Crises and breaks are opportunities at the same time. You just have to recognize them in time. Applied to Saab, it is the chance to restart, free from old burdens and obligations. With a history and an origin behind it, which - if used correctly - could become an overboost.
Saab is from Sweden. A nation that is considered peaceful and tolerant. The transfigured by the literature and by films of our youth. Thinking of Sweden, we think of holidays, the bright summer nights that never seem to end. Sweden is Stockholm with its vibrant life and quiet retreat on the archipelago. But Sweden is also endless space and loneliness. Sweden is an origin from which a lot can be done.
But Saab is even more! Saab is turbo technology and Saab is aircraft manufacturing. Saab also stands for high tech. The aircraft industry, Roots of Saab, has never really left Trollhättan. The latest generation of Saab Gripen is also being developed by Saab-Combitech in Trollhättan. Combitech sits in the middle of the stablebacka. The fence of the Saab plant borders on the one side and on the other side the Saab-Powertrain complex. At Combitech, former Saab automotive engineers are working on the next generation of aircraft, and the chances of finding inspirations from the aircraft industry in the next Saab generation of autogenes are almost gone.
Detached from corporate constraints, Sweden has the opportunity and challenge to create something completely new. The handle on any shelves, the use of unloved components, that does not have to be anymore. At the same time, there are no more excuses. In recent years, GM has been responsible for aberrations. This is no longer possible.
A Saab must arouse desires
The product must be right, so that the new beginning also becomes a success story. Design is important, also a little more courageous, fresher, more emotional. With an interior that is reminiscent of a jet and sets itself apart from other brands. A Saab must be desirable, the customer must want to put the Swedish cult label on his shopping list.
Technology is important. There is the choice of engines. Trollhättan hears little about it, but behind closed doors and on the test stands is even more so. All possibilities are there, and Saab owner NEVS has the chance to make a complete restart here. Saab 2.0 is a completely new company, which increases the chances of a new engine range. Previously, engines from the GM Regal were preferred, the Saab Griffin 9-3 series had direct-injection turbo engines of the Americans under the hood. In the recent past there was a partnership with the manufacturer from Munich. Unfortunately, only in first attempts, and the new, small Saab would have built on BMW and mini technology.
BMW undeniably builds good engines, and the turbo technology used by the Munich is top class. I would like a Bavarian heart under a Swedish bonnet. A bi-turbo petrol engine as a top engine, so that the Saab gets wings, and a strong, fuel-efficient diesel for frequent travelers. But that's speculation, my wish, and just one of the many possibilities. Kjell AC Bergström, a Saab veteran, also manages the powertrain division among the new owners. The name Bergström could stand for continuity, quality and still turbo-charged Saab driving fun.
The next step in Saab 2.0
When will we hear more from Sweden, and when will the plans be made more concrete? The next step in Trollhättan will be the solution of a personality we all look forward to. National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB still has no COO. The post of new NEVS-Saab president is vacant, and to occupy him is a real challenge. In Trollhättan some names are traded. The name of a former Volvo boss was repeatedly called, even a former high-ranking former BMW employee should have been in conversation. The one personality has now smashed, on the other, I allow myself no comment.
The COO is also the new face of Saab. He must represent the brand to the outside, shape and lead Saab in the new beginning. He is then Saab. Only when the post of COO is occupied, the Saab Story will pick up speed. Until then we wait. Tense and patient. As always.