Saab Independence Day. Independence 7 years later.

Trollhättan. It is the 23. February 2011. Since 11: 00 o'clock the small town on the Göta Älv celebrates the first Independence Day of the brand. The Saab 9-5 NG sports trolleybus has world premiere, the 9-3 Convertible of the Independence Day Edition makes a damned desire for more. Everything was done right, and yet everything was wrong. Behind the scenes, the catastrophe began.

Saab Independence Day 2011. Image Saab Automobile AB / Archive
Saab Independence Day 2011. Image Saab Automobile AB / Archive

It remained with exactly one independence day. The factory gates remained closed one year later, and the site was occupied by Chinese investors another year later. And so it is until today. The Saab logos have disappeared, and for tourists passing through nothing reminds of the coolest car brand that Sweden has ever produced.

The risky bets on the future.

But there is a lot of life in the good old Saab brand. Just different, more unconventional, maybe even more exhausting. The world has changed since the 23. February 2011 changed. I write about the car world, politics I deny myself on the blog. Digitization is a topic of the future and with it the change for the car industry. Temporary use and new transport services will shake up the industry. Property will disappear more and more and new providers will give the old industrial giants sleepless nights.

How does that end up where we will be in 5 or 10 years? No one can predict it, but the industry is scared. Before what is coming and, above all, what you do yourself. By 2020, over 100 new all-electric models will be launched in North America. The Automotive News reports. Behind this are investments in the billions and a risky bet. Is the customer really ready, or was the electric car hype just hotly written by the media? An agonizing uncertainty. In China, the party dictates the development. By subsidy or, if necessary, by decree. In North America, consumers have the freedom and can decide. In rural Idaho, do you feel like driving online cars with apps, batteries and electric motors? Or do you stick with Chevy Pickup? An exciting question!

Not quite as speculative, but exciting was the development of the Saab brand in recent years. Sure, there are fewer and fewer vehicles. The environmental bonus, which allows you to swap older vehicles for a new diesel, sucked many great cars off the road in the last quarter of 2017. The group from Lower Saxony made, again, to the disposal of automotive cultural assets earned.

€ 7.000,00 for an old Saab that would otherwise only be worth half was too much of a temptation for some owners. Too bad. The stock is shrinking, as is the Saab community. But it is as a Saab dealer put it in an interview a few weeks ago:

There will be fewer, but better cars.

What the development would be in a nutshell. Saab drivers are free, they have been really independent for years. Independence Day 2.0, so to speak. Unplanned, and certainly not meant before 7 years ago. Unusually in a mature economy, where everything is annoyingly down to the smallest detail commercialized.

Whoever drives Saab, does so consciously. He often invests a lot of money in an old car and has long stopped asking for the time value. He drives Saab just because he wants it. Not because he rejects the future, but because he wants to drive in the here and now an analog, individual car. Because he just feels like it.

Independence is not easy. But exciting.

The alternative Saab system works, and it is also good as a business model. There are, over the republic, a dozen or so workshops that operate sustainably. With success, because something is happening. I see expansion, an expansion of offers, new solutions. It speaks for the health of the market, which is developing as it was not always expected.

Where there is a gap in the supply of spare parts, there is someone to fill it. Not always immediately, but in the medium term. And there are some lucrative gaps. Orio Sweden leaves them without any need. Sales and earnings are falling there. Not dramatically, but with a certain continuity. The reason is obvious. Less cars, less sales. But unfortunately also because you allow gaps in the range. And because you don't see opportunities. On the other hand, the new business fields are not developing as strongly as hoped.

Several workshops have disappeared in recent years. Not without reason, but also because the Saab world has become more demanding - and the customer more sensitive. More receptive to nuances, as is often the case with minorities. There were new customers for this from other providers. For those who live Saab and where you feel in good hands.

The weights in the Saab world will continue to shift. Anyone who focuses on restoration and value retention is well positioned as a workshop. The scene will become even more individual and demanding. Fewer cars, better cars. Saab as a statement, as a lifestyle and everything that goes with it. The willingness to invest in your own dream saab will increase. Every Saab can be a personal dream car, regardless of the model.

Saab drivers are 7 years after the 23. February 2011, really independent and free. They are not obligated to anyone, bound to anyone. You do not need an app or an electronic key on your smartphone. They do not leave a data trace of several terabytes per day. The system does not have to reboot after an update, it works analog and reliable.

Independence can also be exhausting and sometimes not easy. If you have to wait for a workshop appointment 3 weeks or need to get parts for his classic himself. But independence is something special in our commercialized world. And somehow typical Saab.

20 thoughts on "Saab Independence Day. Independence 7 years later."

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    An incredibly well written text, just as a student, I can confirm the line with the analog and individual automobile only too well.

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    What should I say… ..thank you Tom for your tireless writing, I am often smiled at with our Turbo x… my wife often says: GÄU, DAS ISCH CHLI DIS CHING….
    The fact is, should Trump be overthrown and his billions fall into my hands…. let's revive SAAB, whether analog or digital ... it doesn't matter, dreams cost nothing
    Your Tom from Bern

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    I just put the 9000 in the carport after a long day at work and after a little break I took the 902 Turbo out of the garage and had a nice tour before it got dark. It's great weather here today. This is a Sting live concert from the CD, not quite analog, but at least no compressed gequäke from any medium.

    When, after an hour, I came back completely relaxed and satisfied, asked my wife, where were you? Just turned a round, never mind. Looking forward to the spring, when I can make the rounds again with the convertible

    The 9000 is more the work tool, which is not meant negatively. He still does that perfectly today! I drive the two 902s more to relax. I think very few do that with their modern data centers, or ...

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      ... and that is exactly the point: in the not too distant future, such unnecessary trips will be punished with a hefty entertainment tax - unless you have stopped in between to make a correspondingly high turnover at a licensed collector's shop. I'm curious when all vehicles without GPS will be classified as particularly harmful to the environment ...

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        LOL what a dark vision ...

        Unfortunately, she will probably be closer to reality than we all would like. In the remote villages of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, no Harzer can afford a car anymore. Public transport is already set there today. Bus drivers, carpenters and doctors have already been exported to Scandinavia. The language courses have been donated to the taxpayer to get rid of superfluous people.

        It's good that replacements from other countries were quickly found. But still, now (after a destroyed infrastructure) the rural exodus is lamented ...

        But that will be better from now on! Because now the taxpayer pays the taxi rides of students to school, the trips of old people to the doctor and so on. Germany 4.0! ! !

        But every Harzer, who spends his money on the way somewhere (at Mc dirt, for schnapps and tipping or anywhere else), is again exempt from the amusement tax. He already pays enough other taxes (tobacco, mineral oil and
        Added value etc. ...).

        Maybe politics has the complete overview, everything under control and a positive vision for our country?
        So please do not see everything so gloomy!

        Everything will be fine in D 4.0. And tomorrow, the new SAAB 4.0-9 III will be introduced in S 5. The then has an 1.6 T with 320 PS and 500 Nm and also electric motors, From 0 on 100 it only needs 4.2 seconds and the consumption of this hybrid car will be (according to EU standard) only 1.7 liters on 100 Km!

        Everything will be fine ! ! !

        Geely is now majority shareholder at Daimler.

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        @Greatotto: so, or something like that will come. The GPS is still doubled by the smartphone. Anyone who carries this around permanently and moves in so-called social networks need not discuss privacy.
        But our lobby-controlled policy will come up with something to pull our treasures out of circulation - sustainability is not wanted!

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    Funny as the government is trying to get rid of old cars and my 23 years old Saab 9000, thanks to Trionic, achieved better emissions than the whole direct-injection scrap of today's XD

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    Every Saab can be a dreamaboo!

    Great and well written!
    Thanks Tom.
    It is exactly like that!
    If I keep in mind that my 9.3 l is still worth a maximum of 1000, but I have already invested seven times in the conservation or appreciation.
    There must really be something to it, the love of individuality.
    Who needs all this electronic support, entertainment or Inet connection if he concentrates fully on this while driving?
    These things actually distract more from the actual topic
    Driving the car!
    But since we Saab drivers just want to enjoy that and thanks to the cars, we do not need that. I guess most Saab riders drive more conscious and predictive anyway, maybe even more intense than others.
    Not only because you always keep in mind that in an accident you can not just buy a new one around the corner, but because we feel all that you mentioned above.
    Individuality, driving fun, love for dreamabout and no technology that distracts you.

    Swedish reasonably.

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    I still feel like driving on Saab and I can also say that we are not alone. Our Saab Club in Belgium has grown over the last year with more than 50 Saabists and more people are joining it every week.
    Of course it is always good for older cars to be in an environment where you can exchange experience and get help. As long as our clubs are still growing, not many Saabs will disappear. So on until the next Independence Day !!

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    As so often, as always: once again written well and aptly.

    Released from time-value thinking and other economic (pseudo-) constraints, SAABs are as independent as ever. And also their owners and drivers, because it only counts the very individual and personal benefit.

    One could also say that the brand has emancipated itself from the disposable society.

    That was certainly not entirely voluntary, but on the other hand, this route was already outlined in better days. I've talked to drivers and owners of older SAABs (9000 and 900 I) several times. New car buyers. First owner! ! !

    What may not be so surprising in one or the other Scandinavian country, is undeniably rare here in Germany. Namely that motorists think what they already have is so good that they would not need the latest model to get in, drive and get off their heads.

    Long before the bankruptcy, many did what was necessary to achieve the desired functionality, reliability or even a specific care condition.

    There is hardly a second brand for everyday use and actually focused on mass production cars, which has screwed up the new car business as consistently as SAAB.
    SAABs (at least many SAABs) were probably always driven and cared for a bit as if they came from a small forge. But they were designed and built a bit as if ...

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    "Ahhh, a SAAB!" I always hear a bit of envy when someone sees my (mostly) freshly washed 9-3II Cab.
    The one about the “analog car” hits it exactly. Of course I could, for example. deface the radio with a super double din part, but even as a musician I consider that to be sacrilege. If I had everything before, I don't need it anymore. Now have your hands free to wave back ...

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    Written from the heart! SAAB move me because I feel like it

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    What should also be noted: Lately there is a lack of KNOW-HOW in the workshops and some spare parts are completely unacceptable. E.g. front windows. The original Saint-Gobain for the 9-3 II was great until a “cobblestone” hit - what came after it was already broken on a pebble (Pilkington). I wanted to advertise in the ad area that I'm looking for a Soint-Gobain - but it doesn't really work with my browser ... where do you get something like that?

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      Fits not to today's topic, but to your comment: We close the marketplace at the end of the month. But there will be (very likely) a successor. Easier to use, and easier to create ads and requests. The previous solution has made no one happy.

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      Hello MySAABisStillGOOD, I can send you a new disk, including shipping about 220, - €. If interested, please message to tommy33 (at) Saabige Greetings, Herbert

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    The question of how things will continue with electromobility or alternatives to it is simply answered: it is due to the thick air in the cities and thus to the politics that have been caring for the health of their citizens for years. Car lobby and incompetence add to this. NEVS screwed it up and I think that when they move out of the Stallbacka something new will happen, as we probably fit our stuff. SAAB Cars was destroyed by the Chinese to sell VOLVOS - that wasn't nice ...

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    Tom, there is hardly a better way to express it…. !!!

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    Thank you for the article, which also reflects my thoughts from the last few months. “All of my future cars have long been built,” someone once said. No better way to say it.

    With today's design by big data or “Vorsprung durch Beschiss”, others should be happy.

    In the last few months I unintentionally migrated to the world of old and youngtimers and admire not only “our” SAABs but also wonderful British and Italian cars from the 60s to 80s.

    Anyway, I'm really looking forward to spring and my 901 Cab 16s, too

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    ”He drives Saab simply because he wants to. Not because he rejects the future, but because he wants to drive an analog, individual car in the here and now. Because he just feels like it. " and yes, I feel like it and will continue to invest in my 2 Saab because I want it and do not have to let the commercialized world dictate anything to me and because I want to continue to be individual: Paths are created by walking them, (Kafka) and of course I will continue with Saab. my family (especially my daughter) is already crazy about SAAB, we are currently looking for a convertible and a 900 Turbo 16 S ...... this is how it looks

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    ... where does Tom know how I handle my SAABs ... 😉
    yes, unfortunately, there is nothing new from SAAB and nothing else on the market which stings me from the stool, so the SAABe be maintained!

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