Welcome to our imaginary world of The Car Boss. Continuing where we left off (Car Boss – Looking good) thing are starting to come together…
On 1st August, production re-started at the SAAB Trollhatten plant. The re-launch set out by the new owners, SAAB PCG, is an exciting time for the Swedish Manufacturer. The town of Trollhatten is expected to become a busy hub once more due to the rise of local employment of which nearly 80% of ex-employees have been re-hired by SAAB.
In a statement by SAAB’s new CEO, Andus Bram, he told Swedish television, “SAAB will again be producing cars and it is a very proud moment in our history. Our plan to revive the town of Trollhatten is well underway and we are very much looking forward to seeing our former employees back at work”. Bram, who was the former CEO of, Rassus, Swedens largest investment company, took his new post on 1st May. He told reporters “I am very excited for the future of the brand and we have a lot of new plans in the pipeline. I am very proud to be involved in re-launching SAAB and working with a great team”.
SAAB plan to continue production with the 9-3 and 9-5 saloon and station wagon, although they will receive a range of new upgrades. For the 2013 model-year, these include revised interior materials such as higher grade plastics and superior build quality. Head of Research and Development, Erhard Hahn, announced that interior and exterior quality is now on par with BMW and Audi.
Andus Bram, recently announced a twenty million Euro investment on passenger car research and development at a dealer conference last week. The investment also includes the re-engineering of SAAB’s new SUV, and the highly anticipated, 9-4X. All 9-3 and 9-5 models will now feature Hirsch 17-inch sport alloy wheels, front honeycomb grills, sports suspension, new LED headlight design and both improved engine performance and more focused handling characteristics. Inside, improved build quality and a sportier ambience completes the facelift. The upgrades will be standard accross the range as part of the revised model launch. Hirsch, which is SAAB’s external performance partners, have now been brought in-house to work more closely with engineers.
SAAB’s new engineering department have been busy improving all SAAB models since the take over was announced. Engineering Director, Nick Whitehouse, said “We have made a huge step forward in both the engine performance as well as reducing emissions on all of our petrol and diesel units. We have also given a more responsive and involved aspect to the driving experience having worked with our performance partners Hirsch, whilst maintaining a level of comfort that is expected from our cars. This is only the beginning and there are more exciting upgrades to come”.
SAAB have also been working with new Hybrid and more efficient technologies in readiness for its global launch at the Paris Motorshow in September. Branded as ‘SAAB Ekonomi’, all models will also be available with reduced C02 emissions and Hybrid powerplants. These will be engineered to offer class-leading economy and reduced emissions.
Working with our partners General Motors, SAAB will also be showing a new compact small car concept at the Paris Motorshow. Not giving too much away, Andus Bram said in a statement recently, “SAAB will be revealing a new sub-compact concept car which shows the future of our brand. This will be a very different direction for us, but it will be a very positive surprise for everyone”. Bram continued, “We shall also be reviving two famous names associated with SAAB which will feature on our range of cars”.
Interesting developments indeed. More interesting is the news of a new sub-compact concept to be shown at the Paris Motorshow. Inside information directs this news to a new Mini / Fiat 500 rival which will be co-developed with General Motors. It’s also interesting to see new owners PCG investing in product development. With such a positive start, will their future plans move forward with so much vigour? We will have to wait and see….