Some Thoughts on Material From Saabs United

I’m in two minds about whether to write this post. On one hand, it can be regarded as bad form to analyse the contents of a website that you have had some sort of relationship with, however distant that relationship is now. On the other hand, experience tells me that I might have something to contribute on matters raised in a recent SU article and the ensuing comments section – and that it’s something worth talking about.

The article in questions is The last Saab is no longer the last Saab – and I think we could all really benefit from some further discussion.

So…….

Issue #1 – What’s this post really about?

The article starts off with some thoughts about the vehicle purchased by Saabs United fans (me included) and stored at the Saab Museum. That’s interesting but it’s not why this article was written.

The key to this post is in this quote:

We’ve been asked many times what will happen to DJA880 now that the last Saab is no longer the last Saab. In fact, 30 new cars have been built since NEVS start up the production line again, and within a couple of weeks a new significant car will be rolling off the production line in Trollhättan.

NEVS have built 30 cars on the production line at Stallbacka but for some reason a car built in the next few weeks is going to be significant.

I’ll give you two options:

  • They’re going to start building NEVS’s face-lifted Saab 9-3 to sell.
  • They’re going to start building NEVS’s face-lifted Saab 9-3 for the first time.

The difference is subtle, I’ll grant you, but it’s there.

I don’t think it’ll be the first option (cars to sell) for reasons I’ll get to in a moment.

I think that if you tie in the rare bits of Saab news from the last few months, the more-than-reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that NEVS have finally got a full compliment of parts suppliers on board and will finally run a Saab 9-3 down the production line that is “GM-free”.

If that’s the case, then this will be the first production session that tests the fitment and operation of the new parts. This exercise will go a long way in answering whether the production line will work in a reliable fashion with these new parts. Additionally, it will quite possibly mark the moment where vehicles are made for extensive field testing as a complete unit.

——

I should mention at this point that I have absolutely no first-hand insight as to what’s going on in Trollhattan. I don’t have any active sources there and what you see above is primarily me interpreting what’s been written on SU (by Tim, who very definitely does have active sources in Trollhattan) and seasoning my interpretation with my limited experience writing about and eventually working at Saab (brief as that assignment was).

Back to the post…..

——

So why do I think it’s important to interpret this development in this particular way? Why do I think it’s test vehicles rather than production vehicles for sale?

The one thing I’ve banged on about with regard to Saab this year is that making a vehicle with a whole bunch of new parts will not be a walk in the park. NEVS have talked as recently as a few months ago about the fact that they were still working on getting all parts suppliers on board. Those parts need to be tested and that’s a time consuming business.

If NEVS are as business-minded and prudent as everyone says they are then they’ll need to know beyond doubt that those parts are safe and that they will not cause a whole bunch of warranty problems six months after vehicles go on sale. There hasn’t been time to do that yet, not when you’re talking about a bunch of new parts suppliers.

From comments to the SU post, some people are interpreting the ‘significant car’ news to be the start of production-for-sale. Here’s one:

So the face lifted 9-3 will be out in two weeks, that is cool.

Well, no. I don’t think it will.

And if it is, then I don’t think it’s a face-lifted 9-3 that any sane person would want to buy.

Here’s a video I made for Inside Saab, which shows durability testing of the rear tailgate for the Saab 9-5 SportCombi.

Now, bear in mind that that’s the level of quality testing that people would expect for the whole car. That sort of testing takes a while.

But the 9-3 isn’t a new car, you say?

No, it’s not a new car. But it’s using a whole bunch of new parts and those parts have to be tested to make sure that they’re up to the job. Do you really want to put your family into a car that’s had only some of its parts tested properly in a previous incarnation of the vehicle?

I’ve written on this site before that I’d be very surprised if NEVS have a car that’s ready for sale, and sales channels that are ready for public exposure, by the final quarter of 2014. I’ll stick to that.

This need for testing is the primary reason for my conservatism and, to be honest, I’d be a little bit scared for Saab if the car came out any sooner without some sort of detailed explanatory story as to what they’ve done in terms of quality assurance, crash testing, etc.

If this is indeed the first test-run of a car built wholly with NEVS-sourced parts then that’s fantastic news and a significant moment in the development cycle. Let the testing begin!

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Issue #2 – Are NEVS doing the PR job they should be?

This is the other major topic that was discussed in comments at SU and as my name was invoked in the conversation, I think it’s OK to mention it and give my perspective here.

A commenter named Angelo is prone to complaining ad nauseum about NEVS’s lack of public relations activities. I’m inclined to agree with him for the most part, even if he’d drive me batty as an editor with his repetitiveness if I was still looking after the site. As he was doing his thing on this post, Tim replied with

I will never do anything to damage Saab, which has been a key rule of SU since Swade started the website. I will continue to abide by that rule!

Well….. actually…….no. Yes and no, to be fair.

I never went out of my way to ‘damage’ Saab, it’s true. But my first concern was always my readership and I didn’t mind if Saab had a few uncomfortable moments as a result. I think that if you’re running an independent website, that’s a pretty important thing to keep in mind.

For example, I can remember being the recipient of some rather stern words from a member of Saab’s PR department when I first visited Trollhattan in 2007. At issue were pictures of the face-lifted Saab 9-3 that was officially unveiled just a few days later at the Saab Festival. I’d received some advance pictures that were not authorised, which showed a test vehicle parked at an old industrial site in the area. I published them on Trollhattan Saab. It caused some people serious discomfort that the car had been seen so plainly, so far in advance of its unveiling.

I didn’t like to strain relations with the company but the website was only of value if it gave readers something extra on top of what the company could give them. The value I created by doing spyshots and other Djup Strupe material is what built the readership and – here’s the key – made the website valuable for the company.

Trollhattan Saab and Saabs United were valuable to Saab because the sites did things that Saab itself couldn’t do in the PR climate of the time. I may have trodden on a few toes at times (hence JAJ’s description of me as “that guy”) but TS and SU built up enthusiasm for the brand because the sites were a) honest, and b) gave an insight that the company either couldn’t, or wouldn’t give.

So what of NEVS’s PR efforts?

They say they’ll talk when the time is right. Personally speaking, I think the time has been well past ‘right’ for a while now.

They don’t have to be out there every day with every little thing that’s going on at the factory, but they could definitely have started the build-up to recreating the Saab story with their particular slant on it. This pre-supposes that NEVS are interested in trading on Saab’s past, of course, but if they’re not interested in tying the company’s future to its past in some fashion, then why negotiate the use of the Saab name?

We had an ‘Inside Saab’ concept in Saab’s marketing department with a whole bunch of films to share and other themes to spin off when the time was right. We only got to release a handful of those films before we had to hold off because production wasn’t re-starting.

I think the ‘Inside Saab’ theme would be perfect to tell to the story of Saab’s re-birth.

You don’t have to be flashy. You don’t have to over-promise. You don’t even have to interact much at this stage. Just tell the story and let people get a feel for the development cadence and what’s going on, what they can expect from Saab.

Right now, those that still care are operating in a vacuum; expecting the world and getting very little in return.

NEVS don’t have to do much, but they should be doing something.

——

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47 Comments

  1. It is because of articles like this one that for me SU has never been as good as it was when Swade was running it.
    I have not felt particularly interested in SU for a long time now and although I do pop in just to keep up with what ever little news is coming from NEVS from time to time, I have withdrawn from commenting on the site as I felt that the ‘new’ crew were very much against any negative comment about Saab, NEVS or whatever they held dear.
    I miss the times when the balanced views both negative and positive were clearly expressed by both the writers at SU and the readership.
    I continue to be interested in Saab and have always expressed my support and hope for the future of the brand under the new stewardship on the people at NEVS, however, I too believe that more has to be done and should have been done to engage the existing Saab community by the current owners.
    I also believe that Swade is spot on with his feelings that this significant Saab will be the test base for the future production vehicles.
    Lets hope that this ‘significant’ vehicle is the first in along line of significant vehicles for the new Saab.

    1. “It is because of articles like this one that for me SU has never been as good as it was when Swade was running it.
      I have not felt particularly interested in SU for a long time now and although I do pop in just to keep up with what ever little news is coming from NEVS from time to time, I have withdrawn from commenting on the site as I felt that the ‘new’ crew were very much against any negative comment about Saab, NEVS or whatever they held dear.”

      @MariusGTV…I have to agree 100% with your assessment. ESPECIALLY when some of the “new crew” threatened commenters with having either their comments removed from the SU site, because “they” did not like what the person was posting, or threatened to ban them from the site altogether, for the same reasons.

      And I was one of those threatened several times for posting things that they did not want to hear.

      I have owned SAABs longer than some of them have probably been alive (since 1978), and also was a SAAB General Sales Manager for two different SAAB dealerships. I know I have/had more insight into the brand than probably any of them at SU.

      I, however, have not visited their site since I had my “go ’rounds” with them, and have no need to do so now.

      Sadly, since the day Steven left SU, it has never been the same. But fortunately for all of us…we have him here. 🙂

      NEVS has a huge uphill battle to get people interested in whatever it is that they will be producing.

      And unless it has CURRENT…state of the art…electronics, drive train, and STYLING…their market share will be tiny at best.

      They are sort of like Blackberry…far too little…and far too late to the game…to be a viable entity any more, unless they have some extra special creation that will sell in China. As for sales in the rest of the world…I remain skeptical.

      1. I agree with you. The analogy to BlackBerry was interesting. I am a devout BlackBerry user. BBRY has made so many mistakes/miscalculations along the way that has devastated their business. They’re desperately trying to right the ship and I hope they do. Our business is dependent on their products and we hope they survive.

        Another interesting comparison between SAAB and BlackBerry, is they both have a group of followers that are totally loyal to the brand. Additionally, as painful as it is to watch my two favorite companies suffer financially, there has been an interesting and beneficial twist for me: We have been able to take advantage of the “fire sale” pricing on BBRY products that we use daily in business. In reference to SAAB: the deals on used SAAB cars are starting to increase and the parts/rare accessories that we have been finding at our local salvage yard has been amazing! We’re now on the email alert list as soon as a SAAB arrives at the salvage yard and we have been stockpiling parts and accessories. I am astonished at the volume of excellent parts and rare accessories coming in, not to mention at 1/10th the cost.

  2. Swade, on issue #1 do you know how many parts would actually have to be replaced in a GM free 9-3 if we don’t count in the powertrain?
    I’d think most of them are coming from big 3rd party suppliers and those don’t require any testing time as these have been manufactured by the millions already (plastic and rubber parts, switches, electric motors and valves etc). The electronics is probably also quite easy to replace also. Of course coding and software testing takes a bit of time but programes can be replaced even on cars waiting to be delivered.

    The engine in itself shouldn’t necessarily be such a big task IF it’s been used in an other vehicle sold in Europe. In order to be Saab they’d have to better whatever their given to work with but it shouldn’t take that much time unless the engine needs a serious upgrade from an emission standpoint.
    I’m hoping people are on the test track, slamming the doors and applying the hot/cold treatment on the test cars as we speak.
    Have I missed something?

    1. I don’t know exactly what would need to be replaced, but priority #1 would be the engine and most of the stuff in the engine bay (if not all). My guess is that it won’t be European but I’ll be happy to be wrong on that. Either way, the car’s got to be proven before it’s sold. I don’t know the process for EU certification or if certification even exists in China, but I’d imagine it does and that’s the first level of proving that will have to take place external to NEVS themselves. Then they have to prove it in the marketplace, which is a completely different kettle of fish.

    2. RS, the other thing is that some suppliers had to be replaced because they went out of business during Saab’s production stop and bankruptcy. Others opted not to become suppliers again. So….even if the same part is being made by a new supplier, it is a new part and must be tested and vetted. So, it is much more than just replacing some GM specific IP parts. Some suppliers are the same, but many are new.

      1. Also, some parts may no longer be available, even if the supplier is still around. NEVS will need to adapt the car to use a current part. This will be the case for electronic modules (body control, airbag control, alarm, etc).

    3. MAAnders and Brenard are correct, of course. To be specific, based upon the GM-related content in my own 1999 9-5, I’d say there are significant re-work items for almost every aspect of the car. For an OEM to produce a 9-5 like mine today, and given that the supplier still exists and is willing, they could re-use the seats, the structural design(s), fluid reservoirs and probably the glass. The wheel hubs and brakes for my 9-5 are interchangeable with the Opel, the vehicle control systems are outdated, but likely still produced with intellectual property of the engine OEM (GM), and the transmission was built for the GM engines. The alternator and exhaust will be changed significantly with a new power plant, suspension set up will probably change some with the other changes and the cooling system may need to significantly change, too. It all comes down to this: any ‘new’ 9-3 will be a very different car than the last one to be produced under previous ownership.

      1. Eggs, do you know if GM actually makes any parts besides maybe their own engine blocks and press the sheet metal at the car plant?
        I always thought car manufacturers nowadays are like PC makers. Hard to find anything actually made by HP in a “HP computer”. More like they give the specs to the suppliers who then produce the part and print whatever the customer wants on it, so it becomes a ‘GM orignal’.
        All the plastic and metal parts in a Saab could be made pretty much by anyone.
        The IP is a different story and that must take time, but it’s not like customers haven’t done the real life testing in the past either. Fine by me if the warranty covers the expences.

        1. It’s called engineering. In engineering, you design a part – specifying it completely – and work with *multiple* manufacturers to produce the part. That is called “second sourcing” and it greatly reduces supplier risk (ie a supplier fails and your whole production line stops). Not everything will be second sourced, and some things will be produced in house, but many parts in a car should be manufacturable at a range of vendors (especially straightforward mechanical parts). Testing is required to qualify suppliers, but to a large extent, the engineer who signed off on the drawings/specs did so because they took every precaution they felt necessary that the would perform as expected in the field. Mistakes happen, but an engineer risks loss of certification if they make mistakes (and worse, risks harm to the public). Good engineers don’t make mistakes.

          Swade – I really appreciate your abilities. I rarely look at SU anymore, the signal to noise ratio is just too poor (even in the content let alone the comments!). Your blog is much more interesting and informative. Between here (news resource) and Saabnet (repair resource), I have all the Saab info I need.

          I’m not too worried about NEVS lack of marketing so far. I think VM spent too much time in the media and that made his life difficult. If NEVS puts their energy into the engineering, then we’ll have a better chance of getting something good out when the time is right.

  3. As you know Swadeology and SaabsUnited both get a lot of hits from me. If NEVS sells in China they almost don’t need to sell elsewhere. And, I don’t know what will sell in China. For me, I will probably add a third car to my two 9-3s sometime in the next year. When the new “NEVS” Saabs are on the lot then I’ll look at them. In the meantime I’m looking at the old Saabs ( less than 100% GM free ). My Saab Service Center is my old Saab dealership which sells Buicks and Chevys (less than 100% GM free). Thank you for this post.

  4. I know a lot of people are still holding out some hope that they will one day drive a new (or newish) car bearing a Saab badge, but for the time being I have given up that hope. I have seen so little from NEVS, and so little of that is even remotely encouraging that they will have a product suitable for me, that I have pretty much written them off.

    That’s not to say I want them to fail, far from it, but for me, I cannot see a future that has a Saab badge on it. My Saabing life is now totally focused on the legacy, not the future. The family fleet continues to grow and maintain my interest, and the Saab community remains a big part of my life.

    1. I feel EXACTLY the same way. I am keen to preserve the SAAB that I have, but I have sadly written them off moving forward. I say that for several reasons- 1. the “all electric” debate, 2. lack of any sign of life, 3. talk of revamping the existing 9-3, and 4. their obvious focus on Asia, not the global market.

      Our fleet of SAABs has been very good to our family, and I am sure that we will have them for some time to come. But the SAAB as we know it is gone, and that is very sad.

    2. I am in agreement with you both. The C900 stays in my garage for as long as possible, but that’s it. NEVS is not Saab, nor are they pretending to be which is somewhat refreshing.

  5. Great post and I’m very keen to agree with you.

    Tesla did something similar with videos ahead of the Model S launch. I would say that as long as not all parts have been sourced and agreed on, it might be tricky to say and show too much though.

    But better to say something and a bit less specific time-wise.

  6. Swade talking about Saab is like Murray Walker talking about Formula 1: It just works. As mentioned above, SU has not been the same since you left and does not feel ‘independent.’ I turned a friend of mine onto Saab this year and, like Angelo, when he questioned the PR ineffectiveness of NEVS at SU, his comments were removed. That didn’t sit well with me.

    I know it was a nightmare for you to have to moderate us, but some of those 100-comment discussions and arguments back in the day about Saab were pretty good – one of the internet’s finer moments. I don’t remember much that I read online, but I suspect I’ll never forget those days!

    Cheers,
    Geoff

  7. In my judgment NEVS is reacting, or perhaps over-reacting, to the treatment Saab received in the Swedish press when Victor was in charge. When NEVS speaks there will be no ambiguity about whether it can follow through.

    I suspect they have some concrete intentions but like all business plans it is subject to revision, and they won’t talk about their intentions for fear of being Muller-ized.

    1. Good point. The Swedish press seems over-eager to criticize the home team. Compare and contrast to British reviews of Jaguars and Land Rovers, or to US reviews of American cars: every new American car is “finally good enough to take-on the world.”

      I can certainly understand why NEVS wants to avoid that PR fiasco until they’ve established a beachhead in China. Much better to lead by example that to respond to every nay-sayer.

    2. Good point. I’m inclined to think they will also by-pass other Western press and go straight to China with the product first. It makes the most sense. Perhaps they are working the PR angle quite well in China and we simply don’t have a window into that activity? It would be interesting to know.

  8. I really miss the old SU style, and especially Djup Strupe. I have highest regards for Tim, but a little bit of inside “leaks” would be nice.
    Regarding testing, I think the city of Qingdao will be a willing guinea pig since they are heavily invested in NEVS future. I’m afraid that the silence from NEVS is indicative of a long wait for the rest of us to see a new Saab, if ever in the USA. 🙂

  9. Excellent write up. I, too, am of the opinion that NEVS should be more engaging with the current group of SAAB enthusiasts. One only has to look at the past to see how supportive and fanatical our group is about the brand; the “SAVE SAAB” worldwide convoys, the fan base pulling together to purchase the “last” manufactured SAAB, the huge turnout of SAAB fans, in comparison to other import brands, at CPSC’s “SAABs@Carlisle” during the annual Carlisle Import/Kit National car show…….these are the things that make us unique, set us apart and the things that you do not see from the owner groups of other brands. That in itself is PR opportunity that is currently being overlooked.

    A lot of productive information can be had from dialogue. A key point to understand is NEVS is not creating a “new” business, they are rebuilding an iconic brand with an existing fan/customer base. Similar business situations show that it can cost a company as much as 3x the expense to replace an existing customer, with a new one. Is is apparent that some have moved on to other brands, simply due to NEVS questionable PR job.

    Personally, I see a grand PR opportunity within the SAAB community, not now, but right now!

  10. Well… AngeloV answered my couple of questions, so i think i can also say a word here.
    I am really not happy about how Nevs is communicating with the rest of the world. There is simply no human being on the planet except all of the people reading the blogs that are aware that Saab Cars is alive and is actually existing in one way or another… i lam seeing this, because i talked to people here and there and i was dissapointed about that.
    And “You don’t even have to interact much at this stage. Just tell the story and let people get a feel for the development cadence and what’s going on, what they can expect from Saab.”

    That is exactly what i am missing….

  11. Swade great post. I have been critical of the NEVS progress report posted on SU and some of the press releases I have seen.

    The new components need lots of testing and development in the Saab platform before they are ready for release. The most bizarre and unexpected things can go wrong and any responsible manufacturer has to test extensively for that.

    My biggest concern is the engine. NEVS is not going to build an engine from scratch so what are they using??? No word at all on that. Any intelligent buyer will want to know the source and pedigree of the engine. And will that engine work well in this chassis?

    I remember the Renault V6 that Volvo put in the old 240. I borrowed one from Volvo when
    Bob Sinclair was at Volvo. The power curve did not match the car. It produced power at higher RPM and the automatic in that heavy car needed torque. It was a horrible match. that is an extreme example, but these things can raise their heads.

    The PR and new out of NEVS is just not very encouraging or impressive.

    We have some 95s in our family……4 Aeros to be exact, and are gearing to support them for many years, and are not banking on NEVS to ever do anything with the SAAB brand.

  12. Elon Musk shed some light on vehicle componentry via this link (http://www.thestreet.com/story/12095734/1/tesla-faces-a-high-hurdle.html#! and I quote:

    “On the second-quarter earnings call, CEO Elon Musk noted that Tesla is having a hard time keeping up with demand. “We have production constraints, not demand constraint,” Musk said. He went on to say, “90% of our suppliers are able to ramp up and 5% have some difficulty and 4% have a lot of difficulty and 1% just can’t and so we have got to replace those or in-source those items. You can’t give people a car that’s 99% complete, unfortunately, and there are several thousands unique parts in the car.”

  13. It might be of interest that NEVS just recently appointed a Director of Sales and Marketing. His name is Jonas Hernqvist and he’s an old Saab/GM guy, so things might start happening in that area now. By the way, I read all the job ads that NEVS publishes, and that’s very encouraging. I mean, they now employ around 400 people in Trollhättan and contracts another 100 consultants, and I’m pretty sure these guys are not just sitting there doing nothing.

    1. “I’m pretty sure these guys are not just sitting there doing nothing.”

      I guess that’s the problem…that none of us know for sure..! 😀

  14. Saab was Saab Automobile AB, the company, the people, the cars they designed and manufactured. Even after Spyker took over, things were changing in a way I didn’t really care for, especially the design direction. NEVS is an entirely new company and they got a good deal on the real estate, manufacturing tools and some technology. The Saab brand was just icing on the cake.

    I haven’t seen or heard anything from NEVS that gives me a warm feeling so I couldn’t care less about their warmed-over 9-3 that may or may not be coming. Their business plan is to sell and manufacture electric cars in China so we are not their customer target in the Western world. The BAIC Senova is just as much a Saab as the NEVS 9-3 will be.

    As for SU and many fans, it seems they don’t see the difference between the brand and the company. They only see the name Saab. Using the name Saab doesn’t make a company Saab or a car a Saab. The real SAAB died a few years ago and the employees, owners and dealers moved on. Only the name remains. Kind of like Ericsson and Nokia.

    1. so the real saab was “scania-saab” or “gm-saab” ? my personal view is that if i like the look of the “nevs-saab” product then i will investigate further but i have to admit i’m a bit of a sucker for older cars and my now daily commute to work is about 3k’s so in no rush to upgrade….

    2. Different Saab for different people. For me, GM-Saab was the real Saab because I bought my first one in 2006. After the roller coaster ride near the end of GM-Saab and through Spyker-Saab, there just isn’t any interest left for me in NEVSaab. Perhaps NEVSaab will have a new kind of following from Asia and the western Green crowd.

      1. Interesting to hear that view. I’ve heard very few people say “GM-SAAB was the real SAAB”… Of the long time Saab enthusiasts, they seem to fall into 2 camps: “Pre-GM is the real SAAB” or “There is no real SAAB”. Ie does it need to be a 2 stroke to be a real SAAB? nah… does it need to be an iron block? nah… does it need a turbo? well, nice, but the turbo is not everything… lots of great things came in the GM era, but one thing is for sure GM tried really hard to beat the uniqueness out of SAABs and make them into a direct competitor for the German sedans from a value proposition standpoint. There was no way to win at that game, and many of the customers who were attracted to it were quick to move on to Korean value proposition sedans when the lease expired! Unfortunately it alienated many of the long time SAAB enthusiasts who wanted the hatchbacks of the 99/c900/9000 era, that spilled over through the og9-3 before GM finally nixed that in favour of a sedan only.

        I tend to agree with my SAAB mechanic who hopes that NEVS produces a car with qualities more like the older Saabs: both in terms of utility and in terms of robustness/quality. If you’ve never had the chance to drive a c900 turbo, you really should if you do – those cars are really special! A blast to drive (especially in snow) and indestructible – the only thing that kills them is rust.

  15. Seems a majority of those who frequent this site are in agreement that Saab as we knew it is gone and I’ve fallen into that category. My hope is that NEVS has quietly been doing the groundwork to introduce a fine car in a timely fashion – and one which will keep many people in Trollhattan busy for years to come. I’m however not holding my breath that I will ever have the opportunity to drive one in the States. In two short years even the die-hard New England Saab fraternity I hang with have been moving on to other brands, dealerships are gone, there are fewer meets/cruises, and there seems to be a general sense of resignation. I see no way that NEVS can break back into this market against the big boys. Just Look what a dismal time Fiat is having and the cold feet of the reintroduction by Alfa.

    I’m lucky enough to have 5 special Saabs in my stable and have little interest in culling the heard. I will need a new daily driver to replace my aging 9-5 combi in the near future (almost certainly won’t be a Saab) but will look forward to occasionally pulling the covers off my older Saabs for many years to come. They are fine cars that will always be appreciated by me, and as time passes by others in this day of cookie cutter cars. And remember Swade, should circumstances dictate you have first dibs on my Sonett, although it may also need those curb ramps.

    1. The only reason I don’t feel NEVS is Saab is because of the way the owners (who ever they are?) treat the so called customers. My dealer have known squat for two years.
      It seems the current Swedish management is doing what they can but sound totally gagged. Will I spend 40.000 on a products made by a company that seems to be giving us the finger. Nope.
      Things better change soon.

      1. I had heard that NEVS had been recently in contact with some dealers in North America.

        Personally I prefer this approach to the excessively media-oriented approach in the VM era. They aren’t giving you the finger, they just don’t want to promise you vapourware… you just have to be patient.

        I mainly hope they get the product right. We can speculate all we want, but I think we have to wait and see what comes out the end of the pipe. I really hope it has more in common with the older Saabs than what was produced in later years under the fist of the General.

  16. Great articel, Swade. Brilliantly summarizing the current discussions going on at SU and speaking right from my heart. “Just tell the story and let people get a feel for the development cadence and what’s going on, what they can expect from Saab.” That’s all we want. Actually, you don’t treat customers like that.

    Also, the testing issue is perfectly understood. On SU, I have many times strongly questioned any announcements for a production restart (of cars for sale) by end of this year due to all the necessary qualification and homologation processes NEVS will have to put the face-lifted 9-3 through. Mid to end of next year is much more realistic. So, in order to stay true to the game, I wish to be informed about the current state of affairs, if anybody expects me as a customer to keep my “old” Saab a little longer in order to wait for a new one that I haven’t even seen yet.

    It also makes me feel so sad for the SAAB fans in North America who have reasonable doubts that a NEVS SAAB will ever make it to the American market. I hope they will, but how long shall fans (again, first class potential customers!!!) wait until this is going to happen?

    1. Swade, nice work. Didn’t know Angelo’s post was removed. That leaves a nasty taste. NEVS media policy is certainly too minimalistic. As I drive to work everyday and mull over the current state of play, it certainly seems we are being held out to dry, sort of like a desiccated old insect who should have jumped already. They plainly don’t care for the loyalty of fans from the past. That is plain but it still hurts. Every day.

  17. Back to your question #1 What’s this post really about?

    It’s a teaser when not much is really going on. DJA880 will remain a significant car in SAAB’s history regardless of what pops out of NEVS in the future. The guys at SU have been stuck with very little to report on for a very long time so any speculation becomes a story. I feel for them but not enough to check in daily.

    I think you are spot on the money. No way will consumer-ready product be rolling off in two weeks. But I’ll be over-the-moon / dream-come-true if I’m wrong.

    SAABILL

  18. Hasn’t any media asked NEVS directly when they are planning to sell the 9-3 in Europe or the US? Or Sweden, at the least. Not even Trollhättan media? You’d think there was enormous pressure towards the media in Sweden to get something substantial out of NEVS already. They’ve said that they will focus initially in China, will have all the suppliers onboard by Christmas and will assemble cars by year’s end, and that there will be “teething problems”. I know Swedes are patient people, but you’d think by now they were dying to know what’s in store for Saab in 2014.

  19. Whilst I’ll be glad to see Saab making cars again, I hope hope NEVS has enough sense to get things right and not release the car until it’s ready. GM could afford to make that kind of mistake (and frequently did), but NEVS can’t. Personally a re-hashed 9-3 SS does little to excite me, but then I’ve always found it a bit of a yawn anyway. I hope a Phoenix platform replacement isn’t too far away? The prospect of the the 9-3 SS being around to 2017 (as some have suggested) is quite depressing as the the thing is already a bit past it’s use by date. Maybe the Chinese will buy the car until then, but I’m sure the rest of the world will turn up it’s nose long before then.

  20. Good article, Swade. I have taken a break from Saab-related news for quite a while because it is pretty obvious that NEVS SAAB is a company that works privately behind the scenes to get things ready, rather than perform a media circus act with nothing behind the curtain to back it up. The fact they are building and testing cars, components, hiring loads of staff, etc, leads me to conclude things are on course. NEVS SAAB will be well aware that they will need a PR blitz when the time comes because Saab is a dormant brand that needs to be resuscitated, Lazarus like – but there is absolutely zero point in doing that until they are ready with the cars to market.

    I take the point that NEVS SAAB could, in principle, have been giving us an Inside Saab style channel to tell us what’s happening behind the scenes, but on the other hand that could just open a whole can of worms for them that would be counter-productive at such a sensitive time in their development. Like putting a webcam over the newlyweds bed with a commentary on whether a pregnancy is going to result, I can see reasons for keeping things behind closed doors until after the first trimester. Folk just need to be patient and in the meantime get a hobby.

    PS – Glad you like your new car, Swade 🙂 !

  21. Steven, So great to have you get a bit back into the Saabosphere. Sure Angelo, can be repetitive, but he’s usually responding to some bland assurance that everything is OK and “NEVS knows what they’re doing.” So I can forgive him for that. If they know what they’re doing, it might be just fine if they don’t intend to sell in the US or Euro markets, but if they do, I’m in complete agreement with Angelo that it would behoove them to start planting some seeds of excitement, signing up some dealers, contacting the media, etc. etc. Whilst Saab was being bid on by various buyers including Spyker, I mentioned to you that I thought Muller might be all talk and showman. He wasn’t, but he did over promise. NEVS has to be careful of that, but there is a middle ground. I’m also agree with some other posters that Tim is a bit afraid of damaging his relationship with NEVS to divulge any inside info. BUt somehow you managed that balance pretty well with Djup Strupe. Early on, he sort of indicated that if NEVS could provide employment for his dad and others, he didn’t much care what they made. I can understand that, and I also know that he does love his Saabs. But I do think he’s a little to scared to break a few eggs to gain his reader’s loyalty in the way you managed.

    And surprise, surprise. Apparently, the initial new Saabs will have GM’s A20NFT engine. I have no problem with that decision but if major pieces of technology in the initial production Saabs are the same as what was being produced before bankruptcy, why so long to start up again?

    1. “Why so long to start up again?”
      LONG?! I would say extremely short! NEVS has been rebuilding a complete car manufacturing organization from scratch in about a year! That is NOT a long time in the automotive industry. Please remember that when NEVS bought the bankruptcy estate there was no Saab Automobile, no working organization, only intellectual and physical property. I follow NEVS as closely as I can and I am very impressed with what they have achieved so far. Their attitude to do things first and talk about them later is definitely my cup of tea as well.

      1. they weren’t exactly starting from scratch. They had a proven design that had been in production for years. They had the assembly line it was built on. They had the tooling (or various suppliers did). They had a workforce available to them that had built the car, albeit that some had moved on. They had a parts network and a dealer network that could easily be resurrected. They just had to put the parts together again and why that took so long, who knows.

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