Shiny New Site Snippets: Partnerships Edition

Aaaarrghhhh that was a long trip. Tim has turned off the fasten your reload icon and everyone is free to comment about the site. Hopefully the server enjoys the naturally cooler temperatures and we can proceed as normal from here on out (although I did notice the toilets flush differently on this side of the globe). All kidding aside, as sad as it is to not be able to check a site located on the opposite side of the earth to most of us, it’s great that our community has migrated just as the company it loves has, home to Trollhättan, Sweden. This is going to be a very exciting ride, and we have been talking behind the scenes about some really fantastic upgrades in the future that should make it even easier for all of us to communicate and stay up to date on all the insider news we’ve come to expect from Swade. On to the snippets–

Saab has made some incredible strides these past few months in lowering their breakeven point not only through leaner operations, but by forming partnerships with established leaders in the business.

Unveiling of BMW 1.6L engine for use in new 9-3.

 

We’re familiar with BMW and their 1.6L engine Saab will be using in the next 9-3.

Still from PhoeniX video showing eXWD components.

 

 

We know all about the joint venture with American Axle to build eXWM hybrid rear axles.

 

ZF Sverige AB's new plant in Kardanvägen, about three miles from the Saab factory in Stallbacka. Photo: Stefan Benn Hage

 

Last week, we learned that one of the most respected automotive suppliers in the world who works with the biggest names in the business (think BMW, Audi, Porsche…Bugatti), ZF Friedrichshafen will work with Saab jointly at ZF Sverige AB to produce advanced front sub-frames and complete rear axles for the new 9-3.

(ZF is also used in the 9-5 with the CDC damping system dual-mass flywheel and clutch).

 

 

 

Parts of Vicura designed gearbox from GM days. Photo: Stefan Benn Hage

This week, ttela.se posted an article about Vicura (english translation) the recently formed company made up of former Saab engineers, that we haven’t heard much about lately. They provide a quick glimpse and interview at how competitive this new company will be when it comes to delivering low cost, ultra efficient, and fast paced solutions– they can do in months what takes some companies years because of their experience and computer modeling workflow. An excellent read, and we’ll be working on getting more information if possible directly from Vicura in an interview piece soon. I’ll be eager to hear what their thoughts and ideas are regarding hybrid and electric drivetrains, seeing they’re behind the single-speed transmission being used in the new Saab ePower.

Prototype weather app in IQon.

While we’ve heard a lot about what IQon is and when we’ll be able to use it in our shiny new 9-3s next year, we haven’t discussed the team working on it too much here. For this new system, Saab has partnered with Cybercom, the IT company that makes solutions for a wide variety of uses from online banking solutions to digital music software for the worlds largest mobile phone operator, China Mobile. While their name may make them sound like a front to Dr. Evil’s secret Volcano compound (I forget, maybe it was Robocom or Decepticom), they’re actually a Malmö based company established in designing and maintaining integrated technology solutions. The good news is they’re actively engaged and established in the app world on both iOS and Android platforms (here’s a safety app they’ve been partnering on for example), and while they’re focused on the Mobile Application management side of the equation (software), they also have hardware reference designs ready to go to speed the IQon software into reality. While there’s still plenty of work left to do, Saab’s timeline of 18 months suddenly sounds very doable after learning more about Cybercom. This is another company we’re eagerly interested in talking with in addition to Johan Formgren, Head of Saab Aftersales and commercial project leader for IQon. While I’m very excited about the prospects of IQon, I’m also very concerned about interoperability issues, driver distraction, the app ecosystem, and carrier/network plans just to name a few. Maybe (hopefully) by listening to our community’s concerns we might be able to help Saab engineers and Cybercom programmers streamline and enhance this piece of technology we all will probably encounter on our next cars.

All in all, it’s clear that Saab’s new model of joint development and partnerships is a clear example of how to run a modern corporation. This is exciting stuff, folks.

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In other news, Saabs United friend Ray Wert who edits Jalopnik chimed in on a list of 11 cars that can make you cool. A Spyker C8 Aileron got the cover shot:

“The Spyker C8 Aileron is pretty flashy, but its authentic aviation-inspired engineering and design elements keep it in the cool column.”

If that’s the case, I hope Saab really plays up its own aviation-inspired elements in models to come.

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There was a short blog post on the values of bankruptcy on restoring a company’s value and its effect on the economy on Forbes this weekend too. It’s mostly an opinion piece, and while I agree with much of it (Saab is much leaner now due to the restructuring process), I disagree that certain elements of its liquidation helped. I’m not sure how much the author knew or cared about the details of the process though, as he refers to Victor Muller’s company as Stryker.

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An article on Wards Auto explains the various challenges Saab is facing as it tries to boost its sales in the US. It’s actually a great read and the best summary of what’s going on in the US market I’ve seen since Saab was sold and I think everyone interested in a fair and accurate assessment of what’s going on should read it. Several dealers who are friends of the site are quoted, check it out. My main confidence booster:

Saab spokesman Chris Wiseman tells Ward’s a market-specific plan for promoting the auto maker’s products in the U.S. is taking shape, closely involving dealers and a variety of mediums.

“We’re working on a plan of attack,” Wiseman says.

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In case you missed this viral video on the interwebs, a very bored guy tried to recreate the famous Lexus commercial from 1989 where an LS cruises past 140 mph on a dynamometer without toppling a pyramid of champagne glasses. Lexus’s social media department caught wind of it and created their own video to show exactly how it’s done (you have to level the glasses first, doh!). Either way, as much disdain as I have for Lexus, this kind of quick reaction actually impresses me. It makes me even happier to have Swade as Saab’s new social media guru, knowing he is tasked with making sure all Saab owners and fans worldwide feel like they’re the company’s #1 priority going forward.
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Speaking of Swade, he’s reached celebrity status on thelocal.se’s site:

Not to be outdone, TimR’s getting in on the action too at ttela.se (english version).

We’re lucky that the site is in such safe hands with Tim. I couldn’t be happier to be writing for SaabsUnited, and working with such committed writers. Even though we’ve hit some turbulence with our new server, we’re working on it and I can tell there are smooth skies ahead. Enjoy the flight.

Nils
Guest
Nils
5 years 6 months ago

Nice summary of accomplishments! Good luck with the new site setup!

The IQon system is promising. But in order to maintain Saab’s lead in terms of safety, it is essential to have the on-board infotainment system completely separated from the rest of the car electronic management systems. (Safety, engine ECU and so on.)

Recent studies of car system security vulnerabilities and the possibilities of car hacking are quite scary. I sincerely hope that our friends among Saab’s engineers will find the time to read the publications available from: http://www.autosec.org/

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 6 months ago

Yeah, I’ve been commenting about this twice already, but no one seems to care. Just wait until someone hacks into your shiny new Saab computer system and engages the brakes at 155mph!
Btw, the researches refuse to say which the 2 cars were that they manage to hack into so easily.

BengtP
Guest
BengtP
5 years 6 months ago

Nice to see you on-line again!

One thing, i think Cybercom is located in Malmö, not Mälmo.

It is important with the dots in Sweden ( says he who lives in Växjö )
🙂

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 6 months ago

argh, Swedish chef syndrome…..

Lars Jorge
Guest
Lars Jorge
5 years 6 months ago

Jeff you seems to be a dedicated writer here at SU and always with good contributions.

matsvbg
Guest
matsvbg
5 years 6 months ago

Row 11, seat D, I’m out of orange juice….please send the pretty brunette with some more….

Kidding aside, nice to know you guys are in control…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCcMxb72TeY

Just let us know on the speakers -before- trying this one Tim…. 🙂

/Mats

zippy
Guest
zippy
5 years 6 months ago

We really have come a long way since we broke free of GM. I am itching to see that new 9-3!!

Mike C
Guest
Mike C
5 years 6 months ago

+1…

charlie
Guest
charlie
5 years 6 months ago

I’m sure others have thought about this, but after seeing the Phoenix and the old SAAB plane logo, I realized that I’ve been staring at it for 15 years….

Henrik
Guest
Henrik
5 years 6 months ago

🙂 cool!

Bravada from GMI
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

Hey! Congratulations on the move and thanks for the very informative snippets! The fact that you guys never run out of stuff to write about (and the “snippets” seem to be growing in size with every post!) just proves how much is happening at Saab!

PS. Did I understand it correctly that the iQon is still 18 months away? 🙁 Do we have to make do with the awful GM-derived systems until then? Any news on whether the 9-5 will get the iQon concurrently with the 9-3?

Carl-Henrik
Guest
Carl-Henrik
5 years 6 months ago

Don’t know of that yet, but it is IQon and not iQon. No Apple-thingie here.. 😉

rodmylon
Guest
rodmylon
5 years 6 months ago

I suppose there is a lot of testing to do still. And apps have to be written and tested. The new 9-3 will be designed for IQon from the beginning with all the sensors and interfaces. The 9-5 and 9-4X will have to be redesigned. They’ll do it perhaps, but not until the new 9-3 is out.

Bravada from GMI
Guest
5 years 6 months ago
For the tenacious, nothing is impossible, or something like that 😉 IQon or whatever, I have faith in the TDC. When Fiat offers you free portable TomTom nav, Bluetooth, SMS reader and whatnot in a Punto that costs less than a half of what a pre-Griffin 9-3 did after all the rebates they throw at it, they need to step up the game. For now the whole TEL1/TEL4 thingy and outdated nav priced as if it was made of platinium would be the only real reasons I see not to purchase any of the current Saabs. They could EASILY turn… Read more »
Per
Guest
Per
5 years 6 months ago

Congrats on the move. Nice to see that things are up & running.

Börjesson
Guest
Börjesson
5 years 6 months ago

Good work moving the blog! I know how complicated that sort of thing can be.

I have one complaint: Three or four times now, maybe every second time I’ve visited SU since the move, my Firefox browser has just dropped dead. It doesn’t hang, or even produce an error message, but just closes instantly. I think it has only happened when reading an individual blog post and not while on the front page, but I’m not entirely sure.
Has anyone else had the same problem?

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 6 months ago

Which OS? Which version of Firefox?

I’m using Firefox 3.6.15 on Scientific Linux 5.0. Works fine.

Börjesson
Guest
Börjesson
5 years 6 months ago

I’ve got Windows XP at home, Windows 7 at work, and it’s happened with both setups. Latest version of Firefox in both cases.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 6 months ago

You probably have a version of Internet Explorer floating around. Does it work with IE?
You can also try Google Chrome, but I’ve seen some funny things there too.

Börjesson
Guest
Börjesson
5 years 6 months ago

It works with Firefox too, in the sense that it doesn’t crash every time. In fact, I’ve browsed into SU twice in a row now without a crash, so maybe I’m on a winning streak… 🙂

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 6 months ago

…I’m using Firefox 3.6.15 on Scientific Linux 5.0. Works fine….

Ugh, I take that back, Firefox just crapped out on me which reading SU.

Ralph
Guest
Ralph
5 years 6 months ago

I had that problem as well, using SeaMonkey on Mac OSX. Looks like it’s solved now, though.
Never had a site crash that browser before, so it was a strange experience.

SaabAero
Guest
SaabAero
5 years 6 months ago

Good work, nice partnerships 🙂
good everything went well with the move

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 6 months ago

Off topic:
Does Saab still carry Saab approved maintenance products? Leather care, wax, etc.?
If not then it’s maybe a good idea if they hook up with a reliable car care product producer and sell some Saab endorsed products. Next step is to give every new Saab buyer a year supply to care for their shiny new toy. Discounts on the products for all other Saab owners.

74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 6 months ago

saabusaparts does carry some Saab branded car care products. The Wheel cleaner works very well!

While i like the idea…. I would pass on giving every away car care products with each new car. Instead give them a voucher / coupon for the complimentary product… that way its not given only to collect dust in a garage. Any true car enthusiast will cash that coupon in!

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 6 months ago

Hi Jeff, thanks for co-carrying the SU torch!

I hope that you don’t mind some positive criticism, though. I would refrain from trying to put all information in one post. The post gets too long and the comments/replies get kind of scattered. OK, so this particular item is more of a snippets thing, but in general I think it’s better to have each major item have its own subject. Keeps things a bit more organized.

Carl-Henrik
Guest
Carl-Henrik
5 years 6 months ago

I’m working on getting all of us to use the more-tag a bit more… 😉

BoeBoe
Guest
BoeBoe
5 years 6 months ago

“front and rear chassis for the new 9-3.”

Uh, don’t you mean:
“advanced front sub-frames and complete rear axles”

Never heard of the term “front chassis” as far as I know a car usually only has 1 chassis and other parts (axles, frames etc) are attached to the chassis.

The confussion is coming from the fact that the subsidary of ZF is called “ZF Chassis Systems”.

Henrik
Guest
Henrik
5 years 6 months ago

hmm, does this mean that e-AAM will only deliver electric rear axels to the next 9-3? And ZF the “conventional” ones? Sounds a little strange to me.

tcastaldi
Guest
tcastaldi
5 years 6 months ago

Great read Jeff, way to glue all these partnerships and discussion points together. Nice work.

Kittciokas
Guest
Kittciokas
5 years 6 months ago

Vladimir Antonov’s bank Snoras in Lithuania will use SAAB 9-5 as their official cars (totally 7 SAAB’s): http://www.lrytas.lt/-13006954851298511552-banko-snoras-vadovai-va%C5%BEin%C4%97s-saab-automobiliais.htm

Jörgen Trued - SUHRT
Guest
Jörgen Trued - SUHRT
5 years 6 months ago

Excellent choice, I am about to do the same.

Börjesson
Guest
Börjesson
5 years 6 months ago

Spyker financier Pieter Heerema leaves the board with immediate effect, SvD reports.

Snatch
Guest
Snatch
5 years 6 months ago

My Safari don’t open links… After the servers came Sweden. It opens every link as photo and that photo is plain black. Can anyone explain? Slowly?

Snatch
Guest
Snatch
5 years 6 months ago

My Safari don’t open links… After the servers came Sweden. It opens some links as photos and that photo is plain black. Can anyone explain? Slowly?

Red J
Member
5 years 6 months ago

Hi Snatch, could you please give me an example?

Snatch
Guest
Snatch
5 years 6 months ago

Hi Red J, example is this “recreate the famous Lexus commercial from 1989 where”. When I’m clicking it, it opens as photo but that photo is full black.

Paddan
Guest
Paddan
5 years 6 months ago

Just saw the Saab history commercial on American Pickers on History Channel 9:45 pm Monday night.

landrocket
Guest
landrocket
5 years 6 months ago

Hello all,
Did anyone hear any specs on the new BMW 1.6 and what kind of numbers its going to produce?
They’ve unveiled the actual engine, surely somebody has to have torque/hp info..
thanks!

JH
Guest
JH
5 years 6 months ago

Great snippets, thanks Jeff! There is a lot of good news now, and soon we should expect the Saab/Spyker 2010 financial report to arrive. 🙂

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