SOC 2013 Followup

Before the Saab Owners Convention even started I had received an email from Christopher Wiseman from Saab Parts North America asking if it would be alright for Saab Parts to do a post on the event to let everyone know all about it. To say that SPNA were excited about being a part of this event and to meet everyone there would be an understatement. Since the event, I have received a number of emails from Christopher with photos from  and today this write up that was done by himself and Jeff Gorenflo.  Enjoy, this is a great read.

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This past weekend was the Saab Owners Convention (SOC) in Albany NY.  Saab Parts North America was pleased to participate again this year as a co-presenting sponsor.  Well over 300 Saab owners/enthusiasts descended on the HotelDesmond – Albany for a weekend dedicated to Saab.

We are happy to report; the Saab Club of North America is as strong as ever!  Attendance rivaled any of the prior conventions when Saab was still making and selling cars.  There was a very diverse group of owners and cars from highly modified to pristine restorations. Everything from a vintage barn find 92B to almost a dozen 9-4Xs and NG 9-5s.   We found it inspiring to see the continuing passion for the brand and to interact with those who care for the brand and business as much as we do.

DSCN0736Sponsor Kickoff:
The 2013 SOC kicked off Thursday evening with the Sponsor’s Appreciation Dinner. The evening was highlighted by special guest and keynote speaker Peter Backstrom, curator of the Saab Museum in Trollhättan. Peter provided invaluable insight into the last days of Saab Cars and some promising news about the future of NEVS. He is very enthusiastic about NEVS as he can see first-hand that they have made capital improvements to the facilities, hired production workers and have begun building pre-production vehicles. Peter also reaffirmed that the museum and its contents are whole with only one car that was sold. It was a vehicle that they had 2 of and it wasn’t as nice as the one they kept. He went on to add they also have an example of the new 9-5 and 9-4X on display as well.

 

Day 1:
Friday greeted the conventioneers with a beautiful summer day in upstate NY. With the weather on our side the attendees were out in full. With over 250 registered guests and over 60 day pass attendees, sponsors and their guests; this year’s owners’ convention saw well over 300 in attendance over the course of the event.

A perennial favorite, the Saab Parts North America Parts Tent was the first event of the day, as attendees lined up an hour before opening to get a chance to be the first inside. By lunchtime the parts tent was almost empty, but everyone was still going inside to look for any part they may have missed.

Outside, in the vendor/swap meet area, the attendees were pouring over items from several vendors in attendance such as SPNA’s OSCs Charles River Saab and Performance Automotive.

Friday afternoon held several activities for the attendees.Such as the mobile “chassis dyno” hosted by the Albany Speed Shop and seminars from many of the knowledgeable Saab folk in attendance, as they shared their expertise working and modifying their cars. The seminars covered everything from replacing the water pump on a Saab 99 to installing Trionic-5 on the Classic 900.

Friday evening’s welcome dinner featured Tim Colbeck, President of Saab Parts North America.Tim entertained the gathered guests with a quick game of Who Wants To be A Millionaire, Saab Parts style. The lucky participant selected to play was able to answer all five questions presented to her correctly, with some audience assistance, and was awarded a $500 gift certificate good towards the purchase of parts from a Saab Official Service Center. All other audience participants were also awarded a $25 gift certificate towards parts for their participation.

Tim also shared his insights on the Saab brand now and into the future and SPNAs plans to support owners and the brand for years to come. His encouraging news from NEVS revealed that production of the 9-3 would begin before years end, with production of petrol and electric cars slated to be produced on each chassis; sedan, combi and convertible. Their initial launch will be to the Chinese and European markets, with a possible return to the USA market provided a business case could be made for it. The evening ended with the traditional parking lot socializing that we have all come to enjoy.

Day 2:
Saturday, just like Friday, was another beautiful day at the SOC. The vendors were out once again greeting owners and presenting their wares. The “chassis dyno” was running and several more owners and a few vendors tried their hand at spinning the horsepower wheel to everyone’s delight. The daytime activities culminated with the customary group photo, where all the cars lined up together to commemorate the event.

SOC 2013 Group

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Saturday’s time honored tradition, the People’s Choice and The Concours de Saab competitions, where owners representing a range of model categories are able to showcase their Saabs, was the day’s featured activity. Many magnificent Saabs were displayed and judged by attendees and the select group of expert judge’s on-hand. The winning vehicles and owners were recognized at the awards dinner later that night.

The Saab Museum’s own Peter Backstrom was honored for his dedication to the brand and hard work at the museum. Peter was awarded this year’s Preservationist Award from the Saab Club of North America, along with a $1000 donation to the Saab Museum fund. The Bob Sinclair, Larry “Stroker” Williams and Walter Kern awards were also handed out.

Day 3:
SOC 2013 drew to a close on Sunday morning with the annual John Moss Charity Auction, benefiting the Double H Ranch in Lake Luzerne, NY. The Double H Ranch is a nonprofit organization that provides a summer residential camp and adaptive water sports program and fall family programming to children and their families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. Co-founded by Charles R. Wood and Paul Newman, they have been providing memorable camp experiences in a safe and empowering environment since 1993. All monies raised from the auction were donated to this worthy cause.

With outstanding attendance and enthusiasm for the brand, it’s no wonder those who attended are already looking forward to next year’s owner’s convention, which will be held in Redmond, Oregon on August 7-10 at the Eagle Crest Resort. Saab Parts North America looks forward to seeing you all there!

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Some more photos from John Christensen at the PDC in Allentown.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 1 month ago

Yeah, the past is nice. Great cars, great people. But a return to North America “provided a business case can be made for it” frankly, sounds like a lot like “NO, DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH WAITING.” Very discouraging. I want to be brand loyal—-to a brand I can buy another new car from. This is the pits.

lundin
Member
3 years 1 month ago
Are you serious Angelo ? A brand that was shut down and put to rest now looking to restart *before years end with production of petrol and electric cars on each chassis; sedan, combi and convertible*. The wordings from Jeff and Chris about NEVS/Saab must be one of the most encouraging sentences written for many years concerning a Saab future. Sure, a viable business case in US, yes but i would put faith in Tim C and the Saab North America team to do just about anything to be part of the next chapter in the Saab saga. If the… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
3 years 1 month ago
Lundin: Nobody wants to believe—-to have a reason to believe—as much as I do. But they have been so timid about committing to return to North America—-it leads me to believe it’s not on their radar and it just isn’t an important component of whatever their plans are for Saab. I’m sorry, but there would be a thousand different ways to say in encouraging terms—-“We’re selling in China and parts of Europe first, but we have every intention of selling cars in the U.S. and Canada again as well. We have not established a timeline yet—-as much of that depends… Read more »
lundin
Member
3 years 1 month ago
Yeah i hear you Angelo, but the wordings they could have been made indefinitely different in this short recap and we would still be wondering, what exactly does this mean for the NA comeback.When is “soon” and when is “in a not so distant future”.. 2-3-4 years..Curious Minds Want To Know. If Chinese and European adventure goes “well”, meaning NEVS made SAAB is up to standards you can be sure that the auto executives (like always) will make the question: “There are like um 500,000,000 people over in NA each with a credit card…how about introduce our product over there?”… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
3 years 1 month ago
To me, 2017 model year (car introduced in late 2016) is the cut-off. That’s not really “soon” in real terms, but it’s soon considering what NEVS would need to do to make it happen. But by no means is it a mountain that’s too tall to climb. It’s a hill—-and if they really want to get to the top, all they need to do is decide this year that they’re doing it—-and with determination, it will happen. Whether they want our business or not—-that’s the real question. The fact that they won’t confidently say yes—-makes some people conclude that it… Read more »
Steve C.
Member
3 years 1 month ago
We were there from beginning to end and then some. We stayed Sunday night since we had plans nearby on Monday. Through Sunday evening, our 9-5 and the classic 900 V-8 dragster (see engine picture above) were the only Saabs left on the premises. By Monday morning, just us. It really was a great convention! The weather certainly helped and the facilty supported a layout that helped connect people and activity. Plus the food and service were great. And for us, it was realtively close to home and in familiar territory (from college days). We are easy to find in… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
3 years 1 month ago

Steve: I was responding to Mr. Colbeck’s statements during Day One of the event. But I get your point and will try to be less repetitive. But again—-something new was printed and I was reacting to it. I guess the fact that I sounded repetitive was that I was responding to something new—-new but not different. Not different enough.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 1 month ago

Comment duplicated—even I’m not that much of a parrot!!!

Steve C.
Member
3 years 1 month ago
Angelo, you opened the comments for this post with a reaction to something new to you and I wasn’t referring to that as repetitive. That’s why I thought of you when Tim provided the NEVS quotes. The following discussion was mostly repetitive of many past posts and, of course, that is your preogative. However, I was waiting for another opportunity to respond to your prior comments when you finally started talking about the “wait and see” commenters. I am obviously one of them. I’m happy that NEVS will be building cars branded as Saab and I will follow what they… Read more »
SteveW
Member
3 years 1 month ago
As a UK citizen the possibility that we may soon see new Saabs is fantastic news. For all markets but perhaps for NA in particular getting a dealer network set up would seen to be one of the highest hurdles. So what if there were just say 5 or 6 delivery centres across NA? These could also offer experiences and a very comprehensive fleet of demo vehicles etc. The service centres still in business could carry out servicng and warranty work and if some like Jason want to move back to a full dealership model once there is a viable… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
3 years 1 month ago

Steve: I was responding to Mr. Colbeck’s statements during Day One of the event. But I get your point and will try to be less repetitive. But again—-something new was printed and I was reacting to it. I guess the fact that I sounded repetitive was that I was responding to something new—-new but not different. Not different enough.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 1 month ago
This comment was in response to Steve C, above. Sorry for the duplicate comment—-computer wasn’t showing that it was posted. Anyway, I could live with that dealership arrangement you describe. Would there be a loaner car program? Do I care about that? Not really, but if Saab wants to play with the luxury big-boys and charge that way, what will the service experience be like—-compared to the hoity-toity dealers of other marques, with movie theaters in the waiting areas, posh surroundings—-the trappings of being rich? Again, I don’t care about that—-but luxury car buyers seem to like being coddled when… Read more »
Silas
Member
3 years 1 month ago
The local dealership for me in Cary (Raleigh), NC is a Hendrick dealership. They changed the name of the location to just Cadillac, Buick, GMC but they still have a lot of Saabs on the lot and still provide service and parts ordering. Hendrick has deep pockets and would be a great string of dealerships to partner with along the east coast. Just a thought for SPNA or NEVS if they’re reading but I’m sure they already know this. I hope to see something here in a few more years too! Angelo, I love reading your comments but they have… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
3 years 1 month ago
Silas: The repetition is hard to avoid—-because seriously, there’s been nothing of substance to report for at least six months or so. Saab’s owner is doing nothing to inspire a positive discussion about the future of the brand. If Saab isn’t coming back to North America for 5-10 years, they can stay out as far as I’m concerned. Waiting a decade is unacceptable—for me and I’m sure for thousands of others. If they really can’t get their act together for the U.S./Canada to sell some sort of Saab product by model year 2017 at the absolute latest (nothing wrong with… Read more »
Silas
Member
3 years 1 month ago
I agree and I wasn’t trying to shoot you down for voicing your opinion. I know others have made the same comments too but you just probably make them the most. Again, I enjoy reading your posts and opinion for the most part and usually agree with them but sometimes you are a little relentless. I hope NEVS is reading these posts and acknowledge your (and our) frustration with the lack of information from them but I’d hate for people to stop checking SaabsUnited because they might not have the patience to keep reading discouraging posts (not singling out just… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
3 years 1 month ago
Thanks and congratulations for the new addition! We congratulated Tim for his new addition and it sounds like you have an addition of a different type—-non automotive! Regarding NEVS reading the comments—-I don’t know if they do that and I’m sure they skip over mine at this point. It’s too bad—-because it took GM many decades before they became so arrogant as to stop listening to what their customers were saying—to think that their genius products would create customers, instead of customers helping to create the product. When that hutzvah took hold at GM, they slid down—-from about a 50%… Read more »
Peter Gilbert
Member
3 years 1 month ago

From what my gut tells me is that as NEVS starts production again they are dealing with the specifications of the markets first. In other words it make s sense to ramp up the EU first ands obvious China as this will bring in total production figures never seen before.

Then they can produce for the US/Canada market as their safety specifications, etc. are different from the EU.

sandborg
Guest
3 years 1 month ago

Makes sense.
Why would a huge market like the U.S. be ignored?
By then, there may be “universal” standards as other brands have implemented..
The ALBANY gathering was really terrific. My special thanks to Performance Automotive, from Massachusetts.

Angelo V.
Member
3 years 1 month ago
There’s an interesting read in the new Car and Driver, regarding automotive standards from continent to continent. It’s worth reading—-I was surprised that in most categories, things were more difficult in the U.S., including diesel emissions. One exception was the pedestrian safety impact that Europe is saddled with. I think the article said that the U.S. doesn’t have it because we teach people to look both ways before they cross. Safety standards seemed much more difficult to comply with in the U.S. too, which shocked me. I thought the reason European cars (particularly Swedish) are so safe is because they’re… Read more »
coggs
Member
3 years 1 month ago

I sat with Tim Colbeck at one of the meals at the owners convention. He’s also speaking at the annual Swedish Car Day meet in Boston this weekend. I jokingly told him I was going to be glad to hear all the new information he would have in one weeks time. He said the running joke for the past 6 months has been “I’ll have more information next week”. I’m sure he’s even more frustrated than us mere owners.

3cyl
Member
3 years 1 month ago

Right on the heals of the Albany SOC event, the Larz Anderson Museum in Brookline, MA will hold the Swedish Car Day lawn event on Sunday August 25. I know this means they will let Volvo’s in as well, but the bright side of this is that with the Volvos around the SAABs will look even better.

http://larzanderson.org/events/lawn-events/2013-lawn-events/swedish-car-day/

CoolCombi
Member
3 years 1 month ago
I’ve met Tim Colbeck several times during various “Save Saab” events and Conventions. At SOC2013 he was gracious enough to spend some time talking about his 1985 900SPG and the good old days! One issue we discussed was that he thinks that there is little if any hope of getting the manufacturer to make replacements for the NG 9-5 HUD windshield. We just don’t have the numbers on our side. Tim had input with Safelite Auto Glass for carrying the other types however. If Saab returns to the US, I see Tim having a bigger role with them. He’s the… Read more »
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