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by Swade

Saab 9-5 pricing for Dutch market now available

April 29, 2010 in News

We had some tentative pricing for Saab 9-5 become available a few months ago for the Dutch market. That was tentative pricing, though.
Through the Dutch Saab website, you can now download a brochure and another PDF covering pricing information for the new Saab.
Here’s the base pricing for the car. Click to enlarge.
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It seems there’s also an ‘Exclusive’ model for the 9-5 range in the Dutch market. I’m not sure what you get in the Exclusive model as I don’t read Dutch, but the pricing is as follows:
DutchSaab9-5ExclPricing.jpg
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Click here to download the brochure (PDF).
Click here to download the full pricelist, with options etc (PDF).
Thanks to Ignace for the heads up.

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by Swade

Dutch Saabers go for dealership #3

March 28, 2010 in News

They said it was madness when Ruud and Fernand opened up Saab Apeldoorn on April Fools Day 2009. Saab were at the beginning of sale process and the future of the brand was far from certain.
The guys had faith in the future, though. In fact, they had so much faith in the future that they opened up a second Saab dealership in Utrecht, in January 2010.
You might recall that in early January, Saab were under the control of liquidators and the situation was looking even more ominous than it was in April 2009. We were still a few weeks away from the Saab Support Convoys and GM’s standard line was no-one had come up with a deal suitable for purchasing Saab. They would be closed down.
So now, with two dealerships stitched up and Saab’s future model line assured, Ruud and Fernand are at it again. As they did in Utrecht, they’re taking over another property that’s been vacated by Smart, and turning it into their third Saab dealership.
Saab Arnhem will be located in Duiven, along the A12 – the main highway from The Hague to Germany. They’re hoping to have the new dealership kitted out and ready for the Dutch Saab 9-5 introduction in June this year.
Here’s a few small images to show the space they’ve secured. Congratulations to Ruud and Fernand for expanding again and I hope the faith you’ve shown in the Saab brand is repaid back to you tenfold.
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by Swade

Dutch Saab Museum – In love with the bulbous nose

February 5, 2010 in Saabology

You gotta love hard core old-timer Saab fans.
Whilst I wrote a few days ago on the virtues of current Saab cars, anyone with a knowledge and appreciation of Saab’s history will tell you that most of the passionate Saab stories come from the owners – or former owners – of older Saabs.
One such guy runs the oldest Saab Museum in the Netherlands. He’s a former mechanic and dealer, and his story was recently told in Algemeen Dagblad, the Dutch national broadsheet newspaper.
Laurens W was kind enough to translate the article and send it through.
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Dutch Saab Museum.jpegIn love with the ‘bolneus’
Leo Borsboom cherishes the legacy of automobile manufacturer Saab.
Of course he was glad when the purchase of Saab by Dutch Spyker was sealed. But Leo Borsboom got really excited when he heard chief Victor Muller say that Saab should again become an exclusive make and distinguish itself through producing special cars.
“Because the newer models don’t appeal to me,” says the man who in the early nineties opened the first Saab museum in Holland. A modest museum, because Borsboom greets at most about thirty visitors per year. It doesn’t bother the Woerdenaar [inhabitant of the town of Woerden]. “I own the cars mainly because I like them myself”.
Leo Borsboom and Saab have been connected since the sixties. “I left military service and immediately started on my own as a car mechanic. That was in 1968. Even then I drove a Saab. Why? Because it was such a special car. My first Saab was a 96, a two-stroke. You know the characteristic noise.”
Shortly afterwards Borsboom became a Saab dealer. “There was only one of that make in Woerden at the time. The Dutch importer at the time wasn’t much bigger than my later dealership. Nevertheless I could earn a living with it. The margins were good and the competition small. In the area there were only dealers in Utrecht, Leiden and Mijdrecht. That first year I already sold ten cars.”
Borsboom started in an old warehouse. Later it was replaced with a new building with a showroom. That showroom has since been demolished and turned into a housing complex. Borsboom has a house there. He kept the old garage. On the ground floor he tinkers with his ‘fleet’ of cars and the first floor houses Saab Museum ‘D’Oude Bolneus’ ['The Old Bulbous Nose'].
“That museum has existed since about 1992, but collecting started much earlier. I think in the eighties. One of the Saabs I drive myself I’ve owned since 1975. In the early eighties a customer entered the dealership with a Swedish friend. The friend saw an old Vespa scooter I had. It turned out he collected them. He asked if I wanted to swap it for a Saab 92 from the 50′s.” That Saab is now the jewel in the crown of the museum that houses nine cars. “There’s only one of those in Holland. That year only 700 were produced. This one has chassis number 391.” A few years ago Borsboom, with a friend, disassembled the car, restored it and put it all back together. “A multi-year project, let me tell you.”
New Saab models will not be displayed. “The name says it all, ‘D’Oude Bolneus’. It especially the shape. The older models all have the recognisable bulbous or round nose. That’s what I fell in love with. Take the 9000 series, they were built on a platform that also carried an Alfa and a Fiat! It’s a good thing that Muller wants to make Saab an exclusive make once more because that’s what it once was. My customers were all professionals. A lawyer, a dentist, an accountant, a doctor. Those were the type of people who bought a Saab in those days. The new models miss the cachet of the old Saab. It’s good that that will return.”
Borsboom’s Sonnet drove at the head of the Saab Support Convoy.
Saab Museum ‘D’Oude Bolneus’ is located on the ‘Gedempte Binnnegracht’ on the edge of the centre of Woerden. The collection consists of nine cars, of which six ‘bolneuzen’ and three Sonett II and Sonett III sports cars. “People that saw the Saab Support Convoy on TV may have noticed the Sonett that drove at the head of it. It just so happens that I sold that car just a few weeks ago. I had one surplus,” says museum owner Leo Borsboom.
Anyone who wants advise on the maintenance of an antique Saab can also call on Borsboom. “But myself, I don’t tinker anymore.” The Saab Museum is open all year around by appointment. Anyone who wants to visit the museum can send an email to info@saabmuseum.nl.
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Now whilst I don’t agree with the critique of later Saabs (and I know from recent writing that the 9000 has a lot of love around here), you can’t help but listen to the stories from someone who’s seen so much and smile as you do so.
The Spirit of Saab takes many forms.

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by Swade

Backstage with Victor Muller after Dutch TV

February 1, 2010 in Saabology

Last week we featured a pretty good presentation on Dutch television by Victor Muller and on the weekend we even got a version with subtitles!
I had a story forwarded to me by mail over the weekend, too, which is relevant to all this.
Present in the studio audience at the Pauw & Wittemann show were various members of the crew who organised the Saab Support Convoy in Holland.
I’ll let Stephan continue….

A substantial delegation of the SSC NL organisation was invited to be present during the live broadcast. And we had to park our cars somewhere, so in true Amsterdam style we double parked. The camera liked it. When the camera shows the Saabs in the front of the building you can spot the shields of the SCC NL.
Afterwards there was an informal meet & greet and VM received a SSC NL shield with the number 26.1. And yes we stayed calm and thanked him.
The live broadcast was fun, but not as interactive as we hoped. Afterwards the informal meet & greet made up for the earlier lack of interaction with the audience.
VM seems very focused, and with great drive to make Saab a success.

Click to enlarge:
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by Swade

Our friends from Saab Apeldoorn open new dealership in Utrecht

January 13, 2010 in Saabology

It seems opening a dealership in April 2009 – when a crisis for Saab was just unfolding – wasn’t difficult enough for our friend, Ruud Blokhuis.
So he decided to open another one as GM threatened to wind Saab down!
Ruud is a partner in Saab Apeldoorn, the dealership that opened on April 1 last year. That dealership’s going well, surviving on second-hand vehicles sales and mechanical work.
At the start of 2010, they’ve opened another Saab dealership in Utrecht. I talked a little about this some time ago. The property they took over was a former Smart dealership, but it’s now fitted out and shining bright as a Saab showroom.
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I guess all they need now is a positive answer from Detroit, and then some new cars to sell.
The Utrecht dealership is a partnership with Ruud and Jody Kok, a 9-year veteran of the former Dutch Saab importer, Kroymans.
The opening has been covered in a Dutch paper, De Volkskrant, and here’s a few snippets from that article:

In Nieuwegein Utrecht Saab opened its doors last week. The spacious property is situated on an expensive high-profile location along the A12. On the gate hangs a banner reading: “Now Open!”.
The showroom is director Jody Kok (39) at a long table between the sleek polished cars. Customers are not. In the parking lot two Saabs, one from him and one of an employee…..
…..(The possible closure of Saab was..) News that Kok had not counted on when he and his partner, Ruud Blokhuis (49), Utrecht Saab decided last November to start. And their signature under a three-year lease. “At that time it seemed almost certain that Saab would be taken by Koenigsegg,” says Kok……
……Something to say they still believe, even though GM reiterate that Saab is dismantled. “There is really still find a buyer for Saab. For such a nice marque to disappear, that’s impossible, “said Kok, who acknowledges that “very often” he’s had moments of doubt.

I hope you guys get some good news – and I hope for all of our sakes that you get it very soon.

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Another new dealership in Netherlands

November 29, 2009 in News

Our mates from Saab Apeldoorn in The Netherlands have done it again….
On April 1 this year, Ruud Blokhuis and his partner Fernand opened a new dealership in Apeldoorn. This was in a year when Saab’s supplier in the Netherlands went bankrupt so supply was virtually non-existent. Oh yeah, and GM put Saab up for sale, too.
These are not the ideal conditions to start a business, but start they did and despite the difficult year, things are going OK at Saab Apeldoorn.
Once again, at a time when GM’s about to pass on a decision on Saab’s future, Ruud is posting another vote of confidence by opening a second Saab dealership – in Utrecht.
The message from Ruud:
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I’m pleased to let you know that I will start a new Saab dealership at Utrecht on the first of January 2010 together with Jody Kok.
Jody was Dealer Development Manager at Saab Netherlands, before the bankruptcy of Kroymans Corporation. Fernand and I met him when we started our Saab dealership at Apeldoorn. The contact with Jody was good and continued when he lost his job because of the bankruptcy. Kroymans Corporation was the owner of Saab Netherlands and several Saab dealerships, for example at Utrecht and Amsterdam.
Jody’s experience and contacts were very useful for me, when I was thinking about a second dealership. Together we investigated the opportunities to start a second Saab dealership. I knew that Jody would like to manage a dealership himself, if we would succeed in finding a good opportunity.
Because Jody lives near the city of Utrecht, we first tried to restart a Saab dealership at Utrecht. When investigating the opportunities there was one big problem: we couldn’t find a good and affordable location. After very many disappointing meetings with the owners of automotive locations we came to the conclusion that starting up a dealership at Utrecht wouldn’t be possible.
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But then…. we got a phonecall about a suitable location at Utrecht. After several negotiations we had a contract to rent the location, and a Letter of Intent with the distributor. In the front part of the picture you can see the former Saab dealerlocation of Kroymans Utrecht. Behind it you can see the Smart location where will start at the first of January 2010. At the left side you can see the A12, one of the main highways in the Netherlands. The A12 begins at the Hague and ends at the border with Germany.
We hope that Saab Utrecht will be have the same success as Saab Apeldoorn. We have a simple website now, that will be soon upgraded to an official Saab Dealerwebsite.
The webadress is: www.saab-utrecht.nl.
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With thanks to Albert and of course, Ruud!

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by Swade

Saab Apeldoorn still going strong

November 19, 2009 in Saabology

Back in April I was contacted by a guy named Ruud Blokhius, who wanted to let me know that in the midst of all the turmoil that Saab were going through – both corporately and in the Netherlands in particular – he was about to open a new Saab dealership.
Talk about courage!
We’ve had an update from Ruud since then, but I’ve received a comprehensive one from him, which I’ve reproduced below.
This is the Saab Spirit put to action. More power to Saab Apeldoorn!!
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Saab Apeldoorn still going strong
In November 2008 the Saab dealership at Apeldoorn closed because the dealer went bankrupt. On the first day of April 2009, Fernand and I restarted the Saab-dealership at Apeldoorn.
As you know this restart had to be made under bad economic circumstances. Kroymans Corporation and the Saab distributor both went bankrupt and Saab Sweden had to find a new owner. As a result of all this the sales of new cars collapsed and there were some major problems to be solved: how to get new Saabs and original Saab parts and how to give (under these circumstances) good service to your customers. However, we had a strong belief that all the problems would be solved.
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The most important purpose was to re-win the trust of our customers and rebuild a stable relationship with them. There was a major effort necessary for this, but we did a good job and succeeded. The customers came back for the after-sales, and the sales of new and used cars increased smoothly.
The start of our company was 6 months ago, We are proud to tell you that Saab Apeldoorn is still going strong. We have a good team of six hard working people and satisfied customers. We can give our customers the full Saab support they want once again. We deliver new cars, used cars, Saab warranty, Saab service and original Saab-parts.
Our Saab service is continuously fully employed for the next two weeks. Sales are increasing smoothly, especially the sales of young (used) cars. We can feel that the opinion about Saab is far more positive than some months ago. There is a new owner of Saab Sweden and a new Saab 9-5 coming soon. The customers who saw the new Saab 9-5 at Rotterdam were very positive. We can’t wait to have this great new Saab in our showroom.
Resuming we can conclude that our dream has come through. There has been made a good start in the first half year of Saab Apeldoorn and we have a strong belief in the future of Saab Automobile, Saab Netherlands and Saab Apeldoorn.
Next week we will tell you some more great news from the Netherlands!! Stay tuned.
Greetings,
Ruud Blokhuis and Fernand Andringa.
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by Swade

A Saab update from Holland

May 22, 2009 in Archive

Our Saab dealer friends have been doing it pretty tough in Holland.
Saab’s Dutch importer collapsed a few months ago and since then, they haven’t been able to get any new cars into the country, no matter how many orders they had outstanding.
I’ve just heard, however, that the new importers will commence work on Monday, May 25th.
You might remember that I’ve recently been in touch with some guys in Apeldoorn, in Holland. These guys took the extraordinary decision to open a Saab dealership in the midst of all this crisis. With an importing body collapsed and Saab’s own future uncertain, Saab of Apeldoorn opened its doors on April 1st this year.
They now have their website up and running, and it’s looking pretty fine, too.
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All Saab dealers in Holland have been able to order parts in direct from Sweden, so servicing hasn’t been a problem.
Hopefully, with the new importers in place, they’ll be able to give customers the new vehicles that they want, too. And hopefully the Dutch market can take back its place as one of Saab’s most popular markets.
I just hope Saab of Apeldoorn are a big part of it. I’d take my hat off to those guys if I was wearing one.

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Saab Apeldoorn going well….

May 9, 2009 in Archive

It was back at the start of April that I wrote here at SU about a couple of guys in The Netherlands doing the seemingly unthinkable – opening a brand new Saab dealership.
Think of the obstacles they had to overcome at the time:

  • Saab’s very existence in question
  • Poor local and world economy
  • Saab Netherlands going bankrupt (no deliveries)

I remember writing back to Ruud at the time and asking if his initial email was an April Fools prank!!
Well, I’m pleased to say that their first month since opening went very well indeed. I received this update from Ruud overnight via email.
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Hello Steven,
The weekend is almost there en on this sunny friday night I would like to tell you some good news from the Netherlands.
First:
As I told you at the beginning of April we started a new Saab dealership in Apeldoorn. Well, this new started company is very succesful. We started with three Saab technicians and on May 14th a fourth technician will come to us. The customers we meet are still enthusiastic about the way we try to give them the best Saab service we can.
Second:
As noted on Saabs United there is an actual problem with the delivery of new Saabs to customers. But….. this problem will be solved soon. Saab Import Belgium (i.c. Saab Import Belux at Bornem) will asap continue the activities of Saab Netherlands.
Third:
The dutch Saab customers I have spoken with are very enthousiast about the new Saab 9-5. We expect that the Saab sales in the Netherlands will certainly increase by the introduction of the new Saab 9-5.
I hope the three facts I mentioned will be a contribution to a more positive view on the Saab activities in the Netherlands.
Have a very nice weekend!!
Ruud Blokhuis
SAAB Apeldoorn
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That is all absolutely fantastic news.
It really is a measure of how much hope and consumer support there is for Saab in various places around the world.
I can’t wait to show pictures of Saab Apeldoorn’s first new Saab delivery to a customer. I hope the new distributor gets into action and that we can show you that photo as soon as possible.
Congratulations again to Ruud and Fernand.
Saab Apeldoorn

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Djup Strupe and Saab Netherlands

May 6, 2009 in Archive

There’s so much news popping into my inbox I can barely keep up!!!

I’ve just received what might be some very good news for Saab dealers in the Netherlands.
If you’ve read the sales figures there for April, you’ll know the story. Basically, Saab’s importer in the Netherlands has gone broke, so distribution to dealers has stopped to a trickle, to the point where there were only 5 vehicles delivered last month!
Here’s the news, which looks like it’s come from a news service. It’s been passed on to me by Djup Strupe. I’m not sure it’s a done deal yet, but it sounds like it’s well on the way.
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Saab importer bankrupt. Belgian importer takes over
Kroymans subsidiary Auto Import Company, better known as Saab Netherlands, last Tuesday, April 28 declared bankruptcy. But one expects a bit of a go next week to deal with the Belgian importer Saab Belux Import in Bornem.
Dealers who do not belong to Kroymans may present simply with the brand because it is a direct route up the manufacturer Saab Automobile.
In the last period, Saab in Sweden had six parties who have expressed interest in taking over the import activities of Saab and the manufacturer has the made its preference known.
This party, the importer for Belgium and Luxembourg, will very quickly try to reach an agreement which can take place next week. There is nothing known about the impact on the staff of the current importer, still have the procedure all been dismissed as withdrawn.

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Thursday Night Snippets

April 30, 2009 in Archive

UPDATE:
A comment from ctm that I thought was worth bringing to the front page here:

Media in Sweden now claim there are four auto manufacturers interested in Saab: Koenigsegg, Geely, another Chinese manufacturer, and another unknown one.

That would gel pretty well with the whispers I’m hearing. The rest of the dozen who Saab will proceed with would be investment companies.
I had a good conversation with Djup Strupe in Sweden this evening and whilst no identities were forthcoming (they never are), the impression I got was that this is a very mixed bunch full of names you’ve never heard of.
I also got some clarification from Magnus Nordberg at TTELA this evening on something written there and covered here. The presence of BMW in these negotiations, which we’ve written about and discussed recently, is in no way confirmed. In fact, I’d be surprised.
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A new month starts in just minutes from now, which means sales figures will be upon us once more.
Yikes!
Expect plenty of red ink, though there are some markets that are making definite pronounced efforts to drum up interest while others sleep.
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One of those markets that seems to be pulling out all the stops at the moment is the Belgian market.
I recently featured their initial “Future of Saab” roadshow stop, where they showed off the 9-4x and 9-3x at a local dealership.
Last night, that roadshow continued, with 6 combined dealerships inviting guests to come and view the new vehicles. Sofie Van D from Saab in Belgium forwarded a few images from the event, which by all accounts was another raging success.
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My congratulations to Sofie and the crew at Saab Belgium who are doing great stuff in terms of getting the word out to the people about Saab’s current and future product.
If you’re in Belgium and you haven’t heard about this, I’d encourage you to call your Saab dealer. Perhaps our mate on the ground there, Etienne over at Saabhuy, may know a bit more about where the tour is going, too.
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At the other end of the spectrum, the Dutch market is in serious trouble, with Saab’s importer reportedly filing for bankruptcy.
The full story is here for those who read Dutch.
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And on a personal note…..my own car buying saga continues.
Finally, this weekend I’m going to satisfy my Porsche curiosity once again and test drive the cheapest 944 for sale in Australia, which just happens to live 10 minutes from my place. Great handling, no service history, expensive parts, crappy interior, but it IS a Porsche. Did I mention great handling and that it’s the cheapest 944 in the country?
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And in the blue corner….. I’m still fascinated by MX-5′s. Cheap, zippy, great handling, and very upgradeable.
And yes, I do like that blue…….
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Ah well, I’ll always have my Monte……