrate on the backorders for spare parts. There should be enough work and funds from these backorders to keep the company going while it reorganises itself.Next: Stop Looking At US and European MarketsSaab needs to stop looking at the US and Northern European markets. While they may be interesting areas of development or for turnover, the truth is the heavy cut-throat competition now in the US/Euro automotive markets and financial gloom is not helping the economy one bit. The focus of businesses is now in Asia (and China/Brazil/developing markets) Saab would do good better to try to look elsewhere and establish development in these areas.Focus On Quality Of Saab ProductsBelieve it or not, but Saab still has a huge advantage to play in the market when it comes to similar competing products. Saab in my eyes as a product still is attractive because it speaks volumes about safety. If it enters China, (which I think it can) there will be no takers (because travel safety is now such an important concern over there). Volvo, Audi and Mercedes are the only three brands that I could think of in terms of safety (as a known characteristic of the brand). But Volvo’s safety credentials is doubtful as they are now Chinese owned, which leaves only Audi and Mercedes. While Saab is not a considered ‘premium’ brand like them (I believe by majority of marketplace), the quality of its cars (especially safety) would easily be a match for any current Korean, Japanese or Chinese brand. This could be a key deciding factor for it to win over the current Asian markets.New Niche ProductsWith the right level of funding and managerial experience in place, the next focus for Saab would be to introduce some ‘niche’ products that would help to reinvigorate the brand. Products like a baby Saab e,g. a 9-1 with a really clean/fast engine maybe to compete against the hatchback Volvo, Audis and Lexuses on the market today would help immensely in this packed market of today. Also clean-air version of such cars would appeal very much to buyers pollution-filled cities like Hong Kong and Bangkok.Performance SaabsAnother neat thing to do would be to work with 3rd party tuners and suppliers on a really nice ‘Performance Saab’. While it may not seem like much, getting Saab back on the track in the performance arena with really attractive setups will help it create credibility in the eyes of buyers ie. black matte dechromed 9-5. A special luxury/race version of a 9-5 (a Spyker-tuned and fitted version a la Bugatti Veyron or Spyker C8 style) would also appeal to buyers.
    These are just some of the ideas floating around to rejuvinate Saab….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *