On Saab and hope

I want to thank you all for your patience at the moment.

I know there are a lot of questions out there, from a lot of concerned people. If you know me, then you’ll know that it’s been extremely frustrating that I haven’t been able to play the role that I’m accustomed to in this type of situation. I’m used to providing as accurate and detailed coverage as possible and pointing out the speculation and/or errors appearing in the mainstream press (of which there have been plenty, especially in the last few days). It’s a somewhat sad trade-off that I haven’t been able to do this, but one that I’m content to make. And it’s pleasing to know that other independents are taking up that fight.

The following was left on Inside Saab earlier this afternoon and I thought I’d take a moment to bring it to the front page and provide a response. The writer is Harley, in response to today’s brief press release:

Are we really all being sensible, continuing to hang on to our hopes for this once great company? I wonder.

Yes, there may be anomalies in media reporting. But we all know what SAAB [has] been through over the past 10 years, and even the folk that work there must be getting pretty fed up by now. Sadly, I can’t help thinking that the company’s disappearance is now inevitable, and I wonder how they can possibly make it through yet another year at this stage. Even if they do, any future incarnation of the company is likely to be a far cry from anything it’s ever been, or that we could ever hope it to be.

I know there are a lot of people hanging in there for Saab. I know that Harley’s not the only one feeling this way. But…… there are also a lot of people working on the company’s continued existence, too. There’s even a bunch working on future Saabs and the technology that will be in them – even now.

As Harley asks, is it worth it?

One of the things many of the automotive analysts used to say about Saab when GM threatened to close the company back in 2009 was that the automotive sector already had excess capacity. Why do we need Saab to continue in an overcrowded market?

For me, the answer was pretty simple. I want the Saab. I actually wrote that article six months or so after Saab was sold, but the basis of it was formed many years before and honed during that sale period. The essence of it is as follows: For me, and for many of you, a Saab is designed and built in a manner that suits us. It’s what we want in a car. It’s the glove to our metaphorical hand. Other cars will get us from A to B but a Saab is what will get us there the way we want.

And then there’s my old staple reply – yes, there might be over-capacity, but does the world really need 100,000 more of Generic Brand X, or will it be better off with 100,000 Saabs?

——

Approaching this from another angle (and using a subject that makes me somewhat wary)…..

There was a lack of posting here on the website today because our wireless system at the office wasn’t working properly. All the time that I’ve been working at Saab, I’ve been writing using my personally owned Macbook Pro. I’ve had the computer for around 2.5 years now and it’s absolutely perfect for what I do. It’s light enough to be easily portable, has a wonderful bright screen with beautiful font rendering for someone who lives their life online, and it’s never let me down either personally or professionally.

Today, with the general-use wireless system not functioning, the Macbook was out of action. I had to use the Saab-issue Dell laptop that was (finally) assigned to me a few weeks ago. This laptop has a Saab profile so I was able to connect to the network at the office via cable.

I don’t want to turn this into a Mac vs PC thing. I don’t care what your preference is and with all respect to the recently departed, I don’t believe that Apple products are the saviour of the electronic world. PC’s have many attributes that are wonderful and they’re treasured by many in the online and personal computing communities – and rightly so. I do believe, however, that for me, my Macbook is absolutely the right machine for the things I do and the way I do them. It fits me.

I’m totally accustomed now to working with my Macbook. Using that Dell laptop today was like trying to walk in two concrete left shoes whilst wearing shackles and battling with a Chinese finger puzzle. There’s nothing wrong with the computer, it’s just that it’s not me. I posted the short press release from earlier today on that machine and whilst it achieved the right result, the task was immeasurably less pleasurable. It actually felt like work.

——

Don’t ever tell me that cars aren’t personal. There are multiple conveyances that can get you where you need to go. There’s even myriad choice within sectors of the automotive market nowadays. When you’re spending multiple thousands of dollars on something – normally the second-biggest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime – the choice should be the right one. It should be the one that suits you.

For some people, that’s a shopping cart on wheels. For others it’s a land-yacht riding on a pillow of air. For me, and for many of the people I know personally, it’s a Saab.

As I said before, there are people working on technologies for the next generation of Saabs right now. The plan is not to keep this company going only to have it as a shadow of its former self. The plan is to build the absolute best cars that we can, using design and technology from right here in Sweden along with the absolute best partners we can find. The plan is to work lean, work smart. To build Saab Saabs.

We’re proud of our name and proud of our heritage and we know that we’ll likely be the last corporate entity to ever use this name on an automobile. We’re determined to do that for a long, long time. We know we’re up against it, but those are the plans. And they’re built on things that are happening in a bunch of sheds in Trollhattan right now.

What we need is the support of a few key people in high places. We’re talking with them, doing all that we can to make it happen. The newswriters are writing us off by the dozen, which is fine. Newswriters don’t make the decisions. We’re talking to the people who do.

I acknowledge that the future is not completely in our hands. That’s a sad thing. But it’s something that we’re working really hard to remedy.

So……… Is it sensible to keep up hope for the continued existence of this once great company?

For me it’s the only thing that makes sense.

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17 Comments

  1. I hope that you had a good vacation and I must say; it’s good to have you back online. I deeply care about the future of this great brand. It was SAAB that made me visit Sweden for the first time and six years ago I moved from Holland to this great country.
    The writing in the Swedish press can upset me sometimes but than it is great to read your articles that make me calm and carry on; thanks!

    Hoping for good news soon!

  2. Thanks Swade. We all love the Saab. And I will support this brand as long as necessary for it could walk on its two legs again.

    This dirty medias mess hurts more than anything else. Weakness could happen to anybody, we should know. But weakness is just nothing by comparrisson to those eyes full of contempt.

    Long live Saab! Long live Saab!

  3. Told a co-worker I was contemplating a used SAAB. His immediate question was where I would get parts if the company goes under. I told him that there are plenty of after market companies and frankly it’s the type of car I want to buy regardless.

    Here’s hoping for a brighter day.

    1. The world needs more people like yourself. I’ve gotten the same responses when I’ve said I want to buy a new Saab.

      If Saab is going to go, then it definitely is not going to go without a fight. Keep up the good work, Victor.

  4. Life is too busy.  I used to worry about Saab.  No longer.  Victor is a smart boy.  He can worry and I will just enjoy my car.  When it is time for a new Saab, I will buy it.  If Saabs are no longer made, I’ll choose the second best choice.  It may be like mobile phones where the best doesn’t have the good reception of a land line but if the best car is not available, I’ll settle for second best, along with the static of a mobile phone.

    Victor, you can do it!

    1. If you couldn’t buy a new Saab, you might consider a used Saab. 

      My iPhone is 3 years old and I have been waiting for the battery to go. I’ll probably buy a new iPhone 4S on Friday, but if I couldn’t buy a new iPhone then I would replace the battery. There are two Saabs in my garage tonight and there will be two Saabs in the garage tomorrow. When the time comes I will buy a new Saab. In the meantime I replaced the batteries in my 9-3 keys.

      Just a thought.

  5. Swade,
    I hope you enjoyed your holiday. Once again it’s good to read your uplifting writing; a pleasant change from the doom and gloom merchants.
    Ron.

  6. Thank you, Steve.
    Your wtiting is, as ever, very precise and nice to read.

    Our old 9000 (1990) recently gave up and I had to find another car to replace it as the family second car (number one being a huge Opel Omega Caravan). I managed to find a 1993 Saab 9000 2.3T with nice leather trim and it is A Wonderful Car to drive. Just like the old 9000 was, but with more Power. Lovely!
    I want the Saab. It is me. 🙂

  7. Saab is a diamond in this BMW-, Audi- and Ford-boring streets. Just like Apple.
    And I really have to say: There are two reasons why I’m still waiting for my new 9-3:
    First: IT IS A SAAB
    But Second: Because of Swade’s Inside Saab. I was so afraid when I read the newspapers, but then I found your page and your really doing a great job. THUMB UP!

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