On a personal note….

I’ve got admit, this situation is wearing me down.

I’m sure that the vast majority of you are aware of my history with Saabs United as its former owner, editor, gopher and whatever. SU remains the most active Saab enthusiast weblog on the net.

Through the sale of Saab by GM back in 2009/10, I was able to use Saabs United as a channel to convey very accurate and timely news as to what was happening with the sale situation. It was a trusted receptacle of information about Saab because the various sources confiding in me knew that my heart was 200% behind the company.

My motivation was to make sure that the world knew that Saab was a viable company – which I still wholeheartedly believe it is today. Back then, if GM were going to make a decision about shutting Saab, I was determined that they weren’t going to be allowed to do it quietly, without full disclosure about the situation (or as full a disclosure as I could provide).

I was proud of the fact that Saabs United maintained a very-near-to-100% accuracy record and became a reference point for Saab employees, enthusiasts and even the professional media. We even had one newspaper reporter in Sweden who used to troll through SU comments to dig up subjects for his ‘opinion’ pieces. What a laugh.

When I took this job at Saab, there were a number of people who warned me that my freedoms would be curtailed and that I would find it hard to cope with, given my previous independence and willingness to tell the story. I accepted this, exhausted as I was from the relentless workload that I had to balance with the blog, my full time job and family commitments.

Putting the news element to one side, I also accepted this because I wanted to take my own personal mission beyond the provision of news, which dominated my blogging life for nearly two years. From a product perspective, I was tired of arguing with armchair quarterbacks about what was involved in developing Saabs from the outside. I wanted a chance to show them first hand, from the inside, what went into the vehicle development, manufacturing and marketing processes from the Saab perspective.

Personally speaking, the problem for me now is that I’ve shed the full-time job and have plenty of time to do this blogging thing right, but it’s all about the business right now, and I’m tied by the company’s need to maintain radio silence unless there’s something concrete to talk about.

I’m a toothless tiger.

——

You can call this post an exercise in catharsis if you like.

It’s extremely frustrating to an old Saab warrior like me to not be able to rush full speed into the breech as I used to, especially seeing I’ve still got the energy and passion to do so.

It’s extremely frustrating to me that I no longer have the information that I used to, that I can’t better inform people as to what’s really going on here.

It’s extremely frustrating to me that I can’t develop the website that Saab employed me to build because I can’t fulfil the promise that my previous record offered. I still have all the tools to do so. What I don’t have is the material to work with on a regular enough basis.

It’s extremely frustrating to me that I can’t bring my friends, the many Saab enthusiasts I’ve met over the years, closer to this company, which is what this whole exercise was intended to do.

It’s extremely frustrating to me that I can’t fight back when I see various automotive columnists writing this company off in exercises that resemble the provision of entertainment rather than addressing the real questions of what this company can do, and whether the automotive sector is better off with or without this company.

It’s beyond frustrating to me that I can’t help you all sort through the bullshit.

——

Before any of you accuse me of getting big-headed here, I do not profess to be any sort of information saviour, nor do I think that the provision of information can solve this company’s current issues – people with resources are the only ones who can do that. I do think, however, that the provision of accurate information can help people to better understand and accept certain circumstances, and thereby remain loyal to and interested in the company.

I’m still here and I’ll remain here because I believe in the potential of Inside Saab. I believe in Saab Automobile, and the Saab Spirit that people outside this circle simply do not understand. This role is something I dreamed of doing years ago when I first started Trollhattan Saab (the predecessor to Saabs United). I truly believe that this type of exercise has positive benefits to offer a car company, and that a running and functional Saab would be incredibly well positioned to make maximum use of it.

I just wish I had the licence and the access to do a better job for the readers out there because you’ve supported this company in a superhuman way and you deserve it.

Have a good weekend. Here’s to getting all this stuff sorted so that we can one day run this place like a normal car company. There’s so much on offer here.

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23 Comments

  1. Hey Steve, for the first time, you need to take your own advice —-

    STAY CALM AND CARRY ON!!!

    We all know you’re frustrated. We all know Victor is frustrated. We all know the dealers are frustrated, and the wonderful Saab employees are frustrated. And God knows, we the loyal Saab owners and Saab lovers are frustrated. But we know that there are people trying to save Saab and much we don’t see happening behind the curtain. As my wife says, sometimes you just have to sit back and watch the movie.

    P.S. Darn it, Jason, you beat me to it.

  2. Swade, I feel your frustration and understand your loyalty and commitment to this company. It is understandable that there are things you can’t share because of your position and that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Thanks for doing what you can to get good information out there and if nothing else, explaining how things are for people.

  3. Yes Steven I agree , I’ve a small shop and need to get on with my plans for what to do , I want to be a  SAAB only shop but , it’s going to be hard . I’ve always been fair  and clear to my patrons both in service / repair , but what do I say when they ask  “do I buy a new SAAB ” ? So  I wait  , I’d like to say heck yes , They have a great product and people who want the cars however it takes a lot of money for any company to run .  I do hope all this business haggle get done soon . Mabey  I’ll just build my own cars  till I retire I have the shop to do so  and people who trust my work for 35 years now
      Rant over  , all you folks  seem to really care  so I’ll hang in there.  Dave

    1. It is not really sympathy, Swade.  Just that those of us who support Saab and hang on to hope for Saab are still out here and we understand…..and still stand with you and the rest of the employees of Saab and the suppliers who want their products in new Saab cars.

      Hey, if we were willing to drive around in SAVE SAAB convoys back when GM was shutting the doors, we can’t bail out now while the doors are still open!

      (Still driving my daily driver 2000 9-3 every day and currently waiting on a new clutch being installed in my ’71 Sonett III to get her back out on the road.  What else can I do?  “I want the Saab.”)

  4. I think it was to be expected that your ability to report, comment and critique current issues was going to be entirely different and mostly a watered-down version of your previous blogging.  As you’re mostly in a PR function for the company, everything has to have a positive spin.  For example, your car reviews like the one of the 9-4X was all positive but that’s because you can’t say much negative about it, even if you think so.  Not that it is a bad thing as long as  you and the readers realize the limits.

    Keep up the good work as yours is the only Saab blog I currently follow and still the best available.

  5. Your frustration is very understandable, Swade. The timing for the start in this job was as unfortunate as it could be. The situation for Saab became very different from your – and our- expectations.
    What is going on around Saab right now do not – at least from outside – seem to be very “Saabish” – I really really hope that Saab survives all this – not only as a car-manufacturer (we have enough of those) but as SAAB – with the special integrity, spirit and honesty kept alive. When Saab comes out of this financial crisis I am sure that you can – and will – play an important role in recovering and maintaining the Saab-spirit that surely will not be un-hurt by the ongoing mess. And that will make the whole difference.

  6. We understand your frustration, Swade. And as we did 2 years ago, we still stand behind you. Even with your new restrictions, Inside Saab is still my favorite place for up-to-date, (relatively) non-biased Saab news.

    Of course, you also have the best biased (and fair) info on Saab cars 🙂

  7. A better author than me wrote: “These are the times that try men’s souls.
    The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis shrink from
    the service of their country, but he that stands by it now, deserves the love
    and thanks of man and woman.”  That was Thomas Paine writing a paper called The Crisis during the American Revolution.

    http://www.ushistory.org/paine/crisis/c-01.htm

    Note:
    to make sure I had the quote correct, I googled it and for the first time read
    the entire paper which is really marvelous and quite universal despite the fact it just details what was going on during the Revolution’s darkest hours.

        1.  Lt. General Harry W. O. Kinnard, December 16, 1944, Bastogne, Battle of the Bulge. (response to the German’s request for the American forces at Bastogne to surrender)

  8. Hello Steve.
    I can understand your frustration.

    Keep notes. This affair is going to be a good book someday, and I rather want you to write it, than some hack with a grudge against Victor Muller.

    My daily transport is a Saab 9000 CDE 2.3T frpm 1993 and my hobby vehicle is a Saab 95V4 from 1969. I want to be able to buy a used 2012 9-5 or even a (Castriota) 9-3 when the time comes so I am one of those keeping the flag up (and a pin in my jacket), and a Saab Sport 1965 Sport watch on my wrist.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. You are probably going to watch the Rugby final? Concentrate on that for a while and hopefully Muller will give you something good to report next week!

  10. We get it. We’re with you on this. We can only hope for a return to equilibrium, Saab building cars again and you fulfilling your mission with Saab. I do hope, though, that the things you can’t say now you are jotting down for future reference when you write your grand Saab expose.

    Cheers Mate!

  11. I may have shared this comment in SU a time or two but it’s always worth repeating.

     I was at a nameless airfield a few years ago awaiting airlift into Iraq. We stood in a sun drenched tent for hours and hours on a middle eastern July day.

    Hot, miserable and already missing my family, I saw these words written as graffiti “Don’t let the bastards wear you down”   When times get salty, I think of those words and move ahead.

  12. Swade, I don’t think you give yourself enough credit with your new gig. Sure, you have less ‘freedom’ in a sense–but you yourself said you wanted to provide a glimpse inside the company we all love, and elevate the conversation about the brand. I think that’s exactly what you do–and a very good job of it, I may add. SU is going very strong, doing what you used to do–but I can understand how your old instincts for action might flare up during times like these.

  13. You’ll get through this Steven, and I know for a fact that the wings that were clipped when you came in will be magically sewed back on. You have a great deal of access that outsiders would never get– you’ve seen the NG 9-3 in detail, you’ve heard various rumblings behind the scenes that even us at SU will never here until after it’s public knowledge. But for whatever reason, you aren’t able to necessarily do the job you thought that you’d be allowed to do, and that’s a damn shame.

    I will say that this will not end as predicted. You will hopefully be pleasantly surprised by the outcome, as we all will. As a trusted Saab voice, your opinion on the outcome of the next few weeks’ events will be of upmost importance in calming the community. I know that it’s a trying time, and I know that the picture at the moment may seem cloudy, but it will turn out better than anyone ever expected.

    There’s a reason SaabsUnited became the largest Saab enthusiast site on the planet under your stewardship. Not only did the fans enjoy your writing style, your steady hand and your insight, but they trusted you. They believed that when you wrote a story with a certain angle or view, you were doing it because you knew something they might not, and they followed your lead. The new crew at SU is doing our best not only to follow that legacy but expand its reach, and we’ve developed our own styles in the process. But one thing remains constant, our reach and insight informs every article we post and every opinion piece we write. Even though you may feel like you’re not part of that anymore, know that it was your vision that set the pace for the entire exercise, and without that the community would be nowhere.

    Thank you.

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