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by Swade

Saab Saved Celebration – Bangkok, Thailand

January 31, 2010 in Saabology

Once again, the dedication of Saab owners in places where I didn’t really know there was a passionate Saab following is quite amazing.
The Saab Club of Thailand is one of those clubs that I’d heard of before, but not had much interaction with. So you can imagine the smile on my fact when I opened my email tonight and saw this:
SCOTconvoy_01.jpg
There were around 50 cars attending the Thai convoy today, which is just outstanding.
They set up a website specifically for the event, and there’ll be more photos available there and on the SCOT website later.
I like the logo:
SCOT-SaSpSaved.jpg
Thanks to Prakarn for the info!

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by Swade

Saab Saved Celebration – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

January 31, 2010 in Saabology

As Swade remarked in his previous post, the breadth of Saab lovers and their activism is impressive. From our own SaabKen comes this summary of the day’s events in Vancouver, BC:

Well under a grey, wet (typical Vancouver) sky, a dozen or so SCWC-ers gathered at Coquitlam IKEA on the morning of January 30 2010 to celebrate a new chapter in SAAB’s history.
Even the less-than-ideal weather could not in any way damper the tremendous amount of energy, enthusiam and positive outlook shared amongst our Saabers today. We also had the pleasure of welcoming a few new members, who brought along their beautiful fleet of recent Saabs, including a Turbo X sedan, 9-3 Aero XWD sedan and the most recent 9-5 Aero HOT sedan. Nevertheless, Saab tradition is maintained by the stalwart presence of NG900, OG9-3 Viggen, 9000 and a pristine C900T convertible.
After the initial gathering where we proudly mounted our SAAB SAVED placards in our cars, we proceeded to hit the road to get some road time and exposure to other motorists. As well as visit our dear friend and local Saab champion Bill Convery at Dueck Saab in Richmond, where he jovially greeted us and kindly gave us more than an hour of his time to talk about all things Saab. We are very hopeful of continued Saab retailing in 2010 and look forward to seeing Bill being on the center stage of that process.

I, too, am looking forward to the rise of the Canadian Saab organization, and I am glad to learn that there are those in Canada to augment those efforts.

SCWC photo 1.jpg

The remainder of the pictures are here.
Well done!!

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by Swade

Saab Saved Celebration – Israel

January 31, 2010 in Saabology

I have been consistently blown away by the variety and breadth of the Saab Support Convoys in the last three weeks and this week’s offerings are sure to continue that trend. I am just amazed by some of the sights I see.
The Israeli Saab Saved Celebration took place on Friday, January 29th.
There were around 30 vehicles in attendance, ranging from a 2-stroker right through to Saab 9-5.
The meeting took place by the Roman Aqueduct in Caesarea.
The local press were in attendance and took some photos of the champagne being cracked open and hopefully some photos from them might become available soon.

There’s a big photo album available here
.
Click to enlarge, below. Thanks to Oren (in the safety vest) for sending through the details and congratulations to all who attended!
SAABSAVED01-Israel.jpg
SAABSAVED10-Oren.jpg
SAABSAVED22-Israel.jpg
SAABSAVED26-Israel.jpg
SAABSAVED31-Israel.jpg
SAABSAVED37-Israel.jpg

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by Swade

Nashville meet Jan 31 POSTPONED

January 31, 2010 in Troll Stuff

UPDATE: Video added.
Unfortunately, the weather isn’t cooperating here in Nashville, Tennessee. Three-to-five inches (7-12 cm) of snow that is now a three-to-five-inch crust of ice. (See pictures after the jump to see what we’re dealing with here.)
Given that we here in Nashville, Tennessee have no snow removal equipment, the snow is now ice and the weatherman is forecasting temperatures ten degrees below freezing and colder for the remainder of the weekend, I think that it’s prudent to postpone. I believe that we’ll try for next Saturday morning, but more to come there. Thanks to all for your interest, I’m hoping that the twenty-five or so of us that have signed up can grow a local community of Saabers.

Read the rest of this entry →

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Chat Transcript: Jan-Ake Jonsson

January 30, 2010 in Saabology

Jan-Åke Jonsson participated in a chat session earlier today with the public during the Swedish news program “nyhetsmorgon”.

Widde has been kind enough to provide a cleaned up Swedish version of the chat transcript, which has now been Google-transed for your convenience.

Thanks to Widde!

And Jan-Ake: the reason you get lots of questions about a new Sonett is because lots of people would like one :-)

——

Q: Robert
Hello! I want to say a big thank you for your efforts to save Saab and an opportunity for that question when the new 9-5 will be combined version.

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
Thanks, 2011.

Q: PO Juhlin
Hey, Do not you think Trollhättan Municipality should run the Saab in the future – especially in view of the Municipal Chairman’s statement on state aid for SAAB?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
Absolutely!

Q: Jörgen
will price the image on a new Saab to increase now that Spyker is in the picture

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
We will position ourselves against the Audi / BMW which is about where we are today.

Q: Magnus
When do you count that the liquidators could hand over responsibility for Saab?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
Within a few weeks.

Q: Bert
Will the production of the sonnets to be addressed

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
I get many questions about this. Unfortunately this is not in our plans but we’ll see.

Q: Kjell
There is now no plan / desire that it may be a small motor sports betting (rally?), About 2-3years?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
We’ll see.

Q: Jens
You are not afraid to Spiker just looking for the 4mdr of the pot on this deal. How hedging, you are really there?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
The 4 million is earmarked for defined development projects for Saab since it is so that money paid in stages as we proved what we have done. To take the money and run is an impossibility.

Q: Marcus
Why buy a Saab next time instead of a Volvo?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
Do you want a car with a unique design, driving pleasure, safe, environmentally friendly and convenient when you choose a Saab.

Q: Alexander
What influence does Viktor Muller overproduction of SAAB, in view of, taking up competing models with Spykers?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
He will mainly be supporting us with funding, design and brand. There he is very strong.

Q: Andrew R
Hi Jan-Åke. Began to -98 at the factory and was honored to have you as a manager before I finished -05. Just wanted you to know that you are my idol for what you have done for my beloved brand

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
Thank you.

Q: Erik
Hi Jan-Ake, What makes you keep on ethanol-track? Everyone seems’re all falling petrol tank! MVH Erik

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
All studies show that biofuels are better than fossil. It’s strange that a few pence to make people opt out of what is important for the environment.

Q: Jeppe
GM’s products have generally been very mainstream, technical, and often a bit late in time. Are there plans for more personal, different and more SAAB: by solutions such as to meet the CO2 requirements?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
Absolutely. To be more unique in perfect accordance with our direction.

Q: Michael Winand
Is it true that you have made losses in the last 20 years? What is it that says it is facing now?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
New cars, effectively separate company and continued focus on the brand.

Q: Michael Winand
Congratulations, I was fantastically happy when I heard that the deal went through.

A: Jan Åke Jonsson Thanks.

Q: Per
When do you think you will start production again, and how many cars will you produce per day?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson We are working on this at the moment but this year we hope to build approximately 60.000.

Q: elisabeth
Why do not some Saab Combi wagon? Is not big enough demand?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson, it has historically been a small segment but it seems to increase slightly as we shall see.

Q: Widde
Will you defend Aero (brand name) and return it to the unique performance of the stamp as it was earlier, and not just a watered-down equipment packages? for example … Turbo X: one would have Aero: n

A: Jan Åke Jonsson, Aero will be a major brand name for us in the future. As you point out, we might be more consistent in how it is used.

Q: Sven-Olof
I just want to congratulate, an ornament good car!

Jan Åke Jonsson: Thanks.

Q: Bengt
Hello, Congratulations on a great job to save Saab. Do you think you are going with a biogas car, bonded say 1-3 years?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson Doubtful. It is not in our plans, we invest in more efficient petrol / diesel, ethanol and more and more power-orientation.

Q: Royne
Do you think this deal has increased interest in people to buy Saab cars?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson I’m sure. I hope that everyone who promised is now ordering his new Saab.

Q: Sven-Åke
Hello. It is possible to get a little work van built on 9-3 ahead. It would be good.

A: Jan Åke Jonsson Unfortunately, we have no such vehicle, but I can imagine that there are conversion companies that do so.

Q: Nisse
Nice picture of a red Saab 96 (?) In the background during the feature. What do you think about the chin of the large retro-interest that exist now, with a retro model of the Saab 96, perhaps only in red? Have yourself a SAAB-favorite, namely, 99, had a dark blue 80-year model. Good luck in the future.

A: Jan Åke Jonsson Retro is always of interest. Unfortunately, it is difficult to make money on these but you should never say never.

Q: Widde
I can buy the Saab enthusiast special shares in Saab? I would be more than happy to support, but also get some return for my support.

A: Jan Åke Jonsson, you can buy shares at the moment of Spyker Cars, which becomes 100% owner of Saab Automobile.

Q: Jonas
Hi Jan-Ake! Can you say between your thumb and forefinger when you will release the new 9-5, if all goes as it should?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson During the spring of 2010. We are now working on the exact date. We will return.

Q: annika gip
Why has not a small city car Saab? I would like to buy Saab but I do not want a big car. mvh Annika in Åmål

A: Jan Åke Jonsson, it is important for us to focus on those models where there is greatest potential, both in volume and profits. We believe that our new generation 9-3 will fill the “small car segment.”

Q: Frederick Pahlberg
GM really wanted to sell the Saab? mvh frepah

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
Absolutely. GM has been very involved in the case of selling.

Q: Patrik 12year o Tobias 9 years old
Thanks to you Mom and Dad were able to keep their jobs!

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
Hi Patrick and Tobias! Healthy mother o father that now we have plenty to do. Jan Åke

Q: Mange
Hello. Saab will remain in Trollhattan?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
Absolutely. We will strengthen the activities of THN.

Q: John
Will you bet on gas or will it only green car with power ..?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
I think there will be many options. We are investing in ethanol and in the future more and more electricity.

Q: Martina
There will be no new convertible?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
The new Cab is of course included in our plans.

Q: Jonathan
Which Premier Division football team do you support?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
AIK course! They’re Swedish champions.

Q: Hakan
What car do you drive private?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
I have the privilege to drive one of our testbilar a new 9-5, a kanonbil.

Q: Tony
Will a smaller and cheaper SAAB, type 9-1 be made?

A: Jan Åke Jonsson
This is not yet in our plans.

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A peek inside the way Saab will operate in the future

January 30, 2010 in Editorial

Hakan Danielsson is one of the senior union representatives at Saab in Sweden. One of the things I’ve found is that when people people from the unions at Saab speak, it pays to listen. You get a pretty good insight as to what’s going on without the corporate spin added in.

Danielsson wrote this editorial for the Goteborg Posten. Here’s the Googletrans

——

With a new dedicated owner, there are endless possibilities for a small manufacturer like Saab. We need no longer coordinate with our development programs in a major car companies such as GM and struggle against a heavy bureaucracy to push through decisions on new investments, writes Hakan Danielsson, President of Academics Association / Swedish engineers at Saab Automobile.

After the first congratulations for Saab’s survival, doubts have been raised against the company’s chances. Several contributors argue that without a large automotive company behind it, Saab can not get by. So what is it that convinced us who work at Saab that Spyker will do that, where GM has been unable to?

To be successful you have to have a good business plan. The owner must also have the will and power to implement the plan. Within GM, Saab was a small player who came near the bottom of the list as priorities by the various efforts would be made. The owner had a focus on their biggest investment carried out. We never knew the Saab brand. That we did not put a fully developed small SUV in production, or that we tried to sell a Subaru in the form of the Saab 9-2x are just two examples of GM management’s mistakes. Only now when the convoys with Saab Cars rolled over the world have [GM] begun to realize what a fantastic brand they had in their possession.

In the Spyker Saab Automobile [company], Saab will be the big brother. This means that the whole company’s survival is entirely dependent on Saab’s business being managed correctly. We can therefore expect that our shareholders will have a focus on us. Without going into details of our business plan, I can only write that in contrast to earlier plans this is a plan based on the stronger our cars will consolidate its position in the premium segment and that it contains a very conservative forecast volume.

Major challenges

We are now facing a number of major challenges. First we have to get up to speed in production again. Stocks of vehicles are at a very low level and we must have hit the end of the tools from Rüsselsheim to streamline production of the new Saab 9-5. The sales must begin again. In 2010, we expect a moderate increase in sales. At the same time moved the sales organization to Trollhättan as part of efforts to streamline the company. In technology development, we will manage the development of new Saab models at the same time we must deliver services to the Chinese company BAIC.

The biggest challenge is perhaps to show that a small car does not need to have high development costs. During the 20 years with GM, the way companies develop new car models has changed radically. 20 years ago, it was not unusual that it took five years to develop a new car. A modeller who worked for drawings and instructions of designers sculpted the clay model. The engineers conducted tests on a large number of hand-made prototypes. Today milled clay models are produced directly from the mathematical models developed by the designers on a computer screen and using visualizations in 3D. Prototype tests have been almost completely replaced by simulation calculations and clever, inexpensive test models. Development of a new model now takes approximately two years.

Avoid any heavy management

Saab is well advanced in the streamlining of technical development. We will long be able to collaborate with GM, but [without] the heavy administration we had when we were part of GM.

In order to develop leading-edge technology, we cooperate with both local and Innovatum University West in Trollhättan, and with the other vehicle manufacturers within the governmental research support to the automotive industry. We also now have the opportunity to choose partners. By using each others’ courses and lab tests, Saab and Volvo reduced costs, while we welcome the fact that jobs stay in Sweden.

Today’s automobiles are composed of a variety of technologically advanced components, including several developed by subcontractors. At Saab, we are concentrating on the development of the key components and systems that directly affect the car’s characteristics and allows the car to be a Saab. Today, we are developing our architectures in GM’s system. In the future we may choose to develop them in cooperation with other automakers.

Endless possibilities

With a dedicated owners are endless possibilities for a small manufacturer who does not need to coordinate with development programs in a big car company and fight their way through the heavy bureaucracy to get a decision on investment.

Spyker has been reviewed by the Debt Office, the EIB and the GM. They have all come to the conclusion that Spyker has the capacity to successfully drive Saab. We look confidently forward to our new owners.

Håkan Danielsson

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DN.se: US Government halted December 18 deal for Saab sale

January 30, 2010 in News

Back on December 18, things were looking pretty bleak for Saab.
Spyker submitted their second offer for Saab, which was turned town flat, with GM announcing that they would commence windup operations for Saab.
DN.se are now running a story sourced from the Swedish news agency, TT, where they state that the turn down was at the direct request of the US government, based on information about the Antonovs (former Spyker shareholders and directors) that was passed on to the FBI.
A rather poor Googletrans Here’s the essence of the report, as provided by Sven:

the Swedish Gov stopped the deal after having the Secret Service and a private investigating firm eyeing the Antonovs and its money. These two made a report and that was forwarded to the FBI. It should prove strong links between the Antonovs and money laundering and organised crime.
GM’s board got a direct order from the US Government to stop the deal on the 18th.
This is confirmed by Hans Lindblad at the Finance Department, who also confirms that the Antonovs no longer have any position of influence at Spyker.

Concern about the Antonovs still exists in the form of Spyker’s quiet investor.
Dutch shareholder groups are asking for answers on the backing of Tenaci, the private company set up by Victor Muller to buy out the Antonovs.

A securities and shareholders watchdog group is crying foul over the Spyker purchase of Saab. Dutch association VEB is insisting that Spyker CEO Victor Muller clear up questions about the mysterious financing that surfaced at the last minute of his negotiations with General Motors.
Saab-parent GM had insisted that Spyker chairman, and Russian banker, Vladimir Antonov divest his stake in the Dutch automaker as a condition to the Saab transfer. Antonov’s stake of 4.6 million shares was bought by Tenaci Capital, owned by Muller. Tenaci contributed

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New Saab 9-3 due in 2012: Muller

January 30, 2010 in News

Ignace, the guy who provided the “Saab Saved” image for the announcement of the sale of Saab, has forwarded a translation of a quick interview of Victor Muller by Autoweek.nl.
The big takeaway here is a firm commitment to deliver an all-new Saab 9-3 in 2012.
The link. The translation:
——
Masterpiece or just hot air?
AutoWeek spoke with Victor Muller this morning to speak with the person in the leading role of this (fairy)tale.
The take-over of Saab has risen many questions. Victor Muller will shed some light on the business-plan.
“In our plans for the upcoming years are three cars; – the 9-5, – the 9-4X and the 9-3. The 9-3 will be introduced in 2012 and it is a very important car to become profitable. Contrary to what analysts say, no extra funding is needed to make the 9-3 ready for production.”
In the TV-interview yesterday evening with Pauw & Witteman, Muller criticised the management by GM. By using Opel platforms, Saab models of the past years were a bit bland. The question arises: how should it be done instead?
“The next few years we will use GM-technology, and it still is too early to say what we will do after that. Maybe we will knock on the doors of other manufacturers, or maybe we will choose for GM. But it is also possible that we will develop a platform ourselves.”
Finally; what can we expect after the 9-3 ?
“I would love to see a small, waterdrop-shaped car being developed, the 9-1. But we would need extra investors for that. Saab used to be in the absolute frontline within GM when it comes to alternative technology, so you can expect that we will have a lot of news in the future when it comes to alternative technology.”
When we ask Muller about how he sees Saab in 10 years, he is very clear:
“Like a premium brand that has its own face that has earned its place between BMW and Audi.”
——
The other interesting part of this is the goodbye given to the Saab 9-X Biohybrid concept car as a potential Saab 9-1. When it was first shown in Geneva in March 2008, the Saab 9-X Biohybrid was described by Bob Lutz as being a potential Saab 9-1, if Saab were ever going to produce it.
Muller has said here, and elsewhere, that he’s interested in a 9-1 that’s more inspired by some of Saab’s earlier models.
That does leave the Saab 9-X Air a little stranded, however. Where the hardtop version was warmly received, the chop-top version was an absolute killer. I can’t imagine they’d leave that by the roadside, however, and would expect the design theory behind the 9-X Air to be brought into play for the 2012 Saab 9-3.

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Video: A quick visit inside Spyker

January 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

TV4 in Sweden have paid a quick visit to the Spyker facility in Zeewolde.
This video is in a mix of English and Swedish. If the embedding doesn’t work, please click here to watch it.




Thanks to Per-Ola for the link!

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Is the Saab brand damaged goods, or stronger than ever?

January 29, 2010 in Editorial

The question in the headline is the subject of an article in TTELA today. They speak to two analysts about the brand issue and naturally, the two analysts have conflicting opinions.

The Googletrans

Bengt Håkansson is a branding expert and president of the Company Brand Clinic.

- I actually think this has strengthened Saab. It’s like a David and Goliath story, or one of those movies where an American football team successfully turn a 47-0-underdog to win….

….He thinks that the marketing is trying to do in the past year which emphasizes a return to roots and the Swedish Saab unit is important.

- One can not make the cars they used to, but take advantage of the values that are there.

Something he points out that GM failed……

- I had a GM director on a course I had and I asked how the typical Saab customer looked like and what values were, but his manager could not give a good answer.

- I have friends who drive Saab that refuses to test drive other cars. There really is something to seize.

That’s the positive side of the argument.

Now to Googlywoogly the negative:

- I know of no other brand that is so linked to emotional values as Saab. Audi, BMW and Mercedes have been more logical values.

But he believes that the whole situation now to be the killing shot and descriptions of a hopeless situation has damaged the brand.

- There is an uncertainty for those who want to buy the cars and we have pointed out that GM has eroded the mark.

——

So it’s the David argument vs the damaged brand.

From my own perspective, I feel as if the brand is stronger than ever. But that’s a somewhat emotional response. Like you, I’ve been right in the thick of the fight and the fact that Saab have come out alive leads to a very emotional high.

Take yourself out of the situation, though, and the negative perception of Saab being dead or damaged does have some traction – and this is what Saab are going to have to overcome.

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Victor Muller on Dutch TV

January 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

This one’s in Dutch, naturally, so we might need some of you Bi-lingual Dutch speakers to translate the salient points for us. Either get to me via email or drop them in comments and I’ll add them here in the post.



This was originally broadcast on Dutch television on Thursday, 28 January.
——