Saabosphere – links we (mostly) liked this week

First of all, I have to say congratulations to one of my fellow Saab website dudes, a man commonly known as Wulf, who picked up a Saab 9-4x 3.0i Premium earlier this week.

Wulf runs an online Saab community called Saabworld and his new ride can be seen in the Garage section of the website. 9-4x sales are all relatively new so it’s great when someone you know picks one up and it sounds like he’s loving the experience so far.

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Obituaries

A member of my brother-in-law’s extended family passed away a few weeks ago. His name was Bill and he was a wonderful guy, a man 25 years or so older than me who has probably known me since I was a very small boy (his daughter and I were the cute little 8-year-old kids in my sister’s wedding photos back in the late 1970s).

Bill was a car guy, with a particular penchant for older American cars. Some of my first automotive recollections were of his Ramblers. Later on, he took to Packards. Such was the respect for Bill in the Packard community in Australia, people actually travelled thousands of kilometers in their Packards to form a guard of honor at his funeral last week.

As my brother-in-law told be about this over the weekend, he said “Bill would have loved it”. And it occurred to me at that point that we often don’t show the level of respect, or the depth of feeling that we have for some people until it’s too late. I’m sure Bill would have loved the parade of Packards that was put on in his honor, and I’m sure his surviving family did enjoy it in his absence, but I hope those involved had a chance to let Bill know the esteem he was held in while he was still alive.

It seems this is a problem we don’t have here at Saab. Plenty of news services have already written us off as having died and the analysis and eulogising has already started:

It’s nice to know you’re all thinking of us, some of you even exhibiting a reasonable degree of fondness. But I’d like to emphasise the following – WE’RE NOT DEAD!!!!!

Yes, two of our unions have commenced bankruptcy procedures (a reluctant, defensive measure on their part to protect wages) but we also have an appeal in place that we’re quite confident will be successful and lead to the bankruptcy proceedings being withdrawn, our business being reorganised and protected until our new investors come on board.

We have to work hard to make sure everything aligns properly, but there is no insurmountable reason as to why that will not happen.

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If you’d like some more entertaining reading on the media treatment of Saab here in Sweden, do a Googletrans of this article at Aftonbladet.

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And for some even more interesting reading, you can see some potential stakeholder thoughts on Hummer, as well as Chinese thoughts on Saab from 2009.

Interesting stuff released via Wikileaks.

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The Austrian and Slovakian Saab Clubs had a combined meeting last weekend, combining some nice countryside in Austria and city driving through Bratislava as well as some good food, good cars and good company.

There are some great images available both here and here.

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We’ve all seen notable images of Saabs carrying stuff – ride-on lawnmowers, motorcycles, all sorts of stuff.

Here’s a new one from Greg Abbott in the US. The cabinet wouldn’t fit in his 9-5, so out came the convertible!!

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20 Comments

  1. To whom it may concern,

    I strongly believe in Saab, and hope it does indeed resume production and have a bright future.

    But “we” are up against daily articles writing the company off (like these from just today: http://www.autonews.com/article/20110914/BLOG06/110919917/1172, http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2011/09/saabs-sad-saga).  Should (hate to use that word) Saab resume production, and introduce MY12 vehicles around the world, something will have to be done to insure in the customer’s mind that the vehicle he or she purchases will have a valid warranty no matter what the future holds. 

    In the USA, would it be possible for Saab to “purchase” warranty insurance/maintenance coverage from say – General Motors?  The dealer would at least have a chance of making a sale if they could somehow say that even if Saab has additional problems in the future, that warranty issues would not be a problem.  The factory covered maintenance program would also need to be assured.

    I have bought to the attention the current selling prices of Saab vehicles to several friends here in the US (9-5’s at $10,000+ and 9-3’s at $8500+ off list), and while they are impressed by my NG9-5, they will not even consider spending $21,500 – $45,000 for a new Saab no matter what the discount is because they are afraid of the potential of orphan status.

    My suggestion:  Saab should not resume retail production without placating the consumer as to its future solvency with regard to warranty and factory maintenance program coverage.

    -Perian

    1. I was very concerned about warranty coverage when I bought my 9-4X a few days ago.  I discussed this with the dealer before I bought it and he offered a 4-year/60K mile bumper-to-bumper warranty through GM free of charge.  So in the worst-case scenario, I can take it to any garage in case Saab Cars North America is not able to provide warranty coverage.  That extra security (which almost certainly is not going to be needed) made me decide to go ahead with the purchase.  And I have a firm belief the company will make it through all of this because otherwise I wouldn’t have bought it either.

      I also found Saab dealers very accommodating and reassuring about the current situation.  In case something does happen to Saab, they will still be servicing Saabs and many will stand behind the Saabs they sold and their customers.

      I think it would be a great boost to new Saab sales if SCNA could offer these extra kind of warranties for “just-in-case”.

    2. To be honest I think the plan is to ignore USA for a couple of years and aim for an economy that is in better shape the bric countries. USA is going down slowly.

  2. Thanks Steven!  I was wandering around a few Saab dealers over a week ago and was instantly impressed by the 9-4X.  I didn’t even think I was going to like it that much but you know what they say..  People who test-drive a Saab usually buy one!

    We have all read the reviews (including here on Inside Saab) and seen the pictures but actually seeing it in person and driving it  is a totally different experience.  Saab did an outstanding job in making it a real Saab and I am still discovering all features and little details.  There hasn’t been a much written about the base and Premium models with the 3.0i engine but is exceeding my expectations so far.  An in-depth review will follow after a few weeks.

    1. Wulf, again my congratulations and thanks.  You’ve bought the same spec as I would, with the possible exception of the sunroof (I don’t tend to use it and they’re heavy enough to impact economy).  I think the 3.0 Premium is a brilliantly specced car and probably represents the best price/value package unless you really want the 2.8T and XWD (which I wouldn’t miss on this type of vehicle).

      Can’t wait to read the review.

    2. You haven’t experienced a long, dark northern winter yet, have you? 🙂  After a few months of short and gloomy days, you’ll take every opportunity to soak up extra light and catch any rays the sun may throw at you.  I think this panoramic sunroof will be awesome in winter in addition to summer.

      The Aero would have been nice but out of my budget.  And I bought the 9-4X for its utility, versatility, good road manners on less than perfect roads and exploring out-of-the-way places at the end of dirt and gravel roads.  XWD and the nav system would have been nice but you have to draw the line somewhere.  And the Bose sound system is unbelievably good so I have nothing to complain.  I didn’t even expect full iPod integration which works great.

      The Premium package adds a lot of nice features but even the base 9-4X is a great value.  It’s only a few thousand more than something like a FWD Ford Explorer.  SCNA really did a good job in pricing the 9-4X.

    1. Well, let me think it through for you.

      This bankruptcy case would be heard after the unions’ case seeing it was lodged after the union case.  So it’s not going to be something really new.

      As with the unions’ case, if we have our appeal upheld in Gothenburg, which we realistically expect to happen, then the unions’ case would be withdrawn (so they’ve said) and my understanding is that we’d be protected from this claim by our reorg status.

      The other element is that we would likely have the 70mil Euro deal transaction completed and be in a much better place to negotiate with suppliers, such as this claimant.

      So, this is news of a sort, but under the legal processes applicable (as far as I understand them) it doesn’t really change the current situation in any way.  The possible exception to that is if a creditor claim like this one is treated different from a union claim.  That’s something I don’t know for sure, but I assume they’d be treated the same.

      1. Trying to have my fingers crossed but it makes me have bad feeling when i hear something bad about this…

        Thanks for a quick answer 🙂 I need to stop reading newspapers really and stay positive instead…

  3. At least the Automotive News story was heartwarming with the writer’s remembrance of his Saab 9000 experience.  

    All the referenced “obits” were opinion pieces that used bits and pieces of news that were current at the time they were written.   The writers are going with anecdotal and other limited knowledge about the longer-term history of Saab.   Even legitimate issues they mentioned are written as if they are the norm vs. the exception.  Reading all these “missed points” will make Saab’s latest anticipated comeback even more rewarding. 

    And, I’m glad this topic of “obits” was reported here since it gives me an outlet for talking about what I’ve been telling people.  We could always talk about a “Saab (as in “sob”) Story.” And the new holding company symbol (SWAN) now introduces the play on “Swan Song.”  But I’ve determined we shouldn’t use the “it’s over when the fat lady sings” expression.   It will only be over when the tall guy says so.   And hopefully the thing that will be over are these obituaries. 

  4. You’re absolutely right, Swade! Also the number of articles here in the Dutch press writing that Saab has “almost died” is countless… But, that has been the case now for nearly six months, and still SAAB IS NOT DEAD YET!

    Please keep up the great work updating us from the inside in so well written words, while at the same time bringing us enough good stuff that put a smile on our face. 

    The future is to boutique brands, and for such an emotional product as a car is, the future should be promising!

    Laurens

    PS On a side note: I will fly in to Sweden for a few days to visit Trolhattan and the Saab Museum from there, but I only want to go with a Saab rental car. Anyone know if I can rent a Saab around Stockholm airport??? A quick google scan did not gave me any concrete results…

  5. Carlstrom is a very emotional guy who has done Saab some “bear services” as we say here, with his a bit to heavy conspiracy theoretic ideas. Disservice i guess in english. He is also obviously not the kind of guy that reads a lot and he makes one or two very illogical jumps in this article. With that said i think his Aftonbladet article is generally brilliantly spot on and it brings a tear to my eye.

    1. Why is VM, Antonov or anyone else believing that Saab could be something prosperous automatically considered being crooks? This i sad.

  6. Maybe everyone should check out this article at the New York Times today: “What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?” It’s all about character and being able to pick yourself up when things don’t go right. 

    I worry about warranty coverage, too. But that does not keep me from keeping an eye on the currently available new Saabs and prices. So, Swade (and Saab, too) just stay on the horse. (as in don’t fall off the horse)

    Just a thought.

  7. Saab still alive!!! Here in Canada > Montréal we 100% support Saab! Nous sommes des amoureux de Saab et nous souhaitons prompt rétablissement à Saab qui sera de retour avec des Saab 2012… Nous avons mis en ligne notre nouveau site Web dernièrement: http://www.saablaval.ca/ Nous avons des Saab neuves et usagées! Visit us, share us!

    ps; give us some news on http://www.facebook.com/saablaval !

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