That's a thing with the heart. One falls in love, and even if the thing is hopeless, the mind sends warnings, the heart stays with it. It's not just me. A few days ago I was visiting a Saab partner.
As always, his workshop was full of Saabs, and as a new car he successfully sells products from another brand. But he loves, so deeply in his heart, only the brand from Trollhättan and has hope that Saab will continue. Somehow, someday. Of course he's a realist. "It's time to see that Saab is a youngtimer brand ..." he said to me. He is right with that, because the confidence that something will develop positively in Trollhättan has reached a new low, and nobody wants to talk about a possible Saab future anymore.
Saab has not yet completely transformed into a youngtimer brand. With Saab 9-5 NG, Saab 9-4x and 9-3 II, we have vehicles on the roads that are up to date. The 9-3 shows qualities as a marathon runner; How the 9-4x Aero and 9-5 TTID fare three years after the end of production will be clarified in a test report over the next few days. And the future of youngtimers is not as terrible as it seems.
The Youngtimer brand
At first it is tough when you admit that there will be no more new cars for us. At second glance, the situation is put into perspective, because it could be worse. The times when you could accuse your neighbors of a career break if they didn't have a new vehicle with a star, rings or kidney in front of the house every three years are over. And we complain at a high level. Saab has given the world many durable, well-thought-out cars with unique designs and clever details. In addition: driving older cars when they are well maintained is the order of the day. Driving up with a classic Saab, possibly with a 9000 - the understatement vehicle par excellence - stands for style and good taste.
Classic and young timers have long since developed into an industry with high annual growth rates. In the metropolitan regions there are car dealerships that are successfully investing in this niche and completely stopping the new car business. Manufacturers are less enthusiastic about this trend. The willingness of buyers to regularly invest in a new car has been declining for years. A development that is partly homemade. The possibility of leasing everything that usually has 4 wheels without a down payment has devalued the product car. Customers shop for leasing rates; What is not in your own possession and has only been rented for a limited period of time is of less importance. Innovations can only be found in details that are not perceived as groundbreaking by the driver. For very young customers in particular, other things have become more important than new, shiny sheet metal.
In workshops that Saab live and that take care of old and young sheet metal from Trollhättan, business is going well. Beyond the pressure of having to commit to the acceptance of new vehicles, a Saab culture of its own has emerged. What about 18 months ago with the articles of the “Saab cult series” Saab 900 II, Saab 9000 and the Saab 9 3 I started, that's now a reality.
In Bamberg A sensational Saab 900 II Cabriolet, still in its first ownership, will be visually and technically reworked for the next few years. In Kiel was a Saab 9-3 Aero Coupe with Viggen Body Kit, now really rare, completely restored. Only two examples among many. The development is limited only by the lack of availability of vehicles.
The other side: Saabs are taken out of service in Germany every day, mostly consumer vehicles with high mileage. If there is a major repair in the house, then that means the end. However, and that's the good news, the brand is holding up braver than expected. Orio AB has forecasts of how the portfolio will develop. The loss in Germany is lower than assumed. Saab owners are even more closely connected to their vehicles than you think, instead of separation, investments are made.
Youngtimer has charm
The youngtimer situation can develop charm if it fits the annual driving profile and life. And if you want to get involved. Saabs are classless vehicles with a timeless design. Beyond what you want us to believe, you also do something for the environment. Nothing is more sustainable than a vehicle that has already been produced and that is kept in traffic for as long as possible. No matter how low the consumption of a hybrid vehicle may be, the pollution caused by the production flows into the environmental balance. And then, with a little thought, you can come to the conclusion that any vehicle that was not built could be an environmental benefit.
Hope is always
Back to Hope and the Heart. We can not change the situation in Sweden, we can only wait. Who staunchly drives Saab and blog reads, has now arrived at the hard core of the brand. Who can not be so small, what the numbers of readers prove.
Saab leaves no one indifferent who has ever been in contact with it. The Saab future is an issue in Sweden; what will happen in Vänersborg on Wednesday is of interest. Although I wouldn't expect any “breaking news”. NEVS, the fate of the company, which could or will one day, does not have to be synonymous with the fate of our brand.
A tweet from Dan Brännström came via Twitter a few days ago. His link to Saab is that he comes from Trollhättan. "..som trollhätte grabb vill hunt alltid hoppas på bilproduction i Trollhättan“, ..As a boy from Trollhättan I will always have hope for a car production in Trollhättan, according to his tweet. I think that's good ! My heart too! Aren't we all Trollhattans?