By on November 26, 2011

For more than two weeks, Saabhuggers have taken over GM’s Facebook page, plastering “Let Saab go!” all over the site. Yesterday, the occupation has been officially endorsed by Saab.

GM sources which requested anonymity, citing possible legal implications, mentioned to TTAC that the attacks have “all signs of a coordinated campaign.” That is putting it mildly.

Responsibility as initiators of the campaign was assumed on November 11 by an Italian splinter group named Saabway Club.

On November 16, Saabsunited, the fanzine for the zombie brand, reported that “the on-line Saab community have started one action to let GM know that we are still alive and here.” Then, the fanzine  could not help it and sent out a call to action to the Saab faithful: “Time to act?”

Yesterday, former Saabsunited-owner-turned-Saab-PR-flack Steven Wade decided to say to hell with the timid question marks, he broke cover and published on the official inside.saab website what can only be read as endorsement and encouragement of the virtual occupation:

“I want to acknowledge this fan-based movement, started and sustained by Saab enthusiasts on Facebook, using the social media tools freely available to them and everyone who uses the site. We have observed the movement and I want you to know that as always, your faith in our products and your desire to see Saab successful is a great morale boost for all who work with Saab.”

In a rather clumsy CYA attempt, Wade (and Saab) urge Saab fans to conduct the occupation “with respect and dignity.”

What represents respect and dignity is not defined. However, Wade and Saab say that “99.9% of people” have shown such respect and dignity during the occupation, and “there will always be one or two, however, who get a little too enthusiastic in getting their point across.” The reader remains without information of where the limit is and who the one or two that overstepped the boundaries may have been. 99.9 percent of the occupiers of GM’s site received a wholesale thumbs up from Saab.

We can safely assume that the call for respect and dignity is a throwaway statement, and that Saab’s on-line spokesperson and all-around hero of the true believers encourages the Saabinistas to continue the siege of GM’s Facebook site.

What we see here is perfect proof that Saab has fallen in the hands of rank amateurs, from Victor Muller down to its chubby wannabe flack from down-under. The true art of flackery often is practiced in what you don’t say.

In this case, if you are Saab, you want to look the other way and act as if you have seen nothing. If someone asks you, you say that as a matter of policy, you don’t comment on other carmakers. Only if you want to commit public relations suicide, you express sympathy and support for the squatters. And only if you are absolutely delirious or had too much Absolut, you sit down and demonstrate that sympathy and support in an official company blog.

With Vladimir Antonov accused of raping two of his banks and funneling funds to Saab, with salaries unpaid again, with unions most likely on their way to bankruptcy court on Monday, with no more money from China, Saab requires all the friends it can get. What it needs most is GM. GM can block any sale of Saab. Saab needs to remain in GM’s good graces.

Saab needs to be careful in what it wishes for. GM could act favorably to the “Let Saab go” demands and indeed will let Saab go.

To hell.

P.S.: The Italian initiators of the campaign took note of the official recognition, and vowed to continue the jihad with the required respect and dignity.

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48 Comments on “Saab Officially Gives A Thumbs Up To GM Facebook Squatters...”


  • avatar

    Counterproductive, I agree (if that is what you are saying in part). Especially the whole story how GM killed the true Saab. A story CEO Muller could not afford but was ‘selling’ to whoever bought it. Must have antagonized a couple of GM people I guess. Nevertheless, one might make a case that Ford did a better job in making Volvo count than GM did with Saab.

  • avatar
    RitaB

    “Chubby” is the best insult you can come up with for Wade? I expected more from a pathetic Nazi with a mail-order bride.

    • 0 avatar

      Nice. The cheerleaders arrived.

    • 0 avatar
      chris724

      Stay Klassy, Saab fans!

      • 0 avatar
        dreadnought

        Oh come on…fanatic fanboys are fanatic fanboys, and are generally not known for their sense or discretion, regardless of brand. Do you think that a portion of, say, Honda fandom, or some of the crowd at E90post would act any differently in a similar situation?

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        @dreadnaught: And that excuses it?

        Of course the generic fanboy of any brand, sports team, political party, etc. would likely spout the same kind of garbage. That’s why it’s become hard to voice support for anything anymore.

        Dismissing it as “boys will be boys” is a tacit endorsement of this crude, childish behavior.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Being a fanboy isn’t a good excuse for libeling someone as a Nazi.

        It would be nice around here if posters would avoid using pejoratives such as “Nazi” and “socialist” except in those rare cases when they are making specific references to individuals who are bona fide Nazis and socialists. And being that this is a car forum, I can’t think of too many instances when either accusation is appropriate.

      • 0 avatar
        dreadnought

        @FromaBuick6 and @PCH101:

        Where did I say in my post that I excuse it?

        I simply took issue with the person who posted “Stay Klassy(sic) Saab Fans” which would seem to strongly imply that all “Saab Fans” are guilty by association because of the post of one foolish person.

        I don’t think anyone, be they Saab fans, Honda fans, or Buick fans should be tarred by association because of one unfortunate poster.

        And as someone whose grandfather emigrated from Germany, I do not endorse the throwing around of the term “Nazi” lightly. Including this case.

        Not sure where either of you got the idea that I was excusing any such action from the contents of my post.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        Someone made an infantile, disgusting comment, and you’re more upset about somebody else’s “stay classy” wisecrack. If you’re so concerned about guilt by association, or so offended by Nazi references, why didn’t you disavow it in your first comment?

        Instead you made “oh, any fanboy would say that” excuses.

      • 0 avatar
        dreadnought

        @fromabuick6

        A. I didn’t “disavow” the disgusting comment because I didn’t *make* the disgusting comment. I am not responsible for it. Seems to be a pretty simple concept, yes? Or are you of the “Stay Klassy Saab Fans” school of collective guilt?

        And I did not make an “oh any fanboy would say that” excuse. Go back and read what I said. I was simply saying such behavior is not unique to “Saab fans”

        Where I come from, saying, as I said, that someone is “not known for their sense or discretion” is the same as calling them an idiot. What else would you call someone without sense or discretion?

        For you to claim otherwise is a serious misrepresentation on your part-my point was: there are idiots in every group and it’s not fair to tar everyone by association. It was made clear-if you didn’t get that, it’s your problem not mine.

        B. Also I didn’t comment further on the person’s offensive and idiotic “Nazi” comment because it seems to me that Mr. Schmitt is quite capable of taking care of himself.

        As a Saab owner who doesn’t go around making “Nazi” comments, I felt offended by the “Stay Klassy Saab Fans” insinuation of guilt by associtation in his below it, and as such felt like taking care of….. myself.

        See how that works?

        From your comments, apparently you think I should have just accepted the “Stay Klassy Saab Fans” assignation of collective guilt, and gone to see a Priest for confession, or something.

        Sorry. Not going to happen. I have committed many sins, but this isn’t one of them. Take your guilt trip elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul W

      Looks like one of those 0.01% made it to TTAC!

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Whaaaat??!!

  • avatar
    Doc

    I would like to know how many of these Saab fanatics have actually bought a new Saab in the last 10 years. I suspect they are like most “car nuts” and only buy 8 year old versions of the cars they love so much.

    • 0 avatar
      dreadnought

      Actually hundreds of thousand of Saabs were bought in the US and many more world-wide over the last ten years.

      What gets forgotten in all this hoo-hah, is that the vast majority of the buyers who purchased these cars over the last ten years were, in fact, GM customers. GM customers who were, essentially, abandoned by GM in 2009; who have watched their resale values drop even more precipitously than expected; and who now have great difficulty obtaining parts for their vehicles, due to GM blocking the sale of the company.

      And who, if they were US customers who pay income tax, were forced to bailout the very company that screwed them, with their own tax dollars.

      Effectively, this is a revolt by some of GM customers over the mistreatment they have received by GM.

      After all, when Ford dumped Volvo they didn’t sell off the company piecemeal (as GM did to Saab), then search around for some undercapitalized buyer to relieve them of the rest of their responsibilites (as GM did), then have the gall to block the sale when said undercapitalized buyer tries to sell the company to somone who might actually have the capital to fund Saab operations (again, as GM did).

      Heck in 2009, GM couldn’t even be bothered to offer their GM Saab customers the same loyalty discount they were offering to every other GM customer (including those of their other shuttered GM brands).

      Awwww…are the nasty Saab fans clogging up GMs Facebook page? That’s awful.

      Poor GM.

      Please…….

      • 0 avatar
        jhott997

        Dreadnought,
        Thanks for the logical post!
        I, for one, was hoping that Bertel would propose a “Pity Party” on the GM Facebook page! Poor GM has to deal with a few hundred angry Saab customers/enthusiasts.
        Poor GM.
        F GM.

        I thought TTAC was supposed to speak the truth?

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I haven’t seen a new Saab on the road in a long time. So much for the quirky fans that love them so much.

    Saab is really prolonging the inevitable. Acura, Volvo, and Lincoln can barely keep the lights on marketing FWD luxury vehicles. What makes Saab so special that they think they can survive in this automotive climate?

    • 0 avatar
      dreadnought

      In the northeast US, a rather large market, they are still quite common, I assure you.

      • 0 avatar
        damikco

        I see very few, and the ones i do see are older.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        The most common Saabs I see in western PA are sitting on the local dealer’s lot, overpriced and unsold.

      • 0 avatar
        dreadnought

        Well I live in Upstate NY, on the PA border, and I know they are quite common on the road, here, and in Northeast PA. My nephew attends Pitt, so next time I see him, I’ll ask him if the only Saabs he sees are on dealer lots. I kind of doubt the answer is going to be “yes”.

      • 0 avatar
        morbo

        Maybe in BizzaroLand Northeast, where Camry’s are rare, people enjoy cars instead of tolerating them as appliances, and GM cars don’t fall apart.

        Seriously dude, Arlington VA (where I now live) is the ultimate Euro-chic/quirk demographic. High disposable income, love Euro / loathe American cars, second smartest place in America (after neighboring georgetown, DC). Ain’t no Saabs around here. Hell, the local Saab dealer has a great deal on a “NEW” 2009 Saab on his lot. 3 years after MY2009. There are more Fiat 500’s in my parking lot (4) then Saabs I’ve seen since I moved here (maybe 3).

        Now I return to BizzaroLand Northeast, and to my shiny new 300C with the Hemi V8. The locals think the purring of the V8 at idle means there’s something wrong with the engine, relative to lack of sound from their camry’s and Civic’s at idle.

      • 0 avatar
        dreadnought

        Personally I wouldn’t consider Virginia, even Arlington, the “Northeast”. I’m not sure I know anybody who would.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      You don’t see many Saabs as the owners are working on them. They are very serviceable but we do have fulltime jobs. :)

  • avatar
    wmba

    Ah yes, while SAAB edges closer to the end, Victor has made sure that he has been paid his salary and bonuses, according to Swedish TV:

    “Saab has also paid Victor Muller’s invoices even while supplier’s bills have remained unpaid. Saab’s annual report details consultancy fees of 4 million kronor including a bonus of 1.76 million to a company that Muller controls – Latin America Tug Holding registered on the island of Curacao in the Caribbean. ….. Saab’s parent company has paid consultancy fees of €550 000 and an additional bonus of €508,571, making a total of about 10 million kronor to Victor Muller. He has also received 120,000 shares that he has sold for nearly four million kronor.
    Beyond that, Saab’s parent company has bought services from companies affiliated with Victor Muller for nearly seven million. Victor Muller also has very attractive interest rate agreements for the money his company has lent to Saab. The interest on loans is set at EURIBOR plus 6 -10 percent. This means that Saab could have paid him around 12per cent interest on the loans.
    Swedish Television have not been able to reach Victor Muller.”

    And earlier in the year from Svenska Dagbladet:

    ” Jonsson stated that Saab has been very, very close to the expectations of the business plan. “In relation to the lower sales, we have managed to keep costs low”.

    That they stayed within the business plan is the reason that both Muller and Jonsson got bonuses though Saab made a net loss of nearly two billion kronor last year. Victor Muller has no qualms in maintaining his 4.5 million kronor ($0.7 million) in bonus on top of his salary and other benefits. Overall, it means that he got a remuneration in 2010 worth around 14 million kronor ($2.2 million), according to Dagens Industri.

    Of course Muller does not explain how they managed to stay within the business plan but ran out of cash. Or perhaps cash flow was not included in his business plan.”

    SAAB’s employees are being taken for a ride. I pity them. Not only are they out of a job, most likely, but Muller has managed to hypnotize otherwise normal people into thinking that SAAB cars are somehow better than anything else. They all congregate at Saabsunited, and spill bile on all those who disagree with them. Led of course by that Wade fellow from Australia who is an utter nincompoop and revisionist. He’s now offering styling analyses that show he knows bugger all about that too. Wonder how much Victor tips him for being a good little doggie. Wade’s modus operandi: “I can’t tell you exactly right now, but next week salvation will occur” This message is repeated every few days to keep the faithful in tow, and comments critical of him are deleted “to keep the coverage of SAAB fair and balanced.”

    Somebody stop the madness! If this whole thing hasn’t been a con game, I’d be very surprised.

    • 0 avatar
      dreadnought

      Well, if it’s a con game, then Muller conned GM didn’t he?

      Or else GM knowingly abandoned a portion of their customers to a con man.

      What does that say about GM?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Well, if it’s a con game, then Muller conned GM didn’t he?

        GM was paid $74 million for Saab. Which was probably more than it was worth.

        GM also received stock in Spyker, although I would presume that those shares will prove to be worthless.

        GM got paid a bit of cash, and in exchange was able to get rid of a bleeder. For GM, that was a net positive. (Of course, it would have been better for GM had it avoided buying Saab in the first place.)

      • 0 avatar
        dreadnought

        Again: so in other words, GM abandoned a portion of their customers to a con man.

        I would suspect GM is going to have some customer responsibility/liability issues when all is said and done.

        Was that worth a quick 74 million?

        We will see.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I would suspect GM is going to have some liability issues when all is said and done.

        Motors Liquidation Company is being liquidated. If you have issues, then join the back of the line with all of the other creditors who have unsecured claims.

        GM abandoned a portion of their customers to a con man

        I don’t know if Muller intended to con anyone. But he does seem to have made some effort to structure the deal so that he would win, either way. Take that for what you will.

        Spyker was itself on the brink of failure. Doing the Saab deal gave it access to loans that it otherwise wouldn’t have had. From its perspective, the Saab deal made sense at the time, but that didn’t mean that it was going to work.

      • 0 avatar
        dreadnought

        I believe Saab’s association with Motors Liquidation Company ended with the sale to Spyker. Part of the reason for GMs due diligence during the sale process(such as it was) were related to future liability claims, is my understanding.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I believe Saab’s association with Motors Liquidation Company ended with the sale to Spyker.

        The point is that the General Motors that operates today never owned Saab. The entity that sold Saab, Motors Liquidation Company, is a separate business entity that is independent of the new General Motors and that is being wound down. The “new GM” didn’t inherit whatever liabilities may be associated with Saab.

      • 0 avatar
        dreadnought

        It doesn’t matter whether the “new GM” owned Saab or not (and actually that is not a proper interpretaion of post-bankruptcy GMs responsibilites anyway).

        They are going to have trouble in that area since they still own the IP for Saab vehicles-it’s going to be difficult to claim they have no liabilty for Saab’s vehicles when they are claiming enough ownership of Saab’s IP to deny its sale.

        Go back and look at the comments made by Lutz, and others in the GM hierarchy, at the time of Saab’s sale. They certainly made comments to the effect that they wanted to make sure that Saab’s new owners had the capital to support the venture, otherwise GM would be on the hook for various liabilities related to their supplying Saab before and after the 2009 sale of the company.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        They are going to have trouble in that area since they still own the IP for Saab vehicles-it’s going to be difficult to claim they have no liabilty for Saab’s vehicles when they are claiming enough ownership of Saab’s IP to deny its sale.

        GM allegedly has the right to approve the buyer. It has offered an argument publicly for why it does not approve of this particular buyer. Unless someone is willing to bankroll a compelling lawsuit that demands specific performance and they can get it into court quickly, I don’t see how GM has much to worry about.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Well, that ought to convince GM.

    Two months ago I was at the (only remaining out of four) Saab dealer in town to get a repair to the convertible mechanism. They had TWO 9-5s there (looking highly unmolested) and no other models I could see. Thankfully they sell Cadillac and Hyundai as well, so a) I had something to look at for 2+ hours, and b) they could keep the lights on.

    Perhaps Saab, Suzuki and Mitsubishi could all roll up into one modern AMC (or….B-L) to stave off the inevitable. While each brand has at least one superlative car each to donate, none have a competitive lineup.

    Once upon a time Saab stood for something. Alas, it hurts me to say those days are gone.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The Facebook protest probably won’t change a thing, but I don’t see the alleged nobility of the Saab fans suffering in silence, either. Their objectives may not be realistic, but they have every right to be annoyed.

    Perhaps Saab, Suzuki and Mitsubishi could all roll up into one modern AMC (or….B-L) to stave off the inevitable.

    Suzuki and Mitsubishi are both profitable. Suzuki dominates the car market in India. Just because they aren’t successful in the US doesn’t mean that they’re on the brink of failure worldwide.

    Saab, on the other hand, is a global bleeder. It generates minimal volume and produces operating losses. It also has no real assets of its own; it doesn’t even own its own brand, let alone much in the way of intellectual property. It’s uniquely screwed.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Don’t these people have lives? Surely there are better ways they can occupy their time rather than spamming a Facebook page (or harassing TTAC’s editors).

    It’s pathetic. Saab’s dead in the water. Most of the dealerships are long gone. If the workers in Sweeden get laid off, they’ll get government benefits we could never dream of; they win either way. Muller’s a con man and/or an imbecile. The rest of us realized that Saab was a turkey with shoddy electricals and bad resale long before GM decided to unload it.

    Why all the hate for GM, anyway? If it wasn’t for their decades of stunningly inept management, they wouldn’t have bought Saab to begin with and the brand would have gone under a long time ago. Nobody else wanted it in 1989 and nobody wants it now. That’s how an underfunded clown like Muller got it in ’09 and why the only financiers who will talk to Muller now are Russian mafiosos and no-name Chinese firms. It’s not a viable concern, period.

    Boo hoo. Your Euro snobmobile is done for. Enjoy the cars you’ve got like the rest of the orphan car enthusiasts or switch to BMW like the rest of the badge snobs. Stop with the internet temper tantrums and find something better to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Seán Moloney

      I’m not sure if you actually know what you are talking about when you mention the “dreamy” government benefits that Saab employees will get if the company were to go under. As far as I am aware the benefits equate to approximately 70% of the wages you would get if you still had your job, also I’ve been told you can be offered any job in the entire country and you MUST take it or loose your government benefits.

      Am I a Saab fan? Yes. Do I hate GM? Yes, but I don’t hate GM because of their severe mismanagement of Saab (or any of their other brands for that matter) during the time they owned it. I hate GM because they are a crap company selling crap cars and the only cars they sold worth a second glance were Saab’s. I’m not saying Saab’s are the best cars in the world, they are/were the best of a crap company (GM) Cadillac will never be taken seriously as a luxury brand, it is American after all. Opel will never be taken seriously as a luxury brand either, Skoda has a better chance of moving into the luxury market then Opel. GM cars are riddled with problems right from the moment they role off the production lines. It’s like they have been produced to fail.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        Those benefits are a lot better than what I get here in the U.S. if I’m laid off.

        I hate GM because they are a crap company selling crap cars and the only cars they sold worth a second glance were Saab’s.

        Saabs use GM platforms, GM engines and an endless array of other GM parts bin components. How does Saab stand a better chance of being taken seriously when they’ve been nothing but “crap” Opels with floor-mounted ignitions for nearly 20 years?

      • 0 avatar
        Paul W

        “… also I’ve been told you can be offered any job in the entire country and you MUST take it or loose your government benefits.”

        This is not even an argument. If you MUST apply for a job you don’t really want, all you need to do is simply write a terrible application, something along the lines of “I find it difficult to cooperate with other”, “I have a very bad temper” and “I like to sleep in”. Presto, you’re guaranteed not having to show up for an interview.

        (Also, I’m guessing that 70% of a Saab assembly worker’s salary isn’t that far off from what a “normal” factory worker gets a month.)

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Congratulations Saab fanatics. You’ve made GM seem sympathetic.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    What? No hate for Scania where it belongs.

  • avatar
    spyked

    I can’t hate on GM. Sure, most of the stuff they have ever produced is crap. But thats only IF you compare them to the other two big car groups – Ford and VW. On their own, the GM Saabs weren’t terrible. Just behind the times by a few years in each generation.

    I’ve said this about Mercury too….if SAAB goes under, why not make the LaCrosse available with an exterior and interior package that happens to look nice like the 9-5? Ditto for the Ford Fusion….if you want your compact Ford to not look so juvenile, order the Milan package at your Ford dealer. Not enough business to have a separate dealer network, but don’t get rid of the good looking parts!

    Seriously though, the most depressing thing about this whole fiasco is that the 9-5, GM best sedan they’ve ever produced, never had a chance. Not that it was going to sell a lot, but based on beauty alone….just think how nice it would be if it was taking at least a few Avalons off the road.

    • 0 avatar
      naterator

      I’ve wondered the same thing, as well. With the development costs of the 9-5 and 9-4x already sunk, why not add a few thousand incremental sales over the next few years to recover at least some of those costs?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Bertel – kudos for calling this one right all the way. Stay the course.

    I’m astonished (sort of) at the passion the Saab death spiral has evoked in people. Saab’s disappearance will be a small ripple in a distant pond.

    Time for perspective: Of the 58 million cars produced worldwide in 2010, Saab produced 32,000, or 0.06%. Saab employs 3300 people, according to Wikipedia; the University of Pittsburgh employs 4800 just in its academic staff.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    After being dead to the market place for a year, any restart in SAAB production would be lucky to see 15 or 20K units sold worldwide.
    There are not hundreds of thousands of customers waiting for the moment when they can buy a brand new SAAB. Lack of sales was the big problem before, nothing changes here.
    In the hands of a Chinese company SAAB could be resurrected as a cost competitive brand in overseas markets. But that rubs the General the wrong way and the only market this would work is China.
    So forget all the maneuvering and look at the basics: SAAB is/was a high end car without enough sales to justify it’s existence any longer. They might be the greatest cars every made, a joy to drive, reliable as rain and outstanding in their class but if they don’t sell a lot of them they can’t survive as a company.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Saab sold 356 cars in the US in November. 356.

      My local mega-dealer still has 20 on his lot.

      It’s pretty tough to make a business case to an investor with so few sales prospects.

  • avatar
    jeff_vader

    “Jeff” (not me, another one.) has taken over Mr Wade’s position as head cheerleader at The Church Of The One True Saab and is pumping out the “I can’t tell you exactly right now, but next week salvation will occur” line again tonight. Apparently a deal has been signed and press releases are ready….

    Remind me, what happened over the weekend? Oh, I know, the wages weren’t paid again and the unions are threatening bankruptcy petitions. But just as in July & August a last minute deal is rumoured & Saab will be saved if only they get just a little more time and the workers don’t vote to put those petitions in. Trouble is now it is reported that up to 500 workers have already left Saab and Volvo is recruiting. Maybe, finally, the unions will grow a pair and not listen to anymore of this BS.


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