Friday Snippets – Floods

I’ve had quite a few people emailing me about the floods, some asking if we’re OK.

We are absolutely OK. Australia’s a big place and whilst there has been a lot of rain here in Tasmania and some flooding in the north of the state, there’s nothing at all that effects us here in the south. Thanks to all for your concern.

Of course, the big floods are in Queensland, the northernmost state on the east coast of Australia. We’ve all been glued to our TV’s here and there has been plenty to see, around 95% of it quite tragic.

Image from Grantham, the town probably worst hit by the floods, which claimed houses, vehicles and lives in just minutes.

Everyone in southern Australia knows someone who’s moved to Queensland in the last 10 years or so, quite a few of them to Brisbane. We all feel like we’ve got someone involved in this in some way.

If you’ve never seen how a flash flood progresses, watch this video from Toowoomba, which was hit without warning by a flash flood earlier this week (much of this is the water that’s effecting Brisbane now). Amazing.

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

Personally speaking, one of my good friends will have to find somewhere else to live. Her house (a rental, so it’s not hers to rebuild) was overcome very early in the Brisbane flood. Thankfully, she got most of her stuff out and of course, the best news is that she’s safe.

I have a few semi-regular Saab contacts up there, as well, one of whom (Simon L) owns a Saab 99 Turbo that I used to own. Simon lives on high ground and was never in any trouble from the water.

Some of you might be familiar with a bloke named AussieLars, who comments here occasionally. Lars got his Viggen on to high ground before the water came, but there was some concern about the Saab 96 V4 that’s he had stripped and part-way through restoration. Obviously, it wasn’t as portable as the Viggen and time was very short.

As it happens, the water level wasn’t quite as high as people feared and for Lars, that means that the 96 will just need some mild cleanup. Nothing too major. He and Mrs AussieLars will be just fine, which is great to hear.

There are plenty of harrowing stories, however, the most striking and heartbreaking of which is probably that of Jordan Rice and his mother, Donna. Click here.

If you feel moved to support flood victims, many of whom will not be covered by insurance because of their proximity to the river (and because insurers can be bastards sometimes), then I invite you to donate to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal, the primary fundraising effort run by the Queensland government.

Again, thanks for your concern, not just personally, but for all the people in Queensland who have done it so tough in the last few weeks.

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On to some more Saab-specific things……

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Beijing Automotive, who were looking to buy Saab back in 2009 but settled for $200m worth of older-generation tooling, are trialling 30 electric cars with the local government in Beijing.

A number of them are based on the Saab 9-3.

Beijing Auto Electric Saab

Beijing Auto has started production of electric ‘Saab’ 9-3’s. The car is called Q60FB and is part of a trial project for electric cars with the Beijing city government. They will make 30 cars in total, including a number of electric BC301Z’s, called the C30DB and a number of electric minivans called MR30DB.

The full story is over at thetycho.com.

BAIC were always pretty serious about doing electric vehicles and using the Saab tooling they bought as part of the project. It’s good to see them progressing on this and I don’t think it’s a bad thing that they’ve used Saab’s bodies instead of their own for such a project.

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I wrote about a new Saab dealership popping up in Seattle a few months ago, but they weren’t online at the time.

It’s good to see Saab of Bellevue are now up and running.

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The Saab 9-5 won a Car of the Year vote in Finland, and I’m pretty sure SU had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Not sounding surprised there, just happy. The Finns love their Saabs, as they should 🙂

37 thoughts on “Friday Snippets – Floods”

  1. Its neither here or there in Australia. Not enough rain. Too much rain. I was watching the news here and they were saying that there were sharks swimming in the streets of Brisbane. Add crocs and Australia’s MASSIVE spiders and the whole thing is just terrifying. Aussies are tough but this mess will take a long time to clean up.

    I see the Chinese are copying Western products ie thats a Saab thru-and-thru. Disgraceful.

    • I haven’t heard anything about sharks swimming up the river, but I’ve seen a photo of a croc in a park (not sure if it was genuine, though.

      I know how much you love our native fauna, Zippy. Here’s a good photo for you – some red-bellied black snakes hiding out in a local phone cabling pit. Someone captioned it “strange place for a Telstra (national phone company) board meeting” 🙂

  2. Its sad to see such devastation and feel so helpless. Thanks for the fellow Saaber updates, glad they are safe but it is still very heartbreaking.

  3. Back in 2008 we had a massive flood hit my city of Cedar Rapids, IA. It was unlike anything that I had ever seen. The foods in Austraila dwarf what we experienced. My prayers are with those impacted. We still have not fully recovered. It is going to be a long recovery, that’s for sure.

    • Nate’s not kidding. Those 2008 floods here in eastern Iowa affected multiple rivers at the same time. The Cedar River, which goes through the middle of Nate’s city, reaches flood stage at roughly 3.6m/12 ft, and in that case, was 6m/20 ft above flood stage. About a quarter of a city of 200k people was under water. 20 miles south* in Iowa City (*during the flood, the road detour was 300 MILES, due to all the flooding), the Iowa River flooded far fewer homes, but flooded a substantial part of the University of Iowa and a substantial commercial district.

      It’ll be a long road to recovery there in Australia; my thoughts and prayers go out to those affected.

  4. How about Saab Australia do a simular thing as in the US and give $50 from every test drive to the QLD flood appeal.

    • There are no cars to test-drive and by the time there are things will have largely moved on (though the recovery will take years).

  5. I’m down here in Melbourne, Victoria and there is no way I’m doing the planned trip 200km North this weekend as there will be flood activity all over the place here too. There has already been numerous road closures, non-stop rain and 4 significant rivers expected to flood, all as we approach the peak of our “hot and dry” summer!

    • Victoria’s 3rd city (where my sister lives):

      City of Ballarat

      “The City of Ballarat advises that there are widespread road closures in the shire, with the majority of roads being impacted. We advise drivers to take extreme care and ideally to not travel on the roads at this time.”

      Wow!

  6. Sorry to see so much devastation. Fortunately for me I’ve always lived on high ground. Hope you all have plenty of flood insurance.

    • They’re owned by Park Place Ltd, which is an Aston Martin, Lotus, and (surprise) Spyker dealer, which probably made it a little easier for them to add Saab to their portfolio. Nice to see Saab next to these brands, instead of the usual GM stables.

  7. How in the world do you Finnish people read? I clicked on the link and saw words with three A’s in a row! :O Doesn’t it get confusing?

    • Hi!

      The Finnish Car of the Year vote was actually by the readers of one Magazine (Tuulilasi). The result was most probably affected by the fact that the link was published on the Saab Club of Finlands web page. The Club has well over 2000 members being amongst the biggest car brand clubs in Finland. The editors of Tuulilasi were a bit surprised by the result of this voting 🙂 But here at SU we are of course used to express our opinions in these kind of votings…

      2natw: The word you are referring to is probably “Lukijaäänestys”. If you read it carefully you may notice that there is only one “a” and two “ä”(a with 2 dots), which is differently pronounced. And this is actually a combination of two words “Lukija” (reader) and “äänestys” (voting). The Finnish language puts these words together.

      And to clarify the difference between the “a” and “ä”: A is pronounced like in “Saab”. Ä (A with two dots) is pronounced like in “and”. And when at it “Å” (A with a ring) is pronounced a little like in “Oh” but maybe backwards. A good example of mispronounced Å is in Jan-Åke Jonsson.

      Maybe this is stupid to be clarified here but as we all have a mutual interest in a Scandinavian car it might be interesting to know how the different words are pronounced when containing these different A’s….

      • I found your lecture on Finnish interesting. But I have a personal interest since my great-grandmother is descended from the Finns that emigrated from Savo to the great woods of Hedmark in Norway in the 16th and 17th century 🙂

      • Saab Club of Finland has about 3200 members currently which I think makes it the biggest car make specific automobile club in Finland. The biggest “car club” I believe is the “Automobile-Historical” Club of Finland (SAHK) which has 26 regional subsections and around 7500 members in those subsections in total – but it is not car make specific.

      • I mean, I know what umlauts are and how to pronounce them (if German pronounces them the same) The words look so long though! Still, how would the pronunciation change with two a-umlauts, not one? Finnish looks so cool…

        • 2natw: I’m glad you like our language. Most foreigners don’t like it.

          When a Finnish word has two vowels we just double the length of it. This is due to the fact that when we have only one vowel in a word it is pronounced quite short. And “Ä” is just another vowel in the Finnish language; and actually it’s quite a used one. And the length of the vowel can actually change the meaning of the word totally:

          Example:
          “uni” = dream
          but
          “uuni” = oven (the chamber where you warm up the food 🙂

          I believe the Finnish language is one of the most vowel rich languages in the world. Maybe one of the most interesting vowel words in our language is “Hääyöaie”. The translation would be something like: Intentions for the wedding night. As you notice from the translation, this short word contains many words put together: “hää” = wedding; “yö” = night; and “aie” = intention. All these words just have many vowels in them.

          Even if Finland has a common 500 year history with Sweden (Finland was a part of Sweden) and we have the same umlauts and many common words as well, the Finnish language differs significantly from the other Scandinavian/Nordic languages (Swedish, Danish Norwegian & Icelandic) in grammar and word structure… Our closest “neighbor” in languages is Estonian. ()

          Oh and a part of the common history is also the production of Saab cars:

    • 2natw, actually you’ve hit closer to the core of the problem than you may have thought.

      As Marco points out, ‘ä’ and ‘å’ are not equal to ‘a’.

      Those umlauts all come from the time the Germans started printing text. In Germanic languages, we have some sounds that were printed by combining several vowels. But at some point someone realized it was difficult to keep track of which vowels were combined. You could indeed end up with three ‘a’ vowels in one word.

      What they did was to construct new letters. The ring above the ‘å’ was originally a gothic ‘a’ put above the bottom ‘a’. The two dots above ‘ä’ was originally a gothic ‘e’ (rotated IIRC) above the ‘a’. I.e., before they would write ‘ae’ but in the 1400s (or so) they started writing ‘ä’ instead.

      I’m not sure the same applies to ‘æ’ (often used in Denmark and Norway since the early 1900s). I think the romans would sometimes combine a and e. ‘Caesar’ = ‘Cæsar’, but for all I know the Germans could have masterminded that one as well.

      In a nutshell, ‘å’ is then actually ‘aa’, a compressed long a-sound. Just try to pronounce two ‘a’s at the same time, and you’ll be OK. 😀

      Sweden introduced these characters sometime in the 16th or 17th century when they started using printing presses from Germany. As I understand it, the Germans still used ‘å’ at that point, but lately it has fallen out of use in Germany. In Norway they started using ‘å’ in 1917 or so, Denmark followed shortly after the second world war IIRC. There was a debate in Denmark on where to put the ‘å’ in the alphabet. Some wanted it right after ‘a’, others wanted to adopt the Norwegian alphabet (‘å’ is dead last) and some preferred the Swedish alphabet (you don’t want to know).

      Although a part of Sweden (not so far from Norway) makes the world’s best cars… Let us be frank: They’re bad at making ice cream. Which is OK, because they do make the best cars, allowing people here in Sweden to drive across the border to buy ice cream as often as they’d like.

  8. Very sad story about the tragic death of Jordan Rice and his mother.

    Swade, thinking that the SAVE SAAB campaign 1-year anniversary is just around the corner, perhaps it would be a good “vehicle” event for Saabers around the world to raise awareness and funds for disaster relief in Queensland ?

      • It wasn´t there then but I dont write that fast either. But I heard the news on the radio and if the magic word comes up you listen with big interest. Then check it out, you guys are fast.

        Actually I think the comeback itself (for Saab) is the most interesting thing. Sales figure, building new markets and strategies, those kind of stuff.
        Discuss the seats are not as rewarding for me (as an example). It´s going to be an interesting year, don´t you think!

  9. Terribly negative article in the business section of Holland’s largest newspaper, de Telegraaf, today. Mainly composed using the quotes of that same Danish Professor -who felt he was quoted incorrectly by the press- of last week. Maybe it is this time even worse. The article communicates whole Sweden feels this way. That professor is a very dangerous and destructive man. If he feels he is quoted incorrectly, he better shut up in the press or hire another to communicate for him.

  10. Luckily for Australia, they have entirely different ability and resources to cope with huge flood compared to say Pakistan.

    What comes to Finnish reading, words are written as they are said, due to this about half the kids know how to read before they go to school as they know alphabets.

  11. Hello you experts!

    Is Beijing really making the electric 9-3s with saab badges and all?
    Or have they bought in some old Saab 9-3 made in sweden? I understand Saab in China sold out some.

    And what is the chance for Saab to be allowed to use Beijings electrical technice in the swedish made 9-3s?

    • From an older article, http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/baic-after-pininfarina/

      It seems like BAIC will be commissioning Pinifarina to work on the SAAB models.

      > Gasgoo cites an unnamed executive at BAIC who said: “I just come back from Italy last week and have communicated with the technical staff at Pininfarina about the design proposal of the Saab models. Pininfarina is the most successful overseas car design company in China. BAIC has been collaborating with it on development of models based on the Saab technology and will display an all-new concept car with the Saab DNA at next year’s Shanghai auto show, while Pininfarina will be responsible for the contour design of the car.”

      It’d be interesting to see what they come up with.

  12. I am in Noosa, SE Queensland, and although all our rivers have risen to the brim, we are okay for now.

    But all over us it’s total devastation, most of the townships to the west and north of us had been seriously affected – places like Gympie etc are all LOCAL places we go on a regular base, were all under the water.

    I had 2 of my friends visiting me over Xmas from the Whitsundays, they are now totally stuck with no way home (on road).

    We are doing as much as we can to help. Pls offer any help you can.

    I know Australia is a developed country but in the face of natrual desasters, all help would be very much appreciated.

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