By on March 22, 2010

Saab is in full re-start mode. A few days ago, we reported that Saab is re-starting incentives. Now, they are re-starting production. Germany’s Automobilwoche [sub] reports that “after a one and a half month pause, Saab is building cars again.” Now under the ownership of the Dutch boutique maker Spyker. They even hired a new sales chief,  Adrian Hallmark, formerly Executive Director Asia at Volkswagen AG and Executive Vice President at Volkswagen of America. According to Automobilwoche, Hallmark faces “a formidable task.”

Last year, while Saab was still under GM’s wings, worldwide sales had dropped to 40,000 cars. Even the Swedish government has removed Saab from its list of cars approved for government us. Reason: “Dubious resale value.” This year, Saab wants to build and sell 50,000 to 60,000 cars. Next year, twice as many.

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15 Comments on “Resuscitated Saab Makes Cars Again...”


  • avatar
    Dimwit

    This should be interesting. Are they able to use the GM IP? What kind of resources can Spyker leverage to make new, non GM designs? I doubt that they have anything in the kitty that will allow that even if they are only using parts bin sourcing.

    Talk about throwing good money after bad.

  • avatar
    jmo

    The only way I could see it working is if SAAB became the luxury division of Subaru.

    • 0 avatar
      c1josh

      Subaru certainly has found a huge market where SAAB used to sell cars, and I did consider one when I bought my 9-5 wagon 6 years ago. I love Subaru’s engine and drive-train and one or two models, but I just can’t get over their unfortunate styling.

      Subaru’s design team is grasping at straws and they just keep coming up with the short one.

      SAAB on the other hand has been working overtime, with the imminent threat of closure looming, and they have some amazing cars on the way.

  • avatar
    tsofting

    Cammy, good to see that you have finally accepted that a carmaker like Saab is singular, and consequently requires a verb in singular!

    “Saab is in full re-start..”
    “Saab is re-starting…”

  • avatar
    kars

    jmo – a very good idea

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Josh, go look at the new 2010 Outback if you like station wagons, or Legacy if you like sedans.

    If you want POWER (GOTTA HAVE A LOTTA POWER!) then you won’t want the 2.5 with CVT automatic – it’s 170hp as I purchased, but go with either the turbo boxer four (manual shift) or boxer six (automatic, non-CVT).

    The styling is far nicer than previously. In fact, I’m getting complements from absolute strangers on the looks of my car, and also complements from friends who’ve never noticed anything I’ve driven before, with mine.

    Check it out.

    • 0 avatar
      c1josh

      Sorry, I’m not in the market for a new car, in fact I just spent my Saturday installing new rear suspension parts.

      I’ve got a 4-cyl turbo with less power than those and I can go as fast as I want. I’m more interested in the breaking zones of my local on/off ramps.

      And the new Subie styling just doesn’t excite me, sorry.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      I’m afraid I don’t share your enthusiasm about the 2010 Outback. It’s grown to the point of resembling a lowered Tribeca.

      I’m happy with our 2005 Outback 2.5XT (actually I would have preferred the Legacy wagon, but my wife wanted the additional ground clearance). While we’re not planning to replace it anytime soon, when that time comes, it won’t be followed by a larger Outback. But maybe the Impreza will have grown to previous-generation-Outback size by then…

  • avatar
    c1josh

    Robert S.

    “Are they able to use the GM IP?”

    What GM IP? Pushrod engines? Drum brakes? 4 speed automatics? …”

    While that’s kind of amusing, it does ignore quite a bit of fact.

    First on the list would be, well… How about the GM Ecotec (second gen.) line of engines? Designed by Lotus.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Ecotec designed by Lotus?? I think not. Try designed mostly by Saab (or at least ex-Saab guys at Opel)…

      But to answer the question, yes, Saab-Spyker gets all the IP that they are currently using. The new 9-5 goes forward, as does the 9-4x, and the 9-3 stays in production.

      Frankly, given the fact that they A. all but stopped building cars midway through ’09, and B. GM was crowing to the rafters that Saab was being shut, it is amazing that they sold 40K cars. They certainly had no trouble selling 120K cars a year a few years back, and that was with the moldy old 9-5!

      And I know this is heretical, but how important is a “nationwide” dealer network anyway? The overwhelming majority of Saabs sales have always been on the coasts, particularly the RIGHT one. I certainly see them taking a step in the right direction with cutting prices, though I think they should have moved the HQ OUT of Detroit.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    You know, I want to like Saab, and I want them to do well. But, some kids want a pony too, and reality can be tough on folks when they live in fantasy land.

  • avatar
    snabster

    SAAB has a lot of challenges ahead. However, as laid out in this piece, they have about two years to get their act together.

    Target sale of 50K cars is not unreasonable this year. If they moved 40K last year — and that was a really bad year — doing that again with an all new 9-5 on sale as well is very doable. The problem there is in the US, the biggest market, that level of sales won’t support a nationwide dealer network. Good news is GMAC will continue to provide financing for US sales.

    The new 9-4 crossover looks very good as well, but GM now has even less incentive to get it out in a timely fashion. The dates keep slipping (2010, 2011) and by the time it gets here it will be badly dated. SAAB doesn’t need a crossover, but those dealers do.

    And of course the real acid test is whether they can get a new 9-3 developed. Given how stupid GM has been, just cleaning up the interior a bit more and making a hatchback might buy them a pass.


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