Q&A – Saab Automobile and reorganisation

UPDATE: Thanks to all for your questions so far. Please continue to pass the word around so that friends and other Saab contacts can have the opportunity to pose a question. We are chasing and preparing answers for you right now.

——

We’d like to open the floor and invite your questions about what’s happening at Saab right now.

You can post your questions in comments here at Inside Saab, or on the Saab Facebook fan page. I’ll do my best to chase up answers and post them here on Inside Saab on Friday.

Be advised that there are some areas that we can’t touch on. We can’t give any hard details about deadlines, for example, because they shift with the circumstances. We can’t give advance information about the Saab 9-3 replacement. And I can’t diagnose your engine problems, either ūüôā .

But I will do whatever I can to get answers to as many realistic questions as possible about what’s happening at Saab, and then post those responses here on the website.

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57 Comments

    1. And further: What is a realistic timetable for a possible production start in this case or in other obvious cases? I mean eg. how far are the negotiations with all the part suppliers and how quickly can they start their production for Saab in case the financial and other obstacles have been solved?
      So what is realistic? Some prduction already in november and normal level by the newyear or is it more realistic to expect production start only after the newyear?
      I just think that especially¬†for all the “not-so-enthustiastic” potential customers the information about a producyion start would be very very important and the sooner the better! And all this is important for all Saab dealers around the world too. It is almost impossible to sell cars if You can’t give any¬†guarantee¬†of the delivery date…

  1. Hi Swade.

    I`d like to know how the development of the new 900 is coming along. Has work continued on the car as planned during the last months?
    Mabye a bit outside the box, but do you know wether Hirsch will provide the 190 TTiD with a performance upgrade?
    Is it likely to assume that production will start during the reconstruction process?
    Is Antonov still in the (investment) picture?
    Are there any plans on using the old propeller plane logo on future cars, like we saw on the Phoenix?

    Thanks!

    1. As the 9-5NG 2.0 (T)TiD engine seems pretty much a copy of the 1.9 (T)TiD engine with a slightly longer crankshaft (1mm iirc) and Hirsch squeezes 200HP out of the 1.9, I don’t see much margin to take the 2.0 beyond 200-210HP. And as it already has 190, the gain/price ratio doesn’t look that good.
      I’ve asked Hirsch about their plans for the 2.0 TTiD but the reply was that “there are no plans at this time for this engine” (dated 14/09/2011).

      Why didn’t Saab use the existing and recently eco’ed 1.9 TTiD engine in the 9-5NG ?
      It’s known, saves on parts (1 engine block for all cars instead of 3* now), outperforms the current 2.0 specs and is more tax-friendly…

      *: 9-3 uses the exact same engine block (all Alu) for all types: 130, 160 & 180HP
          9-5NG 2.0 TiD uses a cast iron engine block with Alu cylinder head
          9-5NG 2.0 TTiD uses an all Alu engine

      1. Thank you for your reply.
        Until 1,5 week ago I had a 93 Aero TTiD with BSR tuning installed = 213 hp/450 Nm. If Hirsch could provide a tune up with, say 210 hp/450 Nm, I would defenitly consider that on my new 95 Aero TTiD. I feel like a bit more torque could be useful in the heavier 95.

        1. My thoughts exactly. The 9-5 deserves a torque upgrade.
          Current possibilities in 9-3 and 9-5:
                                    9-3  1.9TTiD              |      9-5 2.0 (T)TiD
          ———————————————————————-
          HP/Nm   130/320   160/360   180/400   |  160/350   190/400
          Hirsch:   170/380   200/430   200/430   |  180/400      N/A

          Considering the weight of the 9-5, any 9-3 can overperform it.
          While I understand the 9-3 is targeted and marketed more sporty than the 9-5, I find this sad.
          If you’re in the UK (I’m in BE so not linked to them), you could check out http://www.dieselbob.co.uk
          They claim to push the 9-5 2.0 TTiD towards 230HP and 475Nm !
          Not sure about the effects on reliability and warranty though ūüôā

          1. 230/475 might be a bit hefty! I`m sure there are quite some margin, but I would not prefer beeing stranded somewhere with the clutch in pieces. ūüôā
            I`m totally with you on the 93 vs. 95 performance. The 95 chassi is a gem and could probably, with ease, cope with quite some power, although adding weight in doing so would undermine the handling.
            Let`s hope Hirsch dig their teeth into our little problem ūüôā

  2. As THE 9.4x is produced in Mexico, is this also on hold? Or will THE production start sooner? Also for THE european market?
    Thanks

  3. Will Inside Saab in any way be haunted by the cheetah or will the small but momentuous Inside Saab Division continue to operate as usual during and after the reconstruction?

        1. They are mostly referred to as model years, example 2006+ for the 9-5 redesign or 2002-2005 for the previous update.  Most of those updates are just to the body though and the technical bits mostly stayed the same. 

          But you could use something like Saab 9-5 Gen1 РVer1, Ver2 and Ver3 (Version or something similar).  Or Saab 9-5 G1V1 to make it a bit shorter.

          It makes more sense to use chassis numbers but they are not well-known for Saab (9400 for 9-3 Gen1, 9440 for 9-3 Gen2, 9600 for 9-5 Gen1) like they are with MB (W124 etc) or BMW (E28 etc) because model names can change.

  4. I am a proud 2011 9-5 owner. I am curious what will happen if Saab does go bankrupt and how it will affect my warranty and the free maintenance that came with the car. I love the car and am routing for everyone to be around a long time!

  5. Hey Swade- My largest concern is the lack of spare parts for current vehicles on the road. I own and operate a¬†independent¬†Saab repair shop and the lack of¬†availability¬†of vital parts is greatly affecting the CURRENT owners of Saab vehicles. Two have already sold/traded their newer 9-3 (9440) because of this situation. Items such as vehicle keys, ignition coils, ignition switches,¬†convertible¬†top roof pistons, hydraulic lines, and such are¬†critical¬†to the vehicle for safe and reliable operation. What is the outlook for restock on these type parts? Last week spoke with an owner of a ’09 9-3 who still making payments for the vehicle, and has been out of service for 5 weeks waiting for parts which show no ETA. He is stuck in a rental car with no reasonable way to sell his vehicle near market value, and still making monthly payments on it as well. Saab needs to find a way to KEEP every single current vehicle owner HAPPY and confident in the brand. Appreciate your willingness to give accurate and reliable information¬†directly¬†from Saab. Too many rumors out there.

    1. Justin, we are having the same issues, we are understanding though, parts suppliers will not provide parts unless they get paid. We are waiting on a few interior pieces for my Wife’s ’08 SportCombi, they seem like parts that are probably in stock somewhere, but being held until payment can be made.

      1. Hi Guys,
        Steven, I know this is for question to Saab, but this subject is of great concern to many current/would be owners, repairers, dealers etc, etc.I found this site in the UK some time ago, and a lot of franchised dealers are registered. Some dealers may have some parts, that others don’t, there is also a parts n: search + direct dealer comms, for enquiries.¬†I know this is not the solution, but [even if Postal costs are considered, international too] maybe a good stopgap solution.http://www.carpartsconnexion.com/defaultsaab.aspHope this helps all & apologies if this is off topic Steven.

    2. This is the exact question I was planning on asking as well. I also own an¬†independent¬†repair facility and I must say, the parts situation is truly out of hand. I’ve been getting more and more calls from angry customers that can’t get parts. Luckily¬†after-market¬†parts are able to fill most of the voids, however, to have keys and ignition switches on back order for the 9440 chassis is absurd. If you walked in to a dealership today and bought a brand new 2011 9-3 and spilled coffee in your ignition switch on the way off of the lot, the dealer would just have to look at you and say “sorry, we can’t get it.”¬†

      Please provide some insight as to the process of restoring parts availability and give any kind of time frame you can. All current owners would most likely agree that this should be a higher priority than restarting production. 

      Best,
      -Chad Lowers.
      Simply SAAB, LLC

    3. I would like to hear this question answered as well. I recently quit my job as a tech because we couldnt get parts so i couldnt even get 30 hours a week. No ETA, no supplier, is what we were told about most stuff. The backorder sheets just kept getting bigger. It will be great when production restarts but not if no technicians will be around to work on them.

    4. This is a very interesting issue. Maybe Swade can do an interview with the head of Saab Automobile Parts AB?
      One question is the parts situation at the moment. Another is the parts company’s strategy should Saab go bankrupt. I assume it will get new owners as there is much money to be made and that parts will be supplied to the old 9-5 and the the 9-3. But what will happen with parts for the new Saab 9-5? Has enough cars been produced and sold for parts to be made and sold?

    5. +1 on the parts availability question! I’m not a tech, but I own a 9-5 wagon for which I cannot currently get a neutral safety switch or spare key. Techs, shops, and owners need help here! Thanks for any info, Swade.

  6. I’m wondering about your plans for the different parts of Saab, that is Tools and Powertrain, are there thoughts of integrating them into Saab again when the loan from EIB has been payed back?

    Also, what is the situation with EIB? Will you try to get another loan to pay back EIB?

  7. We need an entry level car . Straight foward simple , that people know as a SAAB , but is priced to bring people to the brand , shows the inovation that has made the SAAB cars so driven. I love the current cars but when shopping on-line or
    as shown all the prices are for well established ( yes we know there are incentives out there ) but the buying public doesn’t see that . I see SAAB cars as¬† a leader in new technoligy , mabey a bit of that in an entry level car that gets the publics eye . Also Justin makes a very good point about servicing the cars on the road ,¬†by hook or creative parts shopping I’ve gotten by but that wont last forever , we need parts supply¬† Thanks ,¬†Dave , ¬†Be well SAAB cars¬† =)
     

    1. You are so right ev2 and I think Saab will be able to provide such a vehicle with the Phoenix platform. Something that I would love to see is a true ethusiast marketing campaign. With Hirsch “finally” selling parts in the US, we can start to see some “one-off” special edition Saabs that may open new doors to the demographic. I mean some folks have Saabs that can spank the pants off of an Straight-6 BMW M3, but what do we call them? Swade, this may be digging too deeply, but are there any plans¬†for Saab to produce Viggen-like extreme performers or perhaps a performance division?¬†AMG, SRT, SVT, M, Aero? Doesnt sound too strong does it?¬†

  8. Swade, I had an idea for a marketing campaign and although TV ad space is expensive, is there anything in the works? We love the “For left lane drivers, and right brain thinkers” billboards and custom banner ads online¬†and were wondering if Saab might accept amatueur commercials¬†and possibly¬†display them on the corporate site or play them at dealerships?¬†

  9. Comments more than questions, but thanks for listening!

    1.¬† Like others, parts are a biggie, especially for older cars. I know many are made by outside suppliers, but it’s still a concern. And I even find parts for an ’03 9-5 on what one parts guy called “intergalactic backorder.”¬† In 42 years of owning imported cars (and 27 with Saabs), I’ve never had to wait for parts. Until now.

    2.¬† Marketing. There should be some. I’ve seen a couple billboards here and there, a TV ad or two, but very little to say that Saab is still alive.¬† Since I have 4 Saabs, all my friends know I’m a Saab guy, and they ask how I feel now that Saab is gone.¬† I have to explain it’s not. But when they don’t see new ones and don’t see advertising, they think it’s history. I do marketing communications for a living and don’t understand the lack of even any branding activity.¬† I know you need more product, but still….

    Do something active, like ride and drive events, to get people into the cars. When people drive a Saab and find out what it’s really like when they go through some turns and nail the gas on a straight, they’ll see the difference. But you have to show them, either live or in advertising.

    3.¬† Dealers. I live in Saab country, New Hampshire. Yet the local dealer closed and the nearest ones are each 45-50 miles away. My indy mechanic who has a great following is starting to service other makes because there’s no dealer to feed the market with new car sales. An hour each way is a bit too far to go for a 5,000 mile oil change or minor warranty work. Nationally, dealers are even thinner on the ground, and with the exception of Saab enthusiasts, this will cramp sales.

    4.¬† Service. If you can’t have as many dealers as you’d like, at least have more authorized service facilities. This is done in Europe and could be done in the U.S. I think people will buy a car from a distant dealer if they can get it serviced locally and can get a loaner. One of the things that stops me from getting a new Saab is that the dealer is just too far away.

    5.¬† Models.¬† There has to be a progression of models, from some kind of entry-level to mid-range to high-end. Hopefully the new 9-3 or the promised 9-2 will help. This brings in buyers who don’t want something vanilla like an Asian car or want the Euro feel but not in a VW/Audi or Bimmer.

    1. where in NH are you located? I have driven Saabs since an early teen as my parents were into them.  I have to go to Exeter from Milton to get my car serviced by a Saab dealer.  I hate to give up the brand after FORTY SIX years of driving them!

  10. I have owned five saabs; all 9-5s, starting with a 1998, and I still have a 2002 and a 2007. I am looking at buying a 2011 Saab. However, if Saab goes bankrupt, or through some¬† kind of restructuring, won’t the warranty essentially be worthless?

  11. Will the 9-4X ever be able to get exotic options? If I build a base V6 Cayenne the options are limes and I can truly make it mine, but if I do the same to a Aero 9-4X it can still be the same basic interior, It would be great if I could add high cost options like more unique two tone leather, better or more wood, even SAAB logo embossed in the headrests. People are willing to pay a little extra for that personal touch that can boost resale value, and its a huge profit booster as well! 

    2nd what are the odds of finally getting a SAAB 9-3 coupe?!?! I am tired of looking at my brothers BMW 3series coupe, I want him to get a SAAB but he doesn’t want a sedan. Any hope on a more sporty car?

  12. What is the deal with Youngman and the Phoenix platform. Some media report that they have got access to it by giving Saab a loan of 650 million sek, others say that Phoenix is only a safety for the loan. Please clarify.

  13. Hi Swade – So glad to see that you/Saab are open to the suggestions of the loyal owner community.¬† That shows real commitment to the customer base.¬†¬† I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 9-5 Sport Combi here in the US. I’m interested as to why it was decided to only offer the 4 cylinder, especially to the US market that is so horsepower centric. I’ve looked at the Swedish literature, and the Aero XWD 2 liter shows a 0-100 kph of 9.2 seconds.¬† I’m worried that this will not be competitive in the marketplace, when you consider an Audi A4 Avant or BMW 328xi Touring is significant faster (albeit smaller).¬† Are they future plans to tune the 2 liter to better handle the weight of the XWD 9-5s? Or offer the V6?¬† (and make it more of a 5 series wagon competitor, or shall I say, “past 5 Series wagon” competitor).¬† I really would love to see Saab hit the US market with a larger wagon that is second to none, especially with the loss of the VW Passat, Audi S4 and A6, and even Volvo V50 and V70 wagons.¬† I’ve been a wagon owner since ’95 and will ALWAYS own one!

    Also, I second one of the comments here about Saab test drive events.¬† I bought my first Saab in 1999 in Boston thanks to a Saab test drive event at the Brookline Museum of Transportation.¬† I’ve been hooked ever since, and I think this would be a great marketing opportunity for strong urban markets like San Fran, LA, Chicago, Denver, DC, NYC, etc.¬† It’s a great way to try and entice buyers and steer some of the “Saab is dead” comments into the “recycling bin.”

  14. I also am very concerned about parts – my mechanic says that he can get “after market” parts, but are they the same?¬† We own 3 Saabs – 2001 and 2002 hatchbacks and 1996 red convertible – what scares me is getting stuck somewhere out of the area and not being able to get parts – our Saab dealer here – Reinertsen is great, but what about a few hours away.¬† One of the joys of my Saabs is driving and the great gas mileage, but now, I wonder.

  15. Hi Swade. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and hope to be a happy Saab owner, again,¬†in the¬†very near future. However, these comments regarding parts availability are very alarming. Earlier this week I put a deposit down on a beautiful new 2011 9-5 Aero XWD. I am scheduled to travel 2000 miles to pick it up and drive it¬†home VERY soon. I knew that there was a risk involved, but some reassurance to potential buyers out there would be most helpful. I should be very excited right now, instead I’m feeling intense feelings of anxiety, thinking that I just purchased what could easily become the most expensive lawn ornament in the neighborhood (based on what I am reading here). Can you tell those of us who have recently purchased, or are thinking of purchasing a new Saab, anything positive about the availabilty of parts for these vehicles now and in the future?

    1. Probably just use your carrier’s data plan at a cost to you, shouldnt be too much, though it would be nice if it had WiFi, so when you’re parked at home or near a Starbucks for example it could perform updates and caching at little or no charge.

  16. Another question: Diesels in the US. Any hope for that? We have a technologically superior car that uses sustainability in some of its marketing. So how about diesel engines?

    In Wales last year I put 500 miles on a Vauxhall Insignia with a 200 HP diesel. Bags of torque. 35 mpg being driven hard. Almost the same size as a 9-5 and is (I think) a shorter version of the same platform. We need that kind of option here!

  17. SAAB should enter serious dialogue w/ APPLE. a billion in APPLE capital, to provide tech and development costs >creating the ultimate interactive, ‘ green’ vehicle; iCAR. An archetypal Volks/Peoples car. Sales to China alone first year; 2.5 million cars.

  18. SAAB should enter serious dialogue w/ APPLE. a billion in APPLE capital, to provide tech and development costs >creating the ultimate interactive, ‘ green’ vehicle; iCAR. An archetypal Volks/Peoples car. Sales to China alone first year; 2.5 million cars.

  19. I have 2 Saab 9-3’s and I love them, however the interior materials do seem to lack the upscale feel as other car brands in the same premium segment.¬† For future Saab models, are more upscale interiors being developed?¬† I think this would really help sell more cars.¬† The outside is awesome and may attract buyers but the interior does not keep up and dissappoints.¬†¬† Don’t touch the seats in the Aero models though, they are awesome.¬† Maybe expand those to all models?

  20. I’m wondering how much you’ve been affected by the lack of funds/loan from EIB? Which projects are been on hold as a direct result of that, and does that in some way affect the development of the new 9-3? Thanks Swade!

  21. What is the 2012 production schedule for the 9-4X?  When I picked up mine, the dealer told me he has several 2012 Saab 9-4X on order and production should start soon.  From other sources, I hear start of production is unknown at the moment.

    It seems what’s on everyone’s mind is parts availability and warranty coverage when the worst thing happens.¬† I contacted SCNA about this and they said they didn’t know either.

  22. Hi Swade,

    All the questions below come from french readers of our french blog (Saab actu) and translated here for the Saab english speaking world. Good luck! (Rémi)

    _______

    From Stéphane, french Saab customer :
     
    What is about all the old order for new Saabs since march 2011 ? Haven’t they been all cancelled now ? If this is the case, shound’t the 2012 businessplan take that fact into account?
     
    _______
     
     
    From ‚Äúphanou‚ÄĚ, french Saab customer :
     
    1) IF Saab is saved in the coming days/months, will we able to see a new marketing strategy for France ? For exemple, marketing focused on the remaining Saab dealers (with mailing, advertising etc.) and on target customer base
    2) Isn’t it better to sell more with lower public prices than less with high prices marketing ? Does not Saab need to be seen, more visible on the street ?
     
    _______
     
     
    From a french anonymous Saab customer :
     
    Is SAAB aware of the high prices in its network ?
    However parts it is, they are 2 ou 3 times higher than in an generalist autostore. For exemple, the update of the GPS is priced at 600‚ā¨ and the hourly rate is 20% than Opel, in the same garage. Shall we not review these prices? SAAB is not like BMW, AUDI… Sales datas have to come with an attractive network.
     
    _______
     
     
    From a french anonymous Saab customer :
     
    1) Can we hope a 9-4X in Europe with a diesel engine ou a 4 cylinder Biopower?
    2) When will the 9-5 Sportcombi will be launched in France ?
     
    _______
     
     
    From XEROX, a french new Saab 9-5 owner :
     
    1) Is Saab now and in the future able to be financialy reliable to assume the garanties of new cars (95 NG or 94 X) ?
    2) If yes, when will we be able to order the new 9-4X in France?
     
    _______
     
     
    From a french Saab 9-3 owner :
     
    Hi all, I don’t want to be too pessimistic, but I belong to those who says that prices are too high to let Saab hope a take-off of the sales data : is there any prices level review on the road ? Good luck!
     
    From a french Saab (1999) 9-3 owner :
    1) Is it forseable to hope in the future a new ¬ę¬†9-3¬†¬Ľ with the Saab 900 classic dna and a coupe style with a big trunk and easy access?
     
    2) Will SAAB, a pionner in many fields, going on screwing up with diesel engines that brought some of reliability problems and screwing up on 6 cylinders engines trying to go after the german carmakers? Would it not be more thinkful to stay in what Saab does know how to do, such as :
    – unbreakable 4 cylinders turbo engines,
    – low pressure turbo on downsized (for the green market) or high performance engines,
    – a new innovative four wheel drive transmission
    – all that in a coupe, convertible, combi or sedan models?
    … Instead of marketing heavy engines, awful diesel engines and pollutant SUV and with it to keep on loosing its soul?
     
    SAAB has the chassis, the engines, the transmissions, …. They do perform in the technology (as long as they are not on the way to China) : what does Saab need in fact? A network to rebuild? Many dealers have abandonned the ship in cities like Lyon, Grenoble : nothing ! Not an easy fact for the customer who have put their faith in Saab’s future.
     
    The value of brand is to be rebuild like the network. You should understand me¬†: those dealers who have (in 2010) shut their Saab garage so fast, just a few months after the GM-SPYKER deal, they have encouraged me to look after a Saab community to learn how to get parts et to repair my car myself (…) without a Saab dealer.
     
    As already read many times, GM/Opel parts cost much less than Saab parts when they are the same. The brand could bluster, but we the consummers are not foolish. And the faithful Saab fans don’t want to be like cash cows.
     
    Tack så mycke och lycka till alla i Trollhättan!
     
    Thank you.
     
    _______
     
     
    From ‚Äúmooveinsaab‚ÄĚ, a french Saab customer¬†:
     
    1) Is a joint venture or a strategic partnership with Volvo (technology aera) to be possible ine the future?
     
    2) Can we really dream on a supercar such a the Aero X concept, that would be build to few limited unites so as to restore Saab brand image?
     
    _______
     
     
    From Rapha√ęl, a french Saab new owner :
     
    Hello,
     
    I am an all new Saab owner since a few days (a Saab 9-3 Vector 2009) and really happy with it.
    1) if Saab disappear, where will I be able to repair and to maintain my Saab? Is there any parts left?
    2) If Saab go ove rit, is there a special and significant advertising budget on the paper ?  Especially in France to boost Saab image and sales.
     
    Thank you and long life Saab !
     

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