Saab. 5 years later.

Exact today before 5 years was probably the darkest day in the history of Saab. The first hints reached Mark and me shortly before 9 clock, a little later it was certainty. Victor Muller made his way to Vänersborg bankruptcy petition for the Saab Automobile AB.

Saab factory in the fall 2011

I let this day, 5 years later, review, then I remember a few things especially in memory. There was the last conference call with Victor Muller. The Saab blogs were at that time - at the height of the crisis - very closely involved in the action. It was about avoiding misinformation and providing facts first-hand.


In the afternoon of the 19. In December, Muller held his last international conference call. The Saab leadership team and he was visibly battered and at the end of their strength arrived. Nevertheless, at the end there were words that should provide comfort and hope.

According to VM, Swedish insolvency law allows companies to get back to market after the procedure. There was hope among the employees. Christmas crises had been recurring in recent Saab history. The employees left their offices with the intention of returning to work in January.


At the Saab branch in Frankfurt, the Saab Germany team had set up provisional offices on the first floor. A makeshift temporary solution after leaving Rüsselsheim, with far too little space. Until the last day, the plans for the future ran in close coordination with Trollhättan. The end was also a shock in Frankfurt, because only a few days earlier, the plan had been approved to build a strong, German sales organization.

The vote between Saab Germany boss Jan-Philipp Schuhmacher and the bloggers was particularly tight these days. It was all about mitigation and support for dealers and Saab drivers. Do not leave the Saab driver alone, take care - that was the watchword. In interviews, the situation of Saab and the spare parts supply was explained. In Frankfurt, people immediately started planning for the future. Securing jobs and maintaining the brand in Germany were in the foreground.

Today, 5 years later, Orio Germany employs more staff at the Eschborn site than Saab Germany 2011. A provisional branch has become a state-of-the-art logistics company with a national central warehouse. Orio is a German - Swedish success story, created from the most difficult circumstances. Managing Director Jan-Philipp Schuhmacher continues to guarantee continuity and reliability.

Somewhere in Germany

After the 19. In December 2011, many people headed for Trollhättan. It was about possible to quickly secure the Saab remains. There were visitors from China, Turkey and also from Germany. The finance director of a German manufacturer flew one day after the bankruptcy with the last Lufthansa machine to Gothenburg and then on to Trollhättan. In one of his company's design studios was the model of a new, compact Saab that was supposed to run off the ribbons in the Stallbacka along with second-brand cars.

The platforms would have been identical, the engine provided a well-known 1.6 liter 4 cylinder with turbo charging. The plans for the Saab takeover had been in the drawers for a while, and yet they were breaking up. The board had a plan for rationalization in their luggage. Both the traditional summer holidays and the complete break in production would have been canceled. That was rejected in Sweden, and the Germans were out of the race in January.

Trollhättan 5 years later.

In Trollhättan, the situation is estimated positively, 5 years later. The city on the Göta Älv has remained an automotive development location and is better and stronger in this regard than ever before. Many new small and medium-sized enterprises have emerged, the structure in the region has changed and dependency on big employers has fallen. The expansion of the connection to Gothenburg has provided further positive impulses. Everywhere in the municipality, construction cranes are turning.

Only among the workers is unemployment above average. Some have been able to stay in Hisingen near Volvo, but many still have no job prospects. If cars are built again in the Stallbacka around the year 2020, then under the NEVS brand name, it will be too late for many former Saab workers.

29 thoughts too "Saab. 5 years later."

  • 5 years later and SAAB is still here! For someone who later came to read really exciting and dramatic. The blog is a time machine

  • "The CFO of a German manufacturer flew [...] on to Trollhättan. In one of his company's design studios was the model of a new, compact Saab that was supposed to run off the ribbons in the Stallbacka along with second-brand cars.
    [...] The engine provided a well-known 1.6 liter 4 cylinder with turbo charging. The plans for the Saab acquisition have been in the drawers for some time. "

    BMW wanted to take over SAAB ... and that only failed because the Swedes did not want to give up their summer holidays?

    • One has Mark and me Xnumx very clearly to the story with the prospective customer from Germany expressed. The chemistry has apparently not completely tuned. If the memory is not deceptive, the Germans were the first outside in the race for Saab.

      • Why so cryptic ("the Germans")?

        That's like Harry Potter. Except that there seems to be more than one dark lord on the subject of SAAB, whose name some people do not dare pronounce. I think it's time to call everyone involved in the drama by name.

        BMW so! BMW, BMW.

        That would have been better than the status quo!

        And in some 9-5 NG BMW went anyway with ...

      • If the BMW people in Trollhättan had spread, I would also have been out very quickly (as a possible customer) - both the current BMW image and the past of the group (in particular the takeover by Quandt with funds demonstrably due to the Exploitation of forced laborers) would have been a major obstacle for me.

        I prefer to watch the development at NEVS and suggest that the product portfolio may still be acceptable to me in the next few years.

        • what BMW has been referring to customers over the past approximately 15 years is indeed rather repugnant.

          And to act insensitive with such a demand is once again typical of the big-headed people.

          • Maybe I know too little about BMW and do other things?

            But I know with certainty that it does not increase the knowledge when it comes to things and different names around. SAAB is history. To write them completely and analyze everything is on the table. Everything.

      • So you can be wrong. Another wrong decision in the long series, which led to the known and unfortunate result (Kopfschüttel). This would have SAAB probably also a successor with top engines for the 9-5 he had and would definitely have been with good chances in the race.

        Who does not care about the time, goes with the times ... ..

  • That makes me sad to read that, but thanks anyway. What I'm always wondering, where are the sketches, models and prototypes that remained before 5 years ago
    existed. How would the cars have looked?
    Sure, there is one or the other release, but it can not have been everything.

    • The one said model we have never seen, but know that it exists (has?) And who was responsible for the design. NEVS still has some clay models from the time, they stand in a hall on the site. Maybe you will show it someday?

  • It was the summer 2011 and we just bought a fairly new 9-3 convertible 1.9 TID AT. That it was not good for SAAB, I knew. Did not deter us. We are still driving 2 SAAB today, and hopefully for many years.

    I followed the then discussion about the "White Knight" with great interest. The Chinese, the German competitor and and and. Already at that time, I noted that, in addition to a rather vague takeover, above all a solid and well-calculated business plan is needed to revive the dull "GM appendix". The German "White Knight" so BMW would have made such a plan safely on the legs. What would have been left of the SAAB genes is difficult to judge even today after 5 years. But it has to be considered. With the acquisition of Mini, BMW has succeeded in successfully implementing the essential image and product features in a new, larger market environment. In principle, this would have been possible with the SAAB brand, although the SAAB product range was already largely available at BMW (3er BMW and 5er BMW). Looking at the situation at the "big" VW Group, where Skoda is about to "pull away" from train to train, the BMW people have the end guess correctly. Especially with the above volume models of BMW good SAAB 9-3er and 9-5er would have been a very tough competition in a limited market. A smaller SAAB in turn would have been a direct competitor to Mini. Also rather meaningless.

    At the end...
    Had I had something to say to BMW at the time (thank goodness not the case), then the takeover of SAAB would have been rejected by me. So if BMW had seriously offered, then very safe to completely unacceptable conditions. I do not think that it was only on work leave and on the upcoming summer holidays.

    • The real reason will probably have been that you simply did not accept the investor from Munich in Trollhättan. So it was reported to us. Maybe rivalry and pride have something to do with it. The money for Sweden was invested in England and Nedcar.
      Years later, the mirror reported about it. There one would have written BMW instead of Saab to buy it prefer to invest in electric cars.

  • Just my 2 cents ...
    I think BMW should have taken Saab. Even if the brand had necessarily positioned something under the main brand BMW, cars with Saab emblem would continue to be rolled off the assembly line and, with modular systems, would certainly not be even worse in some things.
    In any case, BMW missed out by acquiring new market share through a new brand. The brand MINI makes it in my eyes, it can work and not necessarily bad
    Even if Saab had changed drastically, I would have rather seen that than this great brand completely disappears from the market and is exploited for years.

  • I think back to this difficult period. But I'm still impressed how Muller and his managers have argued so long, have investigated so many possibilities, but still throw at the end of the hand cow. These days there are fewer of these teams that have so much motivation and power to swim against the tide for so long.

  • Did I read that correctly, in my 9-5 NG is something of the BMW?

    • Only if he has the small 1,6l gasoline engine. Otherwise not, to my knowledge.

    • Nope, the 1.6 was a GM engine, the 2.0 an engine developed in Trollhättan. Only test vehicles were traveling with the BMW 1.6.

      • Thanks for the correction. Now I know that, too.

        GM is still happy about the 2.0er, if I'm not mistaken. In many Opel, a Swedish heart beats ...

        In the whole discussion within the SAAB community, which company and which brand has to do with how much has to do with SAAB or under any circumstances, the feeling that SAAB had no chance, creeps me already.

        If you stand with your back against the wall and then it is too fine for one or the other, I find that funny.

  • Good thing that did not work out with BMW. At Rover and Land Rover BMW has also looted only and thus the Rover brand destroyed. Mini kept simple, this brand belonged to Rover and with the numbers then Rover could have survived.
    At Landrover they have used the four-wheel drive, fortunately they have survived, thanks to Ford and Tata.
    At Saab similar would have happened, unfortunately, BMW and Mercedes can not deal with other companies.
    Then prefer a NEVS with Siemens or Bosch engine.

    • They were already plundered

  • BMW would have been a chance for Saab. Would have been interesting what comes out of it. Definitely better than what NEVS made of it.

  • Time and time again, with some of the "comrades" in the blog, NEVS has not gotten anything done - people, they're still getting a good start. Anyone who has only occasionally seen the NEVS job vacancies page in recent months can imagine that the Trollhättan sequel will soon be approaching.

    You should just wait and not mourn those dubious companies who have not succeeded in the acquisition. As already mentioned, was the chemistry with BMW not - this is on closer inspection also understandable and reassuring that it did not work out. BAIC would have liked me personally as an investor - but failed on the complacent Mr Muller unfortunately. Maybe a cooperation between BAIC and NEVS but still to the course - I'm curious what the future brings.

    • NEVS takes a lot of time with the launch - the title of this article is "5 Years Later". That must be the big vision. Others have produced and sold vehicles in the meantime.

      What is more reassuring for today's NEVS than working with an industrial investor and accessing marketable products and technology is not something I understand.

    • To hope for NEVS and to call BMW a dubious company, I think so ......
      I want to drive SAAB and not NEVS. I want a good burner and no E engine.
      Nevs is not SAAB and has nothing to do with SAAB except that they continue to use the property. Incidentally, BMW has been building E cars for quite some time, in contrast to NEVS. But I never want to drive.

      • Heiko, you speak to me from the soul. Saab remains Saab and no mix of Nevs and other manufacturers. This means maintaining the stock, supporting the blog, so that we enjoy the Saab community for a long time

    • Well, is there any new NEVS to buy after 5 years? Has anything other than spare parts been produced in Trollhättan except the few Saab 9-3 MY14? Nevs has orders that Muller had as well, and never let it go to production for delivery. There are rumors about whether in Trollhättan even complete cars are built. Focus of Nevs is and remains China. So what did Nevs really produce so far? 5 years is a long time. Can you really trust the Chinese? At Volvo, the S90 is now only available from completely Chinese production. Is something desirable?

    • The pink NEVS glasses ...

  • Too bad that the alternative did not work out. If it would have worked, who knows. But when I think about the scrape for the leftovers, it was the only chance.
    Five years go by so quickly, she still lives, the memory.

  • Sorry, but you have to look at it realistically. What has not been rumored in the past, most recently Saab should become the B brand of Volvo, it became "Lynk & Co". BMW had agreed to Xnumx a motor deal with Saab and was therefore one of the creditors of Saab. Norbert Reithofer had rebuilt BMW, the expensive Formula One commitment was canceled, there were layoffs and savings. I hardly believe that this was the acquisition of a deficit car maker on the agenda of Mr. Reithofer. Rationalizations, cooperations and the sale of engines to third parties. One had learned from the mistakes of the past. Sure, one would certainly like to have worked together in the future, but not in the form of a takeover.

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