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by Swade

Images: Paris Auto Show

October 3, 2010 in Saabology

There are Saab bloggers and site popping up all over the place now that the company has been saved. One of these new sites is catering to the French-reading Saabisti and it’s run by a (camera shy, see below) guy named Nabu. The site is called SAABactu.

Nabu has been kind enough to send through some photos from the Paris Auto Show, where he was fortunate enough to meet up with all the top executives from Saab, including Victor Muller, Jan-Ake Jonsson, Knut Simonsson and Jason Castriota.

Click to enlarge – and thanks to Nabu for sending these through. It’s good to see all things going well in Paris!

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by Swade

Video: Saab presentation at Paris Auto Show

October 2, 2010 in News

Thanks to Kittciokas, via comments.

This is the first major motor show since Saab really got back on their feet again (yes, Geneva came after the sale, but Saab were just learning to draw breath again at that time).

If you want a good look at what Saab’s done since being sold in February, this press conference will give you a good overview as to how just how busy they’ve been. Remember, this company was nearly dead just 7 months ago.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B7vJKeStdY

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by Swade

Updates from the Paris Auto Show

October 1, 2010 in News

There are snippets of news flying here there and everywhere from the Paris Auto Show.

The Saab stand looks pretty good, too, with a nice enclosed glass booth with a wind generator in it, pushing a whole bunch of leaves around. A nice little BioPower visual. You can just see it behind the girls in green…..

Saab Stand Paris 2010

And here as a filter in front of the Saab 9-5….

Saab 9-5 Leaves Paris

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One good bit of news from Paris comes from Saab Cars North America. They haven’t got final numbers yet (obviously), but it looks like September could be the best months for US Saab sales in nearly 18 months.

Sales numbers should come out in the next few days, so it’ll be interesting to see.

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The Saab 9-3 ePower concept is a feature on the Saab stand and is also looking good….

Saab 9-3 ePower Paris

The wheels look kinda awkward and kinda cool all at the same time. I could definitely get used to them.

Move along, not much to see here….

Saab 9-3 ePower Paris

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SVD.se posted an update from Paris just before I went to bed last night (damn time zones!). Here’s a Googletrans:

Jan Ake Jonsson, and Victor Muller met with Swedish journalists and told them that Saab will expand by some 30 people in the body shop to increase production of the Saab 9-5. One also wonders to increase with a shift to. Then between 200 and 300 recruited. But it is not clear yet.

• Saab’s initial public offering, then?

Victor Muller, open to Saab goes public in Stockholm in early April next year. So clearly the moment he has not been before. But there are many technical obstacles remain.

• What else you met?

I have interviewed Saab’s new design director, Jason Castriota, a 36-year-old New Yorker who already has several full-scale models of a brand new 9-3 model. Full-scale models have been finished this month. By all accounts, it becomes a hatchback-coupe and one should introduce a concept version in the next year, which begins production 2012th

• Is Vladimir Antonov there?

I have not seen him here in the crowd. Victor Muller says he “for discussions” with GM to clear his name and get back in the Saab, but it was rejected by GM Europe president Nick Reilly told TT this morning. Antonov still stands behind the Saab as a financier, but must not come in as a shareholder. Victor Muller raises his voice when asked about the Antonov.

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Jan-Ake Jonsson also spoke to Swedish journalists in Paris about plans to increase output at the Trollhattan plant:

Plans for a second shift at Saab Automobile in Trollhättan is moving forward. Already around October-November is introduced double shifts on the body and 30 new jobs, says Managing Director Jan Åke Jonsson for TT at the Paris Motor Show.

The reason is the change in product mix with increased production of model 9-5. At the end of the year, the entire plant a second shift to meet increased demand expected next year. It’s about a total of 200-300 new jobs.

I’ve heard just in the last 24 hours that Saab have now used up all the 9-5 parts that were pre-assembled in Russelsheim. Everything that goes through now will be 100% done in Sweden.

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by Swade

AMS interview Jason Castriota

October 1, 2010 in News

I’m still waiting to finish my phone interview with Jason Castriota. We got 30 minutes into things when a medical emergency with his family took him away and it’s been difficult to get in touch again, but we’ll get it done soon. I’m looking forward to it, too, as we covered a lot, but we had miles to go.

My mates at Auto Motor and Sport caught up with him at the Paris Auto Show and JH has been kind enough to send through a transcript:

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“I call them Clark Kent and Superman”

Nisse Svärd sat down together with Saab’s new chief designer Jason Castriota, and discussed the future: Hatchback, concept cars, black interior and model name (current 9-3 will be 900 or 93?). And Jason also revealed what he calls his two bosses …

Our reporter Nisse Svärd had a chat with Saab’s new chief designer. Jason Castriota proved to be a promising quote machine …

Why did you take the job at Saab?
Why not? It is a good chance. Saab is an icon in the automotive world and its re-launch offers new opportunities. A perfect environment for a designer when Saab will be reborn and start from scratch and you are also allowed to be responsible and lead the work

Why do you think Saab chose you to manage their heritage?
It was Victor Muller who contacted me. He knows my work at Pininfarina and liked my projects. I have not worked with Spyker, but he appreciated how I managed the design and history of other brands that I worked with. We met at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year and Victor told me I had to come over. The second press days, I went to the Saab booth where I had a meeting with Jan-Åke and Viktor. It was supposed to last for 15 minutes, but it was a good conversation about Saab’s future design for over an hour and we were very consistent. Then they came over to me at the car show in New York a month later, where I presented the sketches of my proposals. We agreed.

Pushing ahead, that is. Typically Victor, and is it typical for you?
I am a determined designer. Saab must be decisive, especially now. It’s a good synergy between the fiery Victor and restrained Jan-Åke. They are a perfect combination and a dynamic duo. They’re like ying and yang. It is wonderful to work with them. I call them Clark Kent and Superman.

Clark Kent and Superman aka Jan-Ake Jonsson, and Victor Muller.

What is it like working at Saab and in your new design?
There is a great passion and enthusiasm within Saab. It’s fun to work here and so easy to be creative. Lovely atmosphere.

When will we see Castriota-design in Saab’s cars for the first time?
The first production car that I was responsible for is coming in 2012.

You consequently mean new 9-3?
Can not promise that it remains the 9-3.

Is it therefore more of a new 900 than a 9-3?
Saab 900 was an icon with a unique silhouette. All the manufacturers want to build premium, sporty and crossover (this refers for instance to the BMW 5 GT). It’s time to go back to a unique Saab which is premium and sporty.

Can the replacement of the 9-3 be called 900 or maybe even 93?
You get a laugh in response. (Jason’s laughter leads to a deliberate silence.)

When will we see the first touch of your Saab design?
There is a concept car next year. It gives a hint of where we are headed. Both the design and technology terms. Exactly when in 2011 is too early to tell. It depends on when the technology that shall be in the car is available.

How do you see Saab’s earlier concept cars? They have received considerable attention, do you build upon them?
No, it will be a new cycle of concept cars. The old ones had elements of Saab DNA, it will of course remain, but with new ideas.

Here at the booth Saab is showing a large text with “The Scandinavian Spirit”. How do you see the term Scandinavian design?
First you observe cultures from the outside, but then you live in it and develop the vision. Today, I live in Trollhättan. Scandinavian design is a rich heritage and not just cars. It is minimalistic and it’s a bit of a contrast to what we see in many booths here today. It is often said that a good car design will be drawn with only three lines. It is not the case with many manufacturers today. Even details are beautiful, but it should be clear lines.

Scandinavian design is often associated – not least among furniture – with light materials and wood. The interior of the Saabs today is almost known as “black”. How do you see it?
Today it is a little too sober inside the Saab cars, and it has been so for a while. I want to give more warmth to the interior and work with natural materials. Saab has lost to competitors regarding the design and colors – it also applies to the outside. I want to make a more humane environment with sustainable materials.

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by Swade

Paris: Saab forecasting 33% lower sales target in US

September 30, 2010 in News

Jan-Ake Jonsson and Victor Muller entertained some of the automotive press on the way from Trollhattan to Paris overnight and Automotive News Europe have written a story based on the conversation on the plane.

Saab Automobile CEO Jan Ake Jonsson says it will take longer than anticipated to gain the hearts, minds and eventually the wallets of U.S. car buyers.

The automaker has reduced its U.S. sales target this year by at least 33 percent to below 10,000 units.

“The U.S. is a huge country,” Jonsson said. “There are many areas where they still believe we are gone. It will take time…….”

……Global sales are expected at about 48,000 this year, down from a range of 50,000 to 55,000 forecast in June. Jonsson estimates Saab will sell 80,000 vehicles globally next year, of which 16,000 to 20,000 will be in the United States……

That article goes on to talk about current incentives available in the US, like the conquest incentive available to owners of various marques until the end of September.

“Having all these tools in place is resulting in the great month we are having nationally,” said Fred Shaw, owner of Shaw Saab in Norwell, Mass. “We are on a roll.”

Shaw did not provide any national sales numbers. He is a member of Saab’s national marketing and advertising council.

I definitely think sales will be light years better in September than what they were in August. For example, my mates at New Salem Saab told me a few days ago that they’d sold 4 new and 10 used vehicles so far this month. It may not sound like a heap to some of you, but it’s way ahead of previous months and when you consider that around 200 Saab dealers sold just 290 cars nationwide in August, well, you get what I mean.

We don’t have long to wait and see, but I’m confident of a better month and much better times ahead.

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by Swade

Wednesday Night Snippets – Saab/BMW press conference video

September 30, 2010 in Saabology

Before I kick off with these quick snippets, can I just take a moment to remind everyone of the comments policy for this website.

Your consideration of and adherence to the comments policy makes administering and publishing this site a heck of a lot easier (and more pleasurable).

Hint: the respect section applies to Saab as well. Constant carping about how such-and-such an announcement isn’t good enough for you is kinda disrespectful to a company that was nearly dead just seven months ago. Everyone at this company is busting a gut, doing their absolute best to bring great new Saabs to market for as many people as possible to enjoy.

Listen to the first 5 minutes of the video, below, to hear just how far they’ve come.

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Now that’s over and done with….

I have it on pretty good authority that the Saab-related news from the Paris Auto Show is not over quite yet.

I won’t give away the full details, but how do the words “Entrepreneur of the Year” sound?

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The big ticket item in this snippets entry is the video from the press conference earlier today.

Enjoy. (and thanks Wulf for the tip in comments).

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The Saab Club of Spain participated in a track day last weekend at Jarama’s racing circuit (in Madrid). Some old 900′s and 9000′s came out to play, looking fantastic in formation…..

…..and that’s not all. Check out who else came along for a ride…..

Thanks to Carlos D, via mail.

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It was always going to come and indeed, it came quickly…….thanks Jacco!

Saab BMW badge

If the new Saab 9-3 with the BMW-sourced engine is released on 1 September 2012, I reckon these badges will be on Ebay by 2 September :-)

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by Swade

Press Release: Saab Automobile and BMW enter agreement for supply of gasoline engines

September 29, 2010 in News

Prelude to the press conference to be held later today….

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Saab Automobile and BMW enter agreement for supply of gasoline engines

  • Engines with latest fuel savings innovations to be used in future generation Saabs
  • Major step towards successful future as independent company

Trollhättan, Sweden: Today, Saab Automobile and BMW announced an agreement for the supply of engines to be used in next-generation Saab vehicles. Under the purchase, supply and development agreement, BMW will supply Saab with 4-cylinder 1.6 liter turbocharged gasoline engines from 2012. The engines will be adapted to meet Saab’s specific requirements.

The contract was signed on Wednesday in Trollhättan, Sweden. Participating in the signing were Saab Automobile CEO Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile Chairman Victor Muller and Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing.

Announcing the deal, Saab Automobile CEO Jan Åke Jonsson said: “It gives me great pleasure to confirm this exciting new relationship. BMW’s engines and their fuel savings innovations are widely regarded as a benchmark in the premium segment. We look forward to integrating this technology into our next-generation vehicles in a true Saab way.”

Victor Muller, Chairman of Saab Automobile, said: “This is a major step for Saab on our road to becoming a profitable independent premium car maker. In line with our strategy, we will continue to capitalize on our own engineering expertise while also working with the very best partners. Both parties are open to explore further opportunities as part of this relationship in the future.”

Ian Robertson, Executive Sales and Marketing Director of BMW, added: “We are continuing to expand our powertrain system sales business worldwide as planned as part of our Strategy Number ONE. Today’s agreement marks another important milestone along this route. We are delighted to support Saab with our engine expertise. Our engines have a clear lead over the competition when it comes to fuel consumption, emissions and performance.”

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by Swade

Saab at the Paris Auto Show

September 29, 2010 in News

The Paris Auto Show is coming up later this week and Saab will have plenty for the press to talk about.

The following press releases have been featured here at Saabs United already, but make up the bulk of Saab’s offering for the Paris show. Of course, there will also be news about the collaboration with BMW to add to this list.

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Saab’s Product Offensive Continues

A summary release about the following:

  • Public debut: Saab 9-3 ePower, first EV from Saab
  • Class-leading 119 g/km CO2 emissions from latest Saab 9-3 diesels
  • New BioPower, diesel and gasoline engines expand Saab 9-5 line-up

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Saab Automobile and AAM form new technology company: e-AAM Driveline Systems

  • Saab and American Axle Manufacturing (AAM) in joint venture to develop electric and hybrid driveline systems
  • New company, e-AAM Driveline Systems, headquartered in Trollhättan, Sweden
  • Major step for Saab towards a successful future as an independent company

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Saab 9-3 ePower

  • Saab 9-3 SportCombi with all-electric propulsion
  • Projected driving range 200 km approx.
  • Battery cells set benchmark for energy density
  • User trials with 70-strong test fleet starting next year

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New Saab 9-3 Diesels Set 119 g/km CO2 Class Benchmark

  • Two-stage turbo diesels give CO2 emissions of just 119 g/km
  • Across-the-range reduction of 10 percent in CO2 emissions
  • Distinctive TX Edition continued
  • New 163 hp gasoline/BioPower engine with Saab XWD

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Wider Engine Choice for Saab’s All-new Flagship

  • Three engines added to powertain line-up
  • Sporty,190 hp 2.0 TTiD – first Saab diesel to offer XWD
  • Efficient, 180 hp 1.6T develops class-leading 112 hp per liter
  • Saab BioPower flex-fuel option

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by Swade

AMS.de tipping 9-5 Combi for Paris

September 26, 2010 in Saabology

Auto Motor und Sport – the German version – has compiled what looks like its list of cars to be exhibited at the Paris Auto Salon, coming up at the start of October.

The Saab part of the list includes a number of vehicles, one of which is a car that a lot of European Saab fans will be waiting for with bated breath – the Saab 9-5 SportCombi.

We’ve heard previously from Saab’s Victor Muller and Jan-Ake Jonsson that the 9-5 Combi will come around mid-year in 2011, just after the 9-4x that’s due around April.

I’ve mentioned once before and I’ll say it again now….. I don’t expect to see the 9-5 SportCombi in Paris. The rare mumblings from Djup Strupe didn’t indicate anything other than the new 9-3 diesels, which is worth taking note of in some ways and not worth noting in others – there was no inkling of the 9-3 ePower that’ll go on show there.

My intuition still tells me, though, that if there’s something other than the 9-3 ePower to see/hear in Paris, then it’ll be something to do with future partnerships (think Saab 92).

It’s not like Saab will be short of things to talk about in Paris, either. New low-emissions diesels, a bigger range of engines in the 9-5 sedan, the 9-3 ePower and the new e-AAM Driveline Systems partnership to work on hybrid drivetrains. That’s plenty to keep the newshounds busy and it keeps some more bullets in the chamber for later on.

The Saab 9-4x is going to be seen in Los Angeles in November. I expect the Saab 9-5 SportCombi to be seen at Geneva in March 2011.

But I could be wrong ;-) .

It’s worth noting that AMS.de also predict the 9-4x could show in Paris, which is another reason why I’m a bit skeptical about their predictions there.

Thanks to A-RO for the AMS tip in comments.

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by Swade

Press Release: Saab’s product offensive continues (Paris Motor Show)

September 17, 2010 in News

2010 Paris Motor Show: Saab Highlights

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  • Public debut: Saab 9-3 ePower, first EV from Saab
  • Class-leading 119 g/km CO2 emissions from latest Saab 9-3 diesels
  • New BioPower, diesel and gasoline engines expand Saab 9-5 line-up

Trollhättan, Sweden: Since the re-birth as an independent company just seven months ago, Saab has launched the all-new 9-5 sedan, concentrated all facilities in Sweden, ramped up production, rebuilt the global sales network, and formed new strategic business partnerships.

Looking ahead, there will be two more new products to launch in the next 12 months. Saab’s business plan is on track. In short, the future for Saab Automobile has never looked brighter.

On the stand at this year’s Paris Motor Show, zero-emissions driving and class-leading low CO2 levels are among the eco-benefits on offer from Saab.

Taking center stage and making its public debut, the unique Saab 9-3 ePower is an all-electric version of the 9-3 SportCombi. It is Saab’s first step towards developing an all-electric vehicle and a test fleet of 70 cars will begin user trials in Sweden early next year.

On sale now are the latest 180 hp/132 kW 2.0TTiD Saab 9-3 Sport Sedans, which deliver a class-leading CO2 rating of only 119 g/km. More powerful, two-stage turbocharging is standard for all diesel models, while fuel economy and emissions are improved an average by10 percent across the entire range,

Saab also extends it market leadership in biofuel applications with the introduction of a 220 hp/162 kW, 2.0-liter BioPower engine for the new Saab 9-5 sedan. A more powerful, 190 hp/140 kW, 2.0-liter turbo diesel and a rightsized, 180 hp/132 kW, 1.6-liter gasoline turbo further extend the 9-5’s powertrain line-up.

Saab 9-3 ePower: midsized sports combi with zero emissions
Saab Automobile takes its first step towards developing an all-electric vehicle with the unique Saab 9-3 ePower, a Saab 9-3 SportCombi designed to offer a zero-emissions driving range greater than any EV currently in production.

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Saab 9-3 ePower

September 17, 2010 in News

Press release, via the Saab Newsroom:

Saab 9-3 ePower

Saab Automobile is taking its first step towards developing an all-electric vehicle with the Saab 9-3 ePower.

Making its public debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month, the Saab 9-3 ePower is the prototype for a test fleet of 70 vehicles which will participate in extensive field trials in Sweden early next year.

The performance of the cars will be evaluated under a variety of real world driving conditions as part of the development process for a purpose-built, electric Saab vehicle. Targets to be verified include a projected driving range of approximately 200 kilometers through the use of high density energy storage in lithium-ion battery cells.

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