Blog: Bursa's interview with Saab's Muller
Dave Leggett | 17 March 2010
As I highlighted earlier this week, we have published a fascinating interview with Saab's new owner Victor Muller today. The 'orphaned' brand faces major challenges ahead, but at least he has a plan and appears to have an understanding of the brand. In the short-run, the product cupboard isn't looking too bad. Saab is indeed alive, but now has to get up off the floor.
And there are some interesting thoughts on future direction beyond the immediate steadying of the ship.
The car market may be crowded, but there is room for brands that offer something that others don't. Broadening the appeal of Saab with something retro-based that is 'cool' (think BMW Mini) and can take the brand to new customers is very good in theory. Execution and subsequent presentation to the market will be absolutely key to whether Saab is with us in ten years' time.
And on the manufacturing side, a 100,000-unit break-even alongside talk of platform sharing and possible collaborations with others to get that break-even lower sound very sensible. And I'm sure there are some very useful lessons in looking at what Wiedeking did to turn Porsche around.
Muller is talking a very good game right now and has some understanding of the brand and its heritage. That was apparently missing under GM's stewardship. While it won't be enough in itself, it is an essential starting point to an eventual rejuvenation. There is reason for cheer in Trollhattan, but tough times are ahead in an unforgiving market.
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....