This just in from the Mirror: Clever People Drive Saabs

Thanks to Joe in comments, we all get validation of what we’ve all secretly, or not so secretly, thought for years: Clever people drive Saabs.

You doubt me? Have a look:

From the Mirror comes this delightful piece by Richard Hammond, a noted UK automobile journalist.

Mr. Hammond recognizes three things that make this article a beautiful read for Saab aficionados:

1. Saab is different, and different is good.

[The Saab 9-5 is] aimed at BMW’s 5 Series and the Mercedes E-Class. Big targets, but not everyone wants to own a German saloon car. And as you can see, the 9-5 looks very different.

2. Saab has turbocharging down to a science.

Our test car is the 9-5 Aero 2.0T, which means that it’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 217bhp. Turbocharging is another Saab speciality.

Saab’s 900 Turbo wasn’t the first car to be sold with a turbo (a Chevrolet was) but it was a pioneer all the same.

* Note: I’ll over look the omission of the Saab 99 Turbo. Unless you’re an “insider”, you can’t get all of the history right.

3. Saab’s 9-5 can be compared to the best of the best.

Jaguar XF 3.0 – The best Jag in decades. Looks different, great interior and good to drive. The Saab’s closest rival.

Thanks for making us all feel better, Mr. Hammond.

Friday Snippets, New York Media edition

Things are still popping up all over the internet from the Victor Muller / Jan-Åke Jonsson show tour through New York. Those guys (along with Mr. Colleran and Ms. Tinson) must be absolutely exhausted.  I know that Swade is always saying that Victor Muller has no “off” switch, but these constant appearances are grueling for everyone.

Click to watch Messrs. Muller and Jonsson on CNN Money.

VM and JAJ on CNN Money

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I don’t know Matthew DeBord.  I was unfamiliar with his writings until today.  He has a blog called Shifting Gears published on a financial website here in the United States.  His writing credits include the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Mr. DeBord is a fellow Saab enthusiast, and he’s interested in creating a montage of stories behind the Saabs purchased during the dark times of model year 2009.  So, if you bought a Saab in 2009, please give him your story.  He’s offering some swag for the best of the lot, so sharpen your pencils.

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From Gaywheels.com comes this review of the 2010 Saab 9-5.

Their contributions to the conversation are thus:

This is one seriously handsome car, and it should inspire plenty of customers to visit a Saab dealership for the first time. The cabin is equally uncluttered, though perhaps a little too empty looking for some people. I personally like the faux jet-fighter ambiance which, at best, brings to mind Saab’s roots in aviation. At worst, the dash is too dark, and could do with a few more bits of aluminum trim to liven things up.

Saab estimates the Aero’s 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time at 6.9 seconds, which is peppy but not pulse-quickening fast. There is very little engine noise and the 6-speed automatic did well to keep up with my driving demands, especially when quickly switching from aggressive driving to a leisurely pace. The ride was nicely controlled, yet the brakes could use a firmer bite when really pushing hard on them.

Mildly positive.  WARNING:  He uses the “q” word.

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Finally, our new-found friend, Ms. Liz Claman of Fox Business News, claims to be a Saab lover in her cheery blog entry encapsulating her recent feature on the new Saab 9-5.  She signs it “Liz “Always-wanted-a-Saab-but-never-got-one” Claman”.  Works for me.  Ms. Claman:  You know where to find us.  It’s never too late to follow your dream.

Note to Saab Cars North America:  You have a potential spokesperson there.  Just sayin’.

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Post Script:  I’ve thought about Jan-Willem Vester many times this week and I must say that even though I didn’t know him as well as others may have, I miss him and I am saddened that he’s not around to see the new 9-5 and all of the buzz surrounding this car.  He has a small part of each of these cars to his credit.  J-dub, you are missed.

Saab 9-5 Launch Video On YouTube

Thanks to several readers via e-mail and Dippen in comments, here’s the video available on YouTube, which is a much more accessible venue.  (The links were previously posted here.)

Kudos to all that asked questions.  They are/were very good questions and they were all pointing towards Saab as an enthusiast brand.  No other brand takes questions from their audience, to my knowledge.  Excellent!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZLp1OUSrnU

Notes:

1.  A couple of commenters noted that many of the comments were the same that JAJ and VM mentioned at the Saab Owner’s Convention in Aurora, Ohio.  They are, of course, correct right down to the video and JAJ’s comments about the verbiage about selling colors in a black-and-white video.

2.  JAJ’s comments about “heritage” and making Saab “even more unique” is still music to my ears.

3.  Interesting that JAJ mentions that the “A” luxury segment will have significant growth through 2020.  He also claims that Saab “owned” that market in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

4.  2012 is the target for the “all-new 9-3”.  That is pretty aggressive, folks.  Take into consideration that they’ve only just hired the chief designer.  Wow.

5.  VM:  He’s like a broken record thanking the enthusiast community.  I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing it.  Way to go, Swade!!

6.  The 2010 Saab 9-5 spoken of as a lynch-pin of the business plan for Saab.  VM gives GM credit for realizing the mistakes of the past and allowing Saab to reclaim some Saab DNA with the Aero-X.

7.  Profitability in 2012 because the company will have three brand-new designs in the showrooms — the new 9-5 will be the oldest of the three!  VM reiterates that Saab can be profitable at a 100,000-unit volume.

8.  Victor needs to be careful how he says “flocking”.

9.  Saab and Spyker will be a “two-way street” relationship.  Both companies will help the other.  Interesting.

10.  “One of the most attractive heritages of all automotive brands.”  – Victor Muller

11.  August 16th again mentioned as the Canadian launch.

General Motors/Motors Liquidation Company – Partner, not enemy

After a skirmish in comments, I feel the need to clarify how Saab sits right now with relation to General Motors, or, as it still is legally, Motors Liquidation Company.

General Motors is a trusted partner, supplier, manufacturer and potential distributor for Saab Automobile AB.  They also are holding, as indicated by Victor Muller only yesterday,somewhere around US$175 million of credit in suspension to allow Saab to get on its feet again.

Read moreGeneral Motors/Motors Liquidation Company – Partner, not enemy

Heading home

We’re on our way back down under, to sleep in our own bed and pat the dog once again. It’s been great being here in the northern summer (such as it is in England and Sweden) but the time has come to head for home.

We’d like to thank everyone we’ve met along the way for being so friendly, thoughtful and hospitable along the way. I’m used to that level of kindness from Saab people, but it was great for my wife to feel it too.

Thanks to Saab, and Peter Backstrom in particular, for a fantastic Saab Festival. Thanks also to Saab, of course, for their kindness in creating the Saabs United Award, which I hope will lead to more interaction with their customers and community.

Thanks to Par Brandt and his wife Katerina for a great meetup and dinner in Stockholm. Thanks to Christian von Koenigsegg for a brilliant afternoon looking at and driving the world’s best supercar – detailed story still to come :-). Thanks to the staff of the Scandic Swania for everything, as usual. Thanks to Rune and Anna for the great company, likewise Jimmy, Tompa and Carola, Me, Etienne, Golfhunter, Hampus, Alistair and Fiona, and everyone else we met at Friday night drinks at the Swania. Thanks to Mats and his family for a magnificent dinner and a great time – you’re the best VW driver I’ve ever known, mate 🙂 .

Thanks to my good mate, Dave R and his wife Eileen for a great dinner, along with Elly. I’ve still got to find out what’s in the manbag. Thanks to all and sundry at the Saab Owners Club annual meeting for being so welcoming and having such a great collection of cars. Robin M and others – outstanding work and done to a standard that should be recognised by Saab GB. And last, but by no means least, thanks very much to Mike and Hilary P, for a couple of absolutely grand days seeing the countryside in England and of course, my first ever drive of a Saab Sonett.

If I’ve left anyone off that list, please accept my apologies. We’ve met so many wonderful people in the last three weeks.

Today, we will do a final afternoon of sightseeing in North London with another SU regular, ARUK, in his 9000 Aero. Saab style and kindness right to the end.

From my point of view, writing will be a non-issue for a few days, but I’ll be back on the job shortly after we get home. I hope you’ve enjoyed the SU holiday entries and I’m pleased to say there’s still plenty more to come from both Sweden and England.

Be good to one another.

A few final notes before we go…..

US Saab dealers, get yourselves ready for dealership launches. Cars will be arriving soon. Don’t tell your clients about it the day the cars hit the showroom. Get them ready now.

Also, I don’t know why we had to subscribe to see that US video launch. Actually, I still can’t see it because it doesn’t seem to work on Mac. Who’s running this circus? And why isn’t the whole thing available on a Saab Cars Official media site via Vimeo or some other service?

We’re post GM, people. This is the time we’re supposed to do that stuff better than before.

Welcome to the world, Amelia Jane Johnson, my great-niece, now just over 18 hours old. You’re going to get loved by your grandmother to within an inch of your life so get ready 🙂

Saab 9-5 on Consumer Reports

As much as I have concerns about Consumer Reports and their ratings systems, their work is relied upon by thousands of people looking at new cars in the US.

Hence, this initial report on their blog is of some interest and it’s good to see yet another positive introduction to the US consumer:

We had a chance to drive a new Aero, and found it to be a pleasant car, roomier, quieter, and more refined than the old 9-5. The six-cylinder engine provides quick, smooth acceleration, and the car handles nicely, with a comfortable ride. Some GM switchgear remains as a reminder of the past, but the upside is the 9-5 inherited OnStar from its ex-parent.

It’s a measured piece, but positive overall and worth a quick read. It doesn’t contain anything that will be new to regular readers, but it’s good to see where the media is heading with this.

Thanks to Alan H for the tip.

Complete North American Saab 9-5 Launch now on line

For all of us that couldn’t attend yesterday’s launch of the Saab 9-5 at the Scandinavia House in New York City in person or via the web in real time, the complete video has been posted on line.  Here it is:

Click to watch the Saab 9-5 Launch on the Saab website
Click to watch the Saab 9-5 Launch on the Saab website

(If you’ve not registered, you may try this link, but in theory we all must register, even after the fact, to see the video.)

It is about 45 minutes in length.  Many of our readers commented on the North American Saab 9-5 launch event in this previous post.  I have yet to watch the full length of the video, so your reaction will be as fresh as mine.  Please fire away (like I can stop you!).

Postcard from England – Saab 900 Carlsson

This will be one of my final few posts on SU before heading home and it’s a real pleasure to be able to show you this cracker of a car from the 2010 Saab Owners Club annual gathering last weekend in Bath, England.

The Saab 900 Carlsson is probably my most lusted after 900 special edition vehicle. Actually, it could well be my most lusted after 900, period. Whilst we got the 9000 Carlsson in Australia, the 900 was kept mostly for the English market and we just got to drool years later when we saw the brochures.

This 900 Carlsson belongs to a young guy named Craig, and it’s pretty special. As a basic Carlsson model, this car would be pretty impressive. But this is much more than a basic Carlsson.

Have a look at the following two lists.

Those lists show the complete catalog of Saab options or accessories that were available at the time Craig’s 900 was released. What Craig’s undertaken to do is obtain all of these accessories – and fit them to the car where appropriate.

That’s a fine goal, but as you can see, that a very long list.

As of last weekend, Craig has obtained all but 11 of the items on that list. He’s found three of the eleven missing items, but the person holding them doesn’t want to sell right now.

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Craig also has a Saab 9000 Carlsson – in black – that he’s looking to complete in a similar manner. Next on his list is a black 99 Turbo, which I’m sure he’ll bring up to the same high standard to complete the range.

There’s no talk of moving on to a black 9-3 or 9-5 at this stage, but knowing how people tend to allow these Saab habits to grow…….

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