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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!