2010 is over. Bring on 2011!

It’s New Year’s Eve here in Australia. Personally speaking, I’ll be glad to see the back of 2010 and kick into what will surely be an incredibly interesting 2011.

Saab’s achievements in 2010 are almost too numerous to mention (but the major ones are listed in a long post at that link, just in case you want to point them out to your friends). For a company that was basically in a coma back in January, they have done amazing things and I’m sure all the management and staff around the world are enjoying their break right now.

I’m sure they’re all enjoying the prospect of a more normal year ahead, too. There is still plenty of work left to be done, but at least that work is now focused on designing and selling cars rather than just trying to breathe.

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The highlight of 2010

There can be only one, right?

The sale of Saab to Spyker Cars back in February 2010 was the final chapter in one of the most dramatic plays any of us have ever seen. I was fortunate enough to be there and bring it to you with some live reports from Stockholm and it really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was without doubt the biggest single story of the year.

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SU highlights for 2010

The Saab Support Convoys were a major highlight for this website in 2010. The coverage was an absolute joy to provide and my only regret is that I didn’t get to participate in a convoy myself. Those who participated did an incredible job, an historic job. Kudos once again to the Dutchies who conceived the concept.

2010 saw my first involvement with a rally team, too. The Saabs United Historic Rally Team did a great job building two cars and getting both to the finishing line at the Midnight Sun rally in July.

There were also a number of incredible experiences that I was fortunate enough to attend and share with you.

The launch of the Saab 9-5 in Sweden, in June.

The Saab Festival in Trollhattan, where I was fortunate to meet many of you and receive the Saabs United Award from Victor Muller and Jan-Ake Jonsson. There was also the Saab Owners Club GB annual meeting in July (which included my first rides/drives in a Saab Sonett II and III – some personal highlights).

Swedish Car Day in Boston – where I not only attended a fantastic car show hosted by Charles River Saab, but also the venue for my first ever facetime with Eggs, as well as meeting Pierre, Gunnar Heinrich, Curvin O’Rielly and a whole heap more of you lads and ladies (same goes with the Festival and GB trips, too).

The LA Auto Show in November, with the world debut of the Saab 9-4x.

I have been one extremely fortunate guy in 2010. Ok, I worked hard to be this fortunate, but I’m very fortunate nonetheless.

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Hopes for 2011

Sales, of course. The ultimate goal is the security of Saab Automobile and the freedom that such security provides to build absolutely awesome cars. The key to that security is sales. They’re picking up well in several markets but plenty of work is needed in others.

Marketing – it ties in with sales, but it’s a world of its own that needs to grow and become more distinctive and LOUD in 2011.

Vehicles – there should be an upgrade, however mild, to the Saab 9-3 in 2011. We’ll hopefully get some improvements to the Saab 9-5 sedan. More important, perhaps, is the sales launch of the Saab 9-5 wagon and the Saab 9-4x. One will be crucial in Europe and the other a major bonus for the North American market.

Distribution – Saab got vehicles selling in 51 markets in 2010 – an amazing feat. More markets should come into play in 2011, including China, Russia and a humble little Australia/NZ.

I also hope more than anything that YOU continue to enjoy your connection with Saab Automobile. I hope you get to experience new cars, and if you haven’t had much experience with the cars that made Saab’s name – their heritage – then I really hope you get to do that, too.

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Thankyou…

I want to thank the wonderful people at Saab Automobile and their offices around the world for being so generous to me in 2010. Your willingness to engage with your customers is a real ray of sunshine and I hope it continues to build in 2011 and beyond.

I also want to thank all of the people I’ve met during 2010 in various places around the world, all of whom have been incredibly open and hospitable towards my wife and I.

To Eggs and Lance Cole, who have helped me out with covering news and topics of interest this year – you always have my gratitude. Same to a number of commenters (I think you know who you are) who help preserve a level of sanity in the peanut gallery.

The unofficial Saabs United board is a group whose identity is at Stig-status. Their collective wisdom and encouragement got me through this year as in years past and gents, you are the best.

I also want to thank the various companies who sponsor Saabs United – Hirsch Performance, State of Nine, Elkparts, MobilForum Dresden, Saab USA Parts and Maptun. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had long-term supporters who have always been interested in the development of the site and the services they provide to Saab owners like you.

And of course, last but definitely not least, I want to thank you, the people who come to this website, read its considered and considerable content covering the news and the vehicles that interest us all so much. Many of you have contributed stories to the site yourselves.

Your support of this website is what makes it possible to keep coming back to do it everyday.

Have a wonderful 2011!!

Griffin Up!

Saabs on public display in Tromsø

I wrote about this display back in September and it’s great to see it happening now, with a few Saab owners participating.

Tromsø University Museum, way up above the Arctic Circle in Norway, is doing a series of photos and stories about people and their cars….The photographs will be shown at Tromsø Museum’s permanent exhibition FLASH darkness in large format out on one of the museum’s walls in December and January. The images will then be included in the museum’s collection along with information about the photograph.

One of our SU regulars, Thilo, lives up in Tromsø and he got involved, sitting for portraits with his Saab 96 as well as his Saab 9000 Aero.

They were displayed today and it’s no surprise that Thilo was there to exercise his considerable photographic skills and capture the moments.

Apparently there were a few other people with Saabs participating in the event, too. I’m not sure we’ll get photos of those, but it’s good to see Thilo’s cars featured an

End of year sale update – New Salem Saab

New Salem Saab are hosting an end of year sale with some ridiculously low prices on 2010 model Saabs. Click here to see the full list of incredibly low prices (and remember that if you’re a paid-up member of the Saab Club North America (and own a Saab) then you could get any of those cars for $1,500 less than those marked down prices!)

The first few days have been tough. It’s a difficult time of year as it is, being between Christmas and New Year.

If you read Darryl’s latest comments on site, then you’ll know he’s had plenty of calls, but foot traffic into the showroom was hampered by some very poor weather.

One of the participating dealers in the campaign, JMK Saab had some huge snow drifts on their lot, up to 7 feet at some stages….

It’s tough going, alright, but they’re going keep on going. In fact, Darryl and one of his colleagues will be opening the showroom on New Years Day to make sure that people have the maximum possible opportunity to call in.

Here’s the stock list again. If you’re in the market for a new Saab then you won’t get a better opportunity than this to pick up a 2010 model at a seriously discounted price. The range and variation in models is huge, so there’s something there for everyone.

Check it out, and say Hi to Darryl for me.

SCNA Arctic Adventure video contest – Win a trip to the Ice Hotel

Re-posted as a reminder…..

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For residents of the US only

Saab Cars North America are giving two grand prize winners the opportunity to visit the world famous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. The prize includes airfares and accommodation at the Ice Hotel.

What do you need to do? Simple.

Create a short video showing your Saab Spirit. Videos can be up to 60 seconds long and there is a maximum of three entries per person.

You enter your videos by submitting them to Saab’s Facebook page along with an entry form there. You’ll need to hit the “Like” button on the page in order to gain access.

Videos will be judged by a SCNA-appointed panel and the entries will be reduced down to eight finalists, who will then face a public vote to determine the winners.

You have until 11:59pm on January 6, 2011, to get your entries submitted and you should also be aware that Ice Hotel dates are fixed to February 18-20, 2011.

I know there are some very creative people out there, so get your cameras fired up, show your Saab spirit and rock this great competition hosted by Saab Cars North America.

Note again: this is only open to US residents.

Legal Mandatories: No purchase necessary to enter or win. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 years of age or older as of date of entry. Entry period starts at 12:01 a.m. ET on 12/13/10 and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on 1/06/11. Voting period starts at 12:01 a.m. ET on 1/10/11 and ends at 11:59:59 p.m ET on 1/16/11. For entry details and Official Rules, visit http://www.facebook.com/saab. Contest void where prohibited. Sponsor: Saab Cars North America.

Full competition rules (a.k.a the fine print) are posted after the jump….

Read moreSCNA Arctic Adventure video contest – Win a trip to the Ice Hotel

Edmunds test the 2011 Saab 9-5

We’re on SU-Lite at the moment. Hope you don’t mind.

Edmunds have had their hands on the V6 Aero Saab 9-5 for 2011 and the subsequent writeup is quite encouraging (and all true). You should note the handling comments and well… everything else, really.

This is a test that pretty much sums up everything that’s been said about the 9-5 on these pages. There’s a few equipment items they miss, but I have to say that personally speaking, the reversing camera’s the only one of the bunch that I’d spend a thought on.

I’ll give you their conclusion here. You can click through to Edmunds for the rest.

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A price tag of $55,000 seems steep for a Saab, but if we are to grant this brand the right to redefine itself, we must also admit that the 2011 Saab 9-5 is a genuine player in its segment. The Aero has benchmark handling, a competitive powertrain, plenty of space and the sort of style that will get you noticed (in a good way) in a parking lot full of Bimmers and Benzes.

If price is an issue, you might consider the $38,525, front-wheel-drive Saab 9-5 with its turbocharged 220-hp turbocharged inline-4. But we have to say that the 9-5 Aero is a relative bargain compared to its German competition. Load up the BMW and Mercedes with all this Aero’s mix of standard and optional equipment and their price tags would be between $8,000 and $10,000 more.

We think the 2011 Saab 9-5 Aero’s price advantage makes up for some of the deficit in fit and finish and the less compelling brand name. If the future of Saab will be as good-looking, as fun to drive and as competitive as this 9-5, consider the brand successfully redefined.

AutoGazette.de interview Victor Muller on the State of Saab

My thanks to Alexandros for sending through this Googletrans from Autogazette.de

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Interview with Spyker boss Victor Muller: Saab will be profitable again in 2012

The Swedish car brand Saab will be profitable again in 2012. In an interview with Auto Gazette speaks with Spyker CEO Victor Muller about the sales targets, new models and the booming Chinese market.

The fact that Saab is significantly behind sales expectations this year, on its way to profitability of the brand, is of no concern for Muller. “Although we will miss our target of 50,000 cars this year, we are more fully [engaged] in our business plan [now].” As the 51 year-old Muller said, he expects this year sales of at least 30,000 units, ideally perhaps 35,000 cars. Muller expects a boost for the brand in the coming year due to the introduction of two new models: the 9-5 SportCombi and crossover 9-4x.

“Enjoys it, that Saab is a part of Spyker»

Auto Gazette: Mr. Muller, do you regret that Spyker Cars took over the Saab brand in February this year?

Victor Muller: No, why should I? I enjoy every day that this traditional brand is now part of Spyker Cars.

Auto Gazette: To what extent can a brand owner enjoy that the sales expectations are so misguided as Saab? Originally you wanted to sell 60,000 cars this year, now it will probably only 27,000.

Muller: How did you get that number? Our business plan called for a global sale volume of 50,000 units in 2010. These numbers we could not achieve because GM stopped production in early January and we therefore could not solve problems with our suppliers to the extent as we had planned.

Auto Gazette: What numbers do you expect for 2010? In September it was around 18,000 sales.

Muller: We are expecting at least 30,000 units, ideally perhaps even 35,000 cars.

Auto Gazette: With this quantity Saab is far from reasonable profitability. How long will the financial reserves last, in order to keep Saab alive?

Muller: Do not worry. There are sufficient funds available to lead Saab again to profitability.

Auto Gazette: When will Saab be back in the black?

Muller: [The goal is] unchanged that from the year 2012 we will sell every year 120,000 units. Although we will miss our target of 50,000 cars in this year, we are more fully [engaged] in our business plan. Also, many things are already from next year for Saab much better.

Auto Gazette: Because then the new 9-5 Sport Combi, and the Crossover 9-4x will be two new products to market …

Read moreAutoGazette.de interview Victor Muller on the State of Saab

I think this is an ad for something

With thanks to Tobias…..

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_shlwEHubQ

OK, distractions over…. it’s a Ferrari V12 sound simulator made by Soundracer. The sound comes through your car speakers.

How it works:

SoundRacer detects the small signals from the alternator on the 12V system in the car, it does not use ignition pulses. That is why it also works on diesel cars. Manual or automatic transmission makes no differense for SoundRacer, it works on both types but of course the rpm response is different on automatic transmission cars with hydraulic tourqe convertes, the rpm increases as soon as you press the gas pedal.

A built in FM transmitter transfers the sounds on a selectable frequency to the car stereo system.

Cool. And if the Soundracer people are looking in, I’d love to try one 🙂

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