A word about the "Let Saab Go!" movement on Facebook

I don’t want to make any extensive comments or provide any explanations as to what’s happening on Facebook at the moment. If you’re involved in the “Let Saab Go” movement, then you know what’s going on.

I just want to say two things:

1. I want to acknowledge this fan-based movement, started and sustained by Saab enthusiasts on Facebook, using the social media tools freely available to them and everyone who uses the site. We have observed the movement and I want you to know that as always, your faith in our products and your desire to see Saab successful is a great morale boost for all who work with Saab.

2. I want to urge everyone who does participate in this movement to do so with respect and dignity. I’m pleased to say that as I’ve watched the movement evolve, that this has been the case for 99.9% of people. There will always be one or two, however, who get a little too enthusiastic in getting their point across. I hope you all understand that being abusive or coarse in any way will not serve the cause you seek to advance at all.

GM are, and hopefully will continue to be, significant stakeholders and suppliers in our business. They have genuine concerns that they need to address for the sake of their global business. We all hope that there’s a way that those concerns can be addressed, a way that leads to a good outcome for all concerned.

Social media has opened up opportunities for customers to voice their opinions, which is what is happening right now. We simply ask that if you choose to make use of this opportunity, then please do so respectfully.

Thanks for your support and understanding.

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  1. Oh Swade, you’re such a terrible loss to the Saab community. That in the midst of this crisis, you’re imprisoned inside the structure, and thus unable to contribute anything beyond wellwritten but currently meaningless cheerleading articles and feelgood lifestyle reportages, is such a waste. The new crew at SU are undoubtedly trying their best, but frankly, their best is nowhere near good enough. They lack your discernment and insight, and your ability to stay objective in the middle of being totally pro-Saab. 

    I gave up commenting at SU many months ago, and now I often don’t even read what they write, except as a shortcut to finding stories in the mainstream media. In your day, SU made a huge difference and was an integral part in not only informing the Saab community but also strengthening its morale and loyalty by trusting it to handle all sides of the story, and channeling its energy and passion to where it did the most good. In comparison, the new SU is just a bland mix of contextless echoing of mainstream news and loud, empty jingoism. (I’m talking now about reporting on the business side of Saab, and the ongoing crisis. I have no problem with the actual car stuff on SU!)

    I know it wasn’t possible for you to go on like you did, running SU almost singlehandedly in your spare time; but if you could have done so, I truly believe Saab would have stood a much better chance of survival than it does now.

    (No need to comment, Swade. I know you’re not going to agree with me about the new SU. It wouldn’t be proper for you to do so.)

    1. Don’t be such a cynic, B.  The meaningless cheerleading articles you refer to are concerned with the only thing that matters to me – the essence of what we do, who we are.  It’s very easy to forget those things amongst all of the business stories of the moment.

      As with the initial sale from GM, the only people who can save the company are businessmen with the requisite money to get something done.  It’s up to the rest of us to remember who Saab is and in our own way, keep it alive.  It’s why I’m writing this, and why you’re reading it.  It’s why people are doing what they’re doing on FB, and why Tim and the others are doing their thing on SU.

      None of it’s perfect, but it’s what we can do right now.

    2. Totally agree with you Börjesson.     I’m sure the crew at SU are doing their best, as they perceive it, but IMO their best is woefully inadequate.    Too many ridiculous, irrate comments, sometimes even slanderous.  Something I’m certain you (Swade) would never have tolerated.   I think I speak for everyone who loves Saab, you are SERIOUSLY missed Steven!

    3. The comments on SU are out of control, Börjesson. You’re right. Sometimes I wonder if I should even click the button to allow comments on articles. There’s many reasons for it no doubt, but the critical one is that we’re all just tired of the situation. Steven communicated and advised us to shut down the negativity early on and we tried our best, but it’s almost a full time job just to monitor comments. By the time you get to checking it there’s a full on war, and if you decide to alter it you end up looking even worse for having meddled at all. 

      While I agree with you that dumping articles on the site is beyond counterproductive without commentary, I can’t write for everyone on the site nor edit their articles without pissing them off, so I end up as despondent as you. It’d be great if we were able to have a singular focus with one or two writers as Steven did back in the day to shape discussion around one’s particular view, but with so many writers, there’s almost no chance of that happening. I get it, and it’s frustrating. I agree with you that most of the articles that are posted on SU now are complete crap. When you have something important to reflect on but someone decides to quickly dump an article and then 50 comments have already been written before you can hit publish, it’s not a pleasant feeling. But to say that any of us were or are objective in any way is a compete fallacy. 

      Even though Steven did a great job trying to present the news without taking sides, we all had a common enemy in GM. The Let Saab Go movement certainly brings back those passionate feelings of rooting for the underdog and praying that Saab would find salvation in the hands of a capable investor. But the situation is also very different, and though it’s tempting to think that GM is playing the same role this time around, their objections in many ways are forcing safeguards to remain in tact for Saab’s (and their own) future. 

      If you look back at Steven’s postings even days before the announcement that Spyker and GM reached an agreement, he was posting articles much in the same way the crew does now. Sometimes you post whatever scraps you can, just because if you don’t and they end up somewhere else, people feel as if they’re not getting the full picture of media coverage. The downside of course is as you suggest, that the website simply becomes a repository of any Saab media articles that hit the wire. 

      Like Steven says, this situation is about a few businessmen with access to capital sitting in boardrooms, hotel bars, and offices banging out a deal. While it would be nice to sit on the sidelines and all we can do as Saab fans is sit on the side. Had he still been writing for SU I can guarantee that he’d be just as paralyzed as he is now, there’s literally nothing that can be communicated about the inner workings of the deal without compromising it. 

      No doubt, your voices are missed at SU, but I don’t blame you for not posting anymore. I’m just as frustrated that things haven’t been resolved. We had plans at SU to start up new campaigns and posts, but the uncertainty surrounding the brand makes it almost impossible to have a serious discussion without the enormous shadow over our heads. Whereas in the first sale, there was this feeling that Saab was somehow wronged for so long by GM and had the right to stand on its own, this one is far more painful. Saab tried to stand up but its own mistakes and suppliers took it down. It’s going to take an incredible amount of work to get the brand back on its feet, and at this point I’m going to save my energy for that time when there’s a clear outcome to work on fixing the problems that exist at SU. Hopefully you can have us back, in the meantime we’re both glad we still have Steven reminding everyone why Saab should survive.


      1. It’s trying times for everyone, no doubt.  I certainly think there could be more written than what anyone has been allowed to do, but I guess we’ll read all about that in someone’s book (not mine).

  2. Kind of interesting to go back and read some articles on SaabsUnited from two years ago… And we have almost come full circle again in terms of supporting Saab.

    From my standpoint I never really understood how much GM did for Saab and how much Saab did for GM, as Saab really did seem to “function” as a standalone company. And doesn’t GM technically still own the company?

    Watching GM evolve into a truly global company over the past two years, with a mission of selling common vehicles in all markets. Hard to understand why they could not capitalize on the brand, and utilize it’s unique engineering expertise.

    1. I agree.  GM simply had, in their minds, bigger fish to fry.  It was always about selling 50,000 Impalas rather than doubling Saab’s sales.  Not exactly perfect in hindsight, but you can’t fault their logic when it comes to shareholder returns for the quarter/year in question.  That’s really it — once corporations begin to focus on the short-term measures driven by the market, they are slave to today and tomorrow isn’t given much thought.

    2. Ted:  It’s not that hard to understand when you trace GM’s many management failures over the decades.  They’ve done a lot of things that didn’t work out and sometimes missed opportunities that WOULD have helped their bottom line.  The fact is, a few decades back, they were the biggest and most profitable company in the world—-not CAR company, but biggest company, period.  For them to devolve from that high on a perch to going bankrupt—-obviously they did a lot of things wrong.

  3. I think we’re ALL having a tendency to sometimes get a little punchy because the situation with SAAB is frustrating and thus stressful. I think we don’t want to be that way, but sometimes the situation gets the better of some of us. Through the years I’ve read Trollhättan Saab and Saabs United with Swade at the helm,  I’ve found him to have a calming influence no matter what the issue is. I think he has earned respect from his readers because of his personality and his capacity to be empathetic. I sure miss him at the helm of SU, but I’m glad he’s still reaching out to us through “Inside Saab”. Thank you Steve.

  4. PS  Another attribute of Steve’s is that he will take a few seconds to recognize you if at all needed thus not leaving you flat with a cold shoulder. Not turning a cold shoulder to ANYONE is a hallmark characteristic of the culture of SAAB in 60’s – 80’s. During that time, you could feel warmly snuggled in with a company that cared. I very much lived that Saab feeling for 30 years until it started going away in the mid-nineties.

  5. I’m a Saab owner.   I’m on my second 9-3.   I really do look forward to seeing what a future 9-3 (with a hatch!) will be.    

    But the de-facing of GM’s site is simply embarrassing.   Steven, you are basically endorsing it with this post.  Intentionally littering another companies site is the equivalent of a 3 year boy holding his breath until he gets what he wants.

    Saab should hold a higher standard than tacitly endorsing this behavior.

    1. Keith, I’ll have to respectfully disagree.  We are living in the social media age, this campaign is a social media campaign by Saab fans that’s being talked about in the automotive press, in the public domain.   Inside Saab is a social media outlet for Saab, so burying one’s head in the sand and acting like it’s not happening is not a realistic option in 2011.

      You acknowledge it and you try to steer it the appropriate way, which is what we’ve done.  I haven’t asked anyone to join in and I’ve tried to remind people of the important relationship we have with GM.  We have only posted it here, not on FB itself (which would have been quite a bit closer to where it’s happening, and could have promoted more participation).