Divorces are difficult affairs. Responsibilities need to be redefined, life in a patchwork family poses new challenges to all involved. After the divorce of Saab Automobile AB and the Saab Automobile Parts AB we Saab drivers had two "parents" overnight. Both have remarried and have new names that do not remind of Saab. One part is now called National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), the other will bear the name Orio AB in the coming weeks.
A not easy to understand situation. For both are no longer allowed to bear the name Saab for legal reasons, but produce and distribute products under this name, at the same time use the brand logo on letterhead and for advertising purposes. Both Trollhättan and Nyköping follow in the big, historical footsteps of a traditional Swedish brand. They are responsible for the brand name and for Saab customers. How do you do it justice?
Saab Parts AB distributes the spare parts for our vehicles, operates the help desk in Trollhättan. Long-time Saab employees, formerly often involved in development and now employed by Saab Parts, take care of all the issues surrounding our vehicles. She is responsible for the service network in Europe and North America. Nyköping has its own branches in the most important markets. Germany and Austria are looked after from Eschborn. With the move from Frankfurt Saab approached spatially back to the Taunus, the former home of Saab Germany.
If I get, as in the last days, mail from Saab partners, then this is organized from Eschborn. The advertising mailing is positively occupied, reminiscent of the days when Saab still built cars. Valuable in style, unique to Saab. At least twice a year, the world is in order. Because the team around Managing Director Jan-Philipp Schuhmacher takes care of himself. It's not just marketing, it's psychology. Saab Post, Saab Give-aways, Saab promotions, the Saab customer feels in good hands.
Eschborn bears responsibility.
The German branch noticeably fulfills the role of manufacturer. It's not just about spare parts and their distribution or the help desk. It's also about Saab events in Germany that are supported and promoted from Eschborn. You don't always talk about it. But where a Saab flag is waving at classic car events, the Saab Parts branch is often involved in the background.
If the renaming is soon to take place in Orio AB, the enthusiasm for Saab will not diminish. The blog is in constant contact with Swedish Distribution Services Germany GmbH, as the Swedish branch office is called. New ideas that will make our life with Saab both enjoyable and exciting are in the pipeline. The Saab Spirit lives in Germany, and so much positive engagement has implications. One sees in the increasing number of participating partners that Saab is still viable as a business model. But not only.
As the article appears on saabblog.net today, Saab Parts AB international managers meet to discuss future strategies. Not in Sweden, but for the first time in recent history near Frankfurt. Germany is a model market in the world of Saab and a role model for further development.
The other parent's role is noticeably more difficult. There were interviews that cannot always be considered successful. Above all, however, there is the invisibility on the Swedish home market. What if you had started an image campaign in the media. According to the motto "We are here, we invest in Sweden"Or"We build cars for a new, green future". NEVS would have given the brand name a little new luster and put itself in a positive light. A brand from southern Germany is currently occupying the electromobility niche. NEVS could be there as a trendsetter. The obvious problems one has in Trollhättan to find suitable staff would be smaller if one knew (finally) what NEVS actually stands for. Do good and talk about it, a saying that would apply in this case. NEVS does good, invests in Sweden. You just don't talk about it.
NEVS = take responsibility looks different.
There were in February Letters from Trollhättan to the Saab partners. What could have been the prelude to a dialogue developed as a short-term monologue. Since then nothing has happened. In the late summer, some traders once again got mail from Sweden. What worried, because only a few dealers were contacted. After a few days the all-clear came. The post came from Nyköping, not from Trollhättan. But the reaction shows how strained the nerves of the Saab partner are. It's about economic interests and about the future of companies. NEVS is responsible here, has raised expectations with his writing. You do not play with responsibility.
What remains are lukewarm announcements at Saab events in Sweden. And apart from the promise to support the Saab Museum in the future, not much has been done for the brand that is effective for the public. She could have been polished in the last few months, she could have been positively discussed. The man at the helm of Saab is said to be a PR consultant. Writes the Swedish press ... So much the worse, because "not done much“Is the positive way of describing things. Seen more drastically, one could describe it differently. Uncoordinated press work resulted in counterproductive articles from warmed-up, old models that are to roll off the production line in the future. That's not helping the brand.
Saab lives because there are fans who organize events that show presence with the brand at classic car events and through the Saab blogs around the world. It's no secret that the nerves in the blogger scene are also bare. This is where the clock runs ... the blogs break away, then the brand loses its strong presence in the area of social media. Saab also lives through Saab Parts AB, which has successfully assumed responsibility.
Trollhättan is running the countdown. The evidence of a pre-production ramp-up with the revised Saab 9-3 has further intensified. In a few weeks, it could happen. Sometimes it takes some time to find his role and take responsibility. To define where and for what you want to be in the future. It's high time for NEVS.