Tag Archives: Graz

The First Ever, Saab 9-3 Convertible Built In Sweden!

Posted on 12. Jan, 2010 by .

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Photo Credits: Saab Automobile AB

The first ever Saab 9-3 convertible to be built in Sweden rolled off of the assembly line yesterday at the Saab factory in Trollhättan.

The Saab Convertible has historically been built in Graz, Austria from 2004-2009, and previously it was built in Uusikaupunki, Finland ever since it’s introduction in 1986.

This is a huge day for Saab Automobile and a big milestone in the history of the convertible. This car being produced in Sweden now also means that all production is now entirely in Sweden. I think that Bob Sinclair, the man behind the idea of the Saab convertible would be proud if was with us today.

Here’s the press release below:

Saab Automobile Produces its First Convertible in Trollhättan

* Production of iconic Saab Convertible begins in Trollhättan
* Increased utilization of Saab Automobile’s Trollhättan production facility

The first Saab Convertible to be built in Sweden rolled off the line at Saab Automobile’s production facility in Trollhättan today. All previous Saab Convertibles have been built outside of Sweden, first at Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki, Finland and latterly at the Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria.

During 2009, the decision was made to concentrate all Saab car production in Sweden and as a result the Saab Convertible is now being built alongside the current 9-3 and 9-5 models, plus the next generation 9-5, at Saab’s state-of-the-art manufacturing unit in Trollhättan.

Saab Automobile revealed its first four-seater Convertible as a concept car in 1983 and the production version followed in 1986. Since then, more than 250,000 Convertibles have been produced. Designed as a true four-season, all-weather soft-top, the Saab Convertible has achieved iconic status and in 2008 it accounted for 12% of sales in the European premium mid-sized convertible segment. The latest vision of Saab’s future direction in convertible design, the 9-X Convertible Concept, was shown at the 2008 Paris Motor Show to great media and public acclaim.

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The Saab Automobile Factory Continues Production Today!

Posted on 11. Jan, 2010 by .

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Photos Will Be Coming Soon

The Saab Automobile factory continues production today as I mentioned it would earlier, after a 4-week hiatus according to Saab Automobile as indicated on TTELA.

“The production run will also include a few all new Saab 9-5’s as well” according to Eric Geers, Saab Automobile’s Global Communications Manager.

At 8 o’clock, the first Saab 9-3 Convertible in history was built in Trollhättan, following years in Graz, Austria, and initially in Uusikaupunki, Finland. I bet the factory workers were pretty excited to built their first convertible ever in Sweden today!

In addition to the convertible, the 9-3 model range and the old 9-5 wagon will continue to be produced.

Here is the article below loosely translated:

First convertible built!

TROLLHÄTTAN amidst of all the turmoil surrounding the future took Saab Automobile in Trollhättan in to write a little company history on Monday morning.

– The first 9-3 Convertible in Trollhättan produced here today, “said Eric Geers, Communications Director at Saab Automobile.

– It was on the line at 8 o’clock.

9-3 Cab has been returned to Trollhattan, having previously been in Austria.

The start of it and other models on Monday morning came after a four-week break. It was so good it was now, a typical day at work for employees.

– We are 9-3 and one or another of the old 9-5, “said Paul Akerlund, club chairman for IF Metall.

– It can also be one of the new 9-5, “he says.

But when it is on the Test series in different pace and with more manual tasks than it could be in the future.

Parts of the tools necessary for the production of the new 9-5 is still in Germany at the Opel plant in Rüsselsheim.

While production of the drug once again in Trollhättan, Sweden on Monday morning was GM’s liquidation documents at Companies Registration Office desk in Sundsvall assessment.

– It is too early to say when we are ready to appoint a liquidator, “
said Per Nordstrom, general counsel at the SCRO.
– But it will be ready within the next few days.

Until the liquidator has been appointed managing director Jan-Ake Jonsson, Saab’s board of directors and continued control over the leadership of Saab.
The liquidation described in Trollhättan happen in an orderly manner and the aim is to achieve a so-called solvent liquidation, which means ability to pay against the creditors and customers, while the closure is done.

It is also apparent that Saab’s board of directors and CEO must not thwart a liquidation.

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Saab Automobile Stops Production For 4 Weeks

Posted on 07. Dec, 2009 by .

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According to SVT in Sweden, Saab Automobile has apparently stopped production for the next four weeks.

The reasoning behind this work stoppage which is normal during this time of year, is to allow the transfer to full-time production of the all new Saab 9-5 which we’ve seen in pre-production models thathave already rolled off the line in addition to the Saab 9-3 Convertible which is being transferred from Graz, Austria.

Saab stops production

Saab stops production at the factory in Trollhattan during four weeks at the end of the year.

Production resumed again in the second week into the new year.

The reason is that the factory need to be prepared for the production of the new 9-5 and the convertible model of the 9-3 who moved from Austria to Trollhättan.

“It is no strange and all stakeholders are informed as to what applies,” says Eric Geers, Director of Communications for Saab, told Dagens Industri.

Usually, Saab halt production for two weeks at Christmas and New Year holidays.

TT

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New Saab 9-5 Completes U.K. Segment Of European Tour

Posted on 19. Oct, 2009 by .

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Photo Credits: Robin M/ Flickr

Saab Automobile has finished their United Kingdom segment of the European Tour this past weekend which went from October 14th-17th.

Here’s a writeup from a journalist from Just Auto that attended this event.

Knut Simonsson, Saab’s Director, Global Brand and Sales Operations, sees a sea-change in Saab’s prospects and is relishing the opportunities for the brand now that new product is finally arriving.

At a UK media launch for the new Saab 9-5, he sets the scene. Saab, he feels, will benefit from being a small company with the agility to partner with others and develop a sustainable business model. It is moving from being a small brand in a big organization, to being a big brand in a lean, small organization.

Most importantly, there is a wave of new product starting with the 9-5. Given past new product famine at Saab, he is perhaps understandably a little delirious to have an all-new flagship car to sell. But he is keen to emphasize fundamental and positive changes for the underlying business.

“We have accomplished a lot in a short space of time,” he says. “We were given the chance to change and we are doing that. Since the reorganization began in February we have taken out excess stock, lowered our cost of production and transformed our balance sheet. We are very confident about our business plan.”

Saab, Simonsson maintains, now has a lower break-even level of production and a loan guarantee from the Swedish government underlines a healthier business case.

And there is undisguised joy that from the list of 34 potential buyers for Saab, the new Nordic owner – Koenigsegg – is facilitating a kind of Swedish homecoming for the brand. The Trollhattan plant will be the undisputed manufacturing and engineering heart for New Saab, something that will be cemented further when the tooling from Graz, Austria – where the 9-3 cabrio is made – has been moved to Trollhattan (with production planned to restart early next year). There have also been substantial truck shipments of production equipment from Russelheim.

A more immediate concern is securing a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and completing the sale of Saab to Koenigsegg. A binding agreement has already been signed and the deal is expected to be completed in a matter of weeks. Watch that space.

If Saab faces challenges in its established markets, there is at least a willingness to seize potential new growth opportunities. For example, there’s a slightly ironic Chinese connection that can now be exploited. In speaking with Saab executives, you can’t help sensing relief that they are not faced with the uncertainties and risks that may have come with a new Chinese owner. Beijing Auto was a serious bidder for Saab. Although its bid was unsuccessful, it can still play a part in Saab’s future via its 10% stake in Koenigsegg.

Simonnson enthuses over the Chinese connection. Saab currently sells around 1,000 cars a year in China. He reckons importing cars for distribution by Beijing Auto could yield an immediate volume rise to 5,000-8,000 a year. If an agreement could be struck for local assembly, that figure should be three or four times higher.

“Through Beijing Auto we can get access to China’s market. We can sell many more cars in China, I am certain of that. And Beijing Auto could be a very strong industrial partner for us, too.”

There is still clearly much work to do on the Beijing Auto connection but he’s pleased with the way ideas and discussions on such partnerships are conducted in the new organization that is unencumbered by big company processes and bureaucracy – though he doesn’t actually use that word, preferring to accentuate the positives of the new agile and flat organization.

“The speed with which we can move now is really something,” he says.

“And there are many possibilities for partnerships for us now.”

While the pressures weighing down on the whole industry right now are considerable, Simonnson is undaunted. A smaller and leaner Saab, he believes, is well placed to take advantage of the shifting sands affecting everyone. Partnerships are key.

“The automotive industry is changing. Suppliers are taking more responsibility and you don’t need to be owned by a big company. You can partner with others and get many benefits.”

That’s all very well, but what about product? The long-term question-marks remain, but the new owner at least inherits a brand new 9-5 flagship. There’s some breathing space with a raft of new product coming to market over the next 18 months.

A 9-3x is imminent (US debut late this year). After the 9-5 sedan, there’s a 9-5 sport-combi (estate/wagon) and a 9-4x next year.

There are hints that Saab will still be looking to do a smaller model at some point (a 9-1 based on GM’s delta platform never quite made it).

Simonsson is upbeat about electric drive, too. He sees a place for Saab hybrids and talks expansively about the ‘electrification of the turbo’ (not literally) as having an important place in Saab’s future.

It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Saab. Saab executives are clearly enjoying their new found freedom, which is happily coinciding with new product. They also see a new owner, the opportunity to work with new partners and a strong brand with a loyal following. It’s a platform to build on; a glass that is seen as half-full rather than half-empty. ‘Demob happy’ is a phrase that springs to mind.

Simonsson sums it up: “These are exciting times. We have a small, flat and innovative organization. We have experienced life at the bottom of the food chain, but now we have a new opportunity.”

There is just the small matter of delivering on the promise and potential. It’s a tough world out there for premium brands. Saab’s brand has been almost dormant for a long time, its loyal customers effectively forming a secret and rebellious society turned off by the established German prestige marques. Can Saab find space for volume growth? Can it really produce and sell cars profitably? We’ll know in five years’ time how this project shaped up.

But for now, Saab at least has an unfolding business strategy and a shot at survival. The firm’s executives seem to be up for the fight.

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Saab Dealerships Unable To Order MY 2009 Through GM & MY 2010 Saabs Until Koenigsegg Deal Is Complete.

Posted on 07. Aug, 2009 by .

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There has been a lot of dialogue lately from Saab dealerships stateside and around the globe, and that dialogue mainly surrounds them being unable to order any new cars lately, those being 2009 and 2010 model years and here’s why.

The following information has been confirmed through various sources, however, if you find something incorrect, this is the opportunity to set the record straight. This material has been reviewed by many people and appears to be correct in it’s current form. Please let this information serve the global Saab customer and dealership as an informational reference about the current state of Saab product availabiliy.

Update: So far, I am hearing that any Saab dealership that signed the “GM wind down agreement” is subject to the inability to order products at this time. This means those dealers that did not, are still able to request “made to order” new Saab’s both MY 2009 and MY 2010.

The 2009 Model Year

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The 2009 Model year Saabs continue to be part of the new GM. However, since mid June, most if not all Saab dealerships interested in selling future Saabs with Koenigsegg, were asked to sign a “wind down agreement” with GM. This agreement effectively prohibits these dealerships from buying any more new vehicles from GM. The Saab dealerships have to just sell what’s remaining in inventory until the new program has been finalized with Koenigsegg.

The problem with this is that the Saab-Koenigsegg program continues to be delayed and the little ’09 inventory that exists that dealerships ordered, in comparison to the larger inventory of 08’s ordered the year before is a huge limit on sales potential for the interim. This has made many sales figures four Saab dealerships effectively come close to a halt.

Add further insult to injury, we know that the MY 2009 Saab 9-3 Convertible’s production has ended in Graz, Austria, so it’s basically impossible to order a new Saab convertible until the production of this car is relocated back to Trollhattan, Sweden, which is speculated to take upwards of 6-months. There should have been some overlap here, as this is unacceptable in business continuity terms and on the customer end.

As for the rest of the Saab 9-3 model range availability, you can however, continue to order 2009 MY Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan & 9-3 SportCombi models that exist in current inventories only, no new custom orders possible for dealerships that have signed the agreement to be placed into the new Koenigsegg deal. This means you can buy an 09 9-3 Sedan or Sportcombi while supplies last.

As far as the Saab 9-5 model line is considered, the 9-5 sedan ended production the first week in July. You can order the what’s remaining in dealership inventories, again while supplies last. This leaves the 9-5 SportCombi that remains in production and if you want to order one of these, you can just like the remaining 9-3 lineup, buy one while supplies last too, so no new orders for this either for those dealerships that signed the agreement.

The 2010 /2011 Model Year

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The 2010 model year vehicles are to be part of the Koenigsegg-Saab program, even though two of them were 100% developed by GM, that being the NG 9-5 and 9-4x. This means that unfortunately no orders for these products until that deal is completed, which may not be until September 30th at this point. At this time, Saab dealerships around the globe cannot order a 2010 model year Saab.

These models for 2010 include the Saab 9-3x, the 2010 NG 9-5, 2011 9-4x & 2011 NG 9-5 SportCombi.

Summary

Saab dealerships stateside and around the world apparently are finding themselves in this same catch-22 situation where they cannot order any 2009 model year Saabs through GM, nor can they order any new 2010 model year Saabs through Koenigsegg-Saab since that deal has yet to be finalized.

However, once the agreement is completed with Koenigsegg, I understand that the 9-3 Sport Sedan, 9-3 SportCombi and 9-3x as part of the model lineup will become available as will the 9-3 Convertible some time later. The same will be true with the current 9-5 SportCombi, then the next generation Saab 9-5, then the 9-4x and then the NG 9-5 SportCombi.

If you are a Saab dealer right now with very low availability of 09 model years and even lower 08 model years, you are basically trying to get by on certified pre-owned Saabs along with service and parts effectively waiting in a holding pattern until the Koenigsegg-Saab deal is completed. This holding pattern is financially unsustainable for Saab dealerships and all wonder just how long they can really hold out with new news, updates, etc. about the new arrangement.

If you are a Saab customer right now, you need to know that you can’t order a custom vehicle unless that one just happens to be within current inventory that fits your specifications, nothing is able to be made to order at this time until the Koenigsegg-Saab deal has been completed.

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Saab History Receives Confirmation Via Saab Automobile Insiders That Magna Of Austria, Is Prospective Buyer Of Saab

Posted on 14. May, 2009 by .

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Yesterday, I outed a German bank as the third prospective buyer of Saab Automobile. Today, I have actually received a phone call on my mobile phone confirming the reports, that that German bank is actually not the buyer like I suspected, but actually assisting a prospective buyer.

That phone call via an anonymous source that just spoke with a Saab Automobile source earlier today, said that the prospective buyer is Magna International. Magna, is the company that has worked with Saab Automobile since 2003 on the MY2004 Saab 9-3 Convertible at their Magna-Steyr facility in Graz, Austria.

Furthermore, I also heard confirmations that many people who work at Saab Automobile AB, opposed to some reports, are not interested in Fiat as a prospective buyer. The folks are apparently more interested in Magna at this time given their existing relationship for the past 6 years, so I will leave Fiat out of this unless for some strange reason they eventually get their way.

This means, that the three prospective buyers are, Sweden’s Koenigsegg/Power Circle Investment Group with the Norwegian Government, China’s Geely & Austria’s Magna.

I invite you to take a look at Magna’s website to see for yourself about who they are and what they do.

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Saab Convertible To Be Produced In Trollhättan, Sweden?

Posted on 13. Dec, 2008 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab Automobile AB

According to TTELA, Trollhättan, Sweden’s local newspaper, the Saab Convertible, which historically has been produced at the Valmet plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland from the very beginning (1986-2003) to the Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria (2004-2009), will be getting built alongside the rest of the 9-3 models at the Saab factory in Trollhättan, Sweden.

Evidently the agreement between Saab Automobile AB and Magna Steyr ends at the last day of 2009, so let’s hope it’s not renewed and the convertible is built in Sweden.

I have sent an e-mail into Saab Automobile looking for confirmation on this, and I trust it will be a while as they are clearly a bit busy now that their government has given substantial financial loan offers.

Here’s the piece from TTELA, which is very good news!

From: TTELA
To: SAAB HISTORY
Subject: Re: Saab 9-3 Convertible?
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2008 16:07:04 +0100

People in Sweden want to move the production to Trollhättan. So do Saab think, I guess. The contract with Magna (in Graz) ends next year, so it is possible to move the manufacturing to Trollhättan.

The problem is money. Saab needs about 100 million swedish krones to make it possible. And, as you probably know, Saab and GM are both short of money these days.

Best wishes

TTELA

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Saab 9-3 Convertible Production Graz Austria 2004 – 2009

Posted on 11. Dec, 2008 by .

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Photo Credits: Saab Automobile AB

In 2004, the current model of the Saab 9-3 Convertible has been produced by a company through a contract with Saab Automobile AB called Magna Steyr located in Graz, Austria.

Prior to this production taking place here, the convertible was historically produced from 1986 until 2003 at the Valmet plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland.

The contact of the Saab 9-3 Convertible with Magna Steyr at the Graz, Austria facility ends at the end of 2009.

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Production Concept