SAAB News: Impressions from Trollhättan - the Saab plant

Saab and Trollhättan are closely linked. The Saab plant is something of Trollhättan's economic heart. If it fails, then the city is fine too. If it gets out of step or if it stops, the warning lights go on in Trollhättan. In the summer of 2010, during the Saab Festival, I was at work with friend Marco, and we saw a new Saab 9-5 leave the factory after another. The factory growled dully, like a mighty, big organism.

Saab factory in the evening sun
Saab factory in the evening sun

Still the future seemed in the friendly light. But that should change soon. On my next visit, it was 2011 in October, was already stoppage in the stallbacka.

No production, but still activity. The flags with the griffin blew in the wind, a welcome greeting for the visitors. The staff parking lot had largely emptied, but behind the facades was still working. There was light in the offices, in the design studio and the experimental departments was hustle and bustle.

Saab 9-3 Linear new car
Saab 9-3 Linear new car

Again and again, a test vehicle left the factory, and in the background a permanent noise was heard. The large organism, a year ago still dominant growling like a being from a distant galaxy, had arrived in stand-by mode. Trollhättan had already sounded the alarm bells at this time.

What is hidden under the tarpaulins?
What is hidden under the tarpaulins?

The situation in April 2012 is completely changed. Above the Saab area in the Stallbacka is a ghostly silence. The flagpoles, stripped of their proud Saab flags, stretch like an accusing memorial into the sky. The parking lots around the factory premises are deserted. At the main entrance is a Securitas vehicle, a lonely guard holds the position.

He is not interested in us yet. But that will change in the next 30 minutes.

Saab test vehicles, including a Saab 9-4x
Saab test vehicles, including a Saab 9-4x

No light in the offices, no movement on the premises. The stock of new cars is close to zero. In the parking lot is a collection of former works cars. Few new Saab 9-3 sportswear, mostly in a linear design, in white or red, maybe the Denmark Edition, stand around as the last leftovers.

On the whole area we find two or three forgotten Griffin models. A solitary Jubilee Cabriolet is waiting for its new owner.

The very last Saab 9-3 Anniversary Cabriolet
The very last Saab 9-3 Anniversary Cabriolet

In the middle of the big terrain is a collection of former test cars and disguised vehicles. The two Saab 9-5 limousines in the Tarn-Trim, two years ago in the opposite car park at home, still exist. Several Cadillac BLS, also this part of the history, plus a taped Saab 9-4x test car.

A little further away are covered vehicles with tarpaulins. What is hidden under it?

To the Saab press entrance
To the Saab press entrance
Press entrance at the north gate, no one there.
Press entrance at the north gate, no one there.

The tour around the plant is bleak. The temperature on this Swedish morning is around 4 degrees, and there will be a rain shower from time to time. The weather is compatible with our mood. At the north gate is the entrance for the press.

Blogger is the press, right? Nevertheless, no one is there, not even a security guard.

Saab 9-5 and the long-term parker. Experimental vehicles from 2009
Saab 9-5 and the long-term parker. Experimental vehicles from 2009
Saab 9-5 bodies
Saab 9-5 bodies

Only the Securitas man is getting nervous. Two strange guys in black jackets with a camera and a telephoto lens. One of them with short hair. In the Skoda Yeti he circles around us like a sputnik around the earth. We break off, do not want to alarm the security guard.

Come back in the evening. Run our last route from the north gate along the airfield. See some bodies, a few Cadillac BLS station wagons. On the parking lots first green comes through the brittle asphalt. We ask ourselves what will become of this huge complex. Press shop, paint shops, assembly lines. What should you do here except build cars?

Every auto supplier would get lost in the huge area. A technology park? How come ? Many buildings can only be used for car production. An expensive demolition makes things uninteresting. Trollhättan and the real estate investor have a huge problem if it does not go on.

Cadillac BLS and Saab 9-5
Cadillac BLS and Saab 9-5
Cadillac BLS station wagons on the factory premises
Cadillac BLS station wagons on the factory premises

It is Saturday evening. Now the silence around the work is palpable. Only a few wild geese take their train, settle down in the meadow at the factory. Nature is in harmony with the huge complex. Seagulls sit on the surveillance cameras and look at us suspiciously. The big organism, two years ago still buzzing dominant, he is now quite calm.

As a farewell, the last question arises: Does he only sleep or is he dead? We'll be back, that's promised. We will be back by the autumn at the latest. Then we will find the answer.

Text: tom@saabblog.net

14 thoughts on "SAAB News: Impressions from Trollhättan - the Saab plant"

  • blank

    The whole story seems to be repeated again and again.
    I'm thinking of Eicher.
    For years, innovative tractors were built, until then an American company (MF) came and destroyed everything with time.
    Eicher had founded an independent subsidiary in -> INDIA <- but then went bankrupt thanks to MF.
    The plant in Forstern is now history (residential area),
    but Eicher India still exists.

    Meanwhile, the Eicher heirs have opened a museum in Forstern with many Eicher classic car fans.

    Let's hope that India is the salvation for Saab-in Sweden.

    With air-cooled greetings

    Eicher

  • blank

    A great report and impressive photos!
    ... even if we would all prefer to see light, movement and full parking spaces, but that's the way it is.
    After each low comes a high again, certainly.

    THANK YOU FOR THIS REPORT AT TOM !!!

    PS: Today I bought one of the last 9-5II Aero new cars without registration

  • blank

    Rohloff has learned that if you leave important tasks out of your hands, you can be cheated more easily. Therefore, he tries to keep everything in the family. His wife is responsible for commercial matters, while Barbara, Rohloff's sister, is in charge of sales for Australia and Asia. After the Campagnolo story, they always rejected takeover offers from the bicycle and car industry. “They just want to suck up the know-how and then smash the life's work of the owners. We don't want that. "

    This is an excerpt from the history of the manufacturer of the fine and unique 14 GangNabenFahrradschaltung.
    You're probably wondering what this is supposed to mean, but the last sentence reminds us a bit about the fate of OUR COMPANY

  • blank

    So first of all, SAAB's outdoor facilities have not always been designed as a German company would have done. You are just more pragmatic there. Then there is the cloudy weather, which makes you melancholic.

  • blank

    Impressive report from the factory site. I was also briefly visiting the SAAB car factory 2 years ago. Even back then there weren't many produced cars on the site and that didn't bode well….
    Let's wait and see what happens. There is nothing else left for us.

  • blank

    The question is whether the desolation that currently exists in Trollhättan should be expanded with additional pictures and descriptions of the situation? I think it is better to concentrate on the administrators - they urgently need to be "bumped up"!

    Greetings from Schleswig-Holstein

    • blank

      Julie that's just the reality. It's not the first car plant to stand still and not the last. The situation is as it is and with pink glasses it does not get better.

      On the contrary, I find this type of reporting better than pulling back on any conspiracy theories and perseverance. The greater the joy will be when the SAAB Phoenix rises from the ashes.

      Have a nice weekend

      Frank

      • blank

        Hello Frank,

        nobody speaks of conspiracy theories or perseverance slogans - I just don't find it particularly advantageous if, in addition to the well-known momentary desolation, everything is also visualized. That doesn't help!

        Julie

  • blank

    Well written - on a bleak subject. Thats Life 😉

  • blank

    Guys, how is it supposed to look different there, when at the moment nothing really happens?

    Perhaps one shouldn't show these pictures in large format either - the current mood is not exactly changed in a positive way.

    I have to fully agree with Peter when he indirectly asks the administrators to finally provide GOOD NEWS - with such abundant processing staff (there were around 100 lawyers in total), the patience of almost all SAAB enthusiasts should now be finally exhausted. The majority of the former simple workers and employees have already lost all courage anyway - a huge shame that the administrators are not finally showing their colors!

    • blank

      Hello Joachim,
      I have already stated that we not only drive the same make of car, but that we are otherwise brothers in spirit.
      However, the request should not be indirect, but if the administrators should read it, they may well understand the request directly.

  • blank

    Au cheek ... that looks a bit bleak there ... 🙁

    I don't even want to imagine what it will look like in 10-15 years if nothing more “positive” happens there in the near future.
    Then you will only have a huge ruin in Trollhättan and a big "visual eyesore". 🙁

  • blank

    Everything looks pretty depressing and bleak. At the sight one wants to howl. Please dear insolvency administrators, it is finally time for GOOD NEWS.

  • blank

    Looks like a couple of station wagons and an off-road vehicle ... are those the unknown project studies Saab 9-8 (luxury sedan as an alternative to A8 and BMW 7-series) and 9-6 (large version of the 9-4X, like BMW X5 or Audi Q7)?

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