Saab Springs Back to Life
After a seven-week shutdown, the newly revitalized Saab AB operation has begun producing cars once again at its home facility in Trollhattan, Sweden. Overseeing the much-heralded resurrection of this iconic niche brand were its two key executives: Saab Automobile CEO Jan Ake Jonsson and Spyker Cars CEO Victor Muller, the man who heads the Dutch exoticar firm that underwrote Saab's purchase from General Motors and rescued it from virtually certain extinction.
The first vehicle down the line for this celebrated second coming was a new Saab 9-5 sedan, although it's only destined for duty in an evaluation fleet prior to the volume-build version's arrival at dealers later this year. However, Saab's prime plant is a state-of-the-art "flexible" facility, and in addition to the 9-5, day-one output in this new era also included a Saab 9-3 Convertible. Next year, a 9-5 SportCombi wagon will also join the lineup, bringing the total number of Saab variants produced at Trollhattan to five.
"Today's resumption of production is a milestone in the history of our company" said Jonsson. "We are up and running as an independent manufacturer and I am delighted to share the experience on the line alongside our workforce. They have shown tremendous commitment to the company and we are all now focused on ramping up production to meet customer demand."
Jonsson's -- and Muller's -- optimism notwithstanding, Saab still faces a formidable challenge to ensure its long-term viability. Even with an impressively revamped portfolio that will include the latest iterations of 9-3, 9-4 and 9-5 models in various body and driveline configurations, getting worldwide sales back up to and beyond the critical six-figure benchmark will be no small task.