Friday Night Snippets – Saab production edition

I’ve heard from Sweden this week, some more information about Saab’s production schedule in the near term.
It seems they’ll commence production of Saab 9-5s for customer delivery in Week 18, with production ramping up to 39 cars per hour – apparently as high as Saab have ever gone – in Week 23.
The word from Sweden is that there’s a very healthy looking order book already, which is quite encouraging.
There was more talk in Trollhattan’s local newspaper this week about Saab hiring more people. This would be why.
And the increased production at Trollhattan and direct jobs it creates is one thing. The flow-on effect is another. Lear (who make seats for Saab) are also re-hiring 37 people.
Thanks to Justyn and H for the tips.
Our student designer is saying his model is finished!
What about the Laser Red or Snow Silver paint????
Congratulations, fella. Looks fantastic and it’s been great to watch it happen.
As if Jay Leno didn’t have enough rare fast cars.
He’s now snapped up one of just three Koenigsegg Trevitas in existence.
That might just be my favourite supercar of all time.
Good place to open a Saab dealership?
From Tom M, photo taken in Ft Lauderdale, FL.

How many people actually use their sunroof?

This question stems from the US release of the 2010 Saab 9-5, which I understand is not coming with a sunroof option. I’m 100% sure it’ll come for 2011, but the 600 or so 2010 models that ship to the US will be sans-roof.
I understand that the roof is a desireable option for many people in this price bracket and I’m pretty sure there are exceptional circumstances that have led to the 2010 decision. Probably a supply issue or something.
But what I’m interested to know is how often people who have one, actually use it.
I’ve got one in my Monte and I reckon I’ve opened it twice in 16 months. I’ve had a sunroof in previous cars as well and I barely used the roof in those cars, too.
Personally speaking, the sun is pretty harsh here in Tassie and I find having it beat down on my bare bonce is pretty uncomfortable. In fact, the vast majority of times I can remember enjoying the roof being open were at night, back in Melbourne when I was a youngster and cruising through the city.
I could easily live without one, but again, I understand it’s a must-have on the options list in the circles that Saab will be moving in.
Do you have one? Do you love it? Or could you happily live without it?

Saab 9-5 wagon cargo preview

Anorak much?
The Saab 9-5 brochure that I based my recent information postings on has been reproduced in Germany, with the addition of a few other bits and pieces. One of those is a cutaway image showing what appears to be a cargo-cover behind the rear seat, indicating it might be a preview of what we’ll see in the Saab 9-5 wagon.
I guess the circa-9-3 aircraft handle in the cargo floor might be a giveaway, too 🙂
Here it is. Clickety.
Saab 9-5 Wagon
I don’t think the perspective in the image is strictly correct. It looks a bit compressed to me. I got an email from several people about this through the week, one of which was the guy known around here as “Me”.
“Me” is concerned that the trunk of the wagon mightn’t be much wider than the U-rail system inside it, suggesting it might be only the same as the Insignia trunk at just over 1,000mm.
I’d advise caution. It’s just a CGI we’re looking at and the technical diagram of the 9-5 sedan (if I’m reading the right figure) suggests the trunk area is almost 1400mm wide. I can’t imagine the wagon being any less.

Thanks to ‘Me’ and Thomas for the image.

US Saab 9-5 pricing – the peanut gallery is murmuring

Edmunds Auto Observer is the first prominent column to come out and criticise Saab’s US release of the Saab 9-5.
As you may know, the US release starts with the V6 Aero version, which is priced just short of $50K and on first glance, looks like it costs more than it’s Teutonic rivals (until you option them up and completely hoover your wallet clean).
EAO goes with the subtle headline….

How To Say ‘Suicide’ in Swedish: 2010 Saab 9-5 Is $50 Grand

… which I’ll come back with:

How to say Kneejerk in American: Edmunds Auto Observer

My emphasis added.
I’m not going to sit here and defend Saab, or Saab Cars North America, and their release strategy but it does pay to look a little deeper when considering these things.
1) Saab are starting from a very small manufacturing base and have to make very delicate decisions about what to send where. The writer calls to mind the pricing of the first Lexus as an example, which I assume must have been priced ridiculously low in order to get attention and make up the money on volume.
Well, Saab can’t do what Lexus did and it’s dead stupid to think that they can. They can’t produce the volumes that Blingoyota produce.
2) From what I can tell, Saab will start the US release with a V6-only, Aero-only lineup for the 9-5. They’re bringing the best equipped model they can into the US (with one exception – no sunroof for 2010 apparently). If you’re going to get some out there – and it’s going to be a small volume, probably less than 1,000 2010 models – then it doesn’t hurt to get the best ones you can out there.
3) Focusing on this small volume of 2010 models – which will suit 600-900 customers perfectly – takes one’s eyes off the fact that there will be lower priced and more economically specced models coming down the line in a matter of months. The 2010 model run will be very short.
4) Imagine you’re a car company and you’ve got to re-stock your global market, virtually from scratch. You can only build so many models and you can only make the best of the model mix you’ve got available. Where are you going to send the V6s and where are you going to send the I4’s?
To the places where they’re most likely to sell. That’s where. For the V6, that’s the US and for the I4, it’s Europe. You can do a broader mix when more options come online in 2011.

Like I said, I’m not trying to stand here and play defence for Saab or Saab Cars North America. They can fight their own strategic battles.
But publications like Edmunds should look a bit harder and a little further down the rabbit hole before firing off like this.

Australian Saab distribution – Ateco says ‘No’

I’ve received an advance snippet, apparently from tomorrow’s Carsguide as it will appear in the Melbourne newspaper, the Herald-Sun.
It’s a scan, which I’ve had to enlarge and treat for color, so it may be a little fuzzy.
What it says (for those can’t be bothered) is that one of Australia’s larger automotive importing agencies, Ateco, has apparently turned down the opportunity to distribute Saab down under, saying the agency is almost worthless.
He then has a crack at Hobart, where I live, but I’ll leave that along for now…..
I’ve heard enough complaints about Ateco to not be too fussed by this. They’re apparently quite selective with their model mixes, meaning we could miss out on some vehicles all together.
Still, it leaves Saab in Australia languishing in the legacy that GM created for it here. Whilst they had some absolutely fantastic people in recent times, the burdened those people with failed ventures in Hummer and Cadillac, soaking up resources that used to be used (pretty well) for Saab’s promotion.
The last 12 months, like the rest of the world, saw Saab decimated here. I’ve heard informally that Saab sold just one new vehicle here in Oz in the first quarter but I don’t have access to the official stats to back it up.
We talked about Australian distribution a little while ago, based on a story in Go Auto that had Ateco as the leading contender.
The other two contenders were companies named Inchcape and Sime Darby, neither of whom Go Auto saw as prime candidates for taking on a Saab franchise.
I hope they can work something soon. Better still, I hope they can make a brave decision and do the job in-house. It can’t take that much in terms of resources, can it?
OK, candidate for naive statement of the year, there, but still…..
Thanks to You-know-how-you-are for the advance clipping.

Saab 9-5 pricing for Dutch market now available

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.
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:
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.

Teknikens: Saab Sport in 2015

This is a partial scan from the cover of the latest edition of Teknikens Varld (a Swedish technology magazine).
I’ve only seen a scan of the article in Swedish and I can’t find an online version to translate.
From what I’ve heard (thanks Aero Pilot) and seen briefly in the scan, it looks like Teknikens are claiming a Saab sports car will be built on the bones of a Spyker C8 architecture, aiming at a 2015 introduction.
All the projected stats they claim look pretty similar to the C8 stats, so at first glance (I can’t read the story, remember) it looks like just a new body and interior on a C8 base.
The SU take:
Nice dream, but it seems to me Teknikens are just picking some low hanging fruit for a good story. Saab and Spyker have a lot more important things to worry about and look forward to than this and I’m quite sure they’re pretty focused on those.

Wednesday night snippets – slow edition

Knowing I was going to be away this week, I shelled out some hard-earned for a prepaid satellite wireless connection and it’s running as slow as a wet week. I used the same thing just before Christmas when things were running on overdrive and everything was fine. This week, it’s just not working properly and it’s annoying the daylights out of me.
Consequently, I’m finding very hard to keep up with email and any news events out there, but it looks reasonably quiet right now.
I’m spending a lot of time right now thinking about the merits of a Saab 9-2 as proposed by VM against a Saab 9x or 9-XBH type vehicle.
It’s leaning very heavily in one direction – in my mind at least.
I heard from a guy today who’s looking into buying a 9-3 today from his local dealer. A 2008 model, I think. Good to hear that people are getting out there and buying again. I’m sure there are many more, too.
More on that in a few days.
How many of you have starting preparations and bookings for Saab Festival?
I really can’t recommend Saab Festival highly enough and this year of all years – it’s going to be an absolute cracker.
Apparently this one’s under construction for what I assume is a 1,000 mile rally in Mexico.
I’m going to relive myself of this slow machine and bury my head in a book.
Have a wonderful and very Saaby day.

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