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by Trued

New car from the neighbor. XC90 Mark II

January 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

P1010859

Volvo showed the car in public with open doors for the forest time at the Stockholm Car Show. I was invited to see that car 4 months ago at the Volvo Stockholm City Showroom, at that show the doors where closed. Maybe the should have bee closed this time as well. The quality felt very chinese, plastic flimsy. Like the plastic part between passengers seat and the center console with shifter etc. The input device for the info/com system felt very awkward with rolling stuff that was so slick that it could not be properly operated. The car was apparently a test/mock-up car. What is going on in Göteborg at the Volvo plant. Is it so hard to get a complete car for this public event.
The car looks pretty much like any old Volvo to me no real new thinking here.
Well this is the most modern Swedish car out on the market but be aware the parts content is getting more and more chinese.

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by RobinM

sotw, Gregs’s Saved 99LE

January 23, 2015 in Sotw


Hi Robin:

Here are a few shots of my 1975 SAAB 99LE. Bought this car from an Estate back in the Spring. A barn find with 61,000 miles and original owner. The car had not run in about 25 years. Needless to say it cleaned up amazingly . Installed new headliner, cleaned the entire fuel system. It runs and drive great. Wet sanded the mostly original paint with 2000 & 3000 wet paper then buffed. Can’t wait for Spring and to show her off and drive as a summer car.

The only thing I plan to do with this car is to add a nice set of Soccerball alloys once I find them. Attached are some BEFORE and AFTER pictures

Enjoy.

Greg Smith
Catskill NY

Idiosyncratic loyalty

January 23, 2015 in Editorial

Saab drivers and Saab. A unique relationship between a brand and its customers widely known for its high amount of loyalty and dedication. Personally, I’m proud of being part of this group of enthusiasts who are continuously Saab spotting on the streets, on television, on the internet and while watching movies, where a comforting glance of a Saab is enough to put a smile on our faces. Enthusiasts who go out and wash their Saabs even when it’s almost starting to rain. Enthusiasts who grin when the sporty performance of their understated Swede leaves its (often German) challenging counterparts becoming smaller and smaller in the rear mirror. Enthusiasts who can just enjoy watching the perfect design of their Saabs.

A love affair
The Saab community is alive and well, dedicated to support and thoroughly enjoy the brand. Examples are well known, such as the SAVE SAAB convoys, the We Are Many We Are Saab events, the collective purchase of DJA 880 for the Saab Car Museum, Facebook groups such as Saab Nuts!, the official Saab Cars (Parts) Facebook page, The Saab Cars Instagram page and an always stunning and inspirering celebration of Saab culture sharply displayed on Saab vs Scepticism. And of course all of the websites that keep track of all things Saab, such as SaabsUnited.

Maybe this relationship is best described by Saab in a great book entitled Made in Trollhättan (2002):

 

“How come a car from a small factory, in a small city, in a small country far away can attract people all over the world? Perhaps it is the comfort and the driving characteristics that do it? Or the turbo engine and the performance. Perhaps it is because it is so safe. Maybe it is the design that is the attraction. Perhaps all of it. We believe that people who choose a Saab do so because of its personality. We have 0.3% of the world market and it will probably remain in that neighbourhood. Our goal is not to build lots of good cars, but to build fewer great cars. To own a Saab is to belong to a small group of people, all with their own reasons for choosing a Saab. The common denominator is that you have chosen a car that stands out from the crowd. Welcome to a small but exclusive club. We hope you will remain a member for life”. (Thanks to Saab vs Scepticism for the quote).

 

This idiosyncratic loyalty is a very important asset for the Saab brand. Its an important part of what drives new car sales. And it’s also about the enthusiasts sticking to their trusty Saab, also when for the time being there are no new Saabs available. Saab drivers enjoying and taking care of their Saab. Which is providing a continuing market for Saab Service Centers and Saab Parts as well.

A love affair

 

At the moment, negotiations seem to be ongoing about a possible new majority shareholder for NEVS. If we’re lucky, no matter what strategy the possible new owners of NEVS are going to apply (though it seems that a thorough approach is required), it will still take a couple of years at the least before new Saabs come rolling off the production line again.

Interacting with the community
In the meantime, it would be interesting if the new owners would seek contact with this loyal community of Saab drivers. These days, communities around a brand seem to become increasingly important for businesses worldwide. While on the product development side of things Saab has to catch up because of the years when it didn’t have many resources, Saab has a natural advantage when it comes to a dedicated community.

If the new owners can interact with the Saab drivers while developing the Saab brand and new Saab cars, they have access to and can tailor cars for a group of customers coveted by many other car brands. By doing that, they can also bridge the period of development and keep this customer base involved. As mentioned here many times before, it seems logical that Saab has to continue focusing on being a premium car brand. With the historical production capacity typical for Saab, premium is the way to go. And premium can focus on a niche market, where loyal Saab drivers are strongly represented. When the foundations of the brand and company are strong, the Saab drivers can again serve as a customer base on and with which a thriving Saab brand can be built.

Aside from the most important thing right now, being the outcome of the negotations about the future, how would you like Saab and its owners to interact with its community? Looking forward to read about it in the comments section.

 

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by Tim

Thats not how it works anymore…

January 21, 2015 in Editorial

For the past 30 years its been widely popular for manufacturers to essentially become assemblers rather than actually building the car. During the GM era outsourcing was the word most people said when talking about building cars. The main reason for outsourcing both development and production to suppliers was the hunt for short term profitability. In the 90′s and 00′s a large number of assembly tasks and development at Saab was outsourced to such a level that even the whole dashboard would show up fully assembled and ready to be fitted into the car. When Saab needed a xenon variant for the 9-5 together with the 2002 facelift, they asked Valeo to develop it for them since Valeo was already building these kinds of lights for a large number of manufacturers (assemblers).

One of the main benefits of having several suppliers being able to offer similar products was that they could be played out against each other and thereby bringing cost down. Also the number o components made with one supplier was greater than each individual car manufacturer also bringing components down, everyone happy? No…

When the financial crisis hit production dropped rapidly and something happened to the supplier-manufacturer relationship. The happening was that a new market was being focused upon, the Chinese market, what was also realized by some manufacturers was that giving development contracts to Chinese suppliers became an issue when these in turn supplied competitors with similar products. This lead to some premium brand manufacturers pulling the development from the suppliers and started to perform those tasks in-house. Some premium manufacturers have even gone so far as to stop using a large number of suppliers and due to their relative high volumes, makes it profitable to build almost all the parts for the car themselves. The assemblers have once again become manufacturers.

There is a lot of people who still believe that one can purchase anything of the shelf and make a premium car, that suppliers are the ones sitting on the state-of-the-art tech needed to make such a car, well… thats not how it works anymore… Read the rest of this entry →

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by Trued

Peter “Pirre” Wallenberg passes away at age 88

January 19, 2015 in News

Skärmavbild 2015-01-19 kl. 16.43.51

Peter Wallenberg 1926 – 2015. Photo courtesy dagensPS

I was walking by Grand Hotel in Stockholm today and noticed the absence of international nation flags and just a Swedish flag on half pole. Then I noticed one of the banks near King’s Garden (Kungsträdgården) flying their Swedish flag in the same way. A quick glance on the iPhone gave the answer that Peter “Pirre” Wallenberg had passed away a few hours earlier.
Peter was the elder in the Wallenberg family. He started his career at Atlas Copco in 1953 and was not given any of the “heavy” positions within the Wallenberg family Sphere. His brother Marc was favored by the father Marcus “Dodde” Wallenberg Jr. Peters career started to peak after the death of the father in 1982.
In the ´80ies Peter consolidated some earlier business with Volvo by selling SAAB stocks to General Motors and Alfa Laval stocks to the Rausing family. he served as the chairman for Investor and made it more international forming ABB out of ASEA AB and the Swiss company Brown Boveri. Strains and AstraZeneca was also formed under Peters stewardship. ABB CEO Percy Barnevik was by Peter given a record pension plan that was highly criticized.
Peter Wallenberg was involved in Stockholm School of Economics (Handelshögskolan) and the Foundation of Knut and Alice Wallenbergs. The saving of the SAAB Car Museum was partly made possible by that foundation and his son Peter “Poker” Wallenberg jr.
Peter was given the title Honorary Doctor at Stockholms University in 2008 and also given the Serafimiermedallion in 2000. The medallion has been given to persons who has” Given humanitarian or societal benefits in line of work at an exceptional level” since 1748. The swedish king decides who can get the medallion. The text on the medallion says “Proceres cum principe nectar” (It unites the best (People) with the Prince (Machiavelli)).

Condolences to the Wallenberg family is hereby conveyed from SaabsUnited Crew and our readers

Skärmavbild 2015-01-19 kl. 16.35.40

The only picture I could find with Peter and a SAAB. This one a 9000 CDE Griffin, Photo courtesy SvD

Skärmavbild 2015-01-19 kl. 16.29.10

Peter Wallenberg at a ceremony (Note songwriter Benny Andersson once in Pop Group ABBA behind Peter) Photo courtesy SvD

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by Trued

There is only ONE possible future owner of SAAB Cars and that is SAAB AB

January 18, 2015 in Editorial, SAAB Production

Skärmavbild 2015-01-18 kl. 11.04.21

Making the future cars SAFE and filled with the needed technologies needs SAAB Technologies AB, Picture above from SAAB AB

Once upon a time SAAB was on par or even in front of many competing brands. In the `70ies with the 99 Turbo Saab could strike a blow against BMW, Volvo and others. In a way one could say that cars where not so complicated then. Quite simple electrical systems and lack of what we today take for granted in a premium car. Saab took a big step forward in 1968 with the 99 model a car that more or less lived on through 900 all the way to 1994. That was possible through the great basic engineering that started in 1964 in Trollhättan. Chassis with dual wishbone configuration just like a Formula racer car. Disc brakes all around a sturdy rear axle with a Panhard stabilizing rod. All in all a great wide-shouldered Swede. That was in last millennium. Now mankind has taken giant leaps forward in various technologies, material, computers, communication and more.
A premium car of today must be able to compete with stuff that was unheard of in the old Saab heydays.

For the last 15 years I have been working for the Swedish National Defense Research Agency. I have seen the present and future technologies the great SAAB AB people have developed and has in the pipe for the future. Many of the areas they excel in has products and technologies that can be adopted to a modern car. As I see it the ONLY company that can supply cutting edge technologies for a future SAAB car is SAAB technologies.

Some technology areas where SAAB Technologies AB has great expertise and knowledge:

- Light weight constructions: Carbon fibre and plastics baked in autoclaves. This is crucial technologies for making efficient cars.
- Aerodynamics including active aerodynamic & flow control
- Laser technologies: SAAB AB has this knowledge, in targeting and visualization systems.
- Infrared sensors for making sense of the surrounding.
- Systems-of-Systems datafusion to understand the surrounding making refined information for the driver/pilot to support the decision making.
- Communication systems, between cars (near-field) and other longer range
- Making of specialized secure computer systems in the car.
- Safety systems, theft & burglary.
- Man-Machine-Interaction, making high advanced work environments for super efficient handling of the car, utilizing 3rd generation HUD etc.

and
- Still there is a lot of companies in Trollhättan with skilled engineers (but for how long)
- Lots of skilled blue-collar technicians in the wider Trollhättan region.

The list cold be made even longer. My botton line is the technologies above and more are crucial if one has the ambition to be competitive on the international car market.

SAAB AB should step in and take control of the “Car Division” again, the development cost will be quite low since many technologies can be take off the shelfs at home so to speak. Making a truly Swedish car with all the latent values that the brand SAAB stands for. A launch of a great car with peak technologies will support the efforts to sell Defense Technology Systems like the 39 Gripen as well.

I hope that SAAB Technologies owners sees the great possibilities in making truly HI-TECH cars, just like the others stuff in their advanced products portfolio.

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by Tim

Huge investments required to acquire the brand

January 17, 2015 in Editorial

Confirmed sources to SU claim that SAAB AB is not interested in going through some half-serious try to save the brand again.

Since last summer we’ve been hearing close-to-source stories that SAAB AB is not pleased with how the rights to the name have been handled under NEVS and this is why SAAB AB decided to pull the rights from NEVS when the company applied for reconstruction.

Since then we’ve also heard that SAAB AB is not interested in letting Mahindra or anyone else try to revive the auto-brand Saab without being truly serious about doing it right from the beginning and funding its operations through a loss-making period of almost a decade. According to our sources the requirement is more or less that Mahindra invest enough to design, develop and build at least 2 product lines of cars including 3 sub-categories for each product line and cover the losses during their lifetime and re-development of their replacements.

Since a car normally has a life-span of roughly 10 years with 1-2 facelifts in-between this means that NEVS & Mahindra would have guarantee and lock up the funding in NEVS earmarked to build a 9-3 series with Covertible / Combi and Sedan as well as a 9-5 Series with Sedan / Combi and SUV version if they are to be granted the use of the name SAAB, and on top of that also cover the costs of the replacements after the lines have served out their lifespan. In essence Mahindra will have to fund the company for the next 20 years without expecting any profits at all in return.

Read the rest of this entry →

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by till72

Caution: Non Genuine Hirsch Steering Wheels on eBay

January 17, 2015 in Fan Stuff, Hirsch

ebay saabtun 600

Today I was contacted by a fellow Saabist who ordered one of those steering wheels from a seller called saabtun-parts. Since on ebay it said the item was located in Germany but the parcel was sent from Poland he got suspicous and contacted me to verify if it was genuine Hirsch. A quick check with Hirsch brought to light what we had already expected – those steering wheels were not made by Hirsch (and not by MapTun either just to mention).

A bit more investigaton brought to light that saabtun-parts was the new name of the seller zeliftpl, who as it seems left a rather bad impression at saabers in the uk and elsewhere when they sold silicone hoses.

While it does not mean the wheel is bad when not made by Hirsch using a false name to promote it and justify a price tag of well over 500 Euro is not what an honest businessman would do in my opinion. Another point is that they exclude the customer’s right to return the item within a certain period of time is, ehem, kinda suspicous, given the legislation in most EU countries.

Feel free to share your experience with saabtun-parts or their alter ego, zeliftpl, in comments. The more info the better I’d say.

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by RobinM

SOTW, V6 style.

January 15, 2015 in Sotw

 

Hi Robin,

I’ve recently acquired this beautiful 2.8 Aero Auto and thought I’d love to share it with everyone on SaabsUnited via SOTW.

Thanks

John Valentine

John, thank you for sharing, please find a few extra pictures on Flickr for you to look at.

If you would like your Saab to appear on SOTW, please send me a few pictures and a write up to robin.kerry at btinternet.com PLease put sotw in the subject box

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by RobinM

2015 Event Calendar

January 12, 2015 in Events

Now that 2015 is in full swing I’d like to ask you for your Saab event dates.

If you are organising an event or drive or meet up and you would like the Saab community to possibly join in then I am very happy to put it on our event page.

Send me as much detail as you can, dates, location, organiser, web site, contact email address, and maybe a few words.
I will fill in the form and it will appear to the right of this post.

Please can you let me know your country as I will put that in the title so it stands out to others in or nearby.

Please send your events to me (robin.kerry @ btinternet.com) with “SU Events” in the subject line.

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by RobinM

SOTW, stunning laser red 9-3

January 10, 2015 in Sotw

This weeks sotw is from George in the UK.
Another very smart bold colour which makes our Saabs stand out from the crowd.

Hi Robin,

Hope you are well, just wanted to share with you some recent photos of our freshly washed 9-3 TTid Aero Sportwagon in laser red.

We bought this car on 1 August and just love it…never used to be a big fan of red cars, but have to say I think this one looks particularly stunning in Saab’s laser red.

Hope you may consider as a possible contender for SOTW sometime in the future.

Kind regards,

George McGuinness

Big thank you to George for sharing, there are a few extra pictures on Flickr for you to look at.

If you would like your Saab to appear on SOTW, please send me a few pictures and a write up to robin.kerry at btinternet.com PLease put sotw in the subject box