January 17 – Remembering the Saab Support Convoys

Saab Support Convoys started in earnest on Sunday, January 17th. I’m sure anyone who participated in one of these gatherings can remember the incredible feeling of solidarity that existed that day and in the weeks that followed.

I thought it appropriate to take a quick look at how it all happened.

——

Early December, 2009 – a couple of Dutch Saab fans have the idea of holding a Saab Support Convoy in January. At that time, everyone thought that Saab’s fate would have been determined by mid-January. This event was going to be either a celebration of Saab’s sale, or a wake to remember a great company gone too soon. No-one thought Saab’s fate would still be in the balance.

18 December, 2009 – GM cut off all negotiations with Spyker, saying they’ll wind Saab up. Spyker refuse to accept this and revise their offer, removing all the obstacles that GM had identified as being in the way. We all spend Christmas waiting and wondering and the number of prospective convoys continues to grow.

5 January 2010 – With a GM Board meeting due on the 7th (and a decision expected on Saab’s fate at that time), Ryan from Saabhistory.com questioned why people were waiting until the 17th to show their support. Jalopnik.com picked up on this and before you could say “Damn it’s cold in Detroit in January” the first Saab Support Convoy is held in Detroit on the 5th with Ryan leading the gathering, just down the street from GM’s headquarters. With around 28 cars and a few more people in attendance, it’s a small convoy but the effect is significant. A number of big news services cover the story and imagery of Saab people waving signs at GM’s offices. Seeing the effect that a convoy can have inspires others to set up gatherings of their own and the growth

17th January 2010 – D-Day for Saab Support Convoys around the world – and I think it was bigger than anyone actually envisaged.

If I recall correctly, the Dutchies thought their initial plans would attract between 150-200 cars. Those plans had to be altered several times as the campaign gathered momentum and they ended up with an estimated 800 cars at the actual event.

An estimated 2,000 cars came to Trollhattan and the ceremonial drive from the Museum to the Factory ended up as a continuous line of Saabs linking one to the other.

Convoys were being held in places where I didn’t even know an organised Saab following existed. Places like Taiwan and Malaysia stunned us all with their passion for the brand. St Petersburg stunned us all with the beauty of the images that came from their gathering. Poland stunned us all by the size of their gathering and heartfelt warmth of their people.

It was amazing. I was here at home manning the computer as emails and images came pouring in from all around the world. It’s no over-statement to say I couldn’t keep up.

From the records kept on the Saab Campaigns site set up at the time, Saab Support
Convoys were held in the following places that first weekend:

Bulgaria, Brisbane, Kansas City, Vienna, Linz, Stockholm, Taiwan, Frankfurt, Brno, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Beijing, Vilnius, Melbourne, Italy, Hungary, Belarus, St Petersburg, Slovakia, Netherlands, Southern California, New Mexico, Prague, Brookline MA, Helsinki, Adelaide, Shanghai, Moscow, Trollhattan, Atlanta, Warsaw, Lodz, Poznan, Montreal, UK, Ningbo (China), Ekaterinburg, Bodoe, Tolga, Sandes, Kristiansand, Malaysia, Denmark, Umea, Paris, Denver, Toronto, Singapore.

Apologies if I’ve missed anyone but the dates get a little confusing after that.

All of those convoys in one day with a bunch more in the following weeks. An amazing show of support and it generated plenty of news coverage for Saab, which developed into one of the objectives of the excercise: make sure GM couldn’t get away from the spotlight surrounding the sale of Saab.

To those who participated in these convoys, as well as the ones that followed, I’m quite sure that Saab is grateful. I hope you have fond memories of the days you spent fighting for this company together with your fellow Saab enthusiasts.

And to Saab and the Saab dealers out there, I hope you remember what you nearly lost and continue to build and service cars for the people who stood up for you.

Tompa
Guest
Tompa
5 years 8 months ago

This is heartwarming. Reading about it and seeing photos of the event again makes one stop and think again about just how great this little car manufacturer is. The brand that has cought the hearts of people to the extent that they would go and shout out their respects all over the world. I can´t really see that any other brand would make people do that.

I love Saab and I feel as part of a great family.

Cheers/Tom

Börjesson
Guest
Börjesson
5 years 8 months ago

Poland stunned us all by the size and heartfelt warmth of their people.

Yes indeed, the size of the Polish people is stunning. 😉

turbin
Guest
turbin
5 years 8 months ago

Yes my Polish step-father-in-law is quite impressive with his size.

Esone
Guest
Esone
5 years 8 months ago

A fantastic team spirit, the Saab family. 🙂 Shall we start the campaign “I’m buying a new Saab in the course of three years”. Exciting to see how many members we are going to get : D

turbokalle
Guest
turbokalle
5 years 8 months ago

Thinking about it and reading your words make my arm hairs stand up. Great piece of writing Swade!

Robin M
Guest
5 years 8 months ago

Very nice write up Swade.
I remember ours like it was yesterday, great day out.
and the news on your site had me sat here for hours.
Great time.

Tompa
Guest
Tompa
5 years 8 months ago

And then you got to meet Tompa and your life was complete 🙂

Cheers/Tom

Robin M
Guest
5 years 8 months ago

And if you are lucky you can meet me twice more this year, lol.

Tompa
Guest
Tompa
5 years 8 months ago

If not twice; atleast once. Depends on the bleeding MS.

Cheers/Tom

turbin
Guest
turbin
5 years 8 months ago

Seriously this was an amazing thing. I missed the Melbourne one unfortunately but was too busy celebrating our wedding anniversary by cruising around in our 9000…. Anniversary. The combi stayed at home for the kid transport. We had a great time celebrating us in our SAAB and were with the convoyers in spirit.

Gustaf
Guest
Gustaf
5 years 8 months ago

I remember those days as yesterday. Standing there outside the factory in Trollhättan, wagging my SAVE SAAB sign. Got a 1sec fame in the swedish TV4 news when they were there shooting a news report 🙂

Katka
Guest
5 years 8 months ago

We got something of a ‘reward’ for our last year’s efforts yesterday, in the wonderful, relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the SSC+1, crowned by the gloriously sunny weather – compared to the biting chill of last January. The main thing – our beloved brand is very alive and we can enjoy our current vehicles and look forward to the new ones!
Thank you Swade for this nicely written reminder and for ‘keeping the fort’ last year.

SaabKen
Guest
SaabKen
5 years 8 months ago

Saab-Spyker UP !!

Vector-SS
Guest
Vector-SS
5 years 8 months ago

I was out of Montreal when the convoy was arranged. I regret not being there even till today 🙁 Nice piece Swade!

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