Posted by: saabnuts | December 21, 2011

Saab Rant December 21, 2011

Readers (if I have any) should note that although this blog continues to post videos, they were all scheduled prior to the recent bankruptcy announcement.  I am not ignoring Saab’s current situation, merely letting the blog continue to run and collecting my thoughts and reading about Saab on sites such as SaabsUnited.com, LifewithSaab.com, Saabnet.com, saablog-in.blogspot.com and Saab World just to name a few.

What have I learned?  I along with countless others are thankful to all Saab employees for the intense and unparalleled dedication to Saab over the years, along with being thankful to so many people such as Victor Muller who never gave up trying to make Saab a success again.  Whatever shortcomings are put forth in reviews all over the internet  claiming to find the cause of Saab’s current bankruptcy, no one should question the dedication of Saab employees or Mr. Muller.

Simply stated, without them, Saab would have disappeared long ago.  Mistakes or miscalculations may have been made but these people built some of the finest, safest, fun to drive, most advanced cars on the planet and believe in what they were doing.

Thank you to everyone at Saab and I suggest you follow the request of Tim @ SaabsUnited.com and register your thanks in writing on the webpage dedicated to that on SaabsUnited.

http://www.saabsunited.com/tribute

Rachel Pang who has already invested huge sums into Saab is reported to be in Sweden and in talks to acquire as much of Saab as possible; and other groups are reported to be interested in acquiring Saab.  I am simply hoping for the best outcome here, which for me is that Saab is acquired and eventually resumes production.

Honestly I will get over it if the company name must be changed, or if Saab must wait to build new cars and start with designs in process, leaving the current model range behind due to GM being difficult at best to obtain any permissions from for anyone to make progress.

What matters to me is that the people who made Saabs go back to the design and manufacture of cars again.  I will adapt if they do not have the “9” naming scheme or have another badge on the hood and trunk.  Sure, I love the name Saab, but it is the people that made the cars who gave meaning to the name.

Speaking of GM, many people are understandably concerned about availability of parts for their Saabs and warranty coverage.

Parts:  apparently there are laws in place at least in the U.S. requiring auto manufacturers to ensure that a supply of parts is available for new cars sold in the U.S.  GM has announced that they are covering warranty expenses for owners of Saabs made while GM still owned Saab (2009 and older, if still under warranty).  I expect that owners of 2010 and 2011 models will be covered once the bankruptcy administrators get things in order.

I would like to mention that some people have seen GM’s announcement that they are covering some warranties as a kind gesture.  I disagree.  My opinion is that GM is doing what is required by law, and I do not see any other signs of goodwill on their part.

Stop and ask yourself if you have seen other acts of good will from GM and decide for yourself whether or not you actually believe that GM cares one bit about you as a Saab owner.

Speaking still of GM, there is plenty of finger pointing going on and people writing with self appointed authority about the myriad causes for Saab’s current bankruptcy.

I’ve been a fan of Saabs since 1983 or actually longer… and driving them since 1986, and worried about Saab as long as I can recall.

I will not submit to blaming GM for everything, but do think they did not help Saab’s long term survival in some respects, while they did help in others.

I still vividly recall and wish I’d saved a Wall Street Journal quote from the 1990’s after GM bought Saab.  In short the article quoted someone at GM saying that GM would save money on things like brakes that customers would not notice.

I mention this since it seems no one else saw this and as an example of GM thinking Saab spent too much on brakes.  I am over simplifying this, but the point is, Saab’s have had split braking circuits and anti-lock brakes for a long time.  Saabs have great stopping power and do so in a controlled fashion.

Sure, perhaps there is a way to maintain those Saab braking standards and save money, but it surely sounds like GM had no idea what they were buying or what was of value in Saabs.

My other chief complaint or willingness to point SOME blame at GM for Saab’s situation is that GM was so public about shutting down Saab in 2009 and had made noise publicly prior to that about Saab not making (enough or any) money for them.

GM themselves helped damage the brand reputation and GM had Saab listed as one of the brands being closed along with Hummer, Pontiac, Saturn, etc.

Many people never got beyond that, and as much as some Saab enthusiasts do not want to hear it, we found many people still thought Saab went under in 2009.  GM created a global environment / opinion that Saab was already dead.

That did not help Mr. Muller and company as they tried to restart production and sell these great cars.

When GM bought Saab from the previous owners, Saab production was running and the press was not full of these Saab is dead rumors that GM set in motion prior to finally selling Saab to Spyker.

I do not mean to dismiss the many, many other contributing factors that lead Saab to where it is today, but these are a few points I have not seen mentioned.

My opinion was and is again or still, that it may be best, IF POSSIBLE to cut ALL ties to GM.  Perhaps Pang Da has the funds to buy Saab, lock stock and barrel, but also to pursue the new 9-3 design and others, and wait to restart production until GM free cars can be made and sold.

I have nothing against the current models.  My reasoning is that GM may be impossible to negotiate with intelligently, claiming concerns over their IP (Intellectual Property) leaking into China.  I still think that is hogwash and foolish.

Quoting mechanics I know, there is nothing that special under the hood of a Saab for GM to act so protectively AND I truly believe that technology changes fast enough that whatever is special under the hoods will change within a few years time.

I realize that I am jumping around in this post and not addressing many concerns of owners, reasons for the current situation, etc.  I hope that readers will not mind and allow me that freedom to raant. 😉

For now I will say that the dedication of some remaining dealers is impressive, and that you can find a steal of a deal on a new Saab if you are willing to take the plunge.

I would love to have 2 new 9-5’s with manual transmissions for $32,000 U.S.  Yes, Saabs are out there at never before seen prices.  Heck, I would take a pair of 9-3’s.  I just would love new Saabs.

They have no warranty included at this time but at those prices, you can buy an aftermarket warranty or simply bank the savings towards anything major that goes wrong.

We would do this if we could afford it, but pesky things like paying taxes, our mortgage, etc. prevent us from even beginning to think about buying anything like a new car.  It makes us sick to not have new Saabs in the driveway already, but that is where we are personally.

Honestly, the Saabs are so well made that I would buy one without the warranty.  I have that much faith in how well these cars are made.

As to some parts being scarce?  Well, that is a risk, but again, I have faith (call me crazy for it) that parts will be available and solutions can be found if you do need something.

So that is my update.  I am hoping for the best still for Saab and Saab employees, that Saab is purchased and production restarts sooner than later in Trollhattan.

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