Happy New Year!

It’s 9.00pm on New Years Eve as I write this. I haven’t checked the news. I’m too hot to care. It’s a stinker today.
I do, however, want to take a moment to recognise the year’s end and wish everyone a safe evening and a very prosperous and Saaby 2010.
This year has been one amazing ride. I haven’t seen anything like it, but then again I’ve never covered the sale of anything so closely. It’s been exciting, emotional, infuriating, frustrating and everything in between.
On a personal level, I’ve got to meet a range of people I never thought I’d meet and do a range of things I never thought I’d do. Every one of those contacts has been precious, from the Sonett owner in England to the prospective customer in Germany to the supercar builder in Sweden. Everyone of you have made 2009 an incredible tapestry.
Aside from all the Saab news, I managed to mark the year with the purchase of my 9-3 Monte Carlo back in January and my resto-project 99Turbo in October. It’s been a red-letter year for Eggs, too, with the purchase of his beloved 900 Convertible.
On a personal note, there’s also a few other people I need to thank.
One bloke in the UK has been a great support again this year. You know who you are and you know that your support is greatly appreciated.
There is also an unofficial Saabs United board, who give great support and counsel when needed as well as a great many laughs. PT, Turbin, Kroum and None – thanks very much, lads.
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I need to express my gratitude to my co-pilot, Eggs n Grits, who has been a rock of solid support, wisdom and verbiage once again this year. Thanks again, big fella. You’ve been a champ.
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This year also saw the passing of some Saab legends in Pat Moss (Saab rally driving queen, wife of Erik Carlsson and sister to Sir Sterling Moss), the venerable former Saab USA chief and father of the Saab Convertible, Bob Sinclair and of course the much-too-young eternal gentleman, Jan-Willem Vester (former Saab USA communications guru).
Their contribution to the Saab world was massive and they are all truly missed.
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Of course, the continuity of this site is aided with the tremendous support provided by our site sponsors:

Thankyou all for your continued support in 2009.
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There is a lot to look forward to in 2010.
I’m convinced that Saab will get a new owner. We’ll all have a party somewhere, and then those good people in Trollhattan will start making Saab 9-5s, convertibles and other vehicles for people to buy again.
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Of course, the biggest thankyou must go to you – the people who visit here and make some incredible contributions with your thoughts, your news tips, translations and the ongoing work of keeping me honest and on track.
A bunch of words to read is something, but they only go so far and it’s your willingness to chip in do what you do that makes Saabs United a community within the wider Saab community.
I hope you all have a wonderful and safe 2010.
Griffin Up!!!

Detnews writes praiseworthy Saab article (finally)

This one is strange.
It does have the words “perennial loss maker” in it, but like here, they’re in quotation marks rather than as a judgment. This could be the first US-published article about Saab in a long time that looks at the whole picture.
The big question is – why did it take so long?
You can read the Detroit News article here.
Whilst it’s US-published, the article is written by Neil Winton, a writer for the DetNews based in England.
Finally, someone looks at what we know of Saab’s business model and concedes that it has merit. Finally, someone indicates that Koenigsegg had some great technology to contribute and that the deal had some merit. Finally, someone looks at Saab’s coming model range and indicates that sales could rise reasonably quickly.
This is all stuff that’s been reported on Saab sites for ages.
What’s happened is that finally, someone in the mainstream motoring press has taken the time to really look at what’s going on with Saab and write about it, rather than parrot-fashion regurgitation of a news clip from Reuters.
It’s not all rosy, but it’s realistic and it looks at the facts as we know them.
Congratulations to Mr Winton and I hope some of the other mainstream press offices in the US can follow your lead.
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On another note, I’ve been a little disappointed by some of the larger motoring blogs not covering the iwontbuyfromgm.com campaign.
I sent an email directly to one of Autoblog’s writers rather than using the tips page, and still there’s nothing.
The blogs were little guys once, too, and I’d have thought that a story of fans rallying to help a beloved brand would have been of interest to them and their readers. This is the heart of motoring fandom, yet it’s not worthy of coverage by them?
The only question I can think of is whether or not their invitations to GM events would stop flowing if they published it. Maybe a dent in their ad revenue?
My thanks go to the sites that have covered the campaign.

Saab Support Convoy – join in.

I posted last night about the Saab Support Convoys being run in Holland and Sweden on January 17th next year.
It has been proposed that a number of these convoys be organised in various locations for same date. A kind of Saabs-across-the-world type thing.
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New York
In comments to that post, Crandola kindly offered to organise a run around the Buffalo, NY area. If you’d like to join in that run, you can contact her on christine-at-armcomm.net.
Massachusetts
Sumitkn offered to organise something in Saab’s heartland. Leave your expression of interest in comments and I can get people together.
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Drive to Detroit
Ryan at Saabhistory is suggesting a drive to Detroit with a gathering at the RenCen, route and date to be determined. Head on over there if you’re able to participate or contact Jim Laman of the Great Lakes Saab Club (lamanjim-at-juno.com) for local knowledge.
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Some possible pointers for this…..
We may or may not have a decision on the sale of Saab by January 17th. If there is a decision, then this will (hopefully) be a celebration. If there isn’t a decision, then this can be a rallying point.
Either way, your local press people may be interesting in the story and the gathering, so it’d be good to invite as many of them along.
In order for them to have something to write about, there should be as many cars and people there as possible.
Contact your local Saab dealer for support. They’ve got plenty riding on this and should be happy to provide some coffee and donuts, as well as the all-important flags and banners.
Let your local representatives know as well. jobs in their area could be at risk and GM is Govt owned at the moment (albeit in a hands-off kind of way).
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I’m happy to act in whatever way I can as an information exchange for something like this, but it’s up to locals on the ground to get it done. Just let me know what’s going on.

Cheeky – and keep the 17th January free for the Saab Support Convoy.

Those fun lads at the Saab Club Nederlands are getting increasingly cheeky with their site banners.

notbybeancounters.jpg

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One other thing they’re doing, when they’re not designing cheeky banners, is planning a car run on the 17th January Next year.

It’s called the Saab Support Convoy.

There are currently over 230 people signed up for this Dutch drive and I believe they’re possibly meeting up with Belgian Saabers and others along the way.

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The Saab Turbo Club of Sweden has joined the fray and are planning a drive the same day in support of Saab. More information can be found here at their website.

In short, they plan to gather at 11.00 o’clock at the Saab Car Museum in Trollhättan. At around 13.00/13.30 they will form a big Saab Convoy through the town of Trollhättan out
to the Saab development and assembly plant, arriving at 14.00.

Hopefully the local media will be there.

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The big question is – can other Saab Clubs and owners join in and arrange Saab Support Convoys in their own area?

Can we get a bunch of local news outlets to cover this as a global event?

I think it’d be a great idea. With a January 7 date being mentioned as a date for final bids from buyers for the company, it might also be a good chance to celebrate.

Thoughts in comments.

Third parties do not arrange Saab’s future

First we had the respected French marketing guy who is possibly still waiting by the phone for GM to call him about running Saab.
Now we have a Swedish-Italian entrepreneur bringing Sergio Marchionne to see a factory that the (another made up word) Swedalian doesn’t control and that Marchionne doesn’t need.
The story first appeared at Realtid.se.
In short, a guy named Salvatore Grimaldi is organising some sort of conference for Italian industry in Sweden. He’s invited FIAT’s head honcho, Sergio Marchionne, along to speak and whilst he’s there, he’s proposed taking Marchionne on a tour of Saab to see if Marchionne wants to use some of the factory’s ‘renowned flexibility’ to produce some Lancias or some such thing.
Ahem……
Has anyone told Saab about this tour, or does Grimaldi just plan to knock at the gate with Marchionne and ask for a visitor’s pass?
So.
Two reasons why I think this another story crafted to get someone’s services mentioned in the press. Actually, three.
First – this guy’s got nothing to do with Saab. He’s not out to help Saab. He’s out to pick on Saab’s bones should they be closed down. That’s how I see it.
Second. What the heck does Marchionne need another factory for? Isn’t he a little busy with his new US capacity? 50,000 units made in Sweden? For what?
And third. Getting your name associated with a plan for Saab right now means you get press. Thrown in a Wallenberg and you get even more.
People outside GM/Saab do not arrange the future of Saab. It’s quite simple. This guy’s thoughts might make for a decent Plan B if Saab is closed by GM. Manufacturing for someone else would keep the people there employed for a while longer.
But it seems a bit presumptuous to me that an outsider can assume it’s OK to make arrangements for a factory he has nothing to do with. I’m sure if Marchionne wants something to do with Saab that he’d not need the services of an intermediary to get a look around.

Saab production to resume in 2010

A few weeks ago we wondered if the last car that rolled off the line in Trollhattan might have been the last car to roll off the line in Trollhattan – for good.
We’ve all been rather nervous, but nervously confident so it’s good to finally say that this is not to be. Saab will build cars again in 2010, even if it remains under an ownership cloud.
From Reuters:

In the meantime, Saab will restart some production lines again in January for its new 9-5 model and Cabrio, Geers said.
“We have the orders and we have to deliver them as usual. We also have the orders for the 9-3 and others. The factory has to continue again,” Geers said.
GM was still in talks with potential bidders but Geers only named Spyker Cars and declined to talk about other parties.
Spyker was not immediately available to comment.

Something that I heard was being considered by Saab fans in one particular country (and it might do well if it spreads around) was that intending customers are now beginning to hound their dealers about ordering their new 9-5s.
A bank of order would certainly give GM something else to think about and deal with in regards to them selling Saab. Just a thought (I don’t do financial advice).

DN.se and others – deadline January 7

A bunch of news sites (here’s DN.se), probably all using the Swedish TT news service, are today quoting that GM’s original deadline for a deal (December 31) has been extended out to January 7, 2010.
The TT news service quotes as coming from Victory Muller, as spoken to Reuters.

The deadline for business between Spyker and the GM who first translated to 31 December has now been moved forward. It was confirmed on Wednesday, according to Reuters news agency referring to Spykers CEO Victor Muller.

So we wait another week……

iwontbuyfromgm.com update #2

I’ve been out this evening (20/20 cricket) and only recently got back and caught up. Lots of news tonight, so posts will be coming thick and fast.

Many of the links are already in comments, but they need to be front-page as well.

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The first bit of good news is that the iwontbuyfromgm.com website has now crossed the 4,000 comment mark.

The even better news is that the press release is now being picked up by news services, the first of note being the Oakland Press. This is significant as it’s right under GM’s nose in Detroit. Oakland was going to be the new home of Saab Cars North America (and may still be).

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The bad news is that with this story out there, it’s possibly going to bring in a few people who’ll basically be coming along for a fight. They’ll be trolling. We’ve already had our first one leave a couple of comments earlier today.

Let these people be. I’ll be policing comments pretty hard over the next few days just to combat this. Today’s troll got through because I’m pretty sure I know who he is (you’re an established web user at a popular GM site and should know better) and I want to deal with what he said in a future post – in a respectful way.

Newbie trolls will not be trollerated (yes, it’s a new word I just made up). Don’t feed them, just leave them be and I’ll delete their stuff as it comes. I have no time for people who aren’t part of this community and just turn up with the purpose of upsetting people.

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GM – The spotlight is on.

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