Rearview mirror: just a few words ...

A year ago today, the Saab dealer tour 2011 began in Germany. The day before, we had picked up two new Saab 9-4x and two Saab 9-5 pre-production models in Trollhättan. The fact that it came to the tour through Germany and then through several European countries is thanks to the tenacity and personal commitment of some Saab employees.

23. October 2011 Saab factory Trollhattan, Saab 9-4x, Saab 9-5 sportswear

Let us remember ... Saab had to cancel the 2011 IAA participation at the last minute. The company fled under the protective shield of the restructuring. In Frankfurt Fechenheim, at that time the seat of the German Saab branch, the idea of ​​an alternative IAA and the desire to bring some Saab 9-4x and new sports suits to Germany arose. The idea was good because simply waiting to see what would happen in Sweden was never the alternative in Frankfurt. The plan failed due to the conditions in Trollhättan. The administrator appointed by the court, who should have approved the action, first had to be trained in the topic.

But the idea was born and the team around Jan-Philipp Schuhmacher continued to work on it. A few days before the tour started, the green light came from Sweden, and the tour schedule was created and implemented overnight, so to speak. The commitment came so quickly that there was no more flight to Landvetter. In the short term, a press car was organized to return to Sweden, and we were able to drive to Trollhättan by car. Keeping in mind the constant uncertainty of whether we really get the cars, or if the project would topple at the last minute. We were sure only in the moment when we started from the Stallbacka to the south.

Saab factory: The Saab 9-5 sports cars, pre-production models, run.

The fact that an external blogger could provide media support was revolutionary. A whole new experience - for Saab and for me. In Trollhättan there were reservations about entrusting a pre-series car to a stranger. The marketing department was worried, the development department was against it, and quality assurance found the idea out of the question. But in Frankfurt they fought persistently for the idea and prevailed with endless calls.

The tour itself ran on such a small budget, approved by the administrator, that I can not write about it. Because the car industry reads with and nobody would believe that you can move so much with so little. What did we learn from the dealer tour? Looking back with the distance of one year, two certainties remain.

At the main entrance

Saab could have moved more!

The tour through Germany was like a wake up call for the Saab driver. As if the customers had been waiting for an action like this for years. The new 9-5 sports trolley and the 9-4x were received enthusiastically everywhere. The longer we drove, the better the feedback. At the end, drivers from other manufacturers came to the Saab partners to see the new cars. Believe it or not, some people blindly ordered a new Saab during the event.

If one had allowed the national companies more freedom years ago, Saab would have sold more cars. Something crazy, or rather, unconventional actions would have done the brand good. For who is small, he must drum a little louder to attract attention. And he should not take the greats as a role model, with their well-stocked war chest he can not keep up. The marketing budget that leaked out in ads for the Saab 9-5 launch would have been better laid out in a well-organized roadshow.

Off to the south!

The model year 2012 would have been the best!

Unfortunately, the Saab 9-5 was introduced too fast. Anyone who has driven the pre-series to the 2012 vintage will see this very clearly. The chassis of the Saab 9-5 would then have been what it should have been from the beginning. The four-wheel drive in the 9-5, then equipped in series with eLSD, would have been among the best that there was in this class. The new materials in the interior and the large station wagon, all this Saab would have promoted back on some grocery list. The Saab 9-4x would have been the treat, and the Saab partners would have had a car for the first time in years, which they could have distributed.

All this would not have saved Saab, but it would have taken the time needed to find new long-term investors.

Ok The German Saab team fought. It has - and I am proud to say so - brought ideas to Trollhättan. The Swedes were skeptical, the other markets were skeptical. But we made a difference, we showed the flag. From the most difficult circumstances, with the smallest of resources, more was achieved than was actually possible. Other European markets have taken over the tour, and if production had started in 2012, there would have been a lot of German orders on the table.

Saab Team 2011 in Trollhättan. That's what fighter hearts look like!

Our creativity did not save Saab, conditions were against it. But we have moved something, have shown courage. All Saab employees who were there. And if you look at the picture of the team that has picked up the cars in Trollhättan, I can only say one thing: That's what fighter hearts look like!



14 thoughts on "Rearview mirror: just a few words ..."

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    Tom, very nice article, like to think back to our meeting as part of the dealer tour in Leipzig, when Mr. Schuhmacher proudly announced that Saab is sold to the Chinese. We were all a little blue-eyed and just did not want to realize afterwards that everything burst ,
    We sat in both cars at least once, a shame that they do not exist.

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    When I look at the pictures, I realize that the wound has not healed yet.

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    The station wagon would have been my dream that does not come true. At SAAB everything is on a new start and we will see what happens. The story is definitely going on!

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    Very interesting written and I suspect that a lot of commitment behind the tour. Thanks to all former SAABers for that. With Tom SAAB has put on the right horse (Sorry Tom). Good reports and always very discreet 😉

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    Even if I am stoned now ……….
    Passing the blame on GM alone is already very one-sided, Saab himself has also contributed some "coffin nails", just like the first "idolized" and then deeply fallen Mr. Muller.

    Discussing which those were is obsolete, just like the often-held discussion of what a "real" Saab is and what is not. “It is the way it is, let's make the best of it,” my grandpa always said. The rest is history one way or another.

    A nice autumnal week still!



    PS: Do not forget the winter tires in the whole discussion

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      I and certainly others would be interested in what "coffin nails" are being talked about here - due to the GM management, SAAB only had minimal leeway in every respect. The right paths - I am thinking primarily of good marketing and new generations of vehicles - should definitely have been taken by the group managers (GM).

      You couldn't act freely as a so-called group subsidiary - this assumption is completely absurd!

      In addition, the name coffin nail is wrong anyway, since SAAB (albeit not in GM form) continues to exist - the comment from saabfan is more appropriate here.

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        We shouldn't ruin this beautiful article with GM and "who is to blame" comments ...

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          If different "mustards" are added here, the article, which is beautiful in my opinion, will not break for a long time.

          The reminder of the misconduct of GM should be woken up now and then,
          So that future car buyers decide correctly!

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        I also think it's a bit too easy to blame GM for all that.

        Without GM, the Saab 900 from 1988 would have been over. It would not have 900 II; 9-3; 9 3 II; 9-5; 9-5 II given more. And those are all great cars. Also with GM technology.

        Also, nobody seems to be aware that GM was bankrupt and has survived only thanks to Obama's taxpayer money. Unfortunately this was not the case for Sweden and Saab.

        Even today, a nice part of GM still belongs to the US. And what administrators, lawyers and managers are capable of can be seen this year at Saab….

        But that also let VM from the Saab-cashier so rewarding golden, while the assembly workers were starving, and this tax-free, which disappointed me most at VM!

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          Just think of Jaguar or Volvo, for example - both brands that are roughly on par with SAAB.

          These manufacturers could not survive without big corporations as supporters.

          Volvo was kept alive quite well under Ford and could then be sold to Geely (currently not running so well either - but much better than SAAB under the aegis of GM over the past few years).

          With Jaguar a similar picture emerges as with Volvo: kept well under Ford well kept alive and even under Tata Motors right after the blooming!

          Only SAAB under GM was almost completely wiped out - why was that?

          However, VM is a completely different topic - which would not have arisen in the first place if GM had worked even reasonably!

          The gossip about the fact that GM would not have messed up everything, I can not hear slow anymore!

          Greetings from Schleswig-Holstein and a nice weekend

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    I think that whenever the opportunity arises, one should not forget to mention the main culprits of this whole misery: GM - because from there SAAB has been demonstrably led for years primarily for self-interest in terms of technical developments and then ultimately deported - so the one that had occurred Development is actually just the logical consequence of this GM disaster (at Opel, as we know, things are going on funny GM-style)!

    The fact that the whole thing was then increased in America by preventing a possible timely sale from there makes most of us almost snort of anger - I very much hope that VM's lawsuit in this matter will still lead to success.

    On the other hand, we should somehow tick off the past and, if possible, make friends with the circumstances under the new SAAB owner - even if it is still very difficult at first due to the priorities there (initially only electric vehicles should be produced).

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    In Switzerland, SAAB-Schweiz AG also launched a promotion tour and presented four models from the then current product range. That year I also swapped my 9-5 Aero Sport for the 9-5II sedan. I still remember the sales pitch with a car salesman who told me that SAAB no longer exists. Then this statement was no more true than it is today. Let's look positively into the future of the car and wait to see what happens next. It won't get any quieter …….

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    My heart is bleeding…. and was that another year?

    When I saw the two cars in Bremen, I was very excited about the cars (just not sure which one I liked more, the station wagon or the SUV).

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    They are just so incredibly beautiful cars ... That everything that happened this year can no longer be put into words because it is so terrible ...

    I still remember how I looked at the cars in Frankfurt. That was such a strong sign from Saab - a vehicle manufacturer that was suddenly so close to its fans and customers….

    It's a shame that you just can't win some fights ...

    What a coincidence, when I unlocked my Saab this morning, and it - as always - blinked happily, I looked at him and thought, this weather right here, this picture I have in front of me, reminds me very strongly of them Reconstruction time. & now this article ...

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