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by Swade

Monday Night Snippets

February 7, 2011 in Saabology

Thanks for all your kind thoughts and words about my looming departure from Saabs United.

To those who suggested I post just every now and then – unfortunately, I don’t seem to be able to work that way. This business has a flow about it, a cadence. Once you miss the beat, it’s very difficult to get back. That’s why you generally get four or five entries a day here, not one or two.

Hopefully there are some solutions out there than can see SU continue. As for me, well…. my time with SU is definitely coming to a close. Hopefully it’s not the end of the road completely, but it is the end of this road. I can’t juggle everything and something’s got to give. Right now, that something is SU.

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Here’s a figure that might surprise you as much as it surprised me.

If I told you there were six pre-orders for the Saab 9-4x in Belgium, you might think “given the lack of a diesel option, that number sounds about right”.

What if I told you that those six orders for the Saab 9-4x were from just one dealership?

Outstanding!

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Good to see Sergio Marchionne tell VW to get their grubby eyes off Alfa Romeo.

Now he just needs to keep up the good work started with the Giulietta. Geneva will be interesting.

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It was great to see the Saab Owners Club GB get together via Robin’s Flickr stream. Looks like they had a good gathering of cars there at Stratford on Avon

And it’s always good to see Elie having a good time. If anyone needs an event to be livened up, get this guy along and just watch him work – a Saab ambassador in the finest and most fun sense.

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I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but people are blowing up my inbox with links to it.

So here’s the Norwegian beer guy in Germany doing his bit to show his Saab 9-3s usefulness. Bring Back The Hatch!

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A picture’s worth a thousand tears

September 20, 2010 in Troll Stuff

Audi A7

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Photoshopping the new Saab 9-5 (into a hatch)

July 2, 2010 in Saabology

A few days ago we had the Saab 92 photoshop by Tiago….

Then we had the 9-3 photoshop by Quentin….

Today it’s the new Saab 9-5 photoshopped into a combicoupe – by Z!

Here’s Z!’s interpretation of how the new Saab 9-5 sedan could subtly be transformed into a 5-door version.

And for comparative purposes, here’s the original photo from Saab of the 9-5 Sedan.

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There’s no pressure to register as this system is still on a trial basis, but if you’re comment takes a little while, that’s why.

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Audi A5 Sportback – don’t call it a hatch!

February 10, 2010 in Saabology

I’m pretty sure that if Saab released a hatchback version of the new Saab 9-5 or even the current 9-3, people would be whoopin it up all over the place.
Not so over at Audi.
It’s mesmerising the ladies…..
AudiA5sportbackGirl.jpg
And it’s apparently so steamy sexy that even the ground itself is sweating….
AudiA5sportbackgrate.jpg
Polo-neck guy is smiling….
AudiA5sportbackPolo.jpg
And yet despite all this newness, all this coupe-sedan-avant beauty and a whole new naming convention, there’s nary a photo of the actual new feature on the website.
I got all of these images from the a5sportback website after seeing an ad on a news website I frequent and getting curious about it. I actually made a point of going through the whole thing (almost) and was astounded that the main feature (for me) was shown so rarely.
Are we Saab fans really that different? Is the hatch really so disliked that even here in Australia – a land not that averse to the hatch – Audi feel like they shouldn’t show it?
The website instead focuses mostly on the design of the car, and yes Audi are the latest company to claim they’ve build a 4-door coupe. Or is that a 5-door coupe?
It’s no ugly duckling, though I’m not sure the front really sets it off that well.
AudiA5sportbackFront.jpg
AudiA5sportbackRear.jpg
But here’s one of only two shots I found on the site that actually feature the hatch.
AudiA5sportbackHatch.jpg
In a Saab ad, there’d most likely be a wide shot of the entire car with the hatch open so that you can see the full extent of the load capacity. These shots are all very close in, almost like they want to hide the car from view when the hatch is open.
Relevance?
Not much, I guess, but I just find it interesting how other companies develop and then promote new vehicles.
Why go to the trouble of developing a body style like this if you’re not going to max out the promotion of it?
1974-99-wagonback-advert-bw.jpg

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Saab 99T – the spare parts 1

October 26, 2009 in Troll Stuff

This will most likely be the last Saab 99T post for a little while, but I unpacked the car this evening and couldn’t resist a little photo of all the bits we managed to cram into the car.
IMG_2342-1.JPG
Click to enlarge.
What you’re looking at there:

  • Used but good windscreen with Saab Accessories tint sticker
  • Spare turbocharger – condition unknown but still spins OK
  • Spare starter motor
  • Regular rear spoiler
  • Box full of assorted hoses in good condition
  • Rear hatch sill plate
  • 2 x spare front grilles
  • Cowling that sits at base of windscreen
  • Right and left front guards
  • Nardi woodrim steering wheel
  • EMS steering wheel (will be fitted to car)
  • Box full of engine mounts and bushings
  • Box full of electrical relays
  • Box full of dash switches and stalks
  • Box #1 of interior trim pieces
  • Box with headlamps and front indicator lamps
  • Box with as-new rear light housings
  • Box of assorted bits and pieces (window rubber showing)
  • Box of assorted fluid bottles for washers and radiator heater tanks
  • Box with headlamps and replacement airbox and fuel distributor
  • Box with two sets of power side mirrors, with wiring and switches
  • Box #2 of interior trim, featuring dash pad with turbo meter
  • Saab Accessories big rear spoiler

Of course, the very Saaby thing about this is that we were able to fit ALL of that into the rear hatch of the 99, along with this (which I didn’t get out for the photo as it’s too darn heavy to lift.
A spare Saab 99Turbo gearbox:
GearboxInboot.JPG
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There’s more to come, too.
Back in Melbourne and hopefully coming soon in the back of Simon P’s C900 are:

  • 2x replacement doors
  • 4x Inca wheels
  • 2x steering racks
  • Assorted other odds and ends that I can’t remember right now.

BRING BACK THE HATCH!!!!!!! :-)

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Thursday Snippets – GM edition

October 8, 2009 in Saabology

Mrs Swade had a very nice birthday, thanks very much. We can highly recommend Mao’s Last Dancer. Great film.
In case you hadn’t seen it on the birthday posting:
Given that I was taking the evening off, I kept my word to the Mrs and didn’t open things up here until this morning. I’ve now just read all of your birthday wishes out loud as we had breakfast and needless to say my little blog-widow of a wife was deeply touched being the recipient of so much goodwill from all around the world.
You all have made her day, and we are both very thankful for your generosity of spirit and well wishes. It’s still October 7 in Belgium, where she was born, so technically I still read them all to her on her birthday, too!
Thanks again.

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GM’s marketing maven, Mark La Neve, has decided to leave the company in mid-October.
I’m assured that he was a nice guy, but I’m also convinced he was as helpful to Saab as a cabbage. I’m sure he’ll land on his feet.
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For those who are interested in GM’s progress (they’re planning an IPO next year and you might want to buy some shares – this is not advice, just an observation)

DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co provided an update on its restructuring Wednesday, three months after emerging from a government-sponsored bankruptcy.
Details from GM’s progress report follow:
* To release third-quarter financial results in mid-November, preparing for initial public offering next year.
* Business plan being developed on assumption that U.S. auto industry sales will reach 11.5 million vehicles in 2010.
* Preliminary third-quarter global market share 11.9 percent, compared with 12.4 percent in 2008; U.S. market share 19.5 percent, compared with 22.1 percent in 2008.
* Expects to have 41 U.S. plants at the end of 2009, down from 47 at the end of 2008; figures exclude plants reacquired from former parts unit Delphi. GM has acquired Delphi’s global steering business and four other key plants.
* Has 49,200 U.S. hourly workers as of Wednesday, down from 62,000 at the end of 2008 but higher than planned because buyout programs were not as well-subscribed as expected.
* Has 24,300 U.S. salaried workers, down from 29,700 at the end of 2008; expects to have 23,000 to 24,000 salaried workers at the end of 2009.
* Has 5,800 U.S. dealers, down from 6,375 at the end of 2008; plans to have 5,600 at the end of 2009.
* Expects to complete the sale of its Saab and Hummer brands by the end of 2009; also working toward the sale of a controlling stake in its European Opel brand. GM will retain a 35 percent stake in Opel.

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Back to some Saabier stuff for a moment:
Kevin Miller at Autosavant has written a great article on the re-emergence of the hatchback called The Shape of Things to Come. Again.
Of course, the Saab 9000 is cited as the beginnings of the high-end, five-door hatchback and Kevin runs through the various players currently introducing this configuration to their lineup.
BRING BACK THE HATCH!!
PS – Kevin owns a nice black/orange C900 and knows his classic Saabs.
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Jalopnik have two articles worth checking out today:
A video tour of Rolls Royce by National Geographic’s Ultimate Factories programme.
For the gamers……A full list of vehicles for Forza Motorsport 3. Unfortunately the rumour that we’ve heard about a possible Saab 96 inclusion amongst classic vehicles has turned out to be inaccurate. There’s a Turbo X in there, as well as a 2002 Saab 9-3.
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From Twitter:

The Forza 3 fail becomes a win! The Saab Turbo X is in the game. Hopefully without the real-life depreciation…

Web humour. Don’t you just love it?
Cheer up, X owners. You’ve still got one of the most advanced and best Saabs ever made and once they’re back on their feet again, that value might even rise again. Or stabilise, at least.

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Thursday Snippets – crash

August 20, 2009 in Saabology

Hey all. Long time, no write. Sorry about that, but the body called time-out last night so I got a regular night’s sleep.
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I’ve just picked up a goodie-bag from Saab Australia this morning. It included some leather cleaner, window washer fluid, the all-important wheel nut covers, and a few other bits and pieces.
I’ll be trying all these out in the next little while and reviewing the process here. Am looking forward to it!
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The other thing that’s arrived this week is my new air filter for the Monte Carlo. I ordered from Elkparts last month (tip: don’t order things that have to come in from Sweden during July – the whole country takes the month off!).
I’ll fit that on the weekend and am looking forward to the Darth Vader-esque soundtrack :-)
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New Salem Saab have photoshopped a new logo for their electronic mailouts :-)
New Salem Saab Combined Logo.jpg
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Thanks to Magnus for forwarding to me this graphic from a Norwegian newspaper.
_1708sistesaab_cop_1089361x.jpg
The big question now is who picks up Bishop’s share.
The question mark next to Fabela’s name should be a zero. To this point he hasn’t put up money for an ownership stake, but is the Chairman of the Koenigsegg Group.
I’d be surprised if he doesn’t put up money soon.
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Note to Simon Padian, Bard Eker and whoever else is going to be involved in the future design team at Saab.
This comes from Go Auto here in Australia and refers to the launch of the new Mondeo range.

FORD says the discontinuation of the Mondeo sedan will not impact sales of its revised and expanded MB series that was launched in hatch and wagon versions launched last week.
Ford Australia vice president for sales and marketing Beth Donovan said buyers of the previous Mondeo tended to choose the more practical and better-looking five-door hatch.

Thanks PT!

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Thursday Quick Snippets – Industry edition

August 6, 2009 in Saabology

These snippets aren’t so much about what’s happening in Saab-land, more like what’s happening around it.
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Are BMW showing another hatchback concept in Frankfurt?
concept2-630.jpg
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And more from BMW – plans to introduce another nameplate specifially for electric vehicles.

The company will stick with its existing BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce marques, but Reithofer revealed that the board has voted to create a sub-brand for electric vehicles. This new sub-brand will be similar to BMW’s seperate marketing of the “M” line of vehicle, will be targeted at urban drivers and include a two wheeler. The first of these new vehicles will likely start appearing sometime around 2012-13.

This is of interest to Saabers because you might remember from the Auto Motor and Sport article last week, that Saab may be looking to partner with BMW on what would be the Saab 9-1. The 2013 timeframe sits well with that plan, too.
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Speaking of 2013, the head of Toyota in South Africa predicts that 2013 will be a pretty good year for the car industry.
All companies have to do now is survive that long!
This is a really good read for the hardcore industry watchers out there, going into reasons for the current crisis, responses to it, and what’s going to have to happen in the future.
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Andy Rupert finds out why the rear-facing seats in Volvo wagons are just for kids….
And as an aside, have you ever ridden in one of those rear facing seats? I had a ride in friend’s Saab 95 with a rear facing seat once, and it’s a wonder kids don’t end up throwing up all over the place.
It’s not a good place to be.
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Jerry Flint from Forbes takes a look at some of the brands at risk of withdrawing from the US market.

Two others on the endangered list are Swedish Saab and Volvo, which is particularly sad. Saab sales were down to 5,000 in the first half. Personally, I love Saabs. Consumer Reports recommends both cars (the 9-3 and 9-5). But Saab was bought by GM, probably the worst thing that can happen to a car company–except to be bought by Ford, which is even worse. Saab has been sold to a Swedish carmaker but survival still is a question.

It’s frustrating at the moment, but I think we’ll be OK, Jerry.
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And finally, some culture.
A band from the US called Goes Cube with their song called “Saab Sonett”.
It’s heavy, it has a moody filmclip that doesn’t relate to the song at all, and there’s definitely no Sonetts to be seen.
Not recommended, but feel free if you wish. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Executive Car

July 31, 2009 in Saabology

From that fountain of wisdom that’s never wrong – Wikipedia (I think they’re reasonably correct in this instance).

Executive Car: a British term that refers to a car’s size and is used to describe an automobile larger than a large family car. In official use, the term is adopted by EuroNCAP, a European organization founded to test car safety. The term was coined in the 1960s to describe cars targeted at successful professionals and middle to senior managers, often as a company car but retaining enough performance and comfort to be desirable in their own right.

Maybe you could argue about the size issue in these times, but otherwise, it’s pretty accurate.
One could also assume that an executive car is supposed to convey a certain level of confidence and success, that the driver of such a car is someone who can be relied upon to complete a contract, to do what they say they’ll do.
I don’t necessarily like to hark back to BMW again – the 2nd time this evening – but this is a photo of the recently shown 5-series Gran Tourismo concept vehicle. There are more photos here.
019.jpg
Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to construct a rational argument stating that this could not be rightly considered as an executive car.
Memo to Saab – BRING BACK THE HATCH!
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Thanks to Eric for the link.

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Playing devil’s advocate on the sedan vs hatch discussion

July 16, 2009 in Editorial

Mark C sent me what I thought was a very good open letter to Saab about the need for a new Saab 9-3 and for a hatch variant in that lineup when it comes.
I’m quite sure that’s actually going to happen, too. It pleases me a great deal to be able to write that.
I know that Mark wasn’t advocating a 9-3 range without a sedan option and I’m sensitive to the notion of appearing contradictory, but I’d also like to briefly defend the 9-3 Sport Sedan and offer up the commercial reasons as to why the sedan was, is and may be the best prime target for this section of the market.
Let me say right up front that I agree 100% with what Mark wrote about the need for a hatch and that my money, should I ever be in a position to buy new, would be going on a hatch or coupe version of a new Saab in the future.
But……
The Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan is a great vehicle. It still looks great in profile and at the time it was released, it was warmly received and has continued to sell in decent, if not spectacular numbers.
This is not an unattractive car by any measure……
2003-saab-9-3-aero-sport-sedan-3.jpg
……but we can all rightly regret the fact that it never came out looking like either of these….
Saab9-3TXViggenIdea3d.jpg
Saab9-3TXViggenIdea5d.jpg

Read the rest of this entry →

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Market research time: the Saab hatch and others…..

March 3, 2009 in Archive

This is just a brief question.
File it under Swade leaving no stone left unturned.
Saab are hopefully going to come out of this reconstruction thing with their souls intact and the ability to keep working on the next generation Saab 9-3, which I understand they’re working on now.
The next 9-3 update will be in around 18 months from now if I’m not mistaken. That will be an update to the current cat. Hopefully it’ll focus on a full interior revamp to bring it in line with the 9-5 and 9-4x and some external subtleties.
The big 9-3 change will come after that, with an all-new, more compact Saab 9-3. This is the vehicle I’m asking you about now.
The question – are there any circumstances you can imagine where it would be OK for Saab to make this new 9-3 without a hatchback?
Personally, I think the tribe has spoken over the last few years. Under GM’s wing, Saab tried to swim upstream and break into the premium saloon market. They might have a good chance at breaking some ground there with the new Saab 9-5, but the 9-3 really has to be about the hatch, doesn’t it?
I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but just in case someone has got a good argument against it…….comments are open.
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And while we’re here, is it time for a new, vibrant, hero color?
The last one, IMHO, was Lightning Blue. I think it’s time for a boldly packaged car painted in a bold color. The 2010 model year might be a good time.
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Reading Jan-Ake’s comments in the interview the other day, he mentioned that 2007 was a great year for sales, with 125,000 Saabs sold.
That was the year of the 60th Anniversary model, which was a great package.
Is it time for another such great offering once again. Right now? I think so.
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Just a few things to ponder. I’m off to get some Z’s.
US sales data should be out in a few hours.