Saab week: The fabulous brand Saab

Today I am on a trekking tour, 30 kilometers in an area without Internet, Iphone and without Saab. Which is relaxing, because Saab blogging has risks and side effects. Driving a Saab is one thing… dealing with the topic of Saab every day is another. Because I'm actually not a car person, just a Saab person. Other brands, with a few exceptions, are of little or no interest. Today a small market analysis about our brand from Sweden and the people who drive Saab. But be careful, it's a long article.

In the past few months, I have become more and more immersed in the secret world of the fabulous brand from Trollhättan. I learned a lot about the people who drive Saab ... who they are, where they come from and what they do. You will experience a lot at the front line. One can tell, for example, about the big breaks at Saab.

Saab fate 1998 and 2003

There was a time when Saab built the cars the customers wanted. Then came the time when Saab built the cars the accountants wanted. Now, I'm sure, Saab could once again build the cars we want. 1998 was one of those fateful years. The new Saab 9-5 came and was just a notchback sedan. The Saab 9000, the hatchback offer in the luxury class, was discontinued, and so there was until recently no hatchback in the league.

Audi has seen this gap, made the Audi A7 out of it on a low budget, and the A5 in the class below, earning it the golden nose. Respect to Ingolstadt.

The consequence for Saab? The older men, who could afford the expensive 9000, stayed with them. Hardly anyone switched to the 9-5. The 9000 was driven to the end, then another brand came along. Or the gentlemen retired and moved to Florida. Because notchbacks can all car brands and Saab has, without need, given away a unique selling point in the luxury class.

Example Saab 9-3. With the appearance of the Series II disappeared the hatchback. Many did not want a limousine, so why, the station wagon came very late, and so they stayed with the old 9-3. A holding period of 7, 8 or more years, not uncommon.

The amazing. Many changed after all these years to a new Saab. Not so happy, but at least a Saab. Several readers on the blog have been doing this for the past two years.

Stupid for Saab, because in this time the common driver changes the car twice as often. The Saab driver but only once. Why ? Because Saab did not listen to the customer.

Who drives Saab?

Do we know these sayings: The average XXXXX driver is 35 years old, educated above average and has a well above average income.

Let's forget that again. These are the sayings of the weird marketing fuzzies who want to pretend something that is not, and for the XXXXX we can use any BMW, Audi, Mercedes or whatever.

My private study looks like this:

The Saab driver is above average engaged, because often I get mails from the office at night. There are, and now buckle up, because now come the stereotypes, conspicuously often the following occupational groups including: architects, designers (very good as I have seen), doctors, IT people and freelancers of all kinds and very many from the university sector. So the clientele, which other brands would like.

In addition, many Saab drivers are family people, the Saab is then used as a kindergarten express or school bus.

Saab drivers also seem unpretentious and definitely nonconformists to be. I get emails with Saab stories and pictures. The fans tell me what brought them to Saab, what they do for a living. The 9-5 in the picture is 10 years old and from a financial point of view, the sender could probably afford a new Saab. He doesn't, because he is satisfied with himself, the car, the brand. Something new in our time, because with Audi or BMW drivers, the very latest model at the door seems to be an inner compulsion.

It is now known that Saab has the oldest buyers. I think only the Lexus buyers are older. Here on the blog Saab fans are represented with over 70 years, just like the “Middle Ages”, to which I also belong, and very many around the 20th. With this, the blog also appeals to the buyers of the future, what me happy.

Does Saab have a future?

Let's ignore the media disaster of the last days, which swam over from Sweden to us. Let's forget some questionable processes that make me doubt the meaning of the blog. Suppose Saab has weathered the current crisis and is on good financial, Chinese foundations.

Every day I read very carefully the mails I get from fans and Saab drivers. Again and again are in the last few weeks mails that Saab drivers say goodbye and increasingly switched to Volvo.

Those who go, and many are, go with real regret. No bad word about the brand, but more melancholy. Some could come back in three years. Which will not be easy, because also from Gothenburg come great cars.

Whether the emigrants really come back to Saab, is due to three factors.

Factor 1: On the one hand, Saab has to build cars that customers want. No lukewarm compromises and not so much listening to marketing studies, a look at the brand history and a conversation with customers would be enough. A hatchback would come out, in every class. The 9-3 successor in 2012 will be the beginning.

Factor 2: Secondly, Saab has to be Saab again. More individuality and the marketing money invested intelligently. In 1992 I bought my first new Saab. I received mail from Saab Germany shortly after the purchase. In the package was the Saab Bible “The Spirit of Saab”, a book that you have to read and that was a good investment for Saab.

A week later, a Saab key chain with an embossed number came individually for my Saab. On the trailer was the address of Saab with the request to send this unfree to Saab, if the car key would be lost. Saab would take care of everything else.

After two weeks, the post from the Saab boss came with a business card. Text: ”Are you satisfied? If not, call me. You have my number. ”

If anyone wonders why I've stayed with you so far, now he has the answer. My Saab year was 1992, when Saab laid the foundation for people with heart and mind.

My idea for the German Saab future (yes I know you read in Frankfurt): away with the anonymous call centers, that brings only annoyance. When the time comes, the money will invest in a few employees with Saab genes, or at least an interest in the product. The investment is worthwhile.

Factor 3: Yes, there is still point three. The Saab dealer, and so we are in the emigration of dealers. There is still, I'm glad about it, dealers who are with the heart. The Saab live, as I can read over and over again. These traders stick with it, and no matter how many will end up.

Better few dealers who glow for Saab than many who are only lukewarm.

The three points are not rocket science. Our dream cars are in Trollhättan in the planning. Saab Germany has good ideas and I already know the corresponding dealers. The future is possible.

To all who have survived this long article so far: class!

Have a nice weekend to you all, wherever you are!


18 thoughts on "Saab week: The fabulous brand Saab"

  • Dear Tom,

    nice article. One point I find particularly important.
    The typical Saab is a hatchback. In my opinion, the Saab brand desperately needs a 5-door 9-5 in its dimensions
    of the previous 9-5 SportCombis (484 cm length). This variant, based on an existing car, would continue the design history of Saab, and appeal to those who do not want to drive a car over 5 meter length.
    It would be great if “Sweden” took up this topic.

    Best regards Stefan

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    It's just nice to see people from all age groups who see SAAB automobiles as a real alternative to BMW or Mercedes. In terms of history, SAAB has a much more pleasant sound than BMW, for example (as is well known, it could only be bought on the basis of the income that the Quandt family had “earned” with forced laborers).

    Under no circumstances should the past of automobile manufacturers be disregarded when planning to buy an automobile - not only do powerful engines and good design play a role, but also a humane history of development - which, however, is only documented by a few manufacturers. SAAB is one of these positive exceptional phenomena!


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      Hello Julie,

      absolutely my talking your words. So far these words have faded away, I should finally let the story rest, it was all over 66 years ago etc. But injustice does not become statute-barred in my opinion, especially if one behaved like certain dynasties during this time. Wait until all forced laborers, murdered or potential plaintiffs are dead, then entrust a single person with the processing, but at least ...

      My family or what's left of it, does not drive German cars, that's a taboo. Yes, we are Jews and there is not much left of our family. As consumers we have the right to vote. I only used German cars as rental cars, they paid my customers, but I have never paid a single German car out of my own pocket.

      My company uses only Saabs. In the family otherwise only Italians and Frenchmen and also Sweden

      LG Phil.

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        hello phil,

        Whenever I read about the affected people, I feel shame, sadness and even powerless anger over what was done in the name of Germany. it is inexcusable and must never be forgotten, since the industrial destruction of people is probably unique in history and must remain unique under all circumstances.
        I was born 1956 and therefore not directly involved.
        I can also understand your thoughts on German cars, but I would like to point out that, of course, in other makes German parts are installed and the current employees of the companies mentioned certainly can not be held responsible for the past. i also think that we have proven it the last decades that we think differently than our ancestors.
        i would even call myself a somebody who appreciates jews and their abilities and is very grateful for artists like billy joel, simon + garfunkel, jean-jacques goldman etc. pp.
        I often think of the terrible time, as also emien family has suffered a lot and it is just completely strange for me, what happened then.
        In this sense, I am particularly pleased that at least one trifle connects us: SAAB!

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          Hi Mark,

          I meant specifically only those companies that have done wrong and have made no move to make amends or specifically targeted education or have sabotaged the work of victim organizations. These are some big names in the auto industry, but it runs through many industries. There are lists on the Internet, when, where and to what extent this happened.

          This should by no means be a blanket judgment and certainly not directed against the suppliers, employees, know-how and products, certainly not against the nationality, I am also German. That would be absolutely wrong. It was only about the behavior of the owner families who have simply withheld the foreign assets. Of course, that was and is also available in other countries. Sponge over it and not talk about it, of course, serves the interest of these people to keep their assets simple and continue to increase.

          As a consumer, one can not specifically buy certain products of questionable companies, which unfortunately is not used enough, since the consumer is not aware enough of the consequences of his actions. I just appeal to the citizenship of the citizens, is a kind of hobby of mine.

          For my part, I support specifically smaller companies (regional producers that I know) and avoid global corporations, this starts with the daily shopping, here I go with quality and origin before the price. Thank God I can afford that today, as a student it looked different.

          LG Phil.

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    Fabulous article about a fabulous brand. I wish to read more such articles, the blog has to continue. He is a godsend for our brand.

    For readers who have retained the ability to interpret soft notes and also to read between the lines, a poem. I wonder more and more, what you do in real life? Jounalist?

    Dear Swedes, please add the ribbons this year.

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    ... right, people make it, but the Saab drivers seem to be a little different.
    I don't know of any brand where the “ordinary” brand lover usually has two, often three or more vehicles of the same brand - and also drives them - ie not just “runs” a museum.
    I don't think most of “them” actually need that many cars. But it's just nice.
    We currently have 4 Saab's in the family. A 9000 CSE Anniversary - the big daughter drives it and is just as infected. A 9-5 sports suit from 2007 - 2.3 T and the ones mentioned yesterday
    2 9-3 Convertibles in Lime-Yellow.
    And that's exactly what Tom, at least I think, meant. If there are “other” cars than those from Ingolstadt, Stuttgart or Munich that appeal to buyers and you don't have to leave the garage door open to show what you have, the brand will have a future.
    So it does not matter to the buyers !!! Now only cars have to come again.
    Tom - thank you very much for the article.

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    to be honest, I don't care whether an assembly line worker or a designer drives a saab - it is people who make it, not their social position, that's foolish.
    It's also good that Saab builds sedans as the majority prefers this body shape in this class. My new 9-5 is a feast for the eyes and I know someone who does not like this sedan.
    However, this does not mean that there should be no more hatchback saabs, quite the contrary!
    the additional costs for their development must be manageable, just to win back this clientele.
    my 900 tubro is a hatchback - i still find the corresponding sedan dreadful to this day.
    i don't like dogmas and even saab enthusiasts cannot always orientate themselves to the past - everyone has to be clear that the future of saab cannot lie with a few architects, designers or the like.
    society has changed and individualism is sadly far more negative today than it was even before 20 years. Today's adolescents have a harder time out of the crowd than my generation, and that too needs to be considered.
    therefore saab will probably never be the same as saab once was, but that doesn't have to be a disadvantage - just like my four saab, of which the 9-3 station wagon is certainly the most boring, which is not synonymous with "bad".
    My 900er from 1992 and my 9-5 from 2010 are both very unusual and fascinate both in their own way.
    I expect such big dice from saab and then saab also has a future.

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    There is a lot there that I can sign - my SAAB key ring also has this metal tag with the address in Bad Homburg and the request to send it to you if you have found this key (I drive a 1999 SAAB 9-5 - unfortunately no hatchback 9000s). By the way, when I bought my SAAB (used), a component (operating module for the air conditioning) was defective and was quickly exchanged for that of an identical SAAB. Completely to my surprise, the dealer called a few months later and told me that she had the part in stock in the correct dashboard trim and whether I would like a replacement - free of charge. In general, I have always been looked after very personally…. until the dealer has closed its SAAB department (today the showroom is unoccupied, next to a new 9-5 and a 9-3 there are some Chevrolets (!), and the saleswoman is now in the repair shop for another GM brand from this dealer.

    I only received a post from the SAAB boss once - before the IAA 2009. And another postcard in spring 2010 - the one with “Gouda meets Smörebrot (?)”.

    I would find this type of personal customer service - even beyond the purchase - very attractive, it is certainly helpful for customer loyalty. The only question that remains is whether customers also appreciate it. In addition to the committed SAAB customers, there are also motorists who are by far not as close to their vehicle as most SAAB customers. There are studies that show that, especially in the younger target group, a car is nowhere near as important as it used to be. Aside from brands that are considered status symbols, none of them stand out. Not to mention the increase in the number of company cars that are leased and returned after the contract has expired. On the other hand ... if I don't care what kind of car I have, why not a SAAB?

    What I was missing after the takeover by Spyker last year was a hit on the table, a signal, “Yes, SAAB is alive!”. Such a signal would now come at the right time, after the press has already buried SAAB here. And then the hiking customers would probably come back to SAAB.

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    Keep on saabing! No surrender !!!

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    Thanks Tom, Weekend reading is also a must on Sunday, not just on Saturdays, please do not oversleep.

    In your article I recognize the motivated writer with joystick, your thoughts glide through layers, from today into the future and into the past, left and then right of the middle like on rails. I'm excited. The Saab man, whether dreamer or realist is in the center. Your article is never too long and even less boring. Many aspects were addressed and touched. I can just agree with it. I would also like to have a new Schrägehecker, if there are many new Saabis in the Frankfurt showroom and before that, then I choose one, meanwhile, my 2.3L CS celebrates its 20 birthday next year. There's Champus in the cooler
    I hope Saab is strengthened, profitable, rationalized and with success stories into the future. Never and never would I care about VW or Micky Mouse of the auto industry if they were in the same position as Saab. That speaks volumes for the Saabcomunity. I am very happy that they exist. Maybe there will be a revival and revival and intensification of the Saab club scenes with more togetherness and joy. You yourself say that you get a lot of messages from the Saabiebhaber. Have a nice day and I hope to see you tomorrow !!

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    The first SAAB I drove was my father's 1990 Turbo in 91/9000. After 10 years, the account was full enough for the first own SAAB. This first contact infected me. When a SAAB dealer opened up at my place, I applied and was allowed to “screw” SAAB for over 10 years. Meanwhile, the SAAB company no longer exists, and I am now fighting with Opel vehicles. I am happy about every “old” SAAB driver who strays to us.
    So I can only agree with Tom and hope that our wishes will be heard in Sweden.
    Have a nice weekend!

  • *Goose bumps*

  • Yes, exactly like that, the Saab heart opens up !!! ... Simply ** SUPER **

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    Chapeau for these eloquent lines. I sit down in my SAAB now and will also enjoy the great autumn weather today.

    In addition, I have just printed out the article and it will definitely be a topic of conversation in our social circle (I have some mainstream-oriented friends who [unfortunately] drive BMW, Mervedes-Benz and Audi - you don't drive a Saab, you drive it) to care.

    In this sense, dear SAAB pilots, a sunny weekend and SAAB greetings from the sunny Salzkammergut (Upper Austria), Roland.

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      Hi Roland,
      very good idea to print out and present the article. The piloting but you can also interpret differently, so already referring to the cars. The Saab is on the road to pilot because he is so fast and easy to move. The other brands are like old Kraxen to move, so to drive, just with trouble. I know what I'm talking about. I'm all already driven as a rental car, the so-called Teutonische Premium.

      If you drive such cars in Austria, you bow to Germany and the industry, I can not understand that at all. Driving a German car is like attending an Assessment Center, showing you where you stand on the basis of your chosen car. Shoe size 1 to 7 or 8 or A to S. I do not understand why people participate in such nonsense.

      LG from Vienna,

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        well philmos, I see it differently.
        there are people who stand by mercedes, bmw, audi etc, just as enthusiastic as we are to saab and you will not want to tell anyone seriously that these are bad products?
        there is no bowing to the German industry, why, but it is this industry that produces good products, so you can recognize people's achievements there as well.
        just for info: in my company we drive not a single German car.

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    Nice article ... nice Kraxeln!

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