Inside Saab Q&A – The Answers (part 1)

Earlier this week, we invited readers and Facebook fans to submit questions to Saab for responses. We now have responses for most of those questions, provided below.

NOTES:

  • A big proportion of Saab’s future is contingent upon an approval process currently underway in China. Our Chinese partners, Pang Da and Youngman, are seeking approval for their proposed investments into Saab Automobile. The process is going very well and we remain very confident of a positive outcome, however the decision is not final until it is made by the NDRC and other agencies involved. This Q&A has been prepared with a positive outcome in mind – i.e. a return to (relatively) normal business conditions.
  • There are some aspects of our business, e.g. forward product planning, that we cannot comment on in detail. I’ve tried to provide general responses where possible, but details cannot be made available. That’s just the nature of the business.
  • Time has been my enemy. I wanted to answer all questions by today, but there are some people that I just haven’t been able to get to in order to get responses. I will do that, and compose answers for the remainder of those questions. They will be posted in approximately two weeks from now (I will be away from the office for a week between now and then, hence the delay)

——

  • What will Saab do to protect against the possibility of another bankruptcy down the line?
  • I’m pretty sure this was asked by a US-based customer, hence the bankruptcy reference. It’s important to note here that Saab has not been through a bankruptcy procedure at all in its history. The process we are undertaking right now, reorganisation, is a process under Swedish law that is quite separate from a bankruptcy under Swedish law. This is not just me being pedantic here. It’s a very important distinction for reasons that will become clearer below.

    The basic similarities between a Swedish reorganisation and a Ch11 bankruptcy in the US do not mean that the words are interchangeable. Saab is in reorganisation under Swedish law. Remember that as you read on and please be mindful of the distinction, especially if you are accustomed to using the US terminology.

    To the center of the question, then. What are we going to do in order to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

    Saab went through a reorganisation in 2009, when it was being sold by General Motors. We emerged from that with a clear plan to carve the company out from GM and re-establish ourselves as an entity under new ownership. We brought the company out from liquidation and in what was actually a very short time, we started production of the new Saab 9-5. What we didn’t count on was just how hard the carve-out from GM would be. We had to re-establish some markets, as well as trying to communicate our survival (against a flood of news reports that continued 12 months into our sale from GM, that simply referred to us as ‘discarded’) as well as trying to communicate new product.

    Bottom line – our business plan called for more sales than what we achieved. We made huge inroads into carving our business out from GM’s back-office but we didn’t make all the structural or operational changes that we could. Our sales were on an upward trend with key new models set for imminent release (low emissions 9-3 TTiD SC, 9-5SC and 9-4x) when we had to stop production.

    So what do we do now?

    We’re making the structural changes to our business that we didn’t make a few years ago. Those new models are still imminent pending the re-start (9-4x is already out there) and, of course, we have to use our limited resources very effectively in terms of marketing the brand and reaching out to customers, both the current and potential future kind. We still have excellent products with a host of new innovations coming, we still have a great brand that speaks to people, and we will have solid backing from our partners, which we will be able to build upon to instill some confidence into the marketplace.

  • When will production re-start, both in Trollhattan and in Mexico (Saab 9-4x)?
  • The short, idealist answer is that we’d like to start producing again as soon as we can. The longer (and more real) answer is that it’s a complex process with a number of milestones that need to be reached before we can communicate a date publicly. We have internal plans in place as to how and when the re-start should be commenced. We can’t communicate those plans publicly at this time, however, because the preliminary steps that we need to complete are still ahead of us.

    For example, we still need to present our business plan to our creditors and have them approve it as part of the reorganisation process. This is a formal part of the reorganisation process and we cannot proceed without it. We also need to have a cohesive plan in place with our suppliers for payment and delivery and it isn’t possible to communicate a date publicly until those steps are completed.

    Production of the Saab 9-4x is a slightly different matter, but is still subject to the same financial constraints as the rest of our business at this time. We do have a planned starting date for 2012 model year production but that will be subject to payment arrangements being made, which are once again dependent on our dealings in reorganisation and the approval of our Chinese partners.

  • What is the current status of my Saab Warranty whilst Saab is in reorganisation?
  • This is one of the instances where it’s important to note that Saab are currently in the process of reorganisation under Swedish law. This is not a bankruptcy procedure.

    Under reorganisation, your warranty remains in full effect and all of the terms and conditions of that warranty remain the same as the day you drove the car from the dealership.

    The original question asked was “What happens to my warranty in the event of Saab bankruptcy?” That’s a complex issue that I’m still trying to find an answer for that I can communicate here in a simple manner. I simply don’t have access to the right people to provide that answer today. We’ll look to address that in Part 2.

  • What happens to parts availability if Saab goes bankrupt?
  • Bear in mind that Saab has absolutely no intention of going bankrupt. This is a worst-case scenario question, but here goes……

    Saab Automobile Parts AB (Saab Parts) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saab Automobile AB responsible for the sales of Saab spare parts and accessories. It is important to note that Saab Parts, whilst being owned by Saab Automobile, is a separate company under law and is not part of Saab’s reorganisation. Saab Parts is a profitable and cash generating business.

    The shares of Saab Parts are currently pledged to the Swedish government as security for the EUR 400m loan facility granted to Saab by the EIB. Under the security requirements from and controlled by the Swedish National Debt Office, Saab Parts operates under strict rules. i.e. it keeps its own accounts, it has minimum working capital requirements etc. If there were to be any future insolvency event, Saab Parts will continue to operate as an independent entity for many years supporting Saab customers with parts and accessories.

  • Why are some spare parts so difficult to obtain at the moment?
  • We are aware of, and very sorry about, the difficulties people are having obtaining some spare parts at the moment. My understanding is that Saab Parts is currently able to supply around 90% of the Saab parts catalog, however that does leave a proportion of common parts unstocked.

    The current problems are mainly with parts produced in a “production line type” environment, i.e. they are normally produced in bigger volumes that support both aftersales and the vehicle production line at the factory. Suppliers in general don’t want to run such a production line every day or week, just for the small aftersales volume. This means that delivery times for such parts are currently longer than customers are used to.

    Some parts have begun to be re-stocked (e.g keys for the 9-3, just recently). We would anticipate that all parts will begin to be more freely available once again when parts suppliers are producing parts at full capacity once again, i.e. when the production line is due to re-start.

  • Is Vladimir Antonov still interested in Saab?
  • Mr Antonov’s business intentions are not ours to comment on. We have enjoyed wonderful support from Mr Antonov, however it is clear to all that he cannot become an investor in Saab whilst we still have the EIB loan in place. When that loan is eventually cleared (see below) it will be up to Mr Antonov and his board as to whether his companies invest in Saab.

  • Will Saab seek to pay back the EIB loan?
  • We would definitely like to pay back our EIB loan when circumstances permit. Once our partnership with Pang Da and Youngman is confirmed, we should have better access to banking options that are available to them, options that will likely be explored in order to repay our EIB obligations.

  • Will Saab offer a diesel in the US?
  • When I used to write about Saab on my own independent website, I used to get very angry about this issue – or more precisely, the lack of real commentary about it.

    Selling diesel vehicles in the US is a bit different to selling them in Europe. In the US, they concentrate on NOx outputs, whilst Europe concentrates on CO2 output. The engines that Saab use to great effect in Europe will not pass emissions testing in the US without significant modification, a process that would require investment that Saab simply cannot prioritise at this point in time.

    Diesel sales, whilst growing in the US, are still quite small. The number of diesels that Saab could sell in the US is very small indeed, given our small marketshare and the need to educate customers there. It just doesn’t justify the investment required at this point in time, especially given our resource levels and priorities. Of course, future models with new engines could make this possible, but for the near term, the likelihood of Saab diesels in the US is quite remote.

  • Will Saab offer a diesel or BioPower version of the Saab 9-4x?
  • Whilst you never say never, the likelihood of this happening in the short-medium term is pretty remote. The Saab 9-4x was built with the North American market as the #1 priority, which warranted a 6-cylinder petrol engine for satisfactory use in terms of vehicle performance and NVH. A diesel option for the Saab 9-4x would be very desireable, of course, because this is the prime engine choice for the European market. We didn’t have access to a diesel engine for this architecture that we felt would be suitable for this vehicle.

    In the future, we plan to build an all-new Saab 9-4x using the Phoenix platform. Such a vehicle would have many more powertrain options available to it.

  • Will there be more exotic options offered on the Saab 9-4x?
  • This is one of those damned-if-you-do/don’t questions, isn’t it?

    One of the strong selling points of the Saab 9-4x is that it comes very well equipped as standard. My first time driving the 9-4x saw me so impressed by the equipment level that I wrote a post specifically on this subject. The fact that there are only three options for the Aero model is indicative of the high level of equipment that comes standard on the car.

    I’m not sure what the vehicle line managers have in store, but I don’t see a “Saab Individual” program getting the green light in the next 12 months or so. The thing about equipment is that it has to be available at a certain volume or it’s going to cost an arm and a leg. We think we have the 9-4x equipped and priced to really hit a sweet spot in the North American market and right now, in our situation, that’s the main priority.

    More exotic options? Never say never, but I would suggest that it’s not our focus right now.

  • Why is Saab offering just the 4-cyl version of the Saab 9-5 SportCombi in the US market? Will it get better tuning options, or a V6 version?
  • Unlike the sedan version, the U.S. Saab 9-5 SportCombi will only be offered in one body style; Aero, and with one powertrain; the 220hp 2.0T with XWD and 6-speed auto. There are several factors that have gone into this decision but the bottom line can be summed up with one word: volume.

    First, the wagon segment is a very small segment in the U.S. market and typically represents only about 10%-12% of the 9-5 volume and less than 3% of total U.S. volume for Saab. Having several variations of a model with such low volumes presents inventory issues for dealers, as having the “right” car means stocking more cars than can realistically be sold, and all this expense just to have all of the variants available for a test drive. It’s an impost that we can’t ask our dealers to carry at this point in time.

    Price: Having an attractive price point is very important and the powertrain is one of the most expensive components in the vehicle. The V6 turbo is considerably more expensive than the 4-cylinder turbo and would thus have a significant effect on the price point.

    Economy: Again, the 4-cylinder turbo has an advantage and achieves better figures than the V6. (Offering the V6 in the SportCombi could also negatively affect the figures for the Sedan, which is not a desirable result.)

    FWD/WXD: The U.S. has a wide variety of weather conditions at any given time of year. While XWD may not be a priority in Florida, for example, it is definitely a preferable piece of standard equipment for our strongest regions in the US (traditionally, the north-east).

    6-speed auto (with manual shift mode): This makes the most sense for most buyers of this type of vehicle. Again, it’s about volume. Would it be nice to offer a manual transmission? Yes, of course, but at this point in time the automatic will be the only transmission available.

    The wagon market in the US is already a niche market. I’m sure most of you have seen that many of our competitors have either severely cut, or completely dropped wagons in this segment. All of the factors mentioned above reflect back on this same primary issue – the 9-5 SportCombi is a low volume car. Saab has to work with its US dealers and consider sales data and customer profiles to determine which choices make the most sense in a buy-off-the-lot market.

    Our performance tuning partner, Hirsch Performance, will have a tuning option available for this model. The timing of US availability is not something we can confirm at the moment (and I haven’t had time to speak further with Hirsch about this).

  • Will Saab offer an entry level car?
  • Ever since the sale from GM, comments have been made that Saab would love to develop a smaller car, but that it was not part of the current business plan, it was not funded, and that we would require partnerships for the development of such a vehicle.

    It’s still something on the most-desired list, but the good news is that our partnerships with Pang Da and Youngman will see this dream become part of a documented plan.

    When we announced our deals with Pang Da and Youngman, we included the following:

    The New Product Joint Venture (NPJV) will be 50 percent owned by Saab Automobile and 50 percent by Youngman Passenger Car, and forms the foundation for an expansion of the Saab product portfolio with three models which until now did not form part of Saab Automobile’s current and future product portfolio. As such the NPJV will focus on developing three completely new Saab vehicles: the Saab ’9-1′, Saab ’9-6′ and Saab ’9-7′.

    Within the development process of these three new vehicle lines, Saab Automobile will be responsible for controlling and managing the design, the development and testing process to the start of production and providing other necessary technical and quality control support.

    The Saab 9-1 mentioned in that release will be the smaller Saab asked about in this question.

  • Will Saab develop a higher performance car or an Aero-X type halo car?
  • As you can see from the question above, our priorities under the New Product Joint Venture would be the development of a 9-1, 9-6 and 9-7. None of these are likely to specifically be an Aero-X type halo car.

    We need to solidify our place in the market and that will be done through great product based on outstanding design. What we aim to achieve is Aero-X style distinctiveness in our product range, but with real-world product.

    As for higher performance, Saab have our official relationship with Hirsch Performance and they provide an outstanding product for people who want to tune their Saabs for greater performance and still maintain their full warranty. We need to build on partnerships like this from a position of strength, which we intend to do.

  • Do TimTams still open doors at the Saab Museum 🙂 ?
  • Turn up at the museum around 10:30 with great coffee and a pack of Tim Tams (otherwise known as the most wonderful, tasty chocolate biscuits in the world), and the staff there will be like putty in your hands. You won’t get to drive one of the original Sonetts, but you’ll get an even-warmer-than-normal welcome 🙂

  • Are 2011 orders cancelled and is that factored into the business plan?
  • Orders placed so far in 2011 still remain, unless cancelled by the customer. There have been some cancellations, which is inevitable given our circumstances this year, but we still retain a very healthy order bank of around 10,500 vehicles, awaiting our re-start.

    Our business plan definitely takes our current order bank into consideration, as well as the new products we’ll bring to market as soon as we re-commence production (the low emissions 9-3 TTiD SportCombi, and the 9-5 SportCombi).

  • When will the Saab 9-5 SportCombi be launched?
  • The new Saab 9-5 SportCombi was just weeks away from commencing production when the line was stopped back in April. In fact, we had 9-5 SportCombis on the production line at the time of the stoppage that were due to be used in drive events for the official launch. That’s how close things got.

    The 9-5 SportCombi is a very important product for us, especially in the more wagon-centric European markets. We aim to get the Saab 9-5 SportCombi rolling off the line and into dealer forecourts as soon as possible when the factory re-starts.

    And we’ll get that vehicle launch done, too.

  • When will the Saab 9-4x be launched in markets outside the USA?
  • The 2011 model year production of the 9-4x was completely allocated to the US market. MY2012
    will see production for markets outside the US (and for the US as well, of course). As mentioned above, we cannot give a hard date for the re-start of 9-4x production, however we do expect that in the normal course of events, production there would resume prior to production in Trollhattan. Deliveries to non-US markets will come some time after that (timing will be different for different countries).

  • How is the development of the Saab 9-3 replacement progressing? Will the Saab 9-3 replacement vehicle have a coupe version? Will it have the DNA of the original Saab 900?
  • We can’t talk too much about the 9-3 replacement vehicle. What’s been disclosed publicly is the following:

    The vehicle was originally scheduled for release in the last quarter of 2012. That date has been pushed out to some time in 2013 due to our circumstances this year. Development of the vehicle has continued during our factory stoppage, but at a slower pace due to funding constraints. We are 100% committed to getting this vehicle out in a timely manner, but we are also 100% committed to making sure it’s ready for market when it’s released.

    Jason Castriota spoke to a group of journalists at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year and at that show, mentioned that he had been working on different body styles. The exact makeup of that range is something that you’ll just have to wait for, but we don’t think people will be disappointed.

    We know that there is a large contingent of people missing certain traits that used to be fundamental to Saab design, traits that we became very well known for. Saab hired Jason Castriota so that he could lead our design team in building Saab Saabs again, and that’s exactly what we intend to deliver.

  • Will the Saab 9-3 get a 6-cyl engine again?
  • The V6 engine was eliminated for the Saab 9-3 in all markets in 2010 (except for the singular exception of Poland, to the best of my knowledge). This was when the Saab 9-5 came out.

    The V6 comprised a very small percentage of Saab 9-3 sales worldwide and while it was good to get it into the car back in 2006, the arrival of the Saab 9-5 made the 9-3 V6 somewhat redundant (plus, there were the aforementioned pricing issues of having the V6 that pushed what was our lowest priced car into much higher priced territory).

    The petrol version of Saab 9-3 Griffin now has the direct injection 4-cylinder engine from the Saab 9-5 available and this engine is incredibly smooth and enjoyable to drive. It has a vast torque curve and is very elastic, pulling well from very low revs. Those who want a bit more power from it will find the Hirsch 260hp upgrade pushes what we initially offered with the V6, but without the weight or fuel economy penalty that comes with the V6.

    And for the future? Saab have already announced their deal with BMW to use the 1.6T petrol engine. That will be in the replacement for the Saab 9-3. Will there be a V6 option as well? There has been no information to that effect.

  • Are more upscale interiors being developed?
  • One of our brand pillars is Scandinavian Design. This implies elegance, utility and simplicity. We want more than ever to get back to being a design driven company and the delivery of high quality, well designed interiors is a big part of that.

    The interior of the 9-3 Griffin range retains the 9-3’s recent layout but with better materials and execution. The Saab 9-5 interior is also going to get additional materials to add to the character of the interior that was in place when the vehicle launched last year. And as you might know, the replacement for the Saab 9-3 will see the launch of Saab’s IQon vehicle information and entertainment system, which will be a benchmark in the industry and typical of where we want to take Saab interior amenity in the future.

  • Is a joint venture with Volvo possible in the future?
  • I guess you’d never say never, but there’s nothing on the cards that I’m aware of in terms of actual vehicle development.

    Saab and Volvo already participate in some smaller technology development projects. Sweden is a small place and when government funding is available for developing technical efficiency projects, it helps to secure the project when both companies are on board.

    Volvo are now involved with the Så Nätt project that I reported on earlier this year, looking at ways to build lighter, more efficient vehicles. Saab is still involved, but to a lesser extent due to our circumstances.

  • Will Inside Saab survive Project Cheetah?
  • I do believe it will.

    The emergence of the internet as a marketing and information tool has made it essential for companies to secure their presence online. Inside Saab is one of the ways Saab is doing this. We have other social and web strategies in place, too, and were just weeks away from commencing the rollout of new web platforms when we had to essentially freeze expenditure a few months ago.

    Inside Saab plays a role that other car companies will find difficult to replicate – interacting with customers on a personal level, direct from the factory. We’re small enough to do it, but big enough to keep it interesting. We have some great stuff in the pipeline.

  • Why didn’t Saab use the eco TTiD engines from the 9-3 in the Saab 9-5?
  • Achieving sub-120g CO2 emissions for the 9-3 TTiD wasn’t simply a matter of just the engine. There were quite a number of changes that were made to the Saab 9-3, each resulting in an incremental increase in efficiency. Weight reduction, changing some electronic functions, brakes, airflow – all were involved. We are working on lower emissions for the 9-5 as well and have made significant progress.

    Given the importance of emissions to our fleet customers, you can’t put enough emphasis on how important this is. The low emissions Saab 9-3 TTiD models gained signficant traction in the marketplace in a very short period of time and we can’t wait to take them to the marketplace once again.

  • Will Saab offer factory tours again?
  • We would absolutely love to. No question about it.

  • Are there plans to use the old propeller logo in the future (a-la PhoeniX)?
  • There are no plans to revive the old Saab propeller logo as a prominent feature on future cars. It’s use on the wheels of PhoeniX was merely for effect (though I agree it looked good!).

    As with the 9-3 Griffin, the Saab 9-5 and the Saab 9-4x, we plan to place a lot more badging emphasis on our actual name – SAAB. The Saab wordmark now features prominently on the front grille, the steering wheel and on the rear of our vehicles and it’s likely to remain this way for some time.

    The griffin logo remains on the hood of the car.

    You may also like

    37 Comments

    1. Nice column—thank you.  I can’t comment confidently on what it takes for Saab to succeed around the world—-but for Saab to survive and thrive in the U.S. for the long haul, an entry level model is absolutely necessary.  Simply put, Saab should be competing with Volkswagen and Mazda here, not BMW and Audi.  It’s interesting—-Saab (and for that matter, Peugeot) never seemed to understand American marketing and advertising.  It’s really a pity—-in the case of Saab, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who would love to buy this brand.  Tens of thousands can afford to do it, and take the plunge.  The other hundreds of thousands of potential customers end up in another car line because there is no sub-20K Saab for them to buy.  As they “move up the ladder” in life, they’re already in someone else’s showroom.  A few of them buy Saabs while the rest are loyal to the type (brand) of car they could originally afford.  Also, U.S. consumers would respond to advertising that touts reliability/dependability/warranty more than “born from jets.”  I am pulling for Saab to make it—cautiously optimistic—but financing alone will just prolong the inevitable (at least in the North American market).  New, lower priced models and fresh re-introduction with new advertising is what it will take to really make a difference in the future.

      1. Oh , not to be rude but the VW CC cost from 27k- above 40k and its a VW. 

        The VW BUG cost from 19-30k. The bug? the cheapest VW when it came out. I think SAAB can get away with charging what they will.The Toureg DI can cost past 60k, so the market for SAAB is there too.  
         SAAB is SAAB , Not a BMW not an MB and I dont think SAAB has ever tried to be that. 

        ?900/ 9000? They were their own things. People still talk about the seats of the 9000. As being like first class seats on a jet liner.

         The Point is that to make SAAB a success here they must take out all the GM DNA. The new SAABs must be at least 98% GM free. 
        They made the cross breed 9-4x/Cadilac SRX, The 9-5/ Buick/Opel , I know SAAB is in survival mode but you have to make something exclusive to SAAB, not change sheet metal.  -Thats how you charge more.- 

        To be successful here SAAB needs to go back to its QUIRKY roots. Make features that are odd,  – you know how many people always go on to me about my key slot between the seats?  Things like that make SAAB stand out. SAAB was- “Born from Prop Planes. “

        1. Don’t forget that Saab has always relied on partners and their DNA, and it wasn’t always GM. The 9000 was not Saab’s “own thing.” It was a shared platform with Fiat/Alpha/Lancia. 96’s had Ford engines. 99’s had Triumph engines. The Saab DNA came from the engineering to integrate those borrowed components. To say that the 9-5 is a Buick, as much as it shares its architecture, impugnes the development of that car by SAAB engineers. I, too, would like to see less of GM, especially in the tactile bits on the interior which remind me too much of the General, but having driven both cars, and while each has it’s particular merit, there is no similarity in the driving experience. The 9-5 is very Saab, the Lax very nouveau Buick.

          1. Agreed!  A small OEM like Saab must have good, strong partners for technology input.  Even my beloved C900, the most Saab-y of Saabs, has content from several suppliers from the ZF transmission to the Clarion stereo.  It’s what you design around these building blocks that makes the difference.

        2. New:  Here’s the thing:  I know people who started in VW Golfs and Jettas for under 20K , and later moved up to buy a loaded Passat in the mid-30s or higher.  The point is not that Saab can’t sell higher priced cars—it’s that they MUST sell lower priced cars.  Toyota sells a Yaris for 14K and Avalons near 40K.  A broad product line is needed for Saab.  They are not BMW or Mercedes.  And don’t forget, in the 1960s, while VW was selling Beetles for under 2K, Saab was busy selling the old 96 for under 2K.  Sorry, but they need to offer a lower priced entry level car (and I agree with you, make it quirky).  Also, I believe they would love to make a 98% Saab—-but these days, platform sharing is the norm.  

      2. Yes, Saab should offer a basic car. For now it had to be a basic version of the current 9-3. I don’t know if that is possible. Maybe Swade can answer.
        When the new 9-3 comes out there should also be a very basic version of that car because a 9-1 (or 9-2?) is longer into the future.
        The next 9-3 should also be able, in 1 of the versions, to bring 5 persons and their luggage (the 9-3x?).

    2. Wow, so much helpful information here and an clearly written outstanding article.  It would be nice if the major news publications would use this information to report on the state of Saab as it is right now.  This gives me a lot more confidence in the future.  Not all of it is information we like to hear but this is so much better than just silence. 

      One question that wasn’t addressed (or perhaps wasn’t even asked) is what happens to warranty when the worst things happens and Saab does go into bankruptcy.  How is GM involved with providing warranty for model year <= 2009 before Saab became an independent company?  Do they still have that obligation or was that part of the sale of the company to Spyker?   The US market and the rest of the world are probably different as SCNA is a separate company.

      Are parts for the 9-4X also handled and stocked by Saab Parts in Sweden?  Especially with a new model like the 9-4X, it seems many potential customers are worried about parts and it seems helpful to get more clarification for that vehicle.  The same goes for warranty coverage in the USA and Canada. 

    3. Thank you for all the info. above. We own Saab, Seat and Lancia in Jordan Middleast and i have travlled to france latley and saw the saab 2011 95 parked just out of the saab showroom and its there and not in jordan because the factory did not produce the middleastern specs for SAAB yet and stoped production just after producing the european specs.

      Really looking forward to the chinese investments done by  Pang Da and Youngman and the start of SAAB productions.

      I miss seeing my SAAB’s at the my showroom, been seeing them there since i was a baby and now i hav’nt seen any new cars since GM closed down.

      SAAB you where always the strongest car on the road and the one with amazing turbo boost the only car that makes you feel like your in a SAAB Griffin Cockpit….. This car will NEVER Die….

      Thank You SAAB For all the wonderfull cars that you produced over the years. 

    4. I’m too late to ask question in this QA, but i would like to know when the new 9-3 will be presented? I mean autoshow. As i know, it supposed to be presented in Geneva, which has just passed? When is the next possible date?

    5. Steve,
      Congratulations to you and SAAB for this on-line information format.
       
      For quite some time, I read your former web log, and can clearly remember you casting for the auto industry to ‘get with it’, and realize that the internet will revolutionize the customer-seller relationship…to the significant benefit of everyone.
       
      I believe that you alone were able to envision the dynamic of staying actively engaged with the car customer, via the internet.  The fact that you convinced SAAB of this concept, and then for them to bring you in for this exact function, is testimonial enough…no other car company, to my knowledge, does this on this scale.

      I mention all of this because this exceptionally prepared and worthwhile Q&A, is exactly what I as a customer value.  I was not yet clear, initially when you talked about this idea, as to how you would meaningfully involve the customer.  I choose to not participate in Facebook, so this paraticular medium will be important to me.   

      Thanks again, and good luck to “all of us SAAB”.

      I am ready to purchase my 6th new SAAB, the 94X.
       

    6. Steve,
      Congratulations to you and SAAB for this on-line information format.

      For quite some time, I read your former web log, and can clearly remember you casting for the auto industry to ‘get with it’, and realize that the internet will revolutionize the customer-seller relationship…to the significant benefit of everyone.

      I believe that you alone were able to envision the dynamic of staying actively engaged with the car customer, via the internet. The fact that you convinced SAAB of this concept, and then for them to bring you in for this exact function, is testimonial enough…no other car company, to my knowledge, does this on this scale.

      I mention all of this because this exceptionally prepared and worthwhile Q&A, is exactly what I as a customer value. I was not yet clear, initially when you talked about this idea, as to how you would meaningfully involve the customer. I choose to not participate in Facebook, so this paraticular medium will be important to me.

      Thanks again, and good luck to “all of us SAAB”.

      I am ready to purchase my 6th new SAAB, the 94X.

    7. Steven,Thank you for commenting on the parts situation.One thing I would suggest SAAB doing to make the current parts situation easier on independent shops and customers would be to publicly release the backorder parts sheets or at least a list of back-ordered part numbers and part descriptions. Only dealerships have access to this information currently and it makes it difficult to order parts for customers from SAAB or for customers to order themselves not knowing if they will receive it or not. This is causing a slight unease in many customers we see day to day.It would be appreciated greatly.Best,-Chad LowersSimply SAAB LLC

    8. Thank you for the information, Swade. Terrific answers given the limits you can offer publicly. I can’t wait for part 2….especially info pertaining to warranty coverage should the unspeakble happen. As a sales consultant working with 5 people (who love the Saab’s they drove but are waiting to hear if the warranty will be honored), I can say my customers are anxcious to hear as well!

    9. Saab is making a BIG mistake in the the North American Market with the new 9-5 SportCombi offering ONLY a 2.0T 4-cylinder engine. Given the ~$50,000 price range, this vehicle MUST have the V6 Turbo.

      Saab must build market share with “conquest” sales of other European brands, like Audi, BMW, MB and Volvo.

      A well-equipped, 2012 Volvo XC70 with a 6-cylinder Turbo can be had for less than $44,000. The BMW 5 series wagon and MB E class wagon both come with 6 cylinder  engines and are priced over $55,000.

      I want to buy the new 9-5 SportCombi, but the 2.0T 4-cylinder is a “non-starter”.

      1. Steve a 250 H.P. engine works well in a SAAB , in the 70’s ford made an F-1 engine that made 1500 H.P.  with 4 cylinders . and I dyno my SAAB 4  @ 325 H.P. how much more do ya need , just my thought  

        1. A 4-cylinder Turbo engine with an automatic transmission in the $50,000 price class will be a non-starter in the US market.

          Saab has the V6 Turbo and it is already certified for the US market.

          Much as I would like to buy the 9-5 SportCombi to replace my Audi A6 Avant, there is NO way I will consider or buy this vehicle with a 4-cylinder engine.

          This is a big mistake on the part of Saab.

      2. Totally agree on the price issue.  We need to make a compelling argument to lune new consumers to Saab, not give them another reason to go elsewhere.  Swade said Saab did not sell enough cars when it needed to – which caused razor thin operating margins resulting in the production stoppage and ultimately the reorganization (and ‘possibly’ the death of the company).  One reason Saab did not sell enough cars when it needed to was their cars were grossly overpriced in the US market.  Please understand, I am not saying the cars are not WORTH the price, just simply where Saab needs to be at pricepoint-wise in the US market place to move cars.  Saab needs to be considerably cheaper than BMW/Audi and slightly less (or no more than equal to) Volvo.  An absolutely loaded 9-5 SC with a 4-cyc cannot cost more than $42,000 MSRP.  Once Saab understands this, prices accordingly, then (and only then) will they start to move inventory and build market share.  Saab can only move upmarket over time and after it establishes itself as a manufacturer in it for the long haul!

    10. I guessed it would be a politician style answer on whether the 9-3’s successor would get a coupe derivative, and I was right.  Not even a hint, but thanks anyway Swade.  We know you tried.

      Actually I predict the the 9-3’s replacement (whatever it’s called) will follow a similar similar launch pattern to the NG900.
      It will debut with only a five door hatch with just the BMW 1.6 (in possibly two states of tune?).
      The following year will see a new convertible and a coupe and lastly a replacement for the 9-3x (possibly a bit later?).
      Just like the NG900, the more powerful engines won’t be available until after the convertible and coupe arrive.
      I’m guessing these will be a 1.8 to 2.0 litre turbo, probably not sourced from either BMW and will be used in Aero versions.  A higher boost version could be the basis for a Viggen.

      Anyway that’s my prediction.  I predicted the sale of Saab on Trollhattansaab a few years back, and most people scoffed at me at the time.  In the end I was pretty damned accurate even with the time frame.

    11. +1 to the above posts regarding an entry-level Saab. There needs to be SOMETHING for around 20k to get the trendy younger folks locked into a premium brand they can grow with. It’s amazing that a car company that’s been around as long as Saab dosent have one yet. I know times are tough, but shouldn’t a badge-engineered Cruze take priority over a badge-engineered SRX?

    12. Okay, I read several comments that “saab needs to understand the US market.”  but, isn’t this the quirky car company that we all love because it doesn’t fit well into the US market?  Pave your own way Saab.  we will follow 😉

    13. Steve – Does Saab have access to the high output (GM RPO code LHU) 2.0L Ecotec that is currently being put into the Regal GS? The base 2.0L is pretty weak off the line and… Well, you know the rest.

      I drove a 9-5, and it is a lot of car to move. As is the base Regal Turbo.

      The V6 issue was always beat to death over at Saabs United etc. And I still think if you are going to compete with Audi and BMW in that segment you need more power – since they do so much more with their base engines.

      At any rate – Keep up the good work.

    14. Very thoughtful answers.  A “process” answer is honest and informative.  After all, for those questions that are really asking for a date, even Saab doesn’t know for sure but knows the plan. 

      The parts answer provided lots of insight about why there are availability problems with certain classes of parts.  As for the 9-5 SC plan for the US calling for a 4-cyl, XWD, autotran, Aero variant.  I can understand all the rationale, especially the 4-cyl/6-spd manumatic aspect.  However, if certification requirements allow other variants to be imported, it would be nice if individual factory orders can be placed for other variants.  For example, FWD or non-Aero.  Having more options if willing to wait isn’t a bad tradeoff to the low-volume inventory issue.

    15. Thank you for the write-up. I’m glad to hear that the griffin logo will remain on the hood of the car. I just hope it will stay on the steering wheel, too. Because when I drive, I usually can’t see my hood, and I like to see the griffin logo.

    16. The problem here in the UK is the ludicrous RRP pricing set by SAAB GB to compete with Audi. They then give massive discounts to fleets (which Audi don’t) but not to retail buyers. SAAB was NOT a premium brand in the days of the 96/99/900 and this obsession with chasing the high end Germans has to be stopped. SAAB can be very successful if the cars offer genuine uniqueness of design, quality of materials, robustness of build and finally value for money. Have any of you looked at a Skoda Superb ? It makes the materials used in the interior of the new 95 look shoddy and is priced very attractively, but don’t expect a discount. But it’s an ugly car with not half the presence of the SAAB. The old 93 and 95 were too similar in size because of their GM platform roots. I understand from press reports that the new 93 is half a size smaller than the current model and if that maps out in a lower entry point then that’s a genuine recipe for success. The other important issue to be addressed must be the warranty offered. After the last 18 months buyers will want to be assured that their new car will be supported and a way needs to be found to offer a robust 5/7 year warranty.

    17. I agree that it is smart for Saab to just offer one trim model and engine choice for the NG 9-5 SC, unfortunately, they picked the wrong motor.  The 220 4-cyc only beats the 2.8T V6 by one MPG (18/28 vs 17/27) when comparing automatic transmissions.  Personally, I’ll take the extra 80 HP and the one MPG penalty.  And I’m tried of whole the “Right-Sizing” argument, unless the 4-cyc can significantly improve fuel economy, it just makes Saab’s look underpowered.  Look at what BMW is doing with their new 2.0 4-cyc in the 5-series, more power 240 HP/258 ft-lbs, and much better fuel economy (23/34).

      I say let’s give these Saab’s the Hirsch Tune directly from the assembly line and let the Saab engineers work some magic to get the MPG at 20/30.  Of course, we should be grateful that Saab is even planning to offer a true wagon for the NA market unlike BMW (5-series wagon), Audi (A6 Avant) and Volvo (V70), all of which are no longer for sale in the U.S.  On looks alone, the 9-5 aero wagon will be a huge hit!

    18. Wonderful job Steven which must give for everyone a true light on what could still be confusing. I have received one comment (in french) about this Q&A tonight :
      “a brand with wonderful cars, a company that is human and answers to your questions. Thank you and good luck for the coming months!”
      That was adressed to you of course!

      Cheers,
      Rémi

    19. The 9-3 sounds really good too. Can’t wait to see it in the USA.  A 9-5 engine and interior improvements…a great rendition of the honorable current 9-3.    Saab should consider some entry level model or trim level in the future to get people into Saabs…  most people in the USA are looking for gas mileage, a hatch (utility) and good quality.

    20. First off: thanks for including the 1.9 2.0 diesel engine question.
      The reason for my remark is that (here in Belgium), the 2.0 falls in a higher tax scale.
      More road & registration tax, less interesting for leasing.
      The difference is only 46cm³ (1910cm³ vs 1956cm³) and the power output difference is neglectible to nonexisting.
      For Saab it would certainly save money to only have 1 “general purpose” engine instead of 2 or three, due to volume costs.
      A 1.9 TTiD 9-5 would also be more interesting for leasing drivers, my wallet and power fans (engine well-known by Hirsch). Win-win to all.
      So I’m kinda puzzled over the choice to go for 2.0

      But ofcourse, I have no insight in Saab’s future plans for the 1.9 and/or 2.0 diesel engines…

    21. “What happens to my warranty in the event of Saab bankruptcy?” That’s a complex issue that I’m still trying to find an answer for that I can communicate here in a simple manner. I simply don’t have access to the right people to provide that answer today. We’ll look to address that in Part 2.
       
      This is an important question relating to consumer confidence and is proving to be a difference maker as to whether people buy Saab’s or not. Hopefully the answer will come soon!

    22. “What happens to my warranty in the event of Saab bankruptcy?” That’s a complex issue that I’m still trying to find an answer for that I can communicate here in a simple manner. I simply don’t have access to the right people to provide that answer today. We’ll look to address that in Part 2.
       
      This is an important question relating to consumer confidence and is proving to be a difference maker as to whether people buy Saab’s or not. Hopefully the answer will come soon!

    23. I read in the newspaper today that they think Youngman and Pang Da are maybe backing out and the Chines Volvo owner is negotiating with SAAB. Anyone knows if it is true that Youngman and Pang Da are maybe baking out?

    Leave a Reply

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