Whilst the newspapers and web columnists have been talking us down, you’ve been hearing plenty from me about the reasons I believe Saab will survive it’s current difficult times – brand, factory, product and people. Perhaps it’s time to hear from someone else.
The following was written in comments to this website by Derek M, who attended the Saab Owners Convention in New Jersey last weekend. I’ll present it here without any further introduction or context as I think it speaks for itself. We have some of the best fans ever.
Just a quick (although not brief) note of appreciation. When SAAB was announced for sale by GM, I hungered for news and stumbled upon Saabsunited. It’s my wife who has always been enamored by the brand, but I’ve since come to develop a passion for the brand. I still receive a smile each day as I pilot my convertible to work. Your post of the 9-5 combi at SOC was all the incentive needed for Denise and I to take a day trip to New Jersey. It was nice to be surrounded in an environment that was all about product instead of the media’s constant barrage of finances.
It is the details of the 9-4x which are certain to create or reinforce the brand loyalty in the CUV segment. Ex: The collapsable u-rail system locks into place under the floor if not needed. (Gee, can you see what Jason and the design team can do about emulating that concept with the wind diffuser for the next generation of convertibles???)
Perrine SAAB brought a 9-5 turbo4 sedan for test drives. (Java with the cashmere leather, wood trim and cocoa brown dash is particularly luxurious looking.) I must confess to having scoffed at your praise of the turbo4. My bred-in-the-US mentality is that bigger is better – so while I appreciate the size of the new 9-5, after driving the turbo6 last year why would I even think about a test drive of the turbo4?
Was I mistaken in my assumption? Absolutely. The power band and torque for the turbo4 was smooth and readily available, no lag- no feeling under powered.
After drooling over the 9-5combi in person, who cares what is under the hood. it will sell on looks alone. I do think the turbo4 is the right choice for the US market as this trim distinguishes it from the 9-4x trim levels. (Although, it would be nice if aero trim included the Hirsch upgrade in horse power to distinguish trim levels, but I’m no product planner.)
The most enjoyable part of the day was the interactions. During our test drive of the 9-4x aero, we had the opportunity to converse with John (Libbos, from Saab Cars NA). What great tenure and expertise. Where I work, we refer to employees of twenty-five plus years of service as Legacy employees. If my memory and math skills are adequate, John will reach that milestone next year. They’ve helped define our brand and create our culture, leading to our legacy. It is that passion and determination that distinguishes companies from their competitive set. Passion is inherent, you are either impassioned by your work or you are not. As a Human Resources guy- Human Talent is my area of expertise. I truly believe that it is the power of the individual , the human asset, that makes an organization unique. The competition can’t copy synergy, mettle nor fortitude.
So regardless of one year of service or twenty-five years, my thanks to both you and John for the impact and passion you’ve ignited in me. I look forward to the day when conversations and media can focus on product. I have every confidence that similarly impassioned individuals are working towards the financial solutions needed for such a realization.