A personal thought, part 2

Please excuse me whilst I air out some thoughts here (again)……

If you’ve been following my writings for even a little while, you’ll know I have certain…… issues….. with some elements in the automotive press. There are some newspapers, especially in Sweden, who I like to question about their approach to Saab, for example. This concern of mine isn’t confined to the print media, however.

What I’d like to take issue with today is the class of automotive media out there who have taken it upon themselves to actually wish Saab dead.

My questions to them are as follows:

Almost all of the people I’ve met in the professional automotive media sector are car people who happen to be in the fortunate position of working in the field that they love. They have their favourites, but by and large, they appreciate cars from all different makes. They have an incredible, detailed knowledge of automotive history – who made this, who designed that, and when – and yes, they also read the news. Almost without exception amongst the people I’ve met in this field – the automotive professionals – they’re rooting for Saab to survive, even if it’s only quietly.

Why aren’t you?

Is the fact that you are a self-ordained automotive analyst more important to you than the health and diversity of the industry you cover? Is your need to be on the right side of happenstance so crucial that you are compelled to be visible, stating loudly every prediction that the bookies would favour?

I’ve said it numerous times before, even just a few weeks ago, that the automotive world would be no worse off if it didn’t have another 100,000 Brand X motor vehicles. But it’s a much better place if we can carry on and make 100,000 Saabs a year.

The automotive world, like so many other sectors of the world we live in, is being legislated into a sameness that is slowly chasing away the passion for cars that was previously held close by so many people. This industry needs diversity. It needs creative thinking from different companies in different parts of the world.

I have no personal interest in the vehicles made companies like Nissan, Audi, Peugeot or Kia (amongst many others). But I would never begrudge them their place in the industry or actually wish them gone from it. Their presence in the industry and the competition they provide, the innovation that that competition drives, and their different takes on styling and packaging are what makes this industry interesting. It’s what makes companies improve.

If you’re really a car person, you get that. You understand. You love your brand, but you appreciate what’s there in others, too.

There is a market for Saab in the automotive world. We can trade on design and a blend of packaging, safety, technology, performance and utility that is unique to us. Saab being present in the automotive world doesn’t hurt anyone. It makes a contribution.

Wishing Saab away from the automotive world does nothing more than make an already too homogenous image look even more dull.

So why would anyone do it? Simply to be seen as being right?

What a victory that would be. And what a cost paid by others to achieve it.


Apologies again if this seems a little downcast and gloomy.

I remain, as always, convinced of Saab’s future as a car company, simply because we have too many good things happening, too much good product and too many good people, to simply have things fall by the wayside.

I just get annoyed by some of the things I read and the thought that others out there would be reading them, too.

Some will assume that this post is aimed at certain websites or individuals. It’s not. There’s a whole class of sites out there playing the same broken record – looking at analysis rather than looking at the product, or the product plan. It’s aimed at the class, not the individual.

Hopefully this has cleared my head, and we can get back to car stuff in the next day or so 🙂

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  1. “…legislated into a sameness that is slowly chasing away the passion for cars that was previously held close by so many people.” That statement rings so true. When I was young, in the 50’s, cars weren’t so great but there was a diversity, and people really were passionate about their cars and love to show off their new purchase. I think a company like Saab who refuses to be cast in the same mold as every other make can contribute greatly to restoring some of that passion and making life more enjoyable. Go Saab!

  2. Brilliantly written thoughts and right you are!
    Bravissimo and I hope that this gentle “outcry” will be heard in the circles you do address!

  3. Dear friends. I have already pointed out this critical issue too. In our days press and tv can destroy not only car industries but also entire countries in order to support their economical and political interests. Saab lost this game with media thats why this iconic brand with excellent products seems to be at the edge of the cliff. 
    I hope that saab will survive and will soon restart production.     

  4. Sad few days here, my 2002 hatchback needed some work, nothing major, just maintenance stuff; the cost of parts was astronomical, and I was told that they will get more difficult to find, and cost  will go up even greater; for the first time, the dealership was not positive on the future of Saab. I hope they are wrong and Saab does continue, but for the first time, I wonder….

  5. Well done as always, Swade.  As a fellow Saab blogger and enthusiast, it drives me mad that so many so-called journalists seem to have this baseless death wish against Saab, and even more so that otherwise ignorant readers pick up on their comments and run with them.  I can’t count how many times I’ve had to defend Saab with a few factual points from people who simply had no idea what they were spouting, gatered from yet another inaccurate, inflammatory website.  And for the record, since you’re too professional and kind to make specific note of it, allow me to do some dirty work for you: to everyone at that disgusting online rag The Truth About Cars, you ought to be ashamed of your outrageous brand of “reporting”.  Mudslinging sites like yours are a disgrace to the automotive industry.  And Bertel Schmidtt in particular deserves special recognition as a uniquely repulsive and vengeful gossipmonger.  Swade is too diplomatic to mention idiotic tabloid sites like yours by name, but you and others like you are a cancer on automotive journalism.  A pox upon you all, and may your servers be riddled with viruses.

  6. Thankyou !
    It is as always very good to read what you write.
    Being Swedish and a person who believe in diversity in a very big McDonald world, I can only agree.
    In Sweden their is a fantastic idea that if you try stick out your little nose to far and try to do something outside the box, people get very very very nervous, why? Because envy and jealouise for not, maybe, being able to benefit from it scares people more than the idea of learning something new or get new inspiration.

    Diversity doesn´t sit well in Sweden, My god what would happen if all those foregniers actually suceeded and did something positive, !!??

    Fight on, you Swade and your mates, dont give up, there is only future for all of us !!

    SAAB up! 

  7. The press making money out of this situation. They want to report everything about Saab becuse it will sell newspapers. 

    Making me sick and angry.

  8. This is what I was referring to in my comment in part one of this post. Elevating the conversation beyond snappy headlines and sensationalist ‘news pieces’. A true automotive enthusiast. Not just for Saab because this dialog can be used to talk about ANY brand. It goes beyond the “Well… things sorta look bleak–therefore they MUST die. That’s all there is to it.”

    Thoughtful and thought-provoking is what I would call your pieces.

  9. Well written Steven.

    I’ve just arrived back from a trip to the USA and so i took the opportunity to visit a Saab dealer and go out in a new 9-5, because none are available in Australasia.

    A lovely car and you are right – Saab do make a contribution to the automobile industry.

  10. “If you’re really a car person, you get that. You understand. You love your brand, but you appreciate what’s there in others, too.”

    I agree 100%, Swade.

    I just wonder why some in the media can’t get that. I have, during all the years, been focusing on what *I like*, Saab (and other things); I have not bothered to badmouth other car companies, no way, and if a competitor here in Sweden is doing well, I think good for them, and our country, that’s it.

    But now, suddenly, Saab is stabbed in the back from all places; media, fans of another car brand in Sweden, you name it.

    What in the world is up with those guys? In my opinion, they can’t be mentally sane; one doesn’t write and say some of the things that they have said about the brand and the management.

    “So why would anyone do it? Simply to be seen as being right?

    What a victory that would be. And what a cost paid by others to achieve it.”

    There is one word for that, in my mind, Steven: *disgusting*. They are pushing.

    And I agree, there is a market for Saab in the automotive world, definitely, and your post is very well written.

    There was an article, column, in a Swedish auto paper some months ago that was a refreshing read; it might have been linked to, here, earlier.

    “Innerligt less på tonen mot Saab” – rough translation: Genuinely sick and tired of the tone towards Saab.


  11. To automotive writers:
    Only after the last independent company has filed for bancruptcy, only after the last individualistic brand been cancelled, only after the last big merger been completed, then you will find that it is boring to report on a monopoly.


    P.S.: Also valid for drivers; exchange report by drive

  12. What a fine combination to find: a word and car enthusiast all in one. You have said it so well, I think what saab has is not dissimilar to Shakespere – Classic, unreplicable and fun. To narrow my adjectives to 3 words. Why are we so absorbed, one must wonder with sameness and mediocrity and find differences so threatening. It seems to echo so much of our thinking that has been branded by a few white men with big paychecks – do not be true to yourself is the whole of the law. Like Shakespere didn’t know what he was talking about. Come on! Go buy a Toyota but let me languish in the richness of a land of Saab.