Rearview mirror. Develop trust.

A few days ago it was time. It's been a year since NEVS got the keys to the Saab factory in Stallbacka, and the move to a new era was finally completed. The enthusiasm about it was within my limits. Another candidate had been my secret favorite. After a year of NEVS and Saab 2.0, it's time for a quick flashback.

The look back: Bloggers rearview mirror
The look back: Bloggers rearview mirror

The start was initially bumpy, and the owners of National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB did a lot to make sure that it did not get better. Initially, they were surprised in the media to have won the contract, said they wanted to focus on electric mobility, and just installed a Volvo veteran at the top. Electric cars, so outlet instead of turbo, not only made for me worry lines on the forehead.

The Saab Spirit, the soul of the brand, seemed finally defeated and in future only to be with the fans and in the Saab Museum, a few kilometers down the Göta Älv. The departure into a new Saab chapter was more like a cold start after a frosty night than a great comeback. The Greif, part of the brand identity for many years, went back to Scania. And former Saab suppliers gave the new owners the cold shoulder, nobody wanted to believe in a restart with Chinese capital.

Not easy, the starting position. But persistently, quietly and unspectacularly one worked in the last months forward. Invested in the plant, rebuilt the supply chain and awarded development contracts for the not so near future. That in the next few years, everything but a lot of Saab tradition will run, you can imagine, if you visit the Saab canteen on the grounds of the Powertrain complex. It is the only part that can be entered as a visitor today without access control, the rest of the area is strictly secured.

Previously, the buildings were full of Saab employees. Today, you can find companies with unknown names, but they have nothing to do with NEVS at first glance. Because they work as suppliers, almost on the site, for the Saab future. You can guess what is going on here, it will be a very lean event. Swedish engineers, mostly with Saab's past, are developing for the brand, and Saab remains, despite all fears, a Swedish product. But they no longer work exclusively for the traditional brand. German, English and Chinese corporations and also the automaker from Gothenburg let develop in Trollhättan, the former landlord from Detroit as well.

NEVS is slim and will probably stay slim in the future as well. Distributing work to third parties is a common practice in the car industry. NEVS seems to want to perfect this idea. The hope that there will soon be 3.500 employees at the factory again, that nobody in Trollhättan has anymore. Already under Spyker were well 1.000 positions to the disposition, and even if the production should run soon, there will be only a small miracle on the job market. It seems that peace has been achieved with the suppliers, and the press is in good harmony, at least in Sweden. Dealing with each other has changed in the last 12 months, NEVS has gained confidence at the home base, which is good. But not yet in our country.

It was almost to be expected that the press in Germany would like to add a negative touch for the restart. The reporting of the past months was too harmonious. The Saab 9-3 is shown as a model from 2002, although - in the best Saab tradition - the base has since been revised and modernized several times. Nobody would come up with the idea of ​​describing the new Mercedes flagship (it is largely based on its predecessor) as a vehicle from 2005. NEVS starts, just to clarify, with a model that has its basis in the 2011 model year.

In the near future, you don't have to be a fortune teller, the tone will be rougher. NEVS and the German representatives of Saab 2.0 have to be prepared for headwind. If the production runs again, the closed season will be over. The positive Saab reporting in recent months was the result of a glorified past. It's easy to write about legends because they don't hurt anyone anymore. A living brand, no matter how small, is perceived as a competitor. Germany is a car country and every Saab sold here is one Audi or one less BMW sold. German press work, declaring Saab on the most important European market, will be a challenge for the future.

Trust, which is what this article is about, is a long-term issue. Trust has to grow, and when it does, trust grows slowly. For once, nothing works with Turbo. The Swedish press seems to have gained confidence after a year, as do the Saab dealers in the north and also with suppliers, the situation is visibly easing. One group seems to have been completely forgotten in Sweden ... A German Saab dealer who used to be very committed asked me some time ago who should buy the new cars. With which he addresses the core of the problem. Because there was something ... right! An important object: the buyer!

NEVS ignores us, the customers. At least largely. Who writes an email to Trollhättan, who gets an answer. Not necessarily one that helps, but they try hard. So far so good. However, this is not the communication that is common. Normally, the manufacturer, ie the one who wants to sell a product, should approach the customer. Not the other way around.

There, however - nonexistent! No trade fair appearances, although a study as a sign of life would do. The IAA, one of the most important events in the industry, remains without Saab. No activities in print media or on the internet. It would be so easy!

Assuming 2014 Saab had new cars in Germany in the first quarter, who would know?

Yes, certainly the readers of the various blogs who are actively interested in the brand. This is too little ! Much too little ! A blog is just one communication channel among many possibilities. A private fan event in our case. And in no case a guarantee for a successful restart. Buying a car is a long-term affair and a decision that is based on trust. In the brand and its manufacturer. Of course, the wind changes with every positive message, and of course you are on the right track. Of course, NEVS didn't do everything, but at least got a lot right. But now it would be time to step up. Pictures from official sources, the dialogue with the customer, all of this should start now ... or, if we're being honest with each other, have already started. Whether via Facebook, print media, direct dialogue, blogs or whatever. The main thing is that something happens. And the main thing is to use all possible channels. The chances of getting more people interested in the brand are there, because the restart could go through all media as the story, and at this moment you have to have answers to customer questions ready.

Other brands show how it's done. Months before the debut, the press and the Internet media are fed with pictures and information. Customers look forward to the new product, literally hunger for it, order before the first vehicles arrive at the dealership. Create desires! Action is required. More is nothing more to say !

The question remains whether I trust NEVS and if I believe in the success of the comeback. Okay, I write for Saab almost every day, but despite all the rumors I do not wear Saab glasses. For months, we have received positive information from friends from Trollhättan. What the one thing is and what makes for a good mood. But the final proof is still missing, and I'm like most readers. I'm waiting. At the first press conference and the first cars racing off the line. On serious dialogue with the customers and the dealers.

The positive mood is there. But you just have to work out confidence. Also with me! And that will be tough!

Text: tom@saabblog.net

Image: saabblog.net

18 thoughts on "Rearview mirror. Develop trust."

  • blank

    Yes, the love of advertising. I don't understand why NEVS has such a hard time or does so little. You could design an advertisement that picks up on the topic of “phoenix rising from the ashes”. You don't necessarily have to take the phoenix, but the idea behind it. For example, it could be something like "Sometimes something good (excellent) has to die so that something (even) better can flourish". That might sound a bit stupid, but most of the time it is true - both in nature and in society and especially in technology.

    These facts could be taken up and placed in one or more commercials. So that, for example, a father reads his son / daughter a bedtime story after he has come home from work in his old Saab 93 - the camera looks overhead from the father and child at the book, which is the window and Originally obscured the view of the old Saab. Then it is read aloud and after the book is closed, the new Saab 2.0 9-3 is where the old one was.

    Or you have different scenes that show the “phoenix effect”. Forest burns down, new life flourishes. Old technology is being replaced by new technology - examples that are as “prominent” as possible, such as diskette / CD. And at the end it is shown how the new Saab replaces the old one.

    Both end with a slogan like “Sometimes great things have to go, to let better things rise!”.

    I know that it all sounds a bit strange and / or not well thought out - as I'm not an advertising expert either. But I think similar advertising is better than no advertising at all and NEVS will then read in February 2014 “Hey, look at our new car” and everyone shrugs their shoulders and walks on.

  • blank

    Yeah, that nice marketing:
    How to even get money for a product that is not yet on the market, the people of http://www.fairphone.com
    Right, at first glance it has nothing to do with cars, Saab.
    But about 15.000 people are already shooting up a relatively large amount of money for a future product that one or the other competitor offers better or cheaper ... and yet 15.000 people take this step.
    ... People could also - instead of going through thick with Saab and especially thin in recent years - drive with vehicles of the competition, but there are some people who just don't want the competing product, just like with the fairphone - from mMn good, understandable Founding 😉

    So, keep the brand alive and promote it. I also cheerfully explain to my environment that Saab will be producing again soon. Word of mouth also brings something and prepares in this case, joy

  • blank

    Hallo,
    For me personally, only 2 questions arise - when a new Saab is produced and what it looks like.
    The engine should run on diesel - where and how the engine is made, I do not care.
    Or does the Audi driver know that his engine comes from Ugarn - or the Porsche SUV driver who comes from Slovakia?
    If there is an opportunity to buy by June 01.06.2014st, 2 and the new Saab looks "round", a Saab will certainly park in the garage again after XNUMX Gothenburgers.
    The identity of the Saab brand lives through the drivers and the great work of Tom & Co.

    In my opinion there are currently no manufacturers who can refer to a "long tradition in one country".
    At Mercedes, for example, the Chinese and Arabs are very much on board, the car parts come from all possible and impossible countries, has the car's image suddenly deteriorated as a result? -I don't think ...
    Or is Laborghini being mocked as VW just because a new owner came in the form of VAG?

  • blank

    Hi all!

    I could imagine that NEVS is a little cautious because a really new product will not see the light of day yet - for this reason, they have initially focused primarily on the Asian market (here the 9-3 II perceived as a new model).

    In other words, with the 2011er 9-3 II, you can not really beat the competition in the old markets anyway, and you can wait until the new development on the PHOENIX platform is up for grabs with the big performance.

    Nevertheless, one should at least stir the drum here in Germany so that at least it is known that SAAB is taking off and new models are in the pipeline - of course, this has the disadvantage that these measures are not yet a resounding success due to the further model series to be expected will lead.

    Perhaps you should actually keep advertising on the back burner in Europe and America and initially just inform you that things will continue - we stubborn SAAB fans will certainly use the newly launched 9-3 II if necessary without marketing influences and NEVS saves something one, for the really big appearance of the following new SAAB models.

  • blank

    I think the engine decision will explain a lot. If China engines come in, that will probably be nothing in the European market. But slowly something would really have to happen in the media from nevs.

  • blank

    Seems to be so, the only thing that bothers is the customer, or the future buyer.

    The gentlemen still have much to learn.

    Greetings Ulrich

  • blank

    Hi Tom,

    very good summary of everything that went through my mind for a long time already.

    Because even if Saab is "just in a coma" for the fans, Saab is dead for everyone else. Nobody thinks / believes in a resurrection, let alone that one is interested in it. So if the drum is not really promoted soon, sales in Europe will be very small.

    Or does NEVS only want to invest in marketing in China? But then they have to pass BAIC, who are already promoting the Saab past of their new models.

    Apart from that, I think that the focus on China could turn out to be Bumrang, not only for Saab, but also for all other manufacturers, who design their cars only with the view of the Chinese market (VW, Skoda, Volvo, Porsche etc .pp.). Because in Europe you want cars with faces and no uniform mass.

    Greetings Cetak

  • blank

    Really well written, because the reluctance in information policy affects above all the existing and especially the future SAAB customers. The topic 9-3 Basis 2002 is haunted by the press because NEVS does not release information about the new car, but maybe
    does one not need the German market ???? Would be a pity

  • blank

    Customer is a good keyword. Not long ago, I wondered why I was talking about buying a NEVS. I write NEVS deliberately, because in addition to the trust comes for me also the point to how much Saab is actually in the successor company. There is also little to be found, because as written in the text, potential customers are currently ignored.

    But back to the initial idea, many reasons did not come to mind. The strongest was still to support the remaining convinced Saab service operations. This is not a strong argument for a new customer. I also found very strong arguments against it. This is going to be a tough road. Alone the reason why I should ignore the ignoring to buy a new one.

    (This should not be an anti-random article, just add a few thoughts.)

    • blank

      In the short and medium term, I see a lot of Saab in the new company. Because the developers who used to work for Saab are now working for NEVS. However, the question of the long-term perspective remains ...

  • blank

    Well, there are many questions left. My dealer got a letter from NEVS in the spring and then heard nothing more from Sweden. To this day it is unclear who will sell the vehicles in Germany. On the other hand, at SU, the color of the first NEVS is tuned to SAAB. So does not seem to be long to start. But who else besides us registers that?

  • blank

    SAAB glasses - that's still missing in the fan shop 😉 Is there an optician among the readers who could take care of this problem? 😉

    I can especially agree with the part about customer recruitment. Regular customers are good and important, but SAAB will also have to attract “walk-in customers” and business customers. Financing and leasing partners would also be needed, because financing and leasing are now more common than cash payments in the new vehicle sector.

    In short: There are still some self-inflicted construction sites waiting. And meanwhile has something become known in the motor supplier thing?

    • blank

      We do indeed have an optician among our readers, who also made Saab eyewear. On request I can make a contact ;-). And no, to the motor supplier there is no news.

      • blank

        I would have a fundamental interest…. are there maybe pictures of said glasses?

        Would be a good idea at all - glasses in Porsche design are now considered to be very tasteless ...

      • blank

        Although that would probably make a small outcry, I personally could well imagine Ford's new Ecoboost engines in a new Saab aimed at a greener, or more sustainable, image. Fast, efficient, economical, innovative, turbo. Could fit first.

  • blank

    Hello.
    Very good article Tom.

  • blank

    Hello Tom, that's what it looks like! Only the Saab fans and insiders know what the current status is. Instead, it's actually barking out into the world and having all the media channels there are. After all, it is only the buyers who bring money into a producing car company. Only those should first know that there is the brand again!

  • blank

    Really well worded, it hits the mark. 100 points!

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