By on February 19, 2010

Do you want to believe? You’ll feel at home over at SaabsUnited.com, where the most incurable Saabtimists on the web are (still!) trying to turn their beloved brand around one comment-thread at a time. One current topic, “What to do about Saab dealer finance?” illustrates just one of the major problems facing Saab-Spyker. Other problems include, well, money. CEO Victor Muller has hinted that he’ll list the new Saab-Spyker’s shares in London and Stockholm, “to be closer to investors,” he says. Automotive News [sub] figures it’s because he needs money to develop the new model lines that have been “rumored.” At some point they might want to think about those dealer issues too. Meanwhile, Åke Svensson and Saab’s fourth quarter results epitomize the strained optimism we’ve been hearing for months now.

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7 Comments on “The Case Against Saab-timism, Continued...”


  • avatar

    Saab is a vegetable whose plug should have been pulled. I can’t believe that real Saab fans who railed against GM cars wearing the Saab label cheerleaded for Spyker to purchase it only to continue to sell GM cars with the Saab label for the forseable future. Like Pontiac the brand’s best days and products that defined it at it’s zenith are well behind it.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      That’s an ironic remark from a Buick supporter. Speaking of which, I saw an unrestored 1928 roadster at a hot-rod/muscle car club meet at the end of autumn. It ran perfectly. It was so HUGE, I could just barely see dash from the outside.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Those steeped in Detroit-style branding strategy seem to have great trouble “getting” why GM made such a mess of Saab.

    If Saab survives it will need to adopt a branding strategy more in line with successful independent automakers of the past. That includes minimizing its “hard” costs by offering a narrower line up that is less frequently redesigned than its competitors.

    Make no mistake, this disadvantage. It would need to be compensated for by offering features and qualities that bigger automakers can’t or won’t offer.

    It’s not enough to piddle around with, say, a unique-looking kidney grille or an unusual technical flourish like a floor-mounted ignition. Saab needs to have a big idea.

    What would that be? In a way that depends upon what they can afford to do. If they have no money for new product then they will have to focus on other things, e.g., the buying and owning experience. A small brand has the ability to offer a much more intimate relationship with the customer. Do that well enough and Saab might plausibly carve out enough of a base to survive.

    What Saab can’t do is be only incrementally better than everyone else. In some fashion it has to stand out to such a degree that the brand develops a cult following.

  • avatar
    MOSullivan

    Muller says SAAB will be profitable selling 100k – 120k cars, which he projects for 2012. That would be a return to the sales levels of 05/06 when unemployment was low and cheap credit was available to anyone. Even in that favourable economic environment SAAB had to use profit killing incentives to sell cars. The Great Debt Meltdown and subsequent recession have changed things. Economies will have improved by 2012 (I hope) but we’re not going back to 05/06. Credit will be harder to get and unemployment will be higher. SAAB can’t resort to incentives to sell cars for no profit. That’s because Spyker can’t carry it longer than 2 years when it will have burned through the $1 billion Spyker has raised.

    New cars will work in SAAB’s favour, if they’re good. The damaged brand will work against it. Potential buyers will not be reassured that a miniscule, money losing Dutch sports car maker they’ve never heard of stands behind SAAB, itself recently bankrupt.

  • avatar
    saabista63

    SAAB has been a target of hard-nosed speculation for almost a year now.
    I think it doesn’t make sense to go on with that. We’ve heard it all, and we’ve heard it all over again.
    Some people think, SAAB should have been killed 20 years ago, and some think it will be sucessful again.

    So, for a change, let’s just simply see what happens.
    We can’t tell the future after all, not even for money.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    Now with Tojo Toyo up against the ropes it’s time for Big Swede to come on strong. Enough with the rope-a-dope. And I just know that everyone who is now hesitant about taking on new debt and/or buying a loaded Camry can’t wait to dive right into a nice, new 9-3. In the immortal words of Ted…uh…er…Spyker, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue…”

  • avatar
    Nutella

    I hope the confusion between the Saab Defence & Security company’s CEO Mr Svensson and Saab Automobile is not intentional !!

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