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Flybrian

Lutz: SAAB is here to stay

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By Bob Lutz | GM Vice Chairman | Link to Original Post @ GM FastLane Blog


Thursday night out at the Oakland County Airport I had the pleasure of helping Saab USA General Manager Steve Shannon introduce the Saab 9-7X Aero and 9-3 at the welcome reception of the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance.

As you know, Saab was “born from jets,” so I flew my Aero L-39 ZO “Albatros,” a demilitarized Czech-built fighter jet once used by the Libyan Air Force, from Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti to Oakland County for the occasion. Then, to benefit Meadow Brook Hall, we auctioned off a ride in the jet. So I’ll be piloting Eastern Michigan University aviation student Phillip Von Donop for a ride in the Albatros, thanks to his dad’s winning bid.

As I told the folks there, although I grew up in Europe, in my younger days I was never what you would call a Saab enthusiast. And I have to say that one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve had since I returned to General Motors in 2001 is the affection and affinity I’ve developed for the Saab brand and its vehicles. I’ve become a big fan of the driving dynamics. And I’m out to create more fans. We in senior management are convinced that Saab is a jewel in the GM crown, and we’re determined to ensure its success. The product lineup has expanded, and sales are growing both here in North America and in Europe. What’s particularly encouraging is that this spurt of growth has been consistent – it hasn’t been a feast-or-famine, one-month-wonder kind of growth.

The new 9-7X Aero and the 9-3 are excellent examples of Saab leveraging GM’s vast global product development resources. For example, the 9-7X Aero gets its 390 horsepower and 395 foot-pounds of torque from its LS2 6.0L engine, which is based on the small-block V-8 architecture.

So while I’ve read a number of comments on this blog questioning the future of Saab, let me say that it belongs in the GM family and we plan on keeping it there.

P.S. On another topic close to the fore, American automakers and fuel economy, USA Today published a misguided opinion piece July 25, and on Wednesday printed my response to it.
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So while I’ve read a number of comments on this blog questioning the future of Saab, let me say that it belongs in the GM family and we plan on keeping it there.

I heard that before in 1992. You know what was announced December 12, 2000 and what transpired in 2004. I am not trying to be a downer, but I learned the hard way with GM expect the unexpected. I also learned to do not blindly follow GM. That same phrase was used in 1992. That division is gone.

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They don't need Saab. They don't make money, I think they'd be better off spending their money elsewhere. Even if they don't retain Saab customers, if they invested in a Cobalt, Impala or small Cadillac instead, they might pull in buyers from other brands.

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I didn't know Bob was a pilot...

@98, you're right, anything is possible.

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I heard that before in 1992. You know what was announced December 12, 2000 and what transpired in 2004. I am not trying to be a downer, but I learned the hard way with GM expect the unexpected. I also learned to do not blindly follow GM. That same phrase was used in 1992. That division is gone.

The difference is that Saab has a very clear plan set in place and offers a unique European offering for those not wanting to buy the typical German fare. Olds had been turned into a upper level version of Chevy which was a position already occupied by Pontiac, Buick, and to a lesser extent, Cadillac. There was no longer any reason for it to exist considering most regular buyers went on to buy from other nicer vehicles from the competition.

On top of that, Olds still had no clear plan set into place and the constant reinventions GM put the brand through didn't help matters at all.

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I was saying: "I have heard that before". It is true. It was said before. GM went on the same way saying that. Immediately, this turned in to I was talking about Oldsmobile and how different SAAB is.

Folks.. this is business. That HAS NOTHING to do with Oldsmobile. What I said was not about Oldsmobile. It was the impression on the words that were used. GM has said things before and the total opposite happened. Anything is possible at the state with SAAB. Anyone thought Saturn would turn into the Opels of North America? No.

Smell the coffee.. That same line was used before, and SAAB is not doing so hot right now. I have no issues with SAAB. I just know not to blindly follow and defend GM even when it is wrong and even business decisions are made. It is not like Buick and Pontiac are out of the clear now either. Before you start in on how different this is and how Oldsmobile had it coming, you need to "see the whole picture".

This HAS NOTHING to do with Oldsmobile. This has everything thing to do with what is being said.

I stand by what Rick said at the time of "Oldsmobile's" demise. NO brand, car, or division is sacred.

This is showing to be true.

Monte Carlo is gone, Grand Prix is next and STS and DTS are up next. More cars will die before the dust settles.

If GM gets desperate for cash, we will see how long SAAB is still around. "That will not have anything" to do with Oldsmobile.

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would it be devistating to lose saab? i'm just asking. i dont really care for them and i am not saying down with saab but i dont see how they effect the big picture of GM.

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The Olds comparo is crap. Olds had the crutch of being Chevy+1, which Pontiac took. Saab has neither the crutch of being Chevy+1 (Pontiac) or being Caddy-1 (Buick) nor being Opel in America, which they tried for a second (Saturn).

GM has taken away Saabs crutch. They have taken Saabs bird, and Saabs bush. They've killed the purpose of the brand.

There's no reason to keep. Sell the factories, bite your lip and keep things pushin! They wait to long to make an obvious decision. There's little cost effective things they CAN do anymore. They had the chances.

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The Olds comparo is crap. Olds had the crutch of being Chevy+1, which Pontiac took. Saab has neither the crutch of being Chevy+1 (Pontiac) or being Caddy-1 (Buick) nor being Opel in America, which they tried for a second (Saturn).

GM has taken away Saabs crutch. They have taken Saabs bird, and Saabs bush. They've killed the purpose of the brand.

There's no reason to keep. Sell the factories, bite your lip and keep things pushin! They wait to long to make an obvious decision. There's little cost effective things they CAN do anymore. They had the chances.

Apparently Mr. Lutz disagrees with you, anything in Europe is hands off! :P

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Except the opels and vauxhalls he's sending over in droves that sell like Cold Hotcakes... not at all.

Vauxhalls are just RHD rebadged Opels in most cases. :P

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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Another hands-off corner-cut. Jeez, what is wrong with the people running this company? If only I had the billions of dollars to force a hostile take-over... :rotflmao:

But to the point... KILL SAAB. Then kick it, bludgeon it beyond recognition. Then bury it and fugedahboudit!

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Another hands-off corner-cut. Jeez, what is wrong with the people running this company? If only I had the billions of dollars to force a hostile take-over... :rotflmao:

But to the point... KILL SAAB. Then kick it, bludgeon it beyond recognition. Then bury it and fugedahboudit!

Talk to Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian! :P

http://money.cnn.com/2006/12/01/news/compa...an_gm/index.htm

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SAAB is the ring in the GM bathtub.

Fixed.

SAAB is the O-ring formed in GM's toilet.

Fixed.

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I really don't see how Saab adds much to GM. It appears to me that all Saab has become is just another brand that GM has to babysit. I think GM is stretched too thin. Saab would be a perfect brand to dump in my opinion. This would free up development dollars for their other brands. Unless Saab is making major contributions in overseas sales somewhere, then it needs to go.

Edited by cire
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Saab is less redundant as a brand than both Buick and Pontiac, GM just hasn't managed it properly yet.

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Well being a former Saab Owner, i am happy with this news... I have always loved SAAB from the 900S I owned all the up to the 9-5 which i got rid of after the lease was done in 2002. If Ford could do it with Volvo I think GM Should atleast try with Saab. Give then AWD to make it compeditive in the Market, and give them some bigger more powerful engines. Hell Volvo went V8 ( I own the XC90 with a V8 and its one of the better V8 i have owned.) Yes i know that saab has the 9-7x but that V8 is stright out of the GM Parts bin. They really need to take the time, and put money and effort into saab, and make it what it was truely ment to be a unique auto brand (quirky). Eh my feeling is GM will unload saab, its been taking a while to come out with replacements for the 9-3 and the 9-5 no affence but you cant still a bandaid on a knife wound.

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Saab is less redundant as a brand than both Buick and Pontiac, GM just hasn't managed it properly yet.

Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that I'd consider buying a Buick or Pontiac. Saab ranks below most Japanese brands for me.

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