Why Saab should have a future

A lot has been written about the Saab future under the impression of the "pengar crises" at NEVS. It was about flexible platforms that may or may not be finished, and new Saab models. Hard factors that are important. Soft factors are just as important, but perhaps much more important.

Driving Saab is cool © 2014 saabblog.net
Driving Saab is cool © 2014 saabblog.net

Let's talk today about something that wasn't previously on the blog. It is about the loyalty and enthusiasm for the brand, or in technical jargon about the “brand experience”! Intelligent, high-paying people in automotive groups are busy defining the brand experience for their customers.

A factor that is increasingly becoming the focus, the more comparable the products become. Bad cars have long ceased to be a European manufacturer. More and more innovations are no in-house development of the manufacturers, they come increasingly from the laboratories of the suppliers.

Whoever is a good buyer gets first access - for a limited period of time. Then other manufacturers follow in second and third positions until the market has completely absorbed the innovation. Own inventions that have a unique selling point for some time are becoming increasingly rare.

In return, psychology is becoming increasingly important. The “brand experience”, the definition of the brand for the customer, takes place primarily in the mind. Let's take Audi and Seat for comparison. In the best case, the Seat driver uses the same technology as the Audi driver, only he paid a lot less money for it. A fact that will not bother the Audi driver. Because while the company colleague collects his new car from any dealer in an industrial area, the Audi new car rolls after an impressive handover at the factory to the free VIP parking lot of Ingolstadt Village to set off for outlet shopping.

Depending on the model, the life of the Audi driver will be enriched with a range of cultural events and golf courses, while the Seat driver will have a bratwurst and a cola at the next dealer event. The Audi driver will not worry about a Seat, the Seat driver will strive for promotion to the Audi. If, yes, if the brand psychologists in the VW Group have done their job right.

Back to Saab. Saab Automobile AB is history, we never cared about NEVS in Germany. For 3 years we have been more or less left alone, without father and mother, so to speak. In the past two weeks I have attended two Saab events. There was our “Pilots wanted 2014” event in Kiel and the troll rally of the Saab Friends Erftkreis. Two Saab appointments that couldn't have been more different, but which always resulted in Saab drivers with happy faces and bright eyes. One notices the above-average degree of mobilization in the small Saab community. Other brands can only dream of it.

At these events personal Saab stories are on the table, you meet people who have just come to Saab. 3 years after the end of the new car production, they find Saab somehow cool and have, with the first Saab of their lives, fulfilled a wish.

The famous brand experience, we do it ourselves. We, that are our dealers, the Saab drivers, blogs, forums and Orio Deutschland GmbH. Without large budgets, without highly paid specialists racking their brains over the possible definition of a brand experience. And I think it feels pretty good! Saab is alive, probably more active than 3 years ago, the calendar with meetings in Germany is well filled.

The topic of “brand experience” is becoming more and more important, the more comparable the future products will be. Creating a “brand experience” is an expensive and tedious undertaking. Nothing that can be done in a short time, but something for planners with staying power and a large budget. Saab has it, this soft, intangible factor called “brand experience”. An important asset when talking about the future of a car brand. Because we are not alone, the blog has around 5000 hits every day. These are readers who drive Saab, are interested in Saab, or simply find the brand good. If you break down the readers by IP addresses, more than half of the German Saab owners read the blog at least once a month.

Investors, wherever they come from, should factor this into their planning. The customer base is there, there are no fascinating new models from Trollhättan. Developing good new products is a question of money. Not the “brand experience” of a legendary traditional brand, that is priceless. My opinion on why the Saab brand should have a future.

Text & image: tom@saabblog.net

45 thoughts on "Why Saab should have a future"

  • A well-known MFG provider on “my route” with 5 Touring from the company Unteres Allerwertesten also spoke quite positively about Saab and is probably also toying with getting a Saab next. Why?
    The person behind the Saab steering wheel can not read his professional position on the car. In other words: In many companies, the boardrooms are recognized by their cars and subordinates as well. Saab is different and that makes the brand so sympathetic.

    I searched for alternatives in the net, but found none.
    In this respect: Saab 3.0 will be cool - I am confident.

  • I'm a bit skeptical about the e-cars. The idea is great, and if Saab were one of the first, so much the better. Currently, there are only very limited usage scenarios due to the batteries. I read that a Tesla S at 200 km / h needs about 85 kW of power, which seems plausible. Since even in the largest of the battery only 85 kWh and can not be maxed, is about 45-50 minutes of high-speed drive and less than 200 km distance. That's a long way from what we want as fast Saab riders, right? And trailer load? Nothing.
    I've now defined the “3 × 2” requirement for an e-car: Must be able to drive for 2 hours at 200 km / h and must be able to pull 2 ​​tons. Let's see when the time comes.

  • The question arises whether the Evoque sells brilliantly without Defender. I think that's really the fear question with LR. The image of LR is based on the indestructible and terrain qualities of the “real”. It remains to be seen whether LR can break away from this. The Defender also has a huge problem, because its image is based on its operations in expeditions in the jungle and in the military / civil defense etc. The military is likely to be less important as a customer, since larger calibers are now used there, but are even used in the civilian sector the vehicles are getting bigger, see Unimog. Would a successor to the Defender be in real use anymore?

  • Shit, for such research I had no time. I have checked the part, and it is available on the Internet from 230, -. Thanks for the tip. Am quite a layman though.

  • Saab has and had something that fascinated !! Every model has something before, after or during the GM era! Whatever that may be !? I don't really care !! I just enjoy it! And I would be very happy if Saab continues! And old strengths such as beautiful design, efficient engines, classlessness and safety are being revived in new models! The foundation for this are motivated employees who live and love “their” brand! That needs security and trust and an owner who recognizes that !! It will be honored by the buyers and they will give it, I'm sure of that !!

  • Well - my two Swedes 2002 9-3 Aero Cabrio and 2007 9-3 Sedan are still in everyday use. In fact, apart from the normal wear and tear and the motor antenna on the convertible, I haven't had any worries ... I hope it stays that way and the New Swedes get out of the woods one day!

  • @ Matthias-With the buyer groups I meant that it is logical that you see a lot of Dacias and Kias, since these cars cost less than half the price of a Saab. I ask myself the question whether people buy these cars because of their price-performance ratio or because of the lack of financial possibilities. I would like to do a survey there. Of course, a Kia is a lot of bang for your buck if you're only looking to spend $ 20.000. I would buy it for the sum. But if I want to spend twice as much, I would end up with completely different brands. However, they would not come from southern Germany!

    In terms of older people, like your sister-in-law, all I can say is that my parents used to drive their cars for the whole of their lives, costing about double to three times what the cars are now. Maybe it has something to do with being more reasonable? ;-)))

    To conclude, in Italy, where I am very often, I have always seen a strikingly high number of cars from our beloved brand in contrast to Germany. Especially in the big cities. Well, maybe I'm luckier than you ...

    Best regards from Spain.

  • Suspension is a crucial factor for me at SAAB. Detlef has already addressed it with the winter behavior. There is rarely a suspension that gives as good feedback on road condition as in the SAAB. Since I travel a lot at night, this is more important in winter than the electronic helpers.
    The long-distance enjoyment in the SAAB is probably out of the question here.
    These are exactly the points that make up the special feeling and which a new SAAB owner must first “EXPERIENCE”!

  • @Zsolt - I haven't compared the Dacia and Kia buyers with Saab, why should I?

    I just notice, even among me in the circle of acquaintances, that there are more and more people who today price / performance has become more important than status. My in-laws used to drive exclusively Mercedes (last E-Class) and now a Golf. And of course, there are still people who just use the car as a status symbol, be they now with much or little self-esteem.

    Neat, beautiful Saab`s I have hardly seen in Italy, two old 900er convertibles on the highway and really a 9-5 NG in Florence.

    But I just noticed (in addition to countless Fiat Pandas) the brands Dacia and Kia. It's a shame about Saab, just like Lancia - how many of the beautiful thesis were sold? Only 3.200 of the Lancia Kappa Coupe were produced ...

    I will always be fan of Saab and drive as long as possible, of course!

  • On the other hand, some manufacturers who also build safe cars have a show-off image (mostly German manufacturers) - I also wrote that not even the few things listed can be fulfilled by another make. That's how it is!

    Who puts down a large amount for a car with emotion control?
    I would rather see it as an exception - it is much more often the so-called overall package, which also includes the exemplary criteria I mentioned.

    What is state of the art in terms of driving behavior in winter?
    Please do not advertise any rear-wheel drive brands that are supposed to be suitable for winter thanks to a lot of helpers and yet are not - I rarely had such a bad feeling in snow and ice as when I was a passenger in a current 3-series BMW with all the extras.

  • @ Detlef Rudolf: Nice that you call a few criteria. The crux, however, is that only the subjective points such as design and image remain. Other manufacturers have long since opened up to Saab in terms of crash safety or even overtaken it, especially in accident prevention measures. Others also build great turbocharged engines, and in the case of the chassis, there are some things that are much better than what Saab offered. I do not know about the 9-5II, but the standard suspension in 9-5I was not necessarily state of the art. But the fewest decide probably for a make due to the chassis or similar. Much more often it is emotion controlled.

  • Dear Matthias, since you have just come from Italy, I hope that you have also noticed how many Saab's are driving around there ?! You can hardly compare the buyers of a Dacia or Kia with those of a Saab (purchasing power).
    It is probably logical that a model like the Defender will slowly disappear from the market after 50 years of market presence. And of course the Evoque sells brilliantly and for many reasons: design, INDIVIDUALITY !!! etc. By the way, since we are with the sales figures of the Evoque: the prices of the cars are quite above those of Dacia and Skoda, right ???

  • First and foremost, it's not about a “Saab feeling” - criteria such as good design, very good crash behavior, good driving behavior (even in winter) and no clinging bragging image are important.

    Alone this not even complete enumeration can fulfill hardly any other make besides SAAB.

    No one should really need status symbols - unless they are insecure people with no self-esteem.

  • I fully agree with you - a nice example for a small manufacturer is z. B. Morgan. The Land Rover Defender will not be around shortly either, the Evoque sells brilliantly but has nothing to do with the original values ​​of Land Rover. I wish Saab the best for the future, but I believe less and less in it. I have just come from Italy, where I saw an incredible number of Dacia Duster and Kia Sportages drive - why should I? Here (for many) the price / performance ratio is just right. Not everyone wants that “Saab feeling” and fewer and fewer people are willing to pay for it. The buyers of new cars are getting older and for younger groups of buyers other status symbols (apple products, ...) have long pushed the car backwards.

  • Yes, everything you say is correct, but here, too, the parallel to Saab, the whole innovation was not honored by the common car buyer and Citroen was also close to bankruptcy and was taken over by Peugeot. The BX was basically the first and last innovative new development after the takeover. XM had quality problems and the Xantia was allowed to show innovation again with the Activia, but only in a partial area. The only way to explain the fact that people subsequently opted for “chrono weeks” and faceless cars is the influence of Peugeot.

  • Well answered Tom! There will always be people who are looking for something other than “chubby” brands with their models. I belong to that species and it would be a nightmare to own a Golf. And there will always be brands that will survive thanks to such people. And it doesn't have to be a Rolls!

  • A friendly hello of me in the round. You feel or feel things or not. The described Saab virus or the attachment to these wonderful vehicles are certainly not comprehensible to the masses. I had moved away from the brand for a while, but did not really do so. Because of this is now again a fancy Saab convertible in my garage, which is cared for and spoiled by me. I can not judge how things will develop in the future. Audi, BMW, etc. are certainly not desirable for me anyway, even more so when I cruise across the streets in my 2000er convertible. I regret the purchase despite small scratches and dents not a day and should have done so much earlier. Nevertheless, I hope that Saab can start again right away, shake off all the legacy and join me in the opinion of Tom.

  • Huh - then "ER" caught you!
    Just like me - we just can't get rid of this brand.
    Obviously there is more behind it.
    Not just ”corporate identity” but a very special SPIRIT.

  • At the moment the last 9-4x are coming back from the leasing in the States, at cars.com there are 14. If you have time - contact wallenius wilemsen beforehand - the following would also be possible: book a flight, buy and pay for the 9-4x on site, drive to New Jersey, embark and pick it up in Antwerp. It's even fun if the seller is serious and prepares all the papers 🙂

  • It's not that typical values ​​were betrayed or the vehicles were no longer quirky. Quirky I never looked at Citroen. As a former, long ago, Citroen driver I have to speak up. Citroen was, like Saab, technically very far ahead. Citroen BX was lightweight and the first mass-produced car with a lot of use of plastic in body construction. If I recall correctly, then the bonnet, tailgate and the panel of the C-pillar were made of plastic.
    The CX, I loved my turbo, was a poem in comfort and on long stretches. Unfortunately, he bought me, needed bought, with an urge to contract workshop, poor. But I forgave him for that. Then came not much, the vehicles were less innovative and Citroen wanted to sell at any cost cars on the garbage cheap to make quantities.
    The C6 was only, as you say so beautifully, a reminiscence. But for reasons of nostalgia buy a large Citroen, if the innovation is missing? That was not enough then.

  • Hihi, you are right. There comes, as a small digression why I also white-blue finally put to the files, something else to it: the coarse and frowning X5 is world-wide mafia service vehicle number one. And if you then look at the other side of the behavior of the owners, who let out billions in dividends and at the same time do not hire their starved temporary workers, the only conclusion is: yes, there was happy what belongs together.

  • That's not quite right. Although this is also the opinion of the fans of this brand, but without pink glasses looks different unfortunately. As a longtime Citroënist, I've always been annoyed when the difficulties were moored that allegedly the typical values ​​of Citroen was betrayed. This is all nonsense, the brand was simply no longer in the post. At the present time, only very few manufacturers can afford to produce cars for a small circle. Rolls Royce can do this, for example. The others have to look to market products that anyone would enjoy, from the free spirit to the worker (The Golf is such a car). As a result, a brand is indeed smooched but may have ordinary sales figures. In the Citroen scene, many think that they just have to build quirky cars like the Ami6, covered rear wheels like the CX and hydropneumatic running gear in all classes and the store is running smoothly again. The C6 was a reminder to the fans, but has sold grottig. A DS3, which at first glance has nothing to do with the Citroen attributes of comfort and chic design, sells pretty well. I think it would be nice if a brand could afford to build only cars to the taste of die-hard fans, but unfortunately they can not survive.
    Unfortunately, the companies are primarily concerned with sales and money. If old fans are even more enthusiastic this is a pleasant side effect. As a rule, however, it is about new customers

  • definitely 😉

  • Citroen is a typical example of what can happen when you produce other vehicles than the fans expect. Not excluded that such a thing could happen with Saab 3.0. If Saab 3.0 comes because. That's open.
    You belong to the growing group of those who drove Saab and somehow still show interest in the brand. Read and post on the blog prove that. The statement that an electric car from Sweden (Saab 😉) could be interesting for you, makes you a potential buyer and prospective buyer. It would now be up to Saab to deliver the convincing product. The virus is, sorry, somehow present to you. Welcome to the club 😉

  • Brand experience is one thing - convincing cars in the current portfolio are another. Perhaps a look at Citroen helps to understand what happens to your “own” brand: There are clubs and associations that uphold driving a duck or a Deesse and confirm themselves in X meetings. But that doesn't help the Citroen brand at all - which survives when people decide to buy a new model. And too few do that.

    I also like Saab. Clear. But on my 06er 9-3 1.9 TiD Sportcombi, so many expensive repairs of the Fiat engines and Opel parts, the turbocharger and the exhaust system came together that I got annoyed by the workshop visits at first Mini Clubman (is also suitable for “something else drive ”) and meanwhile drive a BMW 520d Touring. Both use significantly less diesel than the 9-3 did. Saves real money over the year.

    So, my clicks here in the blog are not that I have a Saab nor that I want one: I do not put a used, vulnerable gas guzzler out of the door, nor do I like the design and brand experience. I want to know if Saab gets up and perhaps after the 520 an electric car from Sweden could park in the yard. Club-owned Saab-900er Traditionpflege (although I think the car is great, of course!) Interested me little. I also have no DS or 2CV.

  • Daniel, why so negative (never buy a new SAAB)?
    We do not yet all know what the future holds.
    I also see it like Tom. Such a brand affiliation as with SAAB is rare, because some large corporations can be jealous.
    Incidentally, that was also the case before bankruptcy. In the peculiar ADAC Auto-Marx (perhaps misspelled), SAAB always got away well on that point.
    At the meetings and tours it is unique how from the old two-stroke engine to the 9-5NG all ride together. That's a special community.
    I've also left out the newer models from the GM era until now. But not because I don't like them, but because the “old ones” drive so well that there is no need for new cars, until today. Somehow I can't throw away or squander anything that works well!

    If the Trolls still get the curve, a new model is definitely Danger and maybe leased for testing.

  • Marcel scania I've been driving Saab since 1985 and I'm happy about every message from Sweden.

  • I wouldn't even order stinks from a third party ... ;-)

  • You're right - it's a 07 9-5 Aero SC.

  • You mean an 07-Saab 9-5?

  • It is completely normal that SAABs also have their wearing parts. My wife's VW Golf has practically no brake pads at 40 km and requires more oil than I've ever poured into a SAAB. With the VW and Audi quality, I have not been able to cope with a Passat and an A000 twice. The cost per kilometer for both vehicles was beyond what I was willing to invest.
    My 97-series SAAB 9-5 has now 233 km and is getting all-round new brakes including discs for the first time. Apart from regular maintenance, the vehicle only required 000 xenon bulbs. I have just replaced the navigation system with a current Alpine. Now there are two more electrical defects with the fuel gauge and the cruise control. I hope that's it then. Mechanically, the vehicle is good for another 2 km, says the friendly man.
    The neutral image of SAAB has always appealed to me, if something clever comes, I'll take a look at it in any case. However, it has to be more than the next windy investor behind it. I would allow the brand to survive. However, my life goes on without SAAB, the long-lasting SAAB and Sweden thrillers are gradually getting on my mind.

  • That's it!! Saab is just nice, point !!

  • That's why I would drive Seat and never Audi! I would find it extremely intrusive, if I a company of which I only wanted a car with golf, courtesy culture, etc. annoying. This company is far too important. Unfortunately, this seems to rub off on the driving style of many Audi drivers.

    Saab has never tried something like that but always spread the charm: "I could easily as fast as you, but don't have to prove it to you." That's why I like Saab.

    Otherwise a car has to be practical and the Seat is probably ahead of the Audi ...

    PS .: Incidentally, in my circle of acquaintances the majority think so and surveys on the importance of cars as a status symbol should give companies like Audi more to think.

  • Hello thylmuc.
    I also had this problem. Had then searched the Internet and found something interesting:
    You can buy this stench from a third party and also install it yourself as a loan. My screwdriver had looked at it and was thrilled. This repair cost me “only” 65 euros and I now have these plastic parts made of brass! The magic word is SWIRLREPAIR!
    Well for the next time, or if the actuator was broken, that would have brought nothing synonymous alone.
    Nice foot ball evening

  • The SÄÄBe are just getting older ... Not so great, that's right. But what else should you drive 🙁

  • And I just had to have the intake manifold with servomotor exchanged for 1.9 Euro on a 1100 TiD, according to the repairman's smug comment, because the bearings of the regulating linkage were made of plastic “the engine is also from Fiat and Opel”. Apparently a few weeks earlier he had the same problem with a non-Saab, and the component description in a folder at hand ... So not everything is so great either. My 9-3 TiD 2.2 is now no longer through the general inspection with 334000. All fluid systems leak too much. Turbo and injection pump showed weaknesses from 250000.

    So not only the finest. Although I also liked the 9-3. But now he'll probably go to the recycler, or wherever. If anyone wants him, please contact me. (No valid HU anymore).

  • Dear Tom,

    I allow myself to address you that way. Your blog is excellent and speaks with the soul.
    Because you refer to the largest group in Germany, I can bring an example, which absolutely does not speak for a customer-friendly manner.
    As far as customer care and spare parts prices are concerned, this Salzburg is simply hair-raising. As a customer, one has the impression that one is treated from the top down. and as a customer for Porsche Salzburg is there
    and not the other way around.

    For me it is incomprehensible that a group like Volkswagen tries to save every penny and thereby takes the negative effect of the customer in purchasing.

    I had a Golf II and Golf III Diesel in front of my SAAB. In both I had, damage to the head gasket. My luck was that both damage occurred during the warranty period.

    The damage to the image and the additional costs for Volkswagen were certainly greater if one had used a better quality gasket.
    Because I was able to find out that my damage was not an isolated incident and only years later a better head gasket was used.

    Quite apart from the prices for service and spare parts, these are covered at Porsch Salzburg.
    But there are also agencies near the border, which offer a good and reliable service and at VW spare parts up to 50% cheaper. So much for the situation at Porsche Salzburg and regarding the brand experience.
    Apart from these damages, I was not dissatisfied, even though the SAAB is at least a class above the Golf. The equipment, the driving performance is of course not comparable to the Golf.

    That I now drive a SAAB 9.3 TiD 2.2 was more of a coincidence and maybe love at first sight. At my annual KM performance this SAAB will surely be my last car purchase.
    I'm just happy with my purchase.
    In addition, although this is in Bavaria (Ainring / Mitterfelden), I have a reliable workshop, a SAAB specialist for the service and repair services, because in Salzburg there is no SAAB factory.

  • I've been driving Saab exclusively since 1968 ... my current model is a 9-3 X station wagon, petrol, car. I am very pleased. High consumption and long waiting times for spare parts are negative points …… Dr Friedrich Zeinler, Vienna

  • I do not tend to think so.
    I'm going with Tom. I just feel comfortable in my Saab`s. Better than others, they may not be any more, but different!
    Whether this feeling is enough to save the brand, probably not alone.
    However, I don't know any drivers of other brands who hold the flag as high as we Saab drivers, although - we ONLY talk about cars.

  • THANK YOU, Tom for the emotional caresses. You are doing well after the “Bad-NEVS”!
    The fact that the fans have become more active has to do with the good work of the blog team…. :-), we SAABians have never been more enlightened than in recent years. We have never suffered more! We have never hoped again…. SAAB certainly deserves another chance! The brand still has potential! Will z. B. always kindly asked about my SAAB 9-3 🙂, in recent years no longer with negative thoughts about the brand! So: there are still people who find SAAB fascinating! And that is by no means a matter of course, as we know from (unfortunate) experience! Hopefully Trollhättan will see light again at the end of the tunnel soon!

  • However, one should not construct a connection between access to the blog and the “brand experience”. I also read along or write a post here. Still, I would never buy a new Saab. To be honest, I don't really care about the brand, the main thing is that spare parts are still available. I drive my Saab because they offer me what I was looking for, if Saab can no longer do that, then I'll just buy something else. Saab drivers are also not a homogeneous mass. There are new car drivers who would have liked to buy a new Saab every three to five years, which is probably no longer possible. The disappointment is understandably great. The pre-GM drivers who drive their 99/901 / 9k not only as a second car but also move it in everyday life usually have little to do with the whole NEVS, Mahindra back and forth. The topic is interesting, but nothing more than that. There is not necessarily a “brand experience”. A “car or model experience” maybe.
    Personally, I don't know any 901 or 9k driver who speaks of “his brand” in this context. But what I keep hearing are features that were important when buying one of these vehicles. Properties that were not found, for example, at BMW or MB at that time.
    Alfa Romeo is currently trying to reposition itself through a kind of “emphasis on tradition” or “brand experience”. After all, 5 billion euros are used for this. Possibly. Saab should wait and see if the potential buyers appreciate it ...

  • I think so too…
    If only saabists tell us about the brand experience, that will not be enough.
    On the other hand, newly produced Saab's must also be sold.
    Since the purchase quantities of the community will not be sufficient.

    How do you get the people back or reinforced from A4 and 3er out?

    The capital of our community should be numbered more precisely and made valuable.

    That's exactly what I told my dealer Saab Wien Oberlaa, which he never did. Meanwhile the poet has done.

    For the sake of completeness: with 2016 it will be time for a change.

  • Hi Tom,

    In this new blog article, you should just send Anand Mahindra directly.

    I have no doubt that the Indians have recognized the weight of the brand themselves for a long time - but it couldn't hurt!

  • These are articles that give me goosebumps. As you know, I was a staunch BMW driver before Saab. But what always bothered me was the image. Either a representative or a blatant 3-series BMW. I couldn't identify with either of them. I've always had my eye on Saab and thought with the bankruptcy “buy one quickly before there are no more”. I don't regret it for a day except that I should have taken the step much earlier. My wish is that Saab gets the chance it deserves and a real one.

  • Good article for the start of the week! SAAB lives and SAAB drivers greet each other again

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