SAAB - a success story

Bloggers are closer. They are contemporary witnesses, report faster than other media and mostly specialize in one topic. If you blog for the cult brand Saab, you will experience many ups and downs. The past few months have been ups and downs, and perseverance is sometimes put to the test. So much the better if you can write about a Saab success story. A success story “made in Germany”.

The future and a long way. The new Saab home in Eschborn

Flashback to kick off a “Saab inside story”. December 19, 2011. Back then it didn't look like a success. On the contrary, everything seemed pitch black. Victor Muller filed for bankruptcy filing for Saab Automobile AB that day. In the afternoon, he said goodbye to employees in the International Market Call, not without trying to encourage him. Swedish law allows Saab to get back on the market from bankruptcy, he says. And then "... until January, we'll hear you again". It was Muller's last conference call as Saab CEO. He never came back.

It was a bad Christmas for the Saab employees. It was even worse, it has not been written yet, for the international employees. In Trollhättan the lights went out and nobody felt more responsible for the Saab employees around the globe. Many Saabians here in Germany have a large family that needs to be fed. It was a dark Christmas 2011, left alone by Sweden, and in this situation some lights went out at some national companies.

While the plugs were pulled in some countries, in Sweden, England and Germany - to name just a few - it continued after a short pause. The challenges were great, and a mixture of Wilhelminian style, Saab spirit and the unconditional will to succeed spread.

In Nyköping, at the independent Saab Parts AB, new structures had to be created. Involved in the entanglements of a group, many administrative tasks were done in Trollhättan. These structures had broken away overnight. In Germany it looked even more threatening.

As a branch of Automobile AB, the German market was dependent on the structures in Trollhättan. But these had ceased to exist. Improvisation and courage were required. During the months of the crisis, the blog and Saab were in close contact, and there were often calls at night with a Saab employee. In late December and early January in particular, there were many discussions and, I suspect, little sleep. But it was clear ... Saab Germany is fighting and not giving up. It goes on.

Computer companies are founded in garages. What about car companies that dare to rebuild? The restart of Saab took place in the provisional offices in Frankfurt-Fechenheim and in a home office. An exceptional situation, due to the special situation, a departure into a new era. Employment contracts? Employment was in these wild weeks with a handshake. The word applies. Salary payments from Sweden? Come, somehow. The oral contracts have held until today. Meanwhile, they are fixed in writing, and the salary payments always took place. Is that normal? That's Saab. That's the famous Saab spirit.

The situation did not get any easier in the first months of the year 2012. The GMAC Bank collected the company cars all over the world on the basis of a global security transfer made with Trollhättan. No company cars, no field service. From Sweden, even with the creation of structures and with the securing of supply contracts, no help was to be expected.

Saab center Frankfurt
Past: Saab center in Frankfurt-Fechenheim. Here were the makeshift offices.

The field service has to run. Presence on site, the famous “show the flag”, is without alternative in this location. So you got vehicles. Each employee found his own, very individual solution. A used Saab 902 found its way back to Saab services and made a late career. Other employees borrowed cars from friends. So a wild fleet came together. Sometimes the most adventurous cars, which were then parked around the corner at the on-site appointment. The Saab employee visits the dealer on foot. Many Saab partners will have thought about it.

During the team meetings, a colorful fleet of different makes stood in front of the doors. No one would have suspected an event from Saab Germany. Saab undercover! These were the moving founding months. Meanwhile, the Saab field service drives again with the right vehicles through the Republic.

The months passed, and a success story was born in Germany. With a lot of personal commitment and good ideas. And with the help of Saab fans, without whom it would not have worked. They made a clear statement for their brand. Instead of switching to independent workshops, they kept their loyalty to their dealers, investing money in their cars. The sales figures went up, for Saab Partner and the German branch of Saab Parts AB a clear signal.

Many good ideas have meanwhile gone from Germany to Nyköping. Many were taken over, contributed to the improvement of the business. The German market is important and one of the key markets. Our voice is heard in Sweden. The supply of spare parts with original parts is now at a high level, the website redesigned.

For several months, the branch of Saab Parts AB, which is now an independent subsidiary of Sweden, has found a new home in Eschborn. Swedish Distribution Services Germany GmbH, the new name, still carries the proud Saab logo and is responsible for Germany and Austria.

As a fan of the brand and as a blogger I would say: Everything was done right! Even though the times were rough and required a lot of commitment. It goes on, the story of success has not ended yet. The start-up team, as I call it now, will receive additional staff. The product range is being improved and further expanded. For us, the customers who travel daily with their Saab, will do a lot in the coming months. It will, I can tell, give more service around our cars, because in Eschborn I was allowed a little glimpse into the future.

A success story can only be continued if it fits all sides. For Saab, the partners and for the fans. We are on a good way.

Text: tom@saabblog.net

11 thoughts on "SAAB - a success story"

  • I don't quite share the optimism. Here in Bad Salzdetfurth there was a SAAB service until recently, but the friendly Opel dealer has now taken on a FORD service. He wasn't always able to get the spare parts. My left exterior mirror has not been motorized for months (it feels like years) that it has not been retracted or adjusted using the motor, allegedly it is due to the motor, but it is not available, well, there are worse things, but I am now wondering where I can take mine SAAB should go to inspections etc., actually I'm satisfied with the workshop and service, but now I have doubts about the commitment to the SAAB brand.

    I have to speak a serious word with him! 😉

    Greetings from Bad Salzdetfurth

    • It depends on the workshop. On-site could or did not want to help, the dealer with GM brands is there, but without interest. If you drive a few miles and change state, then there is a small Saab operation that Tom has written many times. Allegedly not deliverable parts were suddenly orderable and deliverable. In the meantime, I've become cautious, because often only the commitment is missing and it's not SAAB.

    • Hello Ulrich,

      try it in Vienenburg at Saab Stephan - I'll go there.
      Or try to get the parts yourself via Skandix or Scanimport.
      They also like to help on the phone.

      gruß
      Marcus - from Peine

  • Dear Tom,
    Thank you for your very informative and heartfelt contributions, which I always like
    reading.
    Even though now all SAAB friends float in seventh heaven, here are two comments from real life:
    1) The supply of spare parts is still a serious imposition.
    Three weeks delivery time for an EGR valve, hardly available alternators, twin turbo and automatic transmission.
    All things that regularly give up the ghost on the diesel crutches and that will break down again and again due to the “wrong” design.
    I know what I'm talking about - two 9.3 TTiD and an old, but very reliable 900/2 are mine and I've been driving SAAB since 1983.
    2) Maybe Mr. Schuhmacher manages to publish a useful workshop directory for the entire German-speaking area at short notice.
    For someone like me who travels 60.000 km a year with the SAAB, a regional workshop directory is of no use at all.
    And nobody knows about the ADAC anyway.
    Best regards,
    Peter Witzel.

  • Dear Joachim,
    Stay cool and wait for the car spring 2013 …….
    Greetings from Switzerland

  • I agree with the previous opinions and as already mentioned yesterday, I would like to have replenishment from Trollhättan in the form of a new vehicle.

    I sincerely hope that Tom's detailed report, with reference to the famous SAAB spirit, will also be read by the NEVS leaders.

    If the project, the SAAB 9-3 II in old form to produce again, but can not be done, I would of course still prefer a 9-3 or 9-5 on Phoenix platform (possibly with hatchback and 5 doors!) see in my garage. This even with a longer wait.

    Dear people at NEVS, finally give me a hint that it could possibly continue in this direction - because that would take a load off the heart of many SAAB enthusiasts.

  • Class story. The blog has cult potential!

  • It's a step forward and let's face it, folks, who dared to hope for that in December? SAAB has at least 9 life, or what was it? Let's wait for the next summer, I believe in the brand!

  • That sounds very nice and good. At the moment, it's probably the best thing you can do with the situation.
    However, the question remains whether and when a new SAAB (not an electric vehicle) will be built again. Otherwise, the “youngtimers” faction will soon become one for “oldtimers”. This would only be the processing and care of the vehicles on the streets until they are scrapped or only taken out to SAAB meetings.
    However, I would like to continue to drive a SAAB in everyday use in wind and weather, because I consciously decided on a SAAB due to my frequent professional driving. I want a “youngtimer” or a “oldtimer”, but a vehicle that gives me a safe feeling in everyday driving, fun driving and low consumption with sufficient power. Only my deer 9-3 SC Diesel can do this. But I would like to be able to exchange it for a new vehicle from SAAB after a certain duration and mileage.

  • Thanks for this great and very optimistic report 🙂

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