Tonight I’m emailing representatives from both Saab Automobile (ie. in Sweden) and SaabUSA and I’ll be trying to get answers to the following issues. These have grown in prominence recently, and for those of us who like to be reassured about Saab’s future, I think requesting some answers is fair enough.
The Saab 9-1
The fundamental question about the Saab 9-1 is whether or not they’re actually going to build it. The concept was great but since it’s unveiling there’s still a giant and silent question mark hanging over the car. Motoring rags all over the web have gone with the assumption that it will be built, but GM execs were very specific in keeping their options open.
The Saab 9-3
I don’t want to express any dissatisfaction with the current 9-3 at all. I think the 2008 re-styling is a hit and I think the additions they’ve given to the 9-3 range in the form of the TTiD engine and XWD are absolutely brilliant. BUT….. The recent stories of indecision have stoked a fair bit of uncertainty about the Saab 9-3.
Is it going to get smaller and be made on the Delta platform in Trollhattan as suggested in last weekend’s article in Automobilewoche? Is the indecision about the car really going to push it’s release out from the expected 2010 to around 2012 as suggested? If it does get smaller does that mean that the 9-1 is off the menu?
The appointment of Mark McNabb to oversee GM’s three premium brands in the US certainly seems to encroach more than just a little on Steve Shannon’s job description. Steve was responsible for Saab in the US and now someone else is.
I wrote in my open letter to Steve Shannon last year that what Saab really needs in the US is someone who will stick around for a while. Someone who get to know the beauty of the company and their philosophy, and thereby be willing and motivated (beyond their own interests) to go out on a limb for them. I hoped Steve would be that guy.
McNabb’s hiring definitely opens a window of opportunity for Steve Shannon to bail if he so desired. I like Steve Shannon and I think he’s grown to have a real appreciation for the brand but I wonder, deep down in that quiet place, whether he thinks Saab is the right place to advance his career.
The world is looking at McNabb right now but I’m looking at you, Steve.
So there we go. Three important issues and two important jurisdictions. I’ll let you know how we go.