The comeback of Saab could start with the 9-3 Cabriolet. And it could all take place sooner than previously known. That is what Fredrik Sidahl, CEO of the national supplier association FKG, told the local press. Everything is therefore speculative, but the chances of a reboot do not seem to be bad.
The first positive signals from traditional suppliers have already arrived in Trollhättan. Because the economic development in Sweden is so bad that every job is very welcome to the companies. As the situation has developed in recent weeks, more in the next article. In addition to the cabriolet, so yesterday reported circles, sports car and sedan roll off the line.
Does the plan of the new Saab owner make sense? It is actually the wrong question. ... you'd better think about the point of not doing this. And whether you can afford not to. A dormant car plant is an expensive car plant. Maintenance and servicing costs devour considerable sums of money. The production facilities have to run, otherwise environmental certificates and other requirements will expire. The owners are in the comfortable situation of owning a plant without employees. No high costs, no severance payments, no high wages, no trouble with unions. On the contrary ! Sweden's labor market is producing applicants at full speed, and employers have good opportunities.
Looking at the financing side, it will be easier to get stockholders and financiers excited about ongoing production with real existing products, distribution channels, and customers, than for two electric prototypes in the showroom and a stagnant, gawking factory.
Tool costs for the 9-3 are not incurred, the costs for further development are low. With a small crew, perhaps a few hundred employees, to start producing 10.000 or 20.000 cars a year, that would be possible. The high cost of the Muller era, when the plant with 3.500 employees devoured 5 million a month, is history. The market for a 9-3 Griffin would be there. In Germany, two thirds of the Saab inventory are from this model range. That would be more than 40.000 potential customers with a lot of catching up to do. You just have to play his cards right!
The question arises about the engines, to which there are (still) hardly any answers. Starting with the famous diesel engines would be no problem, because the diesel - from the marriage of GM and Fiat, developed and refined by the Swedes - belongs to Saab. It looks more interesting with the gasoline. In order to meet the current Euro 5 standard, all 9-3 as Griffin models were converted to direct injection. The engines came from GM, and the question is whether GM would reappear as a supplier. Some friends in Sweden see the Americans on board again, because GM had always emphasized that they would like to supply engines and transmissions for the 9-3.
Speculatively, BMW could also enter as a supplier. Prototypes with a griffin on the hood and with a Bavarian heart underneath already existed, and the view would be tempting. Not to mention the possible image gain when a fabulous BMW engine - refined and adapted by Saab - ensures performance. It is also speculative that - according to my voices from Trollhättan - Mahindra pulls the strings behind the scenes and provides engineering and financing.
There is no confirmation of this and no visible signs. But everything is possible at Saab, we've learned that over the past few months, and we'll probably be able to dream ...