After all of that travel, our host, Swade, is likely comatose for a few more hours yet.
Snippet #1: Penske purchases Saturn.
This really only indirectly effects the majority of Saab owners, but Penske seems to like to be a “virtual” OEM — distributing and servicing cars without actually manufacturing them. They are the folks behind the Smart car in North America, which is, of course, designed and manufactured by Daimler. Of late, Saturn has been essentially the same thing: they’ve been re-badging Opels to sell in North America. According to several sources, Penske is interested in choosing from vehicles manufactured by any auto OEM that will sell in substantial volume here in the US and Canada.
Since Saab and Saturn are distributed in the same channel in Canada, I suspect that Penske would gladly sign up to be the Saab dealer network in that country, and it would be an easy fit for Saab, too. Fair enough. EDIT: Per Bruce in comments, I did not realize that Penske had decided to ax the Canadian market once they assume ownership of Saturn, which naturally poses a question of exactly who will serve the Canadian market for Saabs? Ouch. And all this time I felt good about it because the Canadians were “taken care of”. Not so. This begs the question then for both the US and Canada: Will Saab build the infrastructure to support these dealers, or will someone else fill the void?
I suppose that one could make a good argument for a similar deal in the United States: let the Penske-owned Saturn dealers handle Saabs as well. If we had no other existing dealer network, that would be fine. However, we do have a cadre of well-versed Saab dealers that presumably would prefer to continue the relationship with Saab. Perhaps here in the United States, Penske could serve as a distributor to the existing dealer network? It would relieve Saab of the pressures and logistics of distribution — a business that isn’t necessarily Saab’s forte.
I can also see that many of Saab’s designs could be built in China, Korea or the US and distributed as Saturns through a company like Penske. We Saabisti would win because the Saab-designed cars would be more readily available and presumably less expensive.
I’ve stated before that I’d like Saab to pursue non-traditional distribution schemes to maximize the footprint with as little investment in time and resources as possible. Either option would certainly work towards that goal.
On a very sad note for those of us in my local area, the GM Spring Hill, Tennessee plant, originally built in the middle and late 1980’s to manufacture Saturn automobiles, will close in November after just completing a 14-month renovation to produce the Chevrolet Traverse and sister vehicles.
Snippet #2: What does this picture tell you about the way that I drive?
According to this article in the Daily Mail, plenty.
You see, it seems that my hands tell tales that I’m not willing to admit!
In a recent series of studies, science has determined that the length of a man’s ring finger corresponds to several traits, one of which is aggressive driving. They asked several men to catalog their various traffic offenses and one of the strongest correlations was to ring finger length. The longer the fourth finger, the more aggressive the driver.
As you can see from the photograph, my fourth finger is longer by about one-quarter to three-eights inch (8 mm to 10 mm) than my index (second) finger.
I could tell this tale in many ways, but I’ll say this: I had to apply for a waiver to be commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Air Force because I had accumulated eight traffic offenses before graduation from college at age 22. During the four-year span that I owned my first Saab, I was cited five times in four US states (Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Colorado). I’ve been to traffic court in at least ten jurisdictions across the country (fifteen would be my best guess).
You could say that I’m a case-in-point. Are you?
Age has mellowed me; I’ve not been pulled over by the cops in at least three years. I’m trying to continue that trend. I may start some kind of syndrome to help other guys get out of their tickets — “Quad Phalange Syndrome (QPS)” or “Long Fourth Malady (L4M)”. It just might work…Abbott, check the precedents!
Snippet # 3: Is it just me, or does the “baby Rangie” look like a Saab 9x SUV?
I saw this announcement on Top Gear and immediately thought that it had the same basic silhouette as the Saab 9x, only in beef cake SUV form. Maybe it’s the white color, wrap-around windows and clam-shell hood, but, wow, I think that it’s got a lot of 9x in it. Your thoughts?
Additional note: My indy Saab shop (now working on many makes) needs a manager for their second location. If you are interested and have some management experience, they want to talk to you. This location has been open only one month but has exploded with business in an under served area. I know that jobs may be tough to come by these days, so I’m spreading the word. Naturally, you’ll have to live or move here.