Here’s a very nice convergence of stories….
I met Valdemaar Lönnroth on the bus to the Saab 9-4x photo shoot, back in LA a few weeks ago. He’s a reporter from TTELA, the local newspaper in Trollhattan, and he’d just arrived in LA after spending a while in Ohio, at Saab of North Olmstead.
His story from that visit now appears at TTELA. My thanks for some great translation and commentary work done by Börjesson in comments.
The dealer there was struggling through the crisis, like all dealers, and was thinking about only selling Cadillacs. But then he met Victor Muller. Now he’s so convinced about Saab’s bright future, he’s kicking out the Caddies and going all Saab (and Spyker) instead.
– When I heard his visions about Saab, I was converted. He and Jan Åke Jonsson will turn it into a long-term viable brand.
– Victor must be a hero for you in Sweden.
Now, the guy is investing in a new exhibition hall, with an ice block lit up from within and light Scandinavian design and furniture. He’s investing $3 million, but isn’t worried anything will go wrong.
– Saab is a fantastic brand, with a clear profile. The new 9-5 makes people turn around when they see it, and there are several new models on the way. We’re seeing a big increase in sales at the moment.
– I’m going to be the biggest Saab dealer in the USA. Today, they’re in Detroit.
This is a great story – a dealer showing so much faith in Saab’s future.
The Saab of North Olmstead website gives some more details on the project:
North Olmsted, Ohio (October 26, 2010) Saab Cars NA and Bernie Moreno, President of the Collection Auto Group are pleased to announce plans to build and open Saab’s first exclusive image facility. The image facility, otherwise known as the “Ice Block” is expected to open by the end of the year.
The renovations are currently under way at 28595 Lorain Rd, North Olmsted, Ohio and on The North Olmsted Auto Mile. This 21,000 square foot building is directly adjacent to other Collection Auto Group stores, such as Mercedes-Benz Sprinter of North Olmsted, Porsche of North Olmsted, Lotus, Fisker, Spyker and Sprinter of Cleveland.
The face of the building will be a simple, contemporary yet streamlined design using an aluminum-framed opaque frosted glass cladding, reminiscent of large blocks of ice.
“From the moment that I had my first meeting with city officials here in North Olmsted, I have received such tremendous support from everyone, starting with the Mayor, his entire team and the community at large.” Moreno goes on to say that “Saab is back! Due to the outcry from its owners and longtime supporters, Spyker Cars NV has committed to make the Saab brand a brand that will certainly entice anyone who’s looking for a premium brand vehicle.
Our new Saab facility will house a state of the art service and parts department as well, and include a full staff of Saab factory trained technicians. In addition, we plan to carry one of the largest inventories of new and pre-owned certified Saabs in the United States”, Moreno adds.
We will continue to share milestones as they take place and encourage all of our customers and enthusiasts to watch for our grand opening.
Nice to see so many Viggen lookalikes in the carpark, too 🙂
Saab have some great stuff coming. Here at SU, we sometimes get stuck down in the minutae and lose sight of the bigger picture. The full 9-5 range is now shipping around the world, new low-emissions diesel 9-3s are coming online in Europe and the 9-4x is just around the corner.
Things are happening. Kudos to Bernie Moreno and others like him for seeing it.
As I understand things, the dealership architecture used to be called Saab Ultimate and required certain imagery, furnishings and vehicle placements (all vehicles should be placed at 90 degree angles, for example, in line with the tiling on the floor).
It’ll be interesting to see if this new style of dealership will become a new standard for dealerships elsewhere.