Tag Archives: head

Jan-Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile President Speaks with Dagens Nyheter At NAIAS

Posted on 13. Jan, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Lasse Swärd

Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson, Saab Automobile President Speaks with Dagens Nyheter At NAIAS and has had some good, yet realistic things to say about Saab Automobile’s future.

Detroit. -The talks are good, they are in a constructive spirit. We have a business plan that shows how we could ultimately become a profitable company. The Government are now studying the plan in detail. The analysis is not clear, but should be there within a few months. It is quite urgent clearance, “he said in an interview with DN during the current salon in Detroit.

Earlier in the day (Sunday), he met with Fritz Henderson, who is Chief Operating Officer of GM, the second under CEO Rick Wagoner. Along with Carl-Peter Forster, head of GM Europe and Jöran Hägglund, State Secretary at the Industry Ministry, discussed the Jan-Åke Jonsson future of Saab and the type of assistance the company needs. It is not just about Swedish state aid, efforts must be coordinated with similar relief efforts in Germany and the USA. Governments are keen to tax incentives to stay in their country, but it is easier said than done because the car industry is global and activities so integrated with each other.

Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson would not disclose how much support he would like the government. It is about both rescue loan _ emergency money _ and government guarantees for loans in the European Investment Bank.
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Saab History Interviews Former Saab USA President Joel Manby

Posted on 31. Dec, 2008 by .

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Photo Credit: Manby (L-to-R Ralph Millet, Joel Manby, Bob Sinclair)

I have recently had the privilege of interviewing Joel Manby, the former Saab USA President from June of 1996 until April of 2000.

Below is his updated and candid account of our interview, it is a great read, so take the time and enjoy!

Thank you Joel for your time and contribution, we all appreciate it!

Saab History: How Did you end up joining Saab Cars USA in June of 1996?

Manby: I worked at Saturn as a Regional Vice President and was picked to lead Saab Cars USA in order to improve the dealership distribution network by making it more focused and more profitable.

I used to co own some retail dealerships so I knew how important the car buying experience was in the customer’s final decision on what brand to buy, especially since it was the 2nd most expensive purchase a family would make after a home. I also knew that our competitors like BMW, Audi and Volvo had a much more profitable and focused dealer network. I was determined to reinvigorate the dealership network to turn around the car buying experience to one that was enthusiastic for not only the customer, but the dealership’s sales team as well. We were asking dealers to invest in exclusive dealerships and sales people so in many cases we actually removed some dealers who were not committed or dueled with poor brands in order to get other dealers to invest heavily. Our basic goal was to go from selling 25,000 Saabs through 360 poorly focused stores (average = 70/year per store) to 40,000 sold Saabs through 240 stores (a more focused and profitable average of 170/year per store). Dealers need to know they can be profitable before they will invest.

Saab History: How did this strategy work?

Manby: The units sold per dealership increased to over 150/store as did the national sales figures which topped 40,000 during my time. We had more exclusive stores than any time in recent history and had the 2nd highest sales year in Saab history to that point….so I would say it worked well. We also gained huge share in Southern California where we were almost non existent.

Saab History: Consistent advertising was never something that Saab had, what did you do to turn this around?
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Swedish University Professor Says GM Mismanaged Saab

Posted on 31. Dec, 2008 by .

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Rolf Wolff, the dean of the school of business at Gothenburg University in Sweden, who previously called for Saab & Volvo to be nationalized has said this about Saab as quoted by the BBC recently.

It’ll be interesting to see who will actually dispute this statement by Wolff, especially since GM is now telling Saab to find a buyer in the next 90 days.

“The bottom has fallen out of the markets for Volvo cars (owned by Ford) and Saab (owned by General Motors).

The government has been forced to provide a £2bn helpline to the industry and there is visible anger at the plight of Volvo cars and Saab, amid claims they have been mismanaged by their American owners.

“They have been owned by American companies who have not invested in their development,” says Rolf Wolff, head of the school of business at Gothenburg University.

“Both are very strong brands and they make very good cars, particularly in comparison with American producers. They have simply been badly managed.

Finance minister Anders Borg says that when the world begins to buy again, Sweden will be in a strong position to sell.

“We have done a lot in terms of investment in research, education and infrastructure. We have also done very important structural reforms, so I believe the Swedish economy will come out of this recession in a very good fashion – eventually.”

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The Saab 9000 CC : 1985 – 1992

Posted on 01. Dec, 2008 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab Automobile

The Saab 9000 was unveiled at the Kolmarden Zoo and game park 24 May 1984, one hour South of Nykoping, Sweden, Saab’s former head office. The 9000 CC was co-developed by Saab-Scania’s Car Division as well as Lancia, Fiat & Alfa-Romeo following the Saab 600.

This model was designed by the Italian, Giorgetto Giugiaro as well as Swedish designer Björn Envall. The 9000 had over 2 million miles of testing and development devoted towards it and was built in both Trollhättan, Sweden as well as Uusikaupunk, Finland

As a tribute to the endurance that this car had, there were numerous tests conducted such as the Talladega “Long Run” in 1986. In 1990, the 9000 also won the guinness book of world records in for distance traveled.

The Saab 9000 began design all the way back in 1974, but was first produced in 1985 and lasted until 1992, until a new CS body style was built. However, some years after the 9000 CC was produced, a 9000 CD showed up in 1988 and was produced until 1997, later to be alongside the CS.

This model for SAAB came equipped with the following specifications:
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A Saab Enthusiast Predicts Saab USA’s Future

Posted on 12. Nov, 2008 by .

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As a follow-up to the illustration of poll’s titled “the people have spoken” about the future of Saab Automobile, one Saab Enthusiast writes Saab History to share his thoughts about Saab Automobile USA’s future as well!

Here is his piece in his own words:

Saab’s USA Future

I don’t know if the website monitors the news, but while proposing that Saab have its own head rather than sharing it with Cadillac and Hummer I would like to point out the following:

1) Hummer is not much longer going to be a GM brand as it is up for sale. Either it will be sold or dissolved, but GM is not going to invest in it anymore. Now the head of luxury products will only worry about two divisions – Cadillac and Saab.

2) Saab and Cadillac share parts – more than people care to admit. The Saab 9-3 Aero currently has a 2.8 L V6 engine that comes orginally from the Cadillac CTS. Saab engineers did add a Mitsubishi turbocharger (I believe) but it is still a Caddy engine. Cadillac is also selling a rebadged 9-3 in Europe as the BLS. True, it does not sell well but it is more product sharing. It is not such a stretch to have the same person running these two divisions.

3) Finally, as has been in the news a lot lately, GM is hemmoraging – badly. It lost over $6 Billion in the last quarter alone, and is on the verge of global bankruptcy. Saab in Europe is a break-even proposition right now, and Saab USA loses a ton of money. If GM is to cut costs where do you think they will cut first? Where they are losing money. My bet is that Saab USA may no longer exist if the company declares Chapter 11 and has to reorgranize. At best, it will offer three cars the 9-3, 9-4 and 9-5 – and they might be at Cadillac dealerships.

It is too bad that the auto industry is in so much turmoil right now and the global economy is in bad shape, but the reality is GM cannot afford two divsiion presidents – especially for a division as small as Saab is in the USA.

Sincerely.
A 2006 Saab 9-3 owner

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