Sunday Night Snippets – Southern land edition

Greetings all. It’s good to be back.

This is our 9000. And if I can read maps correctly (not guaranteed, but I think I did Ok on this occasion) then it’s parked about as far south as you can travel on a public road in Australia. It’s just outside the ranger station at Cockle Creek.

It took 20kms of dirt to get there, which was heaps of fun 🙂

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The latest (and I believe last) of Saab’s four consecutive ads in the Wall Street Journal has been posted up on Saab’s Facebook page. I received a photo from the paper, too (thanks Steve!), so it’s definitely been published.

Click.

Not my favourite, but not bad. Absolutely fantastic image of the car.

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And speaking of ads, Jeremy Clarkson has reviewed the Saab 9-3 TTiD in this weekend’s print edition (also available online to Sunday Times subscribers) and SaabGB have placed a full-page ad at the rear of the “InGear” section.

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UPDATE: Nothing to see here.

From Arild: The transmission factory is owned by Weigl and has nothing to do with Saab anymore.

Do we have a Swede on board who can provide an accurate translation of this article from Swedish Radio?

It looks as if, possibly due to the recent changes to Saab’s engineering structure, that Saab has dismantled the remainder of their powertrain (gearbox) arm.

It’s a little unclear, though. Any help welcome.

Thanks Ted!

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Jonas Froberg – Saab book author – has a slightly depressing article in E24 asking if people will dare to buy a Saab.

It’s a fair question, as that’s what Saab are asking people to do, but I think Froberg takes an unnecessary, pessimistic tone.

On the plus side, he also gives what I think is a reasonable examination of the circumstances that Saab faced last year.

Is the world getting CO₂ crazy??

All of a sudden the car industry is able to deliver cars that are fun to drive and have an incredible low CO2 emission. Who is behind this incredible improvement, the engineering department or the marketing department?

I can’t speak for every new ultra-low emissions sports car being build in the future, but at least one. I don’t know how Mr. Wüst came to this information (German original article), but If I were one of the committees that decide how the consumption of a car has to be measured, I would try to change the current standard as fast as I could to reflect the real consumption of hybrid cars.

Mr. Wüst in his article talks about the Porsche 918 Spyder. This car will have a 500hp V8 engine + 218hp from the e-motor, a high speed of 325 kph and a 0-100 value of 3,2 s but only emit 70g of CO2 in the european mixed cycle.

Is that possible? Yes it is, because Porsche (and anybody else) is allowed to run the test only on battery power, the car can run for 25 km on battery power. Afterwards the consumed current is transformed inequivalent petrol consumption.

And what is the relation to Saab, you may ask? Well there is no direct link, as there isn’t much information leaked about the next 9-3, but it made me think about the latest Volvo announcement, and the fact, that rumors say that Saab is targeting similar Specs as the Volvo made me think about it.

Volvo is presenting its new V60 hybrid at Geneva. The car combines the current D5 engine (Diesel; 205hp;420Nm) with an electrified rear axle with 70electric hp, getting the current 142g/km to an almost impossible 50 g/km. This car will hit the showrooms in 2012.

Is Volvo using the same trick as Porsche, to be frankly I think yes, they do, the car can run twice as long as the Porsche on battery power. Will Saab have to use the same trick to get the planned 9-3 hybrid (with a similar configuration to the V60). Yes, I also think they will have to.

My point is, that Saab may present the <120g 9-3 SC at Geneva, but this big achievement from the Saab engineers will be seen like a joke one year later when Volvo gets the V60 hybrid on the road. At least the supremacy from Volvo won't last too long (I hope), and the Germans (the A4 for instance), won't be able to show something similar till 2013/14.

The SU Hi-Po Challenge

I’m away for a couple of days, but this ought to give you something to chew on…..

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Consider this the oiling of squeaky wheels as far as SU is concerned.

There are a number of people who frequent this site who think that Saab should definitely build a high-powered, performance-oriented halo version of one of its cars. Whilst I count myself as a frequenter of this site, I do not count myself as an extreme halo car advocate at this time.

From my perspective – and noting that I’d love to see a higher spec Saab if it were realistically possible – what Saab need to do at this point in their history is improve, refine and expand their existing product line. They nearly died just 12 months ago and have a lot of basics to cover in order to get to a position where they’re self-supporting, financially healthy and stable for the future. They need to walk before they try to run.

Whilst I personally consider this sort of model to be an extravagance that Saab can’t afford right now, I’m open to being proven wrong.

The SU Hi-Po Challenge.

If you are one of the Hi-Po advocates, then I offer you a front page opportunity to state your case.

We’ve frequently been told by Hi-Po advocates that such a car must have 350hp minimum, so that’s your baseline (but of course, you should always go 50hp more than the expected amount).

I want you to lay out how you’ll achieve that sort of power, where you’ll source the engine from, what other modifications you’ll do to the interior, exterior, suspension, etc, in order to make this car 1) buildable, and 2) marketable.

I want you to state your timeframe for testing this car, to make sure that the company can warrant the vehicle in all markets with confidence.

I want you to tell me the expected sale price, based on current pricing in your market. Along with that, state how many of these vehicles you think Saab could realistically sell, given current challenges and the reduced marketing budget they might have as a result of this project (your decision, see below).

Remember, they had trouble selling 2,000 Turbo X’s in 2008. I’m not sure if they sold many more Viggens than that back in the early parts of the decade, either. Your car is going to have to be more compelling than those (which means $$$$) but for not much, if any, more money.

And speaking of money…… of course, it’s absolutely essential for you to tell me how you’re going to fund the engineering, development and testing of this project. The Saab 9-3 Viggen was based on an existing model but still took several years to develop before coming to market. All that development work has to be paid for somehow.

Saab have a very limited pot of funds, so if we’re to add a Viggen-on-steroids-style performance version, with all of the work such a project entails, then something’s got to go from the current priority list. Given the EIB funds are for efficiency projects only, EIB money is out of the question.

And by the way – this is done as if under Saab’s current circumstances. There’s no “we’ll go and float on the Stockholm exchange” or “Antonov will give us the money” stuff. You have to fit it in to the current program by telling us which current priority is less important than a performance car.

There are no prizes for this challenge. All you get is the satisfaction of being keen enough to rise to the challenge.

Please be aware that your entry may be critiqued with similar vigor as if it were one of Saab’s own plans for a product offering (and if you hang around here frequently enough, you know that that’s pretty tough scrutiny). Please be prepared to accept that level of scrutiny, just as you expect Saab to live with the scrutiny you apply to them.

All entries should be sent to my email address (swade99-at-gmail.com) and I’ll post them here on site, as is. If we get more than half a dozen then I’ll put up a poll and people can vote on them.

Saab is involved in a real business. If you can make a real business case then maybe they’ll see it and act accordingly.

Snow Saab – 9000!

What do you do when you’ve had heaps of snow, and have had to shovel heaps of snow into a…… heap?

Of course, you make a car out of it.

Jason lives in the north-east US, where there’s been plenty of snow. After he cleared the cold stuff from the path around his 9-5 Aero, he had a pile about the size of a car. Jason figured that he may as well craft a tribute to his first Saab – a Saab 9000.

I think you’ll agree it turned out very well indeed.

Saab on Swedish adventure TV – “Landskampen”

Landskampen is a TV show pitting Swedish and Norwegian winter sports stars against one another in a series of challenges.

You Scandinavian types can watch the show over at TV3. The website wouldn’t show me the video down here in Australia, but fortunately a friend named Niclas managed to grab a clip so I could show you the product placement Saab has managed to wiggle into the production.

It’s reminiscent of Saab’s placement on the Swedish leg of The Amazing Race.

Here’s the video. The Saabs look great and the Norwegians look a little too happy with themselves 🙂 :

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU-xNN3JizE

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Thanks to Niclas for the clip.

Hirsch steering wheel

You might recall that one of our SU regulars, Till72, visited Hirsch’s headquarters in Switzerland last week. I posted his remarks about taking a quick drive in Rene Hirsch’s personal whip – a new Saab 9-5.

The other reason Till made the journey was to have a new Hirsch performance leather steering wheel fitted to his Saab 9-3x. It goes nicely with his Hirsch carbon leather interior and engine tune 🙂

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Hirsched again…

One of the reasons for my trip to Switzerland was that I got the new steering wheel for my 9-3x. I fell in love with it as I saw it for the first time at the Hirsch open day back in August.

The airbag and the controls are kept from the original part so you also keep your black or silver covers and only the wheel itself is changed. It was done in about half an hour.

After having it installed for a week now I can say that I really like the feel of the stronger shaped design. Your hands easily find a safe and comfortable position. The perforated leather adds it’s part to the great feel, too. I also realized that for tall people like me the flat bottom makes it easier to get into the car.

The steering wheel completes the Hirsch interior of my 9-3x and adds some sportiness. I love it.

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