Today ends a chapter of Rhenish Saab tradition. Kunert Automobile AG, Saab's 1977 partner, closes its doors. Almost 40 years with Saab are a long phase; if a longtime dealer goes, then we lose a piece of brand culture.
Company founder Hans Jochen Kunert's automotive career began with the other Swedish brand. The relationship with Volvo was a success story ... the Kunert dealership was once the largest Volvo partner in the old Federal Republic. The end of the Volvo marriage was a break, what followed - a brave new beginning.
Saab was largely unknown to 1977. Hans Jochen Kunert was one of the first Saab dealers in Germany and the beginnings at the new location Bonn Beuel modest.
Success can be reproduced if the passion for the product is right. What was already going on with Volvo was also successful with Saab. A year later, a Japanese brand was added as a further mainstay, but space for both agencies became scarce over time. The Kunert family, daughter Inka Spira, was meanwhile also working in the company and was plagued by a problem. Give up a brand or expand?
The solution was within one's grasp - in this case across the street. A factory hall was acquired in 1993 and converted into a modern car dealership. The original 3.500 square meters of hall space was reduced to 2.000 to create space for parking spaces and outdoor exhibition space.
An impressive, bright dealership with large glass surfaces was created. 1995 was the first construction stage completed, Saab was able to move into the new domicile. At Kunerts it continues to stormy. Three years later, the company is transformed into Kunert Automobile AG, daughter Inka Spira is appointed to the Executive Board, parents Hans Jochen and Theresia Kunert appoint the Supervisory Board. At the same time, the family is selling the original business across the street and relying heavily on Saab.
The times for and with Saab are getting harder in the following years. Saab CEOs in Germany are changing faster and faster, and where Trollhättan headed was hard to say. Nevertheless, Kunert is Saab, wants to live and survive with Saab. Two legs are better, and so the Saabs share the showroom with cousins from Gothenburg starting at 2005. Volvo is back, as a workshop, the family returns to its roots.
The recent past is quickly told, we all know the circumstances. GM wants to close Saab, Koenigsegg take over. Then comes Spyker Koenigsegg. The second 9-5 generation rolls into the Bonn showroom, the 9-4x is in the starting blocks. Optimism and hope.
Then the end of Saab Automobile AB, an option to restart when NEVS moves into the Stallbacka. Hopes that did not come true. Of course, there was no shortage of options. Other brands were interested in the Bonn location. Only what is Saab compatible, what can you expect from customers? Because the Saab drivers are loyal, the workshop is going well and continues to do so until the end. An online shop for Saab and Volvo parts is launched, highly praised and successful.
All of this is not enough, there is a lack of new car sales to fill the big dealership with life. The consequence is logical and courageous. "Close, as long as you can still do it yourself"Says Inka Spira to me on the phone. So one looks for a tenant for the rooms - with the responsibility for the long-term customers in the background. Find a partner in the Thomas group of companies who will keep some of the employees and want to continue operating the Saab workshop.
So, in parting, a good solution is found for the Saab drivers in Bonn. In the tradition of the Kunert family, who have always supported the Saab community. Not only did our blog and the charity project always have a big heart, other forums in the Saab world were also considered. All of this fits into the image of a responsible entrepreneur family. Founder Hans Jochen Kunert has - for years in retirement, who is not - established a foundation that helps young people in need with training and studies.
So is a piece of tradition! I say goodbye Thanks for 38 years of Rhenish Saab culture!