Press Release: Victor Muller named Entrepreneur of the Year by Automotive News Europe

Congratulations, VM!!!

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  • Recognition for achievements of Saab Automobile Chairman Victor Muller from major European automotive publication
  • Praise for securing Saab’s future and implementing its business plan

Trollhättan, Sweden: The dynamic business acumen of Saab Automobile Chairman Victor Muller was recognized last night when he received an Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 2010 Eurostars Awards ceremony in Paris, staged by trade publication Automotive News Europe. This award was specially created to acknowledge Muller’s outstanding achievements.

The Dutch businessman showed extraordinary tenacity during protracted negotiations to purchase Saab Automobile from General Motors, working closely with Saab’s executive leadership team. The future of Saab Automobile was eventually secured when its takeover by Muller’s company, Spyker Cars NV, was confirmed on February 23.

“I feel incredibly honoured and proud to receive this award,” said Muller, as he was presented with the accolade. “However, this is not just for me, but for all the Saab employees and Saab’s excellent management headed by Jan Åke Jonsson, who have shown tremendous commitment and dedication during a challenging but exciting period in the company’s history.

“Saab has already achieved a great deal in a short space of time. We have strengthened our global organization, successfully launched a new flagship model, forged exciting new business partnerships and ramped up the development of future products and technologies.

“Over the next 12 months Saab will launch two more premium cars, in addition to the new 9-5 sedan, and will enter at least one new market segment. These vehicles will be engineered and designed as true Saabs. All this activity shows Saab is firmly on track to deliver on its business plan.”

Paris: Saab forecasting 33% lower sales target in US

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.

Thursday night snippets

Another bunch of small-ish Saab stories that are bouncing around amongst all the BMW engine stories……

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It looks like someone from Autospies has been staying at the Swania in Trollhattan. They’ve done a pictorial ‘tour’ of the town that pretty much features Saabs parked on Storgatan, the street the Swania’s on.

I miss Swania.

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Here’s another story stating the BAIC plan to release their remodelled Saabs by the end of 2011, and they’ve built 30 full electric test vehicles based on Saabs already.

They hope to build 150,000 full electric vehicles per year by 2015. And Pete D the AutoExtremist thought Volkswagen’s targets were ambitious!

Still, good luck to them. The better they go, the better off Saab’s relationship with them should become. Does that make Saab BAIC’s BMW?

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By the time you read this there will be mere hours to go on the auction, but it might be worth a look.

Selling via Ebay in the US is a rare Saab 900 rear spoiler
(and no, I don’t know the seller). Apparently it’s a genuine Saab part, though not seen very often. Below is an image of the spoiler attached to an actual 900.

900 mid-spoiler

Definitely different.

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A few US Saab events coming up this weekend that locals might want to check out…..

People are gathering at various places for a drive up Mount Washington, New Hampshire, on Sunday 3rd October. There’s a Facebook Page for the gathering, so check it out if you’re nearby and in the mood to take on one of Mr Pastrana’s favourite roads.

The Mitchell Saab and Volvo dealerships in Simsbury, CT, are having an Annual Swedish Beauty Contest Car Show. Send photos, please.

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Don’t put your eggs all in one basket, or your executives all on one plane.

TROLLHATTAN, Sweden — Whoever books Saab’s charter flights at the automaker’s headquarters here apparently thought this was a good way to reduce costs.

The plan was simple: Put Saab’s senior management, everyone scheduled to be at the Paris auto show, all on the same plane today along with journalists from Europe and the United States.

When the plan was discovered, and fearing the potential for disaster to the small automaker, several executives were taken off the list and issued plane tickets on a commercial aircraft. It is not known when the plan surfaced and was quickly modified.

Saab Automobile Chairman Victor Muller and Saab Automobile CEO Jan Ake Jonsson remained on the two-hour charter flight. Their time was spent in interviews with journalists.

Reasons to hold on to your car….

A few years ago I ran a competition at Trollhattan Saab called “Saab Pride”. Various people wrote in with some great photos of their car, telling stories of things they’d done with their car, why they love their Saabs, etc. It was a tremendous success and almost spawned a book (stay tuned, still considering the possibilities on that one….).

One of the entries came from a guy named Bjarne. He was a Swede living in the United States.

Bjarne Saab 9-3

I thought it was pretty funny that a Swede went to live in America but bought his 9-3 SportCombi through the European Delivery Program. Not only did he get it a bit cheaper, he got a trip home to Sweden as well!

So….. I just received an email from Bjarne with a bit of follow up news.

The family have now moved back to Sweden, but given that they had so many good experiences in the US with their 9-3 SportCombi, they decided to bring that home with them! They just didn’t want to part with the memories.

Now, Bjarne’s feeling like they’ll never EVER be able to part with the car. Why?

Last week there was another major event involving this car. My second child, a daughter, was born in the back seat! We understod it was cricital and tried to get to the hopsital in time, but on the highway (only a few minutes away from the hopsital) my wife told me that the baby would come. And so she did, while I was going 150 km/h on the highway.

Everything went well and we are happy. The leather seats are still in great shape!

Congratulations to the family on the new (and safe) arrival of the little Bjarnette.

And long live the Saab 9-3 SportCombi that’s seen so much of the world and provided so many memories.

A great story.

Saabs O The Week – triptych edition

I know I don’t do SOTW photos often anymore, but I saw a magnificent trio of photos today and I couldn’t wait for the next of my semi-regular Flickr Dumps to show them to you.

Click to enlarge.

The first is from Arild’s Saab 9-5 ownership blog. Someone requested some photos of the exterior lighting, with results that I thought were just super-cool!

The second is a hot from the guys at Hirsch Performance. Sourced from Flickr, it’s called Five Black Beauties….

Hirsch Five Saabs

And finally, this fantastic action shot from a NASA rally event in New York….

Blue Saab Rally

Till72: My personal Saab

People like to dream about their ideal, future Saab. One of our regulars here at SU is Till72. He’s a great supporter of both the brand and his local dealer (check out the graphics he did for his dealer) and he’s put fingers to keyboard in order to visualise the kind of Saab he’d like buy in the future.

I enjoyed reading this because it reflects some of the changed expectations that people are having now. Saab is no longer the company we’ve known for the last few decades. It’s keeping its roots and its core philosophies, but there’s no doubt that Saab is changing.

Thanks Till!

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The car I would like Saab to build

It’s been a long journey for me to get this car together in my mind. Recently I’ve been reading a lot about future car concepts and I have to admit that there are many out there that look quite promising at first glance.

But things get tricky when you look at the details. With hydrogen, for example, the logistics may be difficult. Electricity is a big thing today but as long as most electricity is generated from burning fossil fuels (emissions) or atomic plants (spent fuel issues) it’s not as clean as it looks. E85 is a good thing if the next generation is made from waste, not from food.

Does anyone remember “Back to the future”? Doc Brown had the Delorean running on waste right from the trash bin after he got the technology on a trip to 2015. That’s not too far away, right? 😉 Those who are interested may take a look at the Choren website – the things they have developed are quite promising.

I still believe that the easiest way to make a customer use alternative fuels is to offer it at the gas station so they can fill their cars like they always did. Charging batteries takes too much time for those who drive more. I’ve got a delivery car here at my company and I’d happily jump on the electric train but right now, the range is simply not enough.

Right now we have a 9-5SC and a 9-3x in our family garage. Both are diesels. Since we are a tall family we’ll always need a big family car for longer trips but right now I’ll concentrate on a potential follow-up to my superb Saab 9-3x (with Hirsch for added superbness 🙂 ).

Read moreTill72: My personal Saab

Wednesday Night Snippets – Saab/BMW press conference video

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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