Corona has a huge impact on the economy. What about Saab workshops and the supply of spare parts during these times? Everything works, how stable is the system? Saab companies should actually be tried and tested in a crisis. No reason to worry? I made a phone call from the northeast to the west and further south.
Saab Center Rostock, H & B Automobile GmbH
The coastal region has been hit hard by the crisis. Tourism, one of the most important branches of the economy, is totally breaking away. How are things going in Rostock? H&B automobiles I still know the Kadammsweg from 2011 and the dealer tour. One of those small, dedicated companies that hold up the Saab flag. I call, it will be a long phone call. The outbreak of the Corona crisis hit the company hard in the first two weeks. Hardly any orders, a noticeable reluctance on the part of customers. The trade in pre-owned cars has collapsed. One employee had to go on short-time work - for a manageable phase, as one hopes.
The situation is now improving from week to week. The workshop is getting fuller, the service business is picking up again. You drive on sight, but with optimism. Saab customers are loyal, and a lot is done in Rostock to keep them. Beautiful vehicles in good condition are bought nationwide to make customers on the coast happy.
For the Rostock region, a lot will depend on how tourism will develop this year. Is the season over yet? That would be extremely hard! From the northeast, I continue to make phone calls to the west. In the German-Dutch border region to Emmerich.
Car dealership Franz Schmitz, Emmerich am Rhein
The car dealer Franz Schmitz is a family business in the 3rd generation. Saab since 1975, and until today. I'm interested in the situation at the border. What has become of cross-border traffic, are customers coming over from the Netherlands, or has Europe lowered the bar here too? Christian Schmitz calms me down. Europe is still permeable, at least on the Lower Rhine. Saab customers from the Netherlands come by, as well as German customers. Yes, like Rostock, the corona shock was noticeable for 2 weeks.
Short-time work is not an issue. The workshop business has picked up again, but the start of the 2020 season is not quite as hectic as in previous years. The business is spread out better and extends into May. The customers are perhaps a little more relaxed, I think to myself. Emmerich has prepared for the crisis. Pick-up service for those customers who do not want personal contact now, the usual security measures. But the most difficult thing, Christian Schmitz tells me, is to keep some customers at a minimum. Yes, difficult when Saab is something of a family.
The situation on the Lower Rhine seems better than in the northeast, which is also due to the economic strength of the region. But how is the supply of spare parts? Maybe we have to worry that supply chains are breaking and stocks are empty? I make a phone call into the Harz Mountains to Skandix AG.
Skandix AG trades in spare parts and also produces them. Is there a drop in orders or short-time work in Lutter am Barenberge? Not an issue, Mario Schütrumpf assures me. But on the contrary! The trend points more towards a better than a worse order situation. Private customers now have additional time for their projects, and some are using the crisis to finally get their Saab or Volvo classic onto the road.
The camps are well stocked, as always at the start of the season. The supply of spare parts is no problem, Skandix AG relies on a European-dominated supply network. That now pays off. If anything, the shipments from the producer to the warehouse in the Harz region are delayed by a few days due to the situation of the forwarding agents.
Corona-specific, the hygiene regulations have been increased in the company. Minimum clearances wherever possible, plus face mask in the more difficult sections. The employees should stay healthy, and for their protection the collection of spare parts on site has been temporarily restricted. At the end of the conversation, there is still good news on the phone for the readers. There are other post-productions in the program. The side windows left-wing and right-wing for the classic Saab Cabriolet are finally available, and that Differential bushings for 9000, 900, 9-3 are also available again.
Relaxed in the Harz Mountains, what about the south? Upper Bavaria in particular is a corona hotspot, the ski areas in Austria send their regards. Bad Tölz is located 60 kilometers from COVID-19's Rosenheim focus. In the 90s I was amazed when I was passing through the Saab density in the small town. Today I know the reason.
Car dealer Taubenberger, Bad Tölz
It is the family Taubenbergerthat makes Saab so strong in this region. 100 vehicles from Trollhättan could be sold each year in the better times, an impressive number in a rural environment. It then takes a while before I get a call back from Taubenberger Senior - there is just too much to do. The workshop is completely full, the start of the season is within reach in Bad Tölz. Corona is not noticeable in the service, the occupancy rate is good as always.
Taubenbergers work nationwide and place great value on service. Pick-up and delivery services, the nationwide purchase of good vehicles. The dealership is a family business, as is typical of the Saab workshops. Two generations work together, that's a strength in these times. The situation, not far from a corona focus, is better than expected.
Loyalty not as a one-way street
Family structures, long-term partnerships, concentrated expertise. Admittedly, Saab service companies have faced many challenges in recent years. Those who still hold the flag have their income even during the crisis. They are better off with lean, tried-and-tested structures than their colleagues who sit in glass palaces and have to worry about their economic survival.
Spare parts supply in the green area, the location of the workshops more pleasant than expected. The bottom line of the story is that loyalty to the brand only pays off if we customers appreciate it. It must not become a one-way street. Nowadays it is more important than ever that Saab drivers consciously choose their service company. The best place to stay is where the griffin has been blowing in the wind for a long time.