John Libbos Has Left Saab Automobile USA

Posted on 30. Dec, 2008 by in 2000-2009, Company

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John Libbos who has been head of product development for the Saab 9-3 and 9-5, has apparently left Saab Automobile USA according to the recent Jan/Feb issue of Nines Magazine.

Libbos, who I first met a number of years ago, has fought the good fight where he was the last original employee literally since his tenure began back at Saab-Scania in Orange, Connecticut in the 1980’s, Saab USA at Norcross, Georgia in the 1990’s, with a 2-year stint at Saab Automobile AB in Sweden doing aftersales for the 9-5 (1996-1998), and finally at Saab Automobile USA at Detroit, Michigan in the 2000s.

Libbos has presented at the last few Saab Owners Conventions, both 2007 as well as 2008 and I have reluctantly found out about his departure through reading an article today. This is the first I have heard of his departure which must have taken place sometime between August and December, 2008.

The last time I had any real close one on one with John, was at the departure terminal at the Detroit International Airport returning to my former home in Washington, D.C. to attend the Saab 9-3 XWD Drive event, following the 2007 SOC. At the airport terminal waiting area, John showed up and sat down next to me, pulled out an old print ad from the 1960’s of a Saab 96, and then we began talking about it then proceeded to talk about Saab’s past, present and future. In talking with him as we both waited for our flight, I told him that I was soo impressed by his tenure over the years and wondered what would happen if left. Our dialog continued the following day after he and Jan-Willem Vester of Saab Automobile USA (Communications) arrived with me in the same plane at D.C.’s National Airport. I wished it had been a SAAB 340, but it was not. That evening the Saab 9-3 XWD event began at the House of Sweden, where I got to talk with Libbos again, overlooking the Potomac river. This time, he told me about how he had the opportunity to live in Sweden for a few years and his Swedish proved it! He said that he had a nice career with Saab and also that he never ever really thought about being the last employee of Saab USA that worked in Orange, CT “by default”.

At this time, I am not sure why he left and under what circumstances, but I won’t speculate. John, if you are reading this, thank you for all of your time and committment to the Saab brand here in the United States. I enjoyed meeting you and although I wished that I got to see what may have been your final presentation at this year’s Saab Convention, I wish you well in your future endeavors and hope that you can stay in touch with us!

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5 Responses to “John Libbos Has Left Saab Automobile USA”

  1. Ian Glenday

    30. Dec, 2008

    I wish John well in his future endeavors. He has been a good friend to me, The Saab Club of North America and fellow Saab enthusiasts. I would hope that his background with Saab products will lend itself to a future career with the next owner of Saab cars.

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  2. Ryan

    30. Dec, 2008

    Ian,

    I hope John reads this soon, he’ll appreciate your comments.

    I agree with you, hopefully he will get picked up with the new owners before GM goes bust as he may still be with GM, just not Saab, but we don’t really know.

    Best,

    Ryan

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  3. Peter Gilbert

    30. Dec, 2008

    Ryan,
    I am saddened to read of John’s departure this Tuesday morning, as I always enjoyed updating him every year at the conventions, leading up to the “Millionth Mile.”

    I remember the great banquet at “The Chateau,” During the Viggen Academy, the commeradery at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show. For those who attended the X-Drive presentation at Devens, will apreciate that fun meeting.

    I wish you well, and hope to meet you again in the near future.

    Peter G. Gilbert

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  4. Stephen Goldberger

    30. Dec, 2008

    I’ve known John for over a decade. He was always a gentleman and always hewed to the company line, even when he and I both knew it was the wrong one. Which he would sometimes acknowledge with a “wink and a nod.”

    Hopefully his phone number is in a drawer somewhere in case there is a new owner with a hint of rationality.

    Reply to this comment
  5. John Libbos

    31. Dec, 2008

    I’d like to thank you all for your kind words and give you a brief update.
    GM had extended a severance offer to a group of people and I decided this was the time for me to move on, so as of Dec 1 I ended my employment with GM. I’m in the market and quite optimisitc. I hope I can continue to work in the world of Saab in some capacity so we’ll see what happens.
    All the best to all of you for the new year and feel free to contact me.

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