It's not easy to write about the Saab brand. For more than a year, Saab has stopped building cars in Trollhättan, and I'm not good at writing about the glorious past. Because life goes on, things develop and change. It is simply too exciting to ignore the future and stick to the past.
A delicate article in a difficult situation. And a quite personal and open to it. For in the current situation, in this eternal hanging game, the topic brings me little fun. I or we - at that time with friend Marco - started to support Saab and to write test reports from the perspective of a normal customer. No products, no reviews, and my circle of friends is seriously worried, and rightly so, if I seriously believe that there will ever be cars with the Griffin again.
Now is the time for an optimal exit. Because in my lightheartedness I had promised to write until the factory gates finally closed. Voilà! That's on the 1. August the case. The former Saab employees, who still work for the administrators, have done their job for the most part. A new owner will be the landlord in the stablebacka. That's the end of the story, and it's time to take off your hat and turn off the Mac. But is she really told to finish?
What happened? A property changes owners, and car works that get a new owner, are nothing unusual. In the US, Fisker has just bought a GM plant, in the Netherlands Nedcar is changing hands for one euro, and there are some in Europe, some of which have empty or abandoned production facilities. And in the future, probably many more work will be added. Fiat has two factories too much, Opel either way, and PSA will also have to shut down one or two plants.
So there is a lot of work in the desert, and the appreciation of these properties, as you can see from the symbolic 1 € prices, is quite low. So buying, renting or leasing a car factory is nothing that would be particularly exciting. If to 1. August NEVS offices in the Stallbacka, investors will find a swept factory. Press shop, paint shop, test benches, a test track and much more.
And now again the question, very concrete! Is this the right time to get out and lose the battle?
It's about time to ask the right questions! While NEVS buys a factory, talks to Scania and Saab AB about trademark rights, no one in Sweden asks about the Saab crown jewels. NEVS has acquired rights to build the Saab 9-3 if you pay the purchase price to the administrators by the end of the summer. But the 9-3 is, let's face it, at most a bridge product on the way to the future. The true value of Saab is not there.
There would be, completely disappeared from the focus of the public, the new, small Saab. Let us remember ... Based on the expiring Mini, a Saab 9-1 should appear. Contracts with Munich were made, development work started. There is also the Phoenix platform, the basis for a whole product family. The little Saab and the Saab 9-3 successor, these are the true crown jewels of the Swedish car manufacturer. Only nobody talks about it, at least officially. NEVS has neither acquired the Phoenix platform nor registered interest in the Saab compact car.
That the prototypes are forgotten in a corner of the factory, dusting away, that can be ruled out. Also that the half-finished pieces have wandered into a press. They are too valuable for that. Under the administration of the insolvency administrators the development work was not completely stopped, because the value lies also in the development team itself.
Let's look at the market! The automotive business is getting harder. China has been able to increase its car exports by 6% in the first 28 months of the year. Geely alone exported 10.000 cars in June, this year the producer will be running 200.000 cars. It is the soft rumble of an avalanche, announcing itself and rolling inexorably towards us. This will affect the manufacturers, who see the car as a cheap means of transport.
In Europe, it is Ford, Opel, PSA and Fiat. Building cheap cars on our continent is going to get harder and harder. The Chinese are now only exporting to the emerging countries and selling their cars over the low price. But in southern Europe and the Balkans, the first cars are already made "made in China", and more and more are going on.
Europeans only survive those who are at home in the premium segment or have a strong image and who can earn a corresponding price for their products. These are companies that distinguish themselves over design or mass technology. Or, as marketers say, carry a certain unique story.
Saab could be one of those companies, because the brand history is incomparable, and the brand is too good to close the books today. The Saab story, I'm sure, is not finished yet! There are the Saab future values about which so far no one speaks. The Saab 9-1 and the Saab 9-3 successor are the real objects of concern. The administrators will - sometime soon - bring the story to an end. Whether in August or in September, nobody really knows. And then we will see if the brand has a future.
I do not have to continue writing at any price. My life is full of interesting, challenging options, and even life after or without Saab would not be boring. But miss the finale now? No way !