Posted by: saabnuts | June 19, 2012

Saab Chapter 3?

1979 Saab 99 Turbo in White

1979 Saab 99 Turbo in White

Photo note:  if anyone remembers or cares where I got the photo above please remind me so I may offer proper thanks and attribution to the source – my apologies for being a Slaab when it comes to keeping track of those necessary things!

It’s been what seems like ages since I’ve updated and posted here.  I have followed Saab news closely, but was quite heart broken after the 2011 bankruptcy and simply waited with as much optimism as possible for better days ahead for Saab Automobile and its employees.

So while I haven’t written in a while, I’ve still been a faithful supporter along with my Saab family.  I’m breaking my silence now with a bit of a long rant.

SAAB Automobile, or rather its liabilities and assets, have been sold.  I will trust you to be resourceful enough to find your own sources about this news, perhaps on enthusiast sites such as SaabsUnited.com, LifewithSaab.com and Swadeology.com, just to name a few  dedicated to the brand and its people, or in the case of Swade, someone also fluent in SAAB Automobile from the inside out.

What will NEVS produce?  Strictly Electric Vehicles (EV), or might they consider and produce variants such as hybrids?  Will they, and if so how soon, market cars to once large markets for Saab such as the U.S.?

What does this mean to you, perhaps a Saab owner and or enthusiast?  Actual mileage may vary… which in this case for me means opinions will vary from Saab fan to Saab fan.  They are happy or unhappy about NEVS purchasing Saab Automobile assets.

Some are upset or disappointed over whether or not their market will see new Saabs anytime soon.  Some upset over not wanting or not being well suited to owning an EV.  Some of us as well ponder whether or not SAAB, the aero defense company, will even license use of the name to a new auto venture.

Some think it appropriate that Saab must “morph” itself into something totally new, because life is about adapting to change, which is inevitable, or because Saab was always a pioneer and that must be a factor in possibly being an all EV company.

Others ponder whether or not Saab, for them, MUST be a turbo charged car, etc.

I’m massively summarizing the array of concerns and opinions expressed by Saab fans on various other websites.  But it would be impossible for me to cover the excellent points of countless fans in one post on my dinky little Saab blog.

So what is my point then?

My opinions, as already expressed by others, include that it is too soon to know if NEVS will be successful, or what their actual plans will become.  EV only?  Hybrids?  Focusing mainly on China and not markets such as the U.S.?  Putting more of the Saab factory they purchased into operation than under Spyker ownership, therefore possibly  producing EV’s and hybrids or???  Who knows what…  Insert your own speculative fantasy here.

Can they really be successful financially by building cars in Sweden and exporting them to China?  Will the cars they build LOOK like what any of us Saab fans expect or wish for?

On and on I might write about it, but that again is enough of a sample of things that we, or I at least, obsess about with fellow Saab enthusiasts.

My reaction after a little time to process the news mentally is that I want to be positive and happy, as much as possible about this, even though we personally are serious Turbo aficionados (and like our old hatch backs, front wheel drive, etc.).

Might we never get to buy another Saab Turbo?  Possibly.  Will we miss our Turbos?  Absolutely.  Will we survive if we didn’t drive Saabs?  Yes.  Will we like it as much (life without Turbo Saabs in our driveway)?  Probably not.

However, we still have 4 of our 7 Saabs total and love every one of them.  We plan to keep them going as long as we can.

“Saab is dead”.  “Saab is not dead”.  Ask Saab fans and you may hear either of those quotes.

For me, the Saab we know has closed another chapter on its life.

Again, we’ve owned 7 Saabs in 24 years.  I’ve been a fan even longer.  I watched Saab do well in the 1980’s and wanted a 900 Turbo, and eventually got one.  We also watched Saab struggle, before GM, during GM, after GM.  We never enjoyed how much such an overall super car company should have to fight so hard for its survival, seemingly over and over.

We still love our Saabs.  We will wait and see with others, what is to come.

What DOES matter more than any of the above?  Our love of the 99, 900, 9-3, 9000, 9-5, Sonett, etc,. is that there were people who did what they did for so many decades to build the Saabs we all know and love, from the 2 stroke smoking classics to more modern Saabs, we’ve come to appreciate each model and admire them for similar and varying reasons.

While there are similarities, the Saabs of the 1950’s are quite different from say the NG (Next Generation) Saab 9-5 which had a dreadfully short production life due to Saab being unable to get back on its feet quickly enough.  Perhaps the next generation of Saabs or whatever they might be called, should be as different as the original 2 strokers to a most recent 9-5.  I suppose it may be a factor whether or not you believe in “evolution” when it comes to car companies.

I wish Victor Muller had succeeded, but he was not the first to struggle with such a monumental task as to try to make Saab the financial success it DESERVES to be.

But if it is now true that NEVS has purchased Saab (or what was called Saab Automobile, if they aren’t allowed to use the name Saab), and they purchased the Trollhattan factory, and will build cars there, I say a Saab by any other name would potentially be as great, albeit different to own as any Saab of prior generations.

Let’s be happy for those in Trollhattan who will find jobs again with NEVS, and be excited about what those amazing people can bring to market, even if it isn’t your market.

I want Saab Automobile, or whatever it will be called if not NEVS, to succeed and to share that success and thanks with those who deserve it; those who designed and built the Saabs we all love.

This is what matters:  The people of Trollhattan and the old Saab Automobile.  Whatever they design and build I expect I will admire it, if not want to own it, even if it isn’t called a Saab.

Whether or not we, the devoted fans, ever get to buy a new 9something Turbo is nothing compared to the importance of the people of Trollhattan and NEVS making the company financially successful so that it sustains and maintains its rightful place as a world class auto maker like no other.

Move your mind:  try thinking outside the Turbo charged box and consider that a Saab by any other name should succeed, even if you don’t want an EV.  For the sake of those who worked so long and tirelessly for this great company to build the Saabs you already know, please wish them success.

Find your own road, whether petrol or diesel powered, or a road with charging stations.  You may or may not be able to, or want to, drive the future Saabs or NEVS, but please be supportive and respectful to the fine people who made this company what it was for so long.  Wish them well.

I, for one, remain ever so thankful for the amazing Saabs we have owned, and for those we still own.  They are great, great all around cars.  I’ll spare you my rants about why.

But please join me if you can in being supportive of and happy for, and perhaps root for NEVS and the people of Trollhattan.  How can NEVS trying to be a success where some others have failed so far (producing EV’s profitably) be a bad thing or worse than the Saab factory not being re-operned?

Please, root or cheer for these folks even if you wonder about their chances for success.  I think they still deserve our support.  If you still appreciate the Saabs that are already / still on the roads or in your driveway, help show it by supporting the people who are willing to make a go of it again, building unique and innovative cars.

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Responses

  1. I was looking forward to updates, I’m working away at my blog too, after all the Saabs we have will hopefully last for a very long time, and they’re ours to enjoy.

    I do have huge concerns though, but have an open mind and will look forward to future developments.

    Glad to see you back.


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