Saab Independence Day. Independence 7 years later.

Trollhättan. It is the 23. February 2011. Since 11: 00 o'clock the small town on the Göta Älv celebrates the first Independence Day of the brand. The Saab 9-5 NG sports trolleybus has world premiere, the 9-3 Convertible of the Independence Day Edition makes a damned desire for more. Everything was done right, and yet everything was wrong. Behind the scenes, the catastrophe began.

Saab Independence Day 2011. Image Saab Automobile AB / Archive
Saab Independence Day 2011. Image Saab Automobile AB / Archive

It stayed on exactly one Independence Day. One year later, the factory gates were closed, and another year later the site was occupied by Chinese investors. And that's how it is today. The Saab logos have disappeared, and for tourists in transit nothing reminiscent of the coolest car brand Sweden has ever produced.

The risky bets on the future.

But there is a lot of life in the good old Saab brand. Just different, more unconventional, maybe even more exhausting. The world has changed since the 23. February 2011 changed. I write about the car world, politics I deny myself on the blog. Digitization is a topic of the future and with it the change for the car industry. Temporary use and new transport services will shake up the industry. Property will disappear more and more and new providers will give the old industrial giants sleepless nights.

How come out where we'll be in 5 or 10 years? Nobody can predict it, but the industry is afraid. Before what comes, and above all, what you do yourself. By the year 2020, new, all-electric models will be launched in North America through 100. This is reported by the Automotive News. Behind it hide billions in investments and a risky bet. Is the customer really ready or was the electric car hype only hotly written by the media? A tormenting uncertainty. In China, the party is the development. By subsidy or, if necessary, by decree. In North America, consumers have the freedom and may decide. Do you feel in the rural areas of Idaho the desire for online cars with apps, batteries and electric motors? Or do you stay with Chevy pickup? An exciting question!

Not quite as speculative, but exciting was the development of the Saab brand in recent years. Sure, there are fewer and fewer vehicles. The environmental bonus, which allows you to swap older vehicles for a new diesel, sucked many great cars off the road in the last quarter of 2017. The group from Lower Saxony made, again, to the disposal of automotive cultural assets earned.

7.000,00 € for an old Saab, which would otherwise be worth only half, was too tempting for some owners. Too bad. The stock shrinks, the Saab community also. But it's just as a Saab dealer put it a few weeks ago:

There will be fewer, but better cars.

What the development would be in a nutshell. Saab drivers are free, they have been really independent for years. Independence Day 2.0, so to speak. Unplanned, and certainly not meant before 7 years ago. Unusually in a mature economy, where everything is annoyingly down to the smallest detail commercialized.

Whoever drives Saab, does so consciously. He often invests a lot of money in an old car and has long stopped asking for the time value. He drives Saab just because he wants it. Not because he rejects the future, but because he wants to drive in the here and now an analog, individual car. Because he just feels like it.

Independence is not easy. But exciting.

The alternative Saab system works, and it is also good as a business model. There are, over the republic, a dozen or so workshops that operate sustainably. With success, because something is happening. I see expansion, an expansion of offers, new solutions. It speaks for the health of the market, which is developing as it was not always expected.

Where there is a gap in the spare parts supply, there is someone who fills them. Not always immediately, but in the medium term. And there are some lucrative gaps. Orio Sweden lets her, without any need. There, sales and earnings go back. Not dramatic, but with a certain continuity. The reason is obvious. Fewer cars, fewer sales. But unfortunately also, because you allow gaps in the range. And because you do not recognize opportunities. On the other hand, the new business areas are not developing as well as hoped.

Several workshops have disappeared in recent years. Not without reason, but also because the Saab world has become more exhausting - and the customer more sensitive. More susceptible to nuances, as is often the case with minorities. There were new customers with other providers. For those who live Saab and where one feels well cared for.

The weights in the Saab world will continue to shift. Anyone who relies on restoration and value retention, has set up well as a workshop. The scene will become even more individual and demanding. Fewer cars, better cars. Saab as a statement, as an attitude to life and everything that goes with it. The willingness to invest in your own dream aaa will increase. Where every Saab can be a personal dream car, regardless of the model.

Saab drivers are 7 years after the 23. February 2011, really independent and free. They are not obligated to anyone, bound to anyone. You do not need an app or an electronic key on your smartphone. They do not leave a data trace of several terabytes per day. The system does not have to reboot after an update, it works analog and reliable.

Independence can also be exhausting and sometimes not easy. If you have to wait for a workshop appointment 3 weeks or need to get parts for his classic himself. But independence is something special in our commercialized world. And somehow typical Saab.

20 thoughts too "Saab Independence Day. Independence 7 years later."

  • 23. February 2018 at 11: 19 AM

    ... how does Tom know how to handle my SAABs ...
    yes, unfortunately, there is nothing new from SAAB and nothing else on the market which stings me from the stool, so the SAABe be maintained!

  • 23. February 2018 at 11: 19 AM

    "He drives Saab just because he wants it. Not because he rejects the future, but because he wants to drive in the here and now an analog, individual car. Because he just wants to. "And yes, I feel like it and will continue to invest in my 2 Saab, because I want it and I have to dictate anything from the commercialized world and because I want to continue to be individual: Paths arise, that you go, (Kafka) and of course I will continue with Saab. My family (especially my daughter) is already crazy about SAAB, we are currently looking for a convertible and a 900 Turbo 16 S ...... that's what it looks like

  • 23. February 2018 at 11: 26 AM


    Thank you for the article, which also reflects my thoughts of the last months. "All my future cars are built long ago" someone once formulated. No better way to say it.

    With today's design by big data or "Vorsprung durch Beschiss", others should be happy.

    Unintentionally, I have migrated in the last few months in the Old and Youngtimer - world and admire in addition to "our" SAABs also beautiful British and Italian cars from the 60er to 80er years.

    Anyway, I'm really looking forward to spring and my 901 Cab 16s, too

  • 23. February 2018 at 12: 02 PM

    Tom, you can hardly express it better .... !!!

  • 23. February 2018 at 12: 24 PM

    The question of how it goes with electromobility or alternatives to it is simply answered: it is due to the thick air in the cities and thus the policy that has been gracing for years for the health of their citizens. Car hobby and inability contribute to the rest. NEVS screwed it up and I think if they leave Stallbacka, something new will happen, since we probably fit in with the stuff. SAAB Cars was broken by the Chinese to sell VOLVOS - that was not nice ...

  • 23. February 2018 at 12: 29 PM

    What else is to be noted: lately there is a lack of KNOW-HOW in the workshops and some spare parts are very much needed. Eg windscreens. The original Saint-Gobain for the 9-3 II was great until a "paving stone" hit - what came after that was already broken by a pebble (Pilkington). Wanted to advertise in the ad area, that I'm looking for a Soint-Gobain - but not really working with my browser ... where do you get that?

    • 23. February 2018 at 1: 26 PM

      Fits not to today's topic, but to your comment: We close the marketplace at the end of the month. But there will be (very likely) a successor. Easier to use, and easier to create ads and requests. The previous solution has made no one happy.

    • 24. February 2018 at 12: 15 PM

      Hello MySAABisStillGOOD, I can send you a new disk, including shipping about 220, - €. If interested, please message to tommy33 (at) Saabige Greetings, Herbert

  • 23. February 2018 at 12: 51 PM

    Written from the heart! SAAB move me because I feel like it

  • 23. February 2018 at 1: 05 PM

    "Ahhh, a SAAB!" I always hear a little envy when someone sees my (mostly) freshly washed 9-3II Cab.
    That with the "analog car" hits it exactly. Of course I could, for example. disfiguring the radio with a super double din part, but even as a musician I think that's a sacrilege. I used to have everything, but I do not need it anymore. Now have your hands free to wave back ...

  • 23. February 2018 at 2: 30 PM

    As so often, as always: once again written well and aptly.

    Released from time-value thinking and other economic (pseudo-) constraints, SAABs are as independent as ever. And also their owners and drivers, because it only counts the very individual and personal benefit.

    One could also say that the brand has emancipated itself from the disposable society.

    That was certainly not entirely voluntary, but on the other hand, this route was already outlined in better days. I've talked to drivers and owners of older SAABs (9000 and 900 I) several times. New car buyers. First owner! ! !

    What may not be so surprising in one or the other Scandinavian country, is undeniably rare here in Germany. Namely that motorists think what they already have is so good that they would not need the latest model to get in, drive and get off their heads.

    Long before the bankruptcy, many did what was necessary to achieve the desired functionality, reliability or even a specific care condition.

    There is hardly a second brand for everyday use and actually focused on mass production cars, which has screwed up the new car business as consistently as SAAB.
    SAABs (at least many SAABs) were probably always driven a bit far and maintained, as if they came from a small smithy. But a bit they were also designed and built as if ...

  • 23. February 2018 at 4: 19 PM

    I still feel like driving on Saab and I can also say that we are not alone. Our Saab Club in Belgium has grown over the last year with more than 50 Saabists and more people are joining it every week.
    Of course it is always good for older cars to be in an environment where you can exchange experience and get help. As long as our clubs are still growing, not many Saabs will disappear. So on until the next Independence Day !!

  • 23. February 2018 at 5: 11 PM

    Every Saab can be a dreamaboo!

    Great and well written!
    Thanks Tom.
    It is exactly like that!
    If I keep in mind that my 9.3 l is still worth a maximum of 1000, but I have already invested seven times in the conservation or appreciation.
    There must really be something to it, the love of individuality.
    Who needs all this electronic support, entertainment or Inet connection if he concentrates fully on this while driving?
    These things actually distract more from the actual topic
    Driving the car!
    But since we Saab drivers just want to enjoy that and thanks to the cars, we do not need that. I guess most Saab riders drive more conscious and predictive anyway, maybe even more intense than others.
    Not only because you always keep in mind that in an accident you can not just buy a new one around the corner, but because we feel all that you mentioned above.
    Individuality, driving fun, love for dreamabout and no technology that distracts you.

    Swedish reasonably.

  • 23. February 2018 at 5: 45 PM

    Funny as the government is trying to get rid of old cars and my 23 years old Saab 9000, thanks to Trionic, achieved better emissions than the whole direct-injection scrap of today's XD

  • 23. February 2018 at 7: 18 PM

    I just put the 9000 in the carport after a long day at work and after a little break I took the 902 Turbo out of the garage and had a nice tour before it got dark. It's great weather here today. This is a Sting live concert from the CD, not quite analog, but at least no compressed gequäke from any medium.

    When, after an hour, I came back completely relaxed and satisfied, asked my wife, where were you? Just turned a round, never mind. Looking forward to the spring, when I can make the rounds again with the convertible

    The 9000 is more the working tool, which is not meant to be negative. He does that until today perfect! The two 902 I drive more for relaxation. I think that's what very few people do with their modern data center, or ...

    • 26. February 2018 at 10: 21 AM

      ... and that's the point: in the not-too-distant future such unnecessary trips will be punished with a hefty amusement tax - unless one has stopped in between to make a correspondingly high turnover at a licensed money-store. I'm curious when all vehicles without GPS are classified as particularly harmful to the environment ...

      • 26. February 2018 at 11: 13 AM

        LOL, what a dark vision ...

        Unfortunately, she will probably be closer to reality than we all would like. In the remote villages of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, no Harzer can afford a car anymore. Public transport is already set there today. Bus drivers, carpenters and doctors have already been exported to Scandinavia. The language courses have been donated to the taxpayer to get rid of superfluous people.

        Good that you quickly found replacement from other countries. But nevertheless, now (after a destroyed infrastructure) the rural exodus is complained ...

        But that will be better from now on! Because now the taxpayer pays the taxi rides of students to school, the trips of old people to the doctor and so on. Germany 4.0! ! !

        But every Harzer, who spends his money on the way somewhere (at Mc dirt, for schnapps and tipping or anywhere else), is again exempt from the amusement tax. He already pays enough other taxes (tobacco, mineral oil and
        Added value, etc. ...).

        Maybe politics has the complete overview, everything under control and a positive vision for our country?
        So please do not see everything so gloomy!

        Everything will be fine in D 4.0. And tomorrow, the new SAAB 4.0-9 III will be introduced in S 5. The then has an 1.6 T with 320 PS and 500 Nm and also electric motors, From 0 on 100 it only needs 4.2 seconds and the consumption of this hybrid car will be (according to EU standard) only 1.7 liters on 100 Km!

        Everything will be fine ! ! !

        Geely is now majority shareholder at Daimler.

      • 26. February 2018 at 5: 50 PM

        @Greatotto: so, or something like that will come. The GPS is still doubled by the smartphone. Anyone who carries this around permanently and moves in so-called social networks need not discuss privacy.
        But our lobby-driven policy will come up with something to take our sweetheart out of circulation - sustainable is not wanted!

  • 23. February 2018 at 8: 16 PM

    What should I say ... Thanks to Tom for your tireless writing I am often ridiculed with our turbo x ... my wife often says: GÄU THIS IS CHLI DIS CHING ....
    The fact is, Trump should be overthrown and his billions fall into my hands .... Let SAAB revive, whether analog or digital ... it does not matter, dreams cost nothing
    Your Tom from Bern

  • 27. February 2018 at 2: 38 PM

    An incredibly well written text, just as a student, I can confirm the line with the analog and individual automobile only too well.

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