Quick thoughts on an ending

Apparently if I wait a few hours to write this, as I’d like to, then it would have to be approved first by whoever the court appoints as the bankruptcy administrator. Screw that.

Like many of you, I’m going through a whole range of dark emotions right now. There are several individuals and several companies that I’d like to have experience the sort of pain I’m sure all of my colleagues at Saab are experiencing at this moment. That’ll pass, though.

More than that, I’m just feeling a very simple and profound sadness.

Saab is a great company, full of great people, wonderful ideas and technology. We had some incredible things in the pipeline and it saddens me that those products may never be seen. We have the greatest fans and enthusiasts – I’d rank them second to no other automotive company in the world. I’d have loved to see people taking delivery of more 9-4x’s and the 9-5 SportCombi, not to mention the 9-3 replacement that we have under development.

I feel so bad for all of the wonderful people I’ve worked with. I’ve been writing about Saab for nearly seven years now and whilst I’ve poured plenty of heart and soul into this brand, I’m just a babe in the woods compared to most of my colleagues at Saab. There are hundreds, probably into the thousands, who have spent their entire careers designing and building these fantastic cars. Anyone who’s been to a Saab Festival in Sweden will know the kind of family atmosphere that exists around these events and that’s not because we’re simply a bunch of crazies who are into an oddball brand – it’s because the company IS as close to a big family as a large industrial concern can be. That spirit comes out in the people who work here and the people who own the cars.

I also feel bad for Trollhattan, a city I’ve come to appreciate and love since my first visit there in 2007. The one thing I’ve learned is that the city, more than anything else, is resilient. The Swedish approach to life makes it so. They prepare for tough times and whatever happens with Saab in the coming weeks, months and years, and despite the fact that the place may not be the same, I hope the people there bounce back and show their toughness.

I feel bad for Erik Carlsson, Stig Blomqvist, Per Eklund, Bjorn Envall and men and women of their era – all of the pioneers who created what we have today, and the guys at the Saab Museum who care for our heritage.

The easy thing to do right now is play the blame game. There are so many people/groups on my list right now it’s not funny. The saddest part about this whole tragedy is that it was all so very avoidable. What we’ve come to today, IMHO, is the culmination of a collection of short-sighted, ill-considered and opportunistic decisions. Some of them were made by Saab, some of them were made by people or companies outside of Saab. I truly believe that all of them were avoidable.

I can’t profess to know the full legal ramifications of today’s announcement. I heard a guy on Swedish Radio last week say that bankruptcy might not be the final ending for Saab and I would like to maintain some hope that there has been a company waiting in the wings for this to happen. I’d like to believe it, but I fear that today’s announcement and it’s consequences are as final as they appear.

For those asking ‘what happens next?’…… I’ll be seeking some guidance in that regard and will post what I can here on Inside Saab as information becomes available. As mentioned, future communications will all have to be approved by the administrator installed by the court. We will do what we can.

I think I can speak on behalf of my colleagues in thanking all of you for your support over the last months. It’s been a troubling time for everybody and I can’t help but think of the customers who have supported us and all of those who planned to do so in the near future.

For now, we all wait to learn what happens next and see where that takes us.

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141 Comments

  1. Sod it! What a sad, sad day for Saab and for the car industry. The world just lost one of its few individual thinking car companies. Where now for those who want more than just a car?

  2. Really sorry to hear this.Thanks for being so frank.I just bought my first SAAB in May-I am delighted with it-sad that it may be the last of  a great dynasty.

    1. Hindsight 20-20, I was realizing last night after reading the bankruptcy article…. why didn’t we convoy while waiting for GM’s decision? Perhaps if we made the impact of their choice massively public, they wouldn’t have been so… inconsiderate.

      Alas… better late than never right? I’m in!!!

    2. Yes let me know what’s in mind we cannot let this one by future generation should have the right to enjoy new Saabs too. Love Saab

  3. Thank you for the writing, Swade!
    I feel so sorry and sad for the employees and for Saab as a brand and a heroic, innovative and design-focused car-manufacturer.

  4. I feel very very very very sad. I wanted to drive a saab for the rest of my life. My 93 is going to be very carefully looked after.

  5. Thanks Swade, for shing in a light of information through the tunnel of dark insecurity that’s been surrounding Saab for way too long.
    The tunnel is still there but someone removed the tracks.
    The feeling here is one of sadness and being beaten down unnecessarily.

  6. Swade, thank you for your service to the Saab community.  My heart goes out to you and your colleagues, and especially the people of Trollhättan. 

    I refuse to believe this is happening – please tell us that there may be a “silver lining” somewhere.  The Saab saga lately has taught me to never give up hope – there must be some way for us to continue being Saab drivers for life.

  7. Today my thoughts are with you Swade and all the fantastic employees at Saab in Trollhättan and at the importers and dealers all around the world!

    I will continue to drive my Saab with pride!

  8. It will a be a pleasure to continue reading you and being an “electronic” friend of yours …

    looking forward to meeting you personally in a SAAB gathering somewhere …. maybe Trollhattan next July …..

  9. All the great ones came to an end. Still, the end is not necessary the real END it can be the beginning of a new era.
    Maybe we can reborn together with SAAB defence….. Who knows. Seeling to guys like GM and Show offs like Spyker was the beguining of the end.I dont hope to see SAAB cars reborn , I frankly believe that this Men and Women will give us something different from managing point of view but with the spirit and heritage of SAAB.
    BR

  10. Thank you, Steven, for always sharing the truth with us.  Thank you Saab for one hell of a ride, meant in the most joyous sense.  Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors!

  11. So sad and indeed very avoidable it seems…

    Just this last Saturday, I accompanied my mother, also a life-long Saab customer, to a dealer in Het Gooi (traditional Saab heartland in The Netherlands) and I advised her to buy a brand new beautiful 9-3 SC that they still had on stock. And she did. Unless a miracle happens, it will be her very last new Saab. As will be my own May 2010 (Victor Muller) Saab 9-3 SC.

    Actually, that day the Saab dealer already sold 4 Saabs and he expected even more sales the same day… A couple after us most likely where also buying a new Saab saying “now more than ever we have to support Saab”…

    This is part of the reason what makes this brand so unique, the people who drive it. And those who stood by these last months, especially the dealers, factory workers and Swade obviously. I had the pleasure of meeting some of you last October in Trollhattan, still full of optimism about the future back then. All the best now to all of you!

  12. Very sorry to see this, Swade, but I think it was inevitable. One thing’s for certain, you’re not one of the people anyone can blame for SAAB’s demise. You have done an incredible job of reporting SAAB’s story both here and at Saabs United with passion and honesty. Cheers to you and all the other SAAB employees. I hope for better days for all of you.

  13. Grrrrrrrr .  I guess  my mind will clear in a few days  but anger is too present  at this time . I feel for all the people this will effect for their living , Mine and the people who work with me and on up the ladder to the factory emploies

  14. so sad for us all…
    swade, i’ve been following your publications since, let’s say, 2006 and although i already was enthusiastic about saab before, your blog infected me even more. That lead me to the purchase of an all new 9-3 in 2008 that i enjoy so much and now wish to keep for decades.
    thank you. i hope everything will work out for you personally.
    nickX

  15. Saab showed the world that you can be innovative, sporty and safe, all at the same time, and at world class.
    Saab showed the world that you don’t have to be huge to build great cars.
    Saab showed the world in Monte Carlo, in the Safari Rally, and in every race it took place that their cars were something very special.
    Saab showed the world some Swedish ingenuity, and how it could make the traffic safer and driving a fun experience.

    GM did nothing of the aforementioned. American cowardice has prevailed.

    A very sad day.

    My thoughts are with Saab’s employees in Trollhättan; the management and the owners that fought so hard.

    Thank you Swade for all your work!

    1. Dont be mistaken that Americans are a lump , a lot of support is here in America for SAAB cars and we will do a boycot of GM . My job is SAAB cars everyday  and I do care as do 300 of my service customers in our SAAB only shop . I’m just a small potato , but I’ll do everything I can to support SAAB  and the fine people who trust me to keep them safe and driving . 37 years is my investment .  Dave , The SAAB Shop , Columbus , Ohio
       P.S. GM stock fell today

    2. “Saab showed the world that you don’t have to be huge to build great cars.”

      I agree with your post, but not with what I excerpted from it above.  Saab never did reach a large enough scale to make cars profitably.  But that, too, is GM’s fault.  They never expanded the dealer network in the US.

      1. Yea I own 88 Saab 900 coupe in Europe my cousin loves and cares for it for me. Great car, super reliable and fun oh safety comes with fun too. Only SAAB can make that so. Here in aus I have the 94 Saab 900s v6 yank motor. Also good car it survives Australian sun so well I marvel at it. Those crap gm parts somehow work best in Saabs. 18 years of outdoors living poor girl ( my house is too small, my small car is large tho.); thing gets my pinball machine in, wide body Indy and judge dredd too, with closed hatch! These little sports cars do have the best practicality too! Keeping mine till I die this v6 will be classic in aus some time soon. Cannot find too many here in Melbourne. If it does not get classic status I don’t care they both are my best cars sure to put a grin on my face every time. All electrics still work, air con i

  16. Wow. I don’t quite know what to think today. Actually I’m finding it hard to believe that even a bankruptcy can stop Victor Muller. We shall see.

    Whatever comes to pass I’d like to thank all at Saab and in the Saab community around the world for everything…so far. We live in hope and have for years….we shall see.

  17. A very sad day for all Saab-enthusiasts world-wide!
    A great thank you to Stephen Wade for your personal and honest information provided here at Inside. We will miss you very much. And thanks to everyone at Saab Automobile for their belief in the future and for not giving up.
    Still, the Saab-spirit will never die and we will drive our Saab cars for decades to come, and we will meet at enthisuast conventions to share our good moments.
    Thanks on behalf of all Classic Saab enthusiasts (members of GSV) in Norway.

  18. Once again, Swade, you’ve said what I believe all of us are thinking, and said it better than most of us ever could.  I hope it’s not the end of Saab, but it’s a sad day no matter what.  My heart goes out to you, Victor, and all of the people at Saab.   

  19. It.s a sad day for all, mostly all the people in Trolhattan, but also all the dealers around the world that have supported Saab. Thank’s Steven for all your lucid comments and the way you shared as much as you could. Maybe you’ll write the whole story one day, because there are many many things I don’t understand. Maybe there is a Phoenix that will rise from the ashes…we will wait and see. 

  20. Steve and everyone else what can I say. I feel bad for everyone at SAAB that I know and that’s a huge family. Now what GM went bankrupt but lived on. Can SAAB somehow have a future? 

    You have to realize who GM is. It’s owned by ruthless people. The man in charge, in Hawaii right now killed a SAAB Gripen deal 2 years ago. This is little known and it involved a join export Gripen for India, a joint development between Saab (aircraft division) and Israel Aircraft Industries, IAI. The plan was killed by the same man. He can’t stand the private sector or innovation. All he cares about is bankrupt Green jobs. Everything he touches is destroyed and this is deliberate. Look at the useless Volt that they can’t give away. This is similar to the reason GM wanted to kill off SAAB in late 2009. This is not sour grapes just reality. 

  21. Very sad day indeed for Saab and its customers, myself included. I suppose at least the Chinese did not get their hands on the technology, the Americans are finally going on the offensive regarding the IP theft issue.

    1. Couldn’t the “Chinese” get all the tech knowledge they need by simply buying a new car and disassembing it? I think all companies do that now.

      1. Yes and no. Obviously if GM thought that was the case, then they would never have objected to Youngman purchasing Saab. Reverse engineering is a difficult and costly process. Also you could not just make and exact copy, which in itself has cost implications.

  22. Very, very Sad! I feel for everyone at Saab. Thank you Swade for everything you´ve done for Saab community. Even in this dark moment I have my hopes that there will be a solution for Saab to go on in some way. I hope we can use “100% GM” free sticker at the back of a cool new Saab some day.

  23. Victor Muller work very hard, doing all the wrong things, very well. No one to blame but him and his incompetence. Funny thing is since 2010 very few of the “millions” of Saab owners purchased new Saab’s. The Saab loyalists weren’t loyal at all. 

    1. You’re right, but economics have to play a part and loyalty alone doesn’t pay for the car or the fear that the depreciation will be horendous.     My own 9-3 Convertible, bought new three years ago is worth peanuts now.  Would I have gambled another £30K early this year to buy a new one to support Saab?  Sadly, I couldn’t afford to risk it.

    2. So, moveyourmind…what would you have suggested?  Let GM actually finish closing down Saab back in 2009?  There was nobody else but Victor Muller who was there to give Saab a chance.  Better a chance than none at all.

      1. Jerry York (Kirk Kerkorian’s adviser, real smart guy too) predicted this at a GM board meeting late 2006. Muller’s 15 minutes of fame flame out became apparent during his first 6 months.. but his salesmanship earned him $18 +million in fees and salary along the way. But I agree it was a chance.   

    3. I think GM should be blamed plenty for investing in the best brand they had i their portfolio from 1990….but I guess the “Hummer” was a better idea (OMFG). Victor Muller tried and failed, but at least he tried.

      1. In 2006 Mark LaNeve launched Born From Jets, GM spent $45 million in advertising $299 on a non-sunroof 9-3 sedan. Born from Jets rose to become the 8th highest ranked overall car slogan in the industry. Way beyond Saab’s sales pace. For each car produced in Sweden there is only so much consolidated gross profit. So lets say the 9-3 earns Sweden $7,000 per car built (and that’s on the high side at 5.9 krona to the dollar). To get to the $299 price point Saab spent $5000 per car incentives, leaving $2,000 per car to pay for salaries, benefits, advertising and fixed costs. Saab’s business plan was failed back then, Victor found ways of pouring more gasoline on it with his “build it they will come” marketing approach in the US. Well they sure built them.. but the showrooms remained empty.
        Its a mess. But yes.. Victor tried, not sure if he earned his $18 million in salary and trips to Monaco and LeMans however. Victor’s fame and ego is not what the Saab brand (and Swedish culture) was all about. It was failed from day one.   

  24. Inside Saab has been a bright spot for Saab, Steven.   You’re a brilliant writer.   I wish you well and look forward to seeing your writing in the future.

  25. Still hoping… you know, I have yet to buy my first SAAB. Thinking harder than ever right now, trying to come up with a solution, but I feel know way too little. I’d love to meet Victor one day…

  26. Feels like a death in the family.  Steven, some day you must write a book on this whole sorry episode.  The story deserves to be told, for the sake of all SAAB fans and, more especially, for the SAAB employees.     

  27. Thank you for everything Swade!!!  And please, please write that book…  Here’s what I posted on SU, as I think my thoughts mirror yours but I can say them with a bit more bite:

    Ah, soooo sad…  So many lost opportunities, so much lost potential, so many failures.  Where to start?

    Swedgov:
    The overwhelming failure here, for yesterday, today, and all of the tomorrows to come is the Swedish Government’s.  A government’s job is to protect and promote their people, and in letting a major component of their industrial capability be irrevocably lost, Sweden has let its people down.  No eastern Asian nation would let this happen, Germany would not let this happen, France would not let this happen, even the “we’re happy to shoot outselves in the foot daily” US government would not let this happen. There were dozens, perhaps hundreds, of points of time at which Swedgov could have intervened to positive effect with minimal investment, but they never did.  *Every* Swedish citizen should feel like a failure this morning.

    VM:
    While I admire the tenacity and never-say-die attitude, that attitude was necessary because of what I see as colassal mismanagement around every corner that necessitated a constant “crisis management” mode.  From the patchwork quilt of questionable funders, to the revolving door of partners, to the many folks hired who ran for exits before starting, to the constant promises of big deals really really right around the corner, to the headscratching decisions that generated more questions than answers (why was GM involved in this process so late?  Why fund the factory so long if we knew there was no money to build cars?).  I know he’s an amazing man I would probably love in person, but from where I sit, his tenure was a disaster…

    Youngman:
    Too little, too late.  Their deep and true desire to get Saab was only apparent at the end by which time their earlier efforts to get Saab on the cheap had spooked GL and GM.  Guys, if you wanted it that badly earlier, you should have stepped up to the plate with a homerun effort rather than the bush-league early deal.  I hope the bus business is good because I’d bet the Chinese government is never going to let them build cars now (at the expense of government owned businesses). 

    GM:
    I actually understand completely why GM did what they did… Except for the end.  I really believed that they didn’t want to kill Saab, just protect IP.  But it appeared to me that in the last few days to weeks (again, why so late?) a plan to protect that IP was in place, but it now appears that NO deal would have ever satisfied them.  If so, why wouldn’t they say this months, weeks, or even days ago?  Cowards…

    GL:
    Every failure above and below was distilled and crystalized in this man’s actions.  The wrong ideas, wrongly implemented, at the wrong times, to disasterous effects.  Literally the poster child for Swedgov incompetence…

    EIB:
    They knew in the beginning they’d never approve VA and thus doomed Saab from Day 1.  Long live the Euro Zone…

    The Press:
    The fact that the “pundits” were right and Saab died doesn’t excuse the mind-boggling level of professional incompetence and laziness displayed by the world (and especially Swedish) press that got things wrong more than right up until the very end. 

    Me:
    I feel like the biggest fool of them all.  I followed my heart and not my head as in Oct of 2010 I bought my dream car (Turbo-X SC) as friends and family laughed saying Saab was doomed.  They bought their Lexi, Fords, Audis, and BMW’s and chuckled.  Well, I’ll certainly hear it now.  I still have almost 3 and 1/2 years on a loan left on a worthless car I can’t sell, can’t trade in, can’t service, and which makes me look like an automotive idiot.  It’s still the best car I’ve ever owned, but it’s today a rolling monument to failure…

    People I feel really sorry for:
    – Swade: Gets the dream job, but then gets clubbed in the knees by all of the above and never gets to talk about the cars he loves…  I at least hope he writes the definative book on all of this which gets optioned to a screenplay and then he makes a fortune…

    – Tim Colbeck: Seems like the right guy for the right job who left a successful company to take it, but then gets clubbed like Swade…  Too sad…

    Happy Holidays all…

    1. liari,

      truer words have rarely been spoken. the one thing I hope you’ll come to realize is that your car, that Turbo-X, is not a rolling monument to failure. I won’t blame you if you don’t drive it today… but continue driving it tomorrow. continue being a proud owner of a Saab vehicle – one of that last great cars Saab will ever make. You should not regret buying that vehicle. tell your friends you are ELATED that you got to the dealership before it shut down. you held your faith in Saab, and you now own a fantastic car. there is nothing to be ashamed of.

    2. There should never be any shame to owning a Saab.  In my personal opinion, grab onto as many as you can.  These cars are about to get rare.  I myself have just finished restoring a ’70 Saab Sonett III, and I feel elated to own such a rare and valuable piece of Saab history, despite the fat lady singing on Saab this day.

    3. I feel your pain.  very, very well said.

      I too feel an automotive idiot to some degree.   Several times during this saga, I was recommended by a lot of people to sell my ’08 Convertible, at what was then a “reasonable” price – but I hoped, based on VM’s constant harping about a Big Deal round the corner and kept it a few more months. Now, it’s as good as worthless.  Seems I’ll have to live with this car for a very long time or just swallow the loss and give it away…  very sad.

      But, despite that, my real anguish is for all those people losing work at such a bad time.   I do hope something transpires……  maybe just a tiny, tiny piece of hope remains?…

      1. Sorry, but I just have to ask…why do you need to get rid of it? Is it broken? Is it less fun to drive today than yesterday?Is it less safe? Less stylish? Less smart? What? What is this obsession about selling cars at a reasonable price – sorry to burst everyones bubble here, but EVERYTIME you buy a car, and then sell it, you will end up loosing money – buy the car you want, and keep it… “Soon” it will be a rare collectible, and then you’ll be kicking yourself for selling it… just my 5 cents worth 🙂

    4. You make one monumental mistake in your comments sir, vis a vis the US government…The government of this country have been trying to kill GM for decades. Actually the entire motor industry, but GM in particular. The main thrust of the assault was spearheaded by bobby kennedy – at least he was the figurehead – and continued successively through each administration, some more than others. They finally succeeded in killing the golden goose, aided and abetted by the uaw and the contrived [govt created] ‘financial crisis’. And make no mistake – the ‘bailout’ was not of GM but of financial institutions and their treasonous heads and backers. But I’ll not launch into a dissertation on current economics here.
      I too recently purchased a 9.3 . LOVE the car. My wife said the other day that she has elevated it to ‘her favourite car’ status, which is something I was surprised to hear. Not that it isnt a great car, but she had one particular vehicle years ago that has reached near mythical status in her opinion, so for the Saab to supplant it says something!  I have an appointment at the dealership Wednesday for scheduled service and a minor warranty issue. Reckon I’ll end up paying for the warranty problem myself now… And my guess is that the dealer is taking down their Saab signage as we speak – better have the better half follow me in the pickup so I can bring ’em home!
      The current situation certainly blows, but I’m not ready to throw in the towel quite yet. Hopefully one of the larger parties that was originally interested in purchasing Saab from GM will step up and buy us at wholesale after the bankruptcy proceedings. There’s still a lot to like at Saab. Are you listening Fiat? [plenty of precedence, remember that Cagiva bought Husqvarna?  🙂 ] Having Saab at my local Mopar store works fine for me ; one stop shopping for my pickup, Jeep and Saab. Only hafta go to a GM dealer for OE parts for my GTO should the need arise.
      Saab Up!

    5. Get over it Iiari, your car is awesome. I have a 2008 9-3 Combi TiD and I love it and it has now has 105,000+km and not a fault. I want a TX and there’s only 5 combis here.

      If you feel it as monument to failure then you are totally missing the point!

    6. I’m sorry you would want to sell your Saab – why not keep it. “Saab Parts” will be sold as part of the bankruptcy and parts will be availible for many years to come. This news as sad as it is, has convinced me to buy my dream car this spring (even it has to be a used one): A 9-3 convertible. And I’m sure I will still be able to sell my 9-5 Aero SC as part of the deal and make somebody else the lucky owner of a fun family car.

    7. Hey now…I just bought a 2002 93 convertible last month.  I LOVE that car.  I am sad to see a company like this go down, but look at it this way, we now have classic cars that are about to become rare.  My headlights are GLASS not plastic, the wood is WOOD not plastic, the interior is indeed LEATHER, not “leather appointed”.  I will drive and love this car until it decides it has had enough and then I’ll look for another used one up to a 2012.  I’m good with driving mine and don’t feel like an idiot at all!  

    8. Ummm, there is a huge aftermarket for the Turbo-X you should be extremely proud to have such a rare automobile. We’re all jealous so enjoy your car, maybe mod it a little and by all means do not get put down by your friends. They have no idea what they are missing.

    9. A very sad day for everyone at SAAB. I would say though that the SAAB story reminds me very much of the collapse of Rover. Although from where I am sitting the SAAB management including VM seem much more honest than those who took over Rover. The problem was that like Rover it was a group of men who took over a brand they loved on a “boys toys” basis. I think in the end their hearts ruled their heads, and sadly their wallets did not. Much like Rover they took over a brand which required huge investment and rather than having a simple pool of funders saught endless complex partnerships with organisations who were at times dubious and in other cases were due to the laws of their land probably not able to sign up anyway. They also inherited a brand with where key IP was controlled by a third party. All in all this was a nice dream, but without the cash that is all it ever was.

      VM does however deserve a huge dollop of credit for trying to keep it going, SAAB lasted two years longer than it would otherwise have done and in the process people got some extra pay in the meantime. I am sure VM and many other people never stopped trying to save Saab and were genuine in their desire to do so. In the end through without major investment from credible sources this was always going to be a next to impossible task.

      Again my thoughts are with everyone at Saab! Do not forget the successes you have had and may again have in the future.

  28. I can not believe I’m reading this!! Swade, my heart goes out to everyone at Saab. If this is really the end, the automotive world will certainly be a poorer place in the future. This should NOT have happened! Ford was able to cut Volvo loose, and GM should have done the same with Saab. This is shameful, and I’m angered that my tax dollars were used to bail GM out of its troubles in recent times. My feeling is that GM should have been left to its own fate.

  29. Mourning doesn’t help Saab, and blame games does not either, so my immediate thoughts on this is sad situations is that if there is _anything_ we could do to iomprove the chances of  the bancrupcy adminsistrator finding someone interested in finding a new buyer? That final hope that GM & Co could give us in that recorded telephone call at SU.
    (SU seems to be overloaded and down right now, but in a recorded call, VM said that the Swedish law, contrary to other countries he knew of, allows companies that are in bankrupcy to be revived and
    that there were  a number of parties who had shown interest in
    continuing Saab through a bankruptcy. Then another guy at Saab filled in that, as he had understood the Swedish bancrupcy laws, the new administrator’s first priority in any bankrupcy case will ALWAYS be to seek a buyer for the whole entity rather than to sell out the assets in bits and pieces.)So, IF Saab is selled out in bits and pieces, we can always resort to blame games after that, but that has not happened yet, so until then, is there anything more positive and constructive that we can do to at least show our support for or even somehow help the Phoenix platform, IQon, NG 9-3 and more to rise from the ashes and see the light of day? Ideas anyone?

  30. “Apparently if I wait a few hours to write
    this, as I’d like to, then it would have to be approved first by whoever the
    court appoints as the bankruptcy administrator. Screw that.” 

    Glad you’ve still got fire in the belly, Steve!
      

    Thoughts go to the good folk at Saab. 

    I certainly have the fondest memories of Octoberfest, 2010
    Trollhattan Festival, North American SO Conventions…with Saabers who are
    among my closest friends (remain so) —  and, most palpably, my Turbo X.
     Long may it conquer the byways!    

    [Like Sapan and others, it won’t be a static entity either. I’ve
    got great plans to massage it further, rejuvenate it some, as an Homage:  To those Masters — inter alia Blomqvist,
    Carlsson, Envall  — that you so rightly Honour. And Yourself :)] 

     

  31. Swade – I feel so sick right now I have really no words to describe my feelings and thoughts.

    But one thing for sure, you and the SU team have been above all else completely professional and diligent in your roles.  I hope whatever happens to the SAAB brand name, its assets and operations that you will find continued roles within them.  

    And FWIW, it’s THIS community right here that defines the unique place in history that SAAB has been, and will be.

  32. I feel like a part of my life, of my personality, has been pushed aside and locked away for good.

    My Mom got a new ’85 900 Turbo sedan when I was a kid.  To a boy raised in Oldsmobiles and Buicks and Cadillacs, it was like riding shotgun in a spaceship.  The steering wheel was three times as thick as any I’d ever seen.  The gauges and controls were angled and centered around the driver, instead of smeered haphazardly across the dashboard.  The engine had a dangerous whine that I could feel clawing up my spine every time Mom would rev the RPMs (it was my first memory of a manual transmission), and we’d smile as she put the pedal down and passed yet another unsuspecting motorist in yet another vanilla American jalopy.

    Over the years, I’d go on to buy my own Saab, then another.  I drank up Saab trivia left and right.  I bought Saab books, visited Saab dealerships, talked about Sonetts and 99 Turbos and Erik Carlsson till all my friends had long since stopped caring.  I started the Saab Club of Alaska (www.facebook.com/SaabClubAlaska) and the “Saabbit” section of reddit (www.reddit.com/r/saab).  I swore I’d make the pilgrimmage to Trollhättan some day, and that over time, my wife and I, and our kids, would become one of those oddball families who all own the same make of car.

    An hour after reading this, I’m still at a loss how to feel.  To Steven, and Victor, and everyone behind the scenes and on the factory floor and in the dealer showrooms, THANK YOU.  Thank you for everything you have done, and tried to do.  I can’t pretend to know what transpired in board rooms and behind closed doors, and like others, I’m sure there is plenty of blame to go round.  But in the end, if the end this is, I know in my heart there were far more people who cared about Saab deeply, and worked tirelessly toward its success, than those who were wishing for its demise, or merely inept or shortsighted.  I know there are countless enthusiasts in Sweden and around the world who are mourning at this news.  And how many corporations can claim that level of adoration?

    Saab was (and, perhaps, will be) more than a car company.  It was a collective culmination of something, by definition, extraordinary.  In a world of cutthroat business decisions, Saabs were logical in a wholly illogical way.  Where those who didn’t understand labeled Saabs as “quirky” and “strange”, we know we’d found an ally, a source of automotive inspiration.  They were splashes of color and music and poetry in a world of brown loafers and office equipment and flourescent lighting.  They were beautiful, genuinely beautiful, inside and out, amid a sea of appliances.  And though an appliance, like any tool, can serve an important function, it is the thing of beauty which nourishes us.  I, for one, will take nourishment over mere sustenance any day.

    My sincerest thanks to everyone, past and present, who ever championed Saab.  Now, more than ever, I feel like hopping in my ’93 900 S and tearing up some pavement.  🙂

  33. Sorry for this sad News.

    I still remembered a great time while I have been test driven 4 Saab models 5 Years ago in Bangkok, and without Saab marketed here many years ago, I understand what happened & why this happened, also thought that because of those people who decided to kill Saab in any market , is not a guy who in love with Saab, they don’t understand anything but their property,money,stock and any interest.

    Hope to see everyone at Saab will pass this big trouble with hope & faith.

  34. Victor Muller was right about one thing, at least. This was so unnecessary. Ford allowed Geely to buy Volvo, despite that today’s Volvo cars are running with Ford technology. And Volvo are doing very well now, both in China and elsewhere. I am absolute positive that Saab would have had a bright future with Youngman and Pang Da. Saab would have been profitable again. GM decided to kill Saab. It was their decision and sadly nobody, not even Muller, could change that. I will sorely miss the brand, the beautiful and innovative cars from Saab.

    1. GM sold Saab because the bad PR that would’ve been generated by closing Saab in 2009, wouldn’t have helped GM in it’s predicament at that time.  (It’s own bankruptcy and everything.)  GM now thinks it’s strong again and the bad PR it gets from trying to destroy Saab might be easily sustainable.  But GM isn’t the healthy giant it once was, and a couple of well aimed blows could bring the whole thing tumbling down.  When that happens it will get little sympathy from Saab fans.

  35. Swade, speaking as an author and journalist myself, I urge you to write a book about the Saab story. You have a very good way with words and wear your weighty specialist knowledge  lightly. No doubt, though, you already have a plan for that in the pipeline.

    Personally, I feel sad for the Saab employees in Trollhättan. My family is half Swedish, and there is in fact a history of working for Saab in the family going back to the 1950s. I have one or two Saab heirlooms from the 60s that I will continue to cherish. Visiting the factory and the museum in 2007 will likewise remain forever a cherished memory, as will be my afternoon spent driving a all-new 9-5 Vector 2.0TiD in Sweden when it came out in August 2009, courtesy of a relative who worked for a dealership in Småland. It was a very nice birthday present.

    As for Victor Muller, my view is that he was, at the end of the day, a man who worked very hard to turn the company around in unfathomably difficult circumstances, and for that, as well as looking rather dapper I must say, he deserves credit. Some shady associates, perhaps, but big business is a dirty game I guess. If he walks away with his vast wealth intact, then fair enough. I would rather that than any of the fatcats at GM get fatter as a consequence of any of this.

    An unedifying aspect of the saga, however, was some of the anti-Chinese xenophobia to emerge on various forums. In reality, it seems to me that Youngman behaved pretty honourably all things considered.

    I will continue to drive my 9-3ss with pride beyond the soon-to-be-crossed 150,000 miles mark – and, hey, who knows what the coming weeks will bring. Please keep us updated on the magic words we are all longing to hear: “New buyer”.

  36. Thank you for writing this line.
    I wish you and people of Saab industries a merry merry Christmas with families.
    Sincerely : Congratulations for all

  37. Please, do not disappear! 

    I own an oldie 93, and I would like to buy another Saab in future. I will wait for the Saab 9.1 Whenever it will arrive.

    Motor world needs Saab

  38. Thanks, Steve, for your comments that I’ve been reading daily for the last several months. Good luck in whatever the future may bring for you. 

    First, GM starved SAAB to death, then when food was within reach, it yanked it away. I respect their (GM’s) intellectual property rights, but I wish a compromise could have been reached. I’ve driven SAABs for 40 years. Looks like my current three will follow me to my grave. If there is an afterlife, at least I’ll be safe and in good company.

    I wish to thank the employees at SAAB for my years of fine driving, and for those who will continue to work on them, I’ll see you in the shop. 

  39. Sorry to hear the news today, but not surprised, as it has been clear for some time that GM would do anything to make sure that SAAB would die… Me and my family will boycott GM for the rest of our lives, and that is atleast 23 potential buyers as of today, and rising…

    I am still clinging to the hope that some form of “positive” outcome can emerge from all of this, if for no other reason than for all of the people that depend on this great company for their livelyhood…

    LONG LIVE SAAB!!! Thank you VM for your tireless effort!

  40. We’ve suffered a lot those last months as Saab enthusiasts. This point of no return today makes us think seriously to the future , wondering what’s next . Because I have the conviction there is still a future for Saab . Don’t worry Swade , it will be all right . Thank you anyway for all the nice things you’ve done at Inside Saab and I look forward to reading your good news pretty soon .

  41. Steven, my thoughts are with you and all the other employees of Saab.  Such a tragedy it had to come to this.  I don’t know what else to say…

  42.  Screw GM.  It managed to scare off everyone who considered helping Saab.  Even when it sold Saab, I don’t think GM ever intended for it to survive.   I truly hope that someone can pick up the pieces here and make Saab live again? 

    Swade, perhaps someone needs to take over your old iwontbuyfromgm page and turn it into iwontbuyfromgmever ?

    One thing for sure, I think GM’s Facebook page is in big trouble now!

  43. The company may be in bankruptcy but the Saab history and spirit will live on forever.  The news today didn’t really come as a surprise but it still hurts seeing that press release.  I have only been part of the Saab world for about 6 years so I am a newbie as well.

    Good luck to all the Saab employees.  Thank you Steven for keeping us up-to-date on everything Saab through the years.  It must be especially difficult for you finally landing your dream job earlier this year and now see it all coming to an end after many turbulent months.

    Let’s keep the Saab spirit alive.  

    1. Good words. Let´s hope that we can hear from Steven even after this site is shut down. There will still be a great need of blogging and writing about SAAB for a long time.

  44. Sad but inevitable. I have owned 5 Saabs and have followed Saab’s misfortunes since the early 80’s; in those days lack of funds inspired innovation culminating in the best Saab of all: the pre-GM 900.

    I visited the then new Brand Store on Piccadilly in 2001 and saw the launch brochures for the revised 9-3; a 3 Box saloon for Christ’s sake!!! It was about as un-Saab as it was possible to be and a juvenile attempt to ape BMW and Audi, a smack in the face for all loyal Saab enthusiasts brought up on interesting and contrarian products that aped no-one and ploughed its own furrow.

    I knew then that my beloved Saab was dead and anyone who knows their competitive positioning could not help but agree. 

    This is as perfect a case study in cocking a brand up as any MBA could wish for!

    1. I have to agree.  Saab displayed the excellent 9X and 9-3X Crossover Coupe concepts, and all GM let Saab make was the comparatively ordinary Saab 9-3SS.  I couldn’t believe it at the time.  The 9-3 got a better platform but a much more ordinary body.  
      It was like winning fourth prize in a raffle.
       That was the point when I lost my faith in GM stewardship, and it never recovered.  Until that point I was always ready to give it the benefit of the doubt.

      1. Like you Mark, I tried and tried to keep the faith but haven’t owned a Saab for 6 years now having reluctantly turned to BMW hoping for the return to authenticity that never came.

        1. Maybe the 9-3’s replacement would’ve brought you back into the fold?  I hope it still gets to see the light of day.

  45. I still have 2 Saabs in my garage tonight. It would be helpful going forward for us who like our Saabs to know about future service and parts. Also for those who would still like to buy a new Saab there are still some new Saabs on dealer lots. For me things are over when I say they are over.

    Just a thought.

  46. I will put a jacket on and walk outside to lay a hand on both my 96 900S and 88 900T (02 9-5 Aero RIP 11.14.10) during a break watching the Steelers.  Those cars provide comfort and validation of a design philosophy that is timeless in ways as the number of sport hatches today by other makes attest. 

  47. “Screw that.” That MADE my day 😀

    Terrible, terrible what happened. I’m glad you’re at least back home with your family, Swade, instead of possibly stranded in northern Europe. It’s funny how I’ve forgotten YOU are an employee of Saab. Best to you and your fellow employees.

    I’m curious what will happen to this site and its author, who has been so instrumental in the fan community (and arguably to the company). Best of luck with your future endeavors, Swade, and don’t be a stranger 🙂

    1. Same here. Swade, please hang in there! Keep your head up – A big THANKS to all of you good people at Saab. God bless you all.

  48. It is a shame that it has come to this.

    My thoughts are with those whose livelihood depends upon Saab; whether working directly or indirectly for the brand. I hope that whatever the outcome you all will prosper in your individual brave new worlds.

    Steven,
    Thanks for your insight over the years into this iconic marque; I’m sure that you will continue to champion Saab and that if you feel the need “that book” will be written in your inimitable style.

    Although you must feel for your distant colleagues I believe being with your family at this time will be a great comfort and support for you. I look forward to reading your continuing comment upon the current situation and wish you the best for the future.

    Kind regards,
    Ron.   

  49. I’m Sad. Or rather something stranger than that.

    How could it be different, having driven my father’s first 900 in ’82 and then most of the models up to my own actual NG 9-5.

    Then, cannot avoid to think to Trollhattan People hoping they will be somehow protected by Sweden which I still perceive as one of most advanced countries even if I never had the pleasure to visit it.

    Strange, isn’t it? To me, a brand was ambassador of a whole country. That’s something that a wise government of an advanced country should be thinking about.

    I’ll never say “I hate GM”, because “to hate” would hurts only to myself. But I feel totally free and nobody will never be able to steal my freedom to NOT buy any GM product. And I will not.

    I would rather say thank you to everybody at Saab.

    I would rather say thank you to Swade.

    I cannot say if this is the end or (as everything in this material world) a transformation in something taking to a rebirth.

    I hope we can meet again, somewhere, somehow.

    Now I have to go, driving my SAAB.

  50. My GMC Envoy died at 81,000 miles, traded it in on a new Saab 9-4X Aero (it’s our 4th Saab).  Do I now have a collectors item?  It’s the best car I’ve ever owned, silky smooth, plenty of power and handles great.  I love my Saab!

  51. Steven,

    I had to wait 24 hourst to let this all sink in. I am deeply disappointed in GM and their attitude. I will never buy a GM product again except the parts I will need to keep my 2 2003’s running. My older Saab doesn’t need to deal with that. 

    If GM had faith in themselves they would have allowed this to succeed and have the battle in the marketplace where it belongs, but appraently they are afraid of the competition that a strong Saab could provide.

    I hope some way, some day Saab truly does resurrect as the Phoenix tha platform is named after.  I hope you also someday surface again in the new world of Saab.

    Maybe we will meet again at a Saab event in the US.

    Griffin UP!

  52. Please, read the NY Times Automobile Section this week, regarding Buick’s attempts to mimic a Saab – on a chevy base, no less; and remember the Cadillac Cimmaron, the biggest lemon GM ever had, and then you will know why GM had to destroy Saab.   My  thoughts are with the wonderful people who made our Saabs (all 3 of them), which we will drive proudly.  They are the best cars we ever had.

  53. My girlfriend sent me a text message the other day when she read the bad news about Saab: “Go and give your Saab a big hug from me!” she wrote.

    I’d like to pass that one on to all of you at Saab.

    And thank you so much for your ever so entertaining and enlightening efforts, Mr. Steven Wade!

  54. Well, since Saab is done for, I guess it wouldn’t hurt anything to go ahead and show us what the NG 9-3 would have looked like.  I, for one, am dying to see that puppy!

  55. Please, write that book. Team up with VM and others and make that book!

    You might not need it, but I do….YM might come thru, but still, that book will most likely (my own guess) not not sheed to much bad carma on YM.

  56. Dear Swade,

    I would like to thank you for all your contributions to the SAAB community. I understand the emotional reactions to GM as killing the deal. The biggest daily in the Netherlands, De Telegraaf, had a Skype chat with Victor. See http://www.telegraaf.nl/autovisie/autovisie_nieuws/saab/11160387/__Victor_Muller_kiest_Audi__.html. (Unfortunately it is in Dutch) Victor reiterated on the events of the last 8 months since the production was stopped. VM indicated that the original deal with Pang Da and Youngman both taking minority shares in SWAN would have been acceptable to GM. Whether that would have resulted in an approval from NDRC, we will never know. The fact that Mr. Lofalk has taken some unfortunate actions by suggesting the Chinese taking 100% in SAAB evoked the negative reactions from GM. This is all water under the bridge now. The key to a successful restart would be to license out the Phoenix platform to car manufacturers in the BRIC countries and maybe Turkey. The license business can then fund the production and further productdevelopment in Trollhattan. This requires renegotiating of the license agreements with GM for the 9-5 and the productionagreement for the 9-4X. Speed is of essence otherwise the company will fall apart. VM reckons the chance of a restart 50/50. Let’s put our efforts in being positive. Maybe the mobilization of the worldwide dealer base could be the key to success.

    1. Just a simple matter of protocol.  Anything planned to appear on here (or any of our corporate channels) has to be approved by the receivers (administrators) first.  Hence, there’s not a lot going on at the moment.

  57. What a shame, a true shame it has come down to this. Swade, I would like to thank you for everything you have done for the brand and wish you the very best in your future endeavors. I would love to someday read the full true honest story of what really went down. Best of luck!

  58. Why don’t we, as Saab enthusiasts, raise the money to a new company owned by us, and buy the business? You do the math: €1000/shares x 100.000 enthusiasts equals €100.000.000 in capital money. I know… some are not fans enough to take action, but there are those outside of the Saab community that could have their shares. I cannot work that miracle, but would be happy to buy.

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