Goodbye and thanks to Saabs United – hello new world!

Wow. After six years, it’s time for me to sign off from Saabs United.

My thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts, comments and emails since the announcement was made that I’d be leaving SU (thanks to RedJ for the banner that’s been up for the last few days, too).

It wouldn’t be a true Saab story, however, if there wasn’t another twist in the tale…..

I’ve mentioned previously that my decision to leave Saabs United is due to me having too many balls to juggle all at once. My regular job, my family and my work with Saabs United were too much to fit into one personal 24 hour period. Something had to change and the first change was to sell Saabs United. I’m pleased to be able to tell you that it’s not the only change that’s taking place, however.

My regular job was getting in the way of my Saab duties, so I’ve set my regular job aside.

Saab Automobile are going to take some very big steps in bringing the company closer to their customers. Saab has hired me to be involved, as part of a global team, in a sustained social media presence that will see Saab presented from an inside view, allowing you access to company events, key people and of course, the cars themselves – in a way that no bigger car company can do.

We will aim to create relationships between the company and the community that supports it, giving you greater access to the company and the types of experiences that Saab are already known for.

Saab are very appreciative of all the community support they’ve received and they want to build on that relationship and give something back. It’s a very exciting challenge and one that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into.

There will be a press release from Saab in a few hours from now. Exciting times!

——

The following is a note I received today from Victor Muller, who asked me to share it here as part of this post.

Steven,

It is a given that you have played a key role in saving Saab last year by mobilizing tens of thousands of enthusiasts to rally in support of the company. You have single handedly proven the importance social media has nowadays in situations like the one Saab went through. You became one of my most powerful allies in those trying times which now are fortunately behind us.

We have learned that with the right approach, a brand can be activated in ways which were inconceivable just a few years ago. As a result we have made you an offer to come and work for us at Saab so as to allow you to dedicate your talents to the company which made it in part also because of you.

I thank you for what you did as Saabsunited and welcome you to Saab Automobile, where you will continue to unite all of us who cherish this iconic brand.

I wish the new owner of Saabs United and his committed crew all the success in the world and am confident that they will manage to enthuse countless avid Saabisti to support our brand and company in the years to come.

Victor

——

I have a whole bunch of thankyous to give here as part of my sign off. It just wouldn’t be right to finish up here without recognising the people who have provided support along the way.

This is a long list, so buckle up.

From Saab….

My first thanks must go to Victor Muller and the Spyker team for saving this company, giving it a new life and of course, asking me to be a part of it. You have a willing servant.

To Jan-Ake Jonsson, because the inspiration you provide is by no means confined to the people in your direct employment.

To Christer Nilsson, my first official contact point at Saab and a true PR professional and gentleman. An inspiration.

To Joe Oliver and Eric Geers for their continued support and allowing SU to be an occasional pain in the backside without telling me how much of a pain I really was.

To the late Jan-Willem Vester, again a true gentleman who put up with more from me in the GM days than one man should ever have to. Being unable to reconcile with you is quite possibly the greatest regret of my Saab-related career and your wonderful nature drives me to this day.

To John Libbos, an irreplaceable fountain of knowledge at Saab Cars North America and a great guy as well.

To the late, and very great Bob Sinclair, who embodied The Spirit of Saab more than any one person I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

To Mr Saab, Erik Carlsson, who continues to embody the Spirit of Saab today. A man I’m proud to have met.

To Peter Backstrom and Ola Bollander at the Saab Museum – I’ll bring the Tim Tams! Thanks for making this site so much more interesting.

To Peter Johansson, the father of XWD and now at eAAM, for being a wonderful ambassador to the company and for scaring the pants off me in a Turbo-X a few years ago.

To Pierre Belperron and the gang at Charles River Saab, as well as Darryl Carl at New Salem Saab, Fred Shaw at Shaw Saab, Kurt Schirm at International Saab, AJ Murphy at Just Saab, John Carter at General Sales Saab and all the other dealers and salespeople I’ve had contact with over the years – you guys are the frontline and I couldn’t be more proud to know you.

Thanks also to the various people who kept me informed and involved through the Saab sale process. You were involved in a very special time for Saab and your tenacity and heart helped the company to see a new dawn. You know who you are.

And finally, to all the Saab people who have obliged with interviews and thought pieces over the years – Anthony Lo, Gunilla Gustavs, Simon Padian, Jason Castriota, Mikael Jakobsson, Christopher McKinnon, Bjorn Envall, Taras Czorny, Alex Daniel, Parveen Batish, Emily Perry, Sofie Van Damme and many, many more – how many other car companies would have their people so available to a little independent website from Australia?

From Trollhattan Saab and Saabs United….

To Djup Strupe for all the photos, information and everything else that a blog like this loves to sift through. Thanks for your trust and I hope I’ve respected the confidence you showed in me.

To SaabKen, for those first encouraging words.

To Eggs n Grits, for being a fantastic foil and a safe pair of hands anytime I needed them. You inspire confidence.

To Lance Cole, for your wisdom and perspective, which was a treat for everyone who visited and read your work here.

To 1984Gripen, who not only provided some incredible coverage for the site, but who also gave up his time to pick me up in LA and share the most wonderful day in Santa Barabara with Bob Sinclair.

To my good mate Ivan for all the T-Shirt designs you people love to wear. Have a great time in Boston, mate.

To Tiago Do Vale for all the help with graphics over the years.

To ctm, who I miss very much, and who provided many a Swedish translation long before Google Translate ever existed.

To my latest writing partner here on the site, RedJ, whose incredible work at Geneva cemented the decision to pass the site on to the new crew.

To all of those in England who showed my wife that there’s not just great cars involved in the Saab lifestyle, but great people too. Chief amongst them, Mike and Hilary (this acknowledgement seems way too little for you two), the constantly smiling Elie, our unofficial Saab Ambassador to the UK, Robin M and our London tour guide and friend, ARUK.

To Greg Abbott for providing a steady voice for six years, now, and some solid advice and morale in Detroit back in 2008.

To Till72, who also has been a rock-steady voice and a great example to follow with his Saab 9-3x and his love for all things Hirsch. See you in Frankfurt, mate.

To all the great friends I’ve made in Sweden – TimR and Johanna, Rune and Anna, Tompa and Carola, and especially Mats K, who gave me my first tour around THN and remains a great friend to this day and a constant support.

To all my Aussie mates, John ‘The Hammer’, Saabill, Craig Y, Matt the fudgepacker, Tony B and especially Drew B here in Hobart. Jeff B, Dan, Alaero, SAB, Clive, Simon P, Upulie, Mike900 and others in Melbourne, the wonderful BBC crowd in Sydney and all the other Aussie Saabnuts I’ve met or corresponded with here and there. All of you have contributed stories to this site in various ways over the years and I look forward to our future here, downunder.

There are too many more to list here, but so many people have provided friendship and support over a prolonged period of time. Every person involved with this website who’s ever come up to say hello or shared a meal or other occasion, your support and friendship has meant so much to me and more than you know, you’ve played a part in keeping this site ticking over.

And of course, a site like this is nothing without the community that visits it, and gives it a pulse. You’ve come from all corners of the globe and enriched my life with your contributions here. You’ve supported Saab when they needed you, from the Mad Dutchies who started the whole Saab Support Convoy thing, to the people in villages in China, where I never even knew Saabs existed. Thanks to all for dropping by and I hope to see you all some time soon.

From the Saab-webosphere and the mainstream media….

To Ola Kinnander from Bloomberg, for teaching me about journalistic professionalism just by being who he is.

To Johan Oberg for restoring my faith (a late, but worthy addition).

To Par Brandt from Auto Motor and Sport, who is one of the most important people I’ve met on this whole journey because he gave me confidence and made me believe. A great guy, for a vegetarian ๐Ÿ™‚

To Ivo, for making me take a second look.

To Ray Wert from Jalopnik, who’s great fun at a motorshow and played a bigger role in helping Saab than most people recognise.

To Mark McCourt, who keeps the old-timers front and center at Hemmings.

To Gunnar at ADLX for being just so darn dapper!

To Ryan Emge at Saab History, with whom I rarely saw eye to eye, but whose powers as an archivist I’ve always respected and whose role in the first Saab Support Convoy, in Detroit, should be remembered.

To Etienne, from Saablog-in, who started his blogging journey around the same time as I did, and whose friendship has warmed the hearts of Saab fans all over Europe.

To Scott Patterson at Saabnet, whom I misjudged terribly when I first started writing, and whose long service to the Saab online community should be recongnised.

And to all the other bloggers, webmasters, forum mods and others who make the Saab online community such a vibrant place. Thanks to all for your comeraderie and support over the time we’ve been associated.

From my sponsors, who I’m proud to say are also friends….

I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that I’ve never had to go doorknocking for sponsorship. I’ve had a core group of sponsors who have stood by Saabs United for a long time.

Special thanks to John at Elkparts, who was my first ever sponsor and remains one to this day. John’s a great guy who’s support was instrumental in the early days of TS.

To Manfred and the team at Hirsch Performance. It’s been an honour to have you guys on board.

To Fredrik and the team at Maptun, who I can only wish I got to know earlier because they’re so dedicated to excellence and such huge Saab nuts.

To all the team at MobilForum, in Dresden, without whom the Saab Community would never have had the Rescue-Saab movement back in 2009.

To Dan DeVlieger at State of Nine, the quiet achiever, who keeps pumping out better and better Saab Accessories each year. You, my friend, are a true believer.

And finally, to all the crew at SaabUSA Parts, the first sponsor I’ve had to say no to because they felt they weren’t supporting SU enough! You are gold.

I know they aren’t sponsors. In fact, SU sponsored them, but it’s only right to recognise the Saabs United Historic Rally Team in this space as well. Whilst I supported them with some finance, they gave back plenty in terms of preserving older Saabs, great stories to tell and of course, helping to keep the spirit of Saab motorsport alive.

From the bottom of my heart……

Back during the Saab sale days, there were a core group of people who helped me by keeping my head straight and helping me sort through the various messes that were presenting themselves. Their help kept Saabs United as the only site anywhere that retained a near 100% record for accuracy through that process. I used to refer to them as the unofficial SU board. You guys know who you are and have my heartfelt appreciation.

Two of those guys are Aussies and I want to recognise them specifically because they’ve continued the unofficial task of keeping my muddled brain in one piece with their sage advice and great humour. They are PT and Turbin and I owe them my sanity, and most likely quite a bit more.

There’s one guy whose dedication and support to both Trollhattan Saab and Saabs United has been beyond what anyone would have the right to believe could happen, even in one’s wildest dreams. He is the barometer for all Saab customers, having owned over 30 of them from brand new and it’s to Saab GB’s detriment that he doesn’t own a new one right now (a situation that has to be remedied). I owe him more than I could ever repay, but I keep trying. Dave R, you’ve provided so much over the four years I’ve known you but I won’t embarass you by listing everything here as I know you’d hate it. Perhaps most importantly, you’ve provided a moral compass, sound ethics and more than a few great laughs. Dave, you are in many ways the backbone of this site.

And finally, of course, my everlasting thanks to my wonderful, neglected but still ever-supportive wife, PJ. I quite literally would be an empty shell without you.

Notify of
martinsaab
Guest
martinsaab

Incredible! I am speechless…
Now all this “I will move out of SU” makes sense.
Congratulations, Steve!

“Keep on Saabing” in every true sense ๐Ÿ™‚

Martin D.

Rune (Oslo, Norway)
Guest
Rune (Oslo, Norway)

First of all Swade, congratulation with your new job! And SAAB, congratulation with signing up this fantastic ambassador for SAAB and the SAAB-community! You have given me much joy over the last 4-5 years since I started reading your blog. I recon this can only be a win-win situation for both parties, even though you will be surely missed here at SaabsUnited. Hopefully this new era for you, and SAAB, will form the basis for a hole new model for how companies communicate with their customers, the society, suppliers, sales network, investors and not the least their employees. I wishes… Read more »

Sombrero
Guest
Sombrero

Just wanted to say gratulation.

Thylmuc
Guest
Thylmuc

Incredible. Find me speechless.

Err, now that you are at the interface, could you tell them to “bring back the hatch”(es) (plural intended)?

Seรกn
Guest
Seรกn

Thank you Swade for all your time and effort keeping the Saab community informed and the Saab spirit alive. When all hope was lost during the Saab sale, you held out hope, and that made the rest of us regain our hope. I’m sure the new Saabs United team will do just fine, they have big shoes to fill, but I am sure they will do you proud. Good luck with your new (and exciting) job. And we all look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚
Seรกn M.

Alexandros
Guest
Alexandros

Great news and congratulations to both, you, Steven, and Saab!

This must be a dreamlike situation: your “hobby” as a full time job!

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

A little something inside me is not surprised…

Congratulations, Swade – and good luck for it.
Congratulations, new SU team – and good luck with it.

Red J
Member

Swade, first of all I have to congratulate you, you have achieved so many things in respect to Saab, that the less Saab could do is to let you live your dream!! Congratulations and all the luck in your new job !! I once read the memories from Ferdinand Piech, and when talking about his grandfather,Mr. Ferdinand Porsche, he described him as a man with only one special skill, Mr. Ferdinand Porsche was not good at creating cars, but he was excellent at getting very talented people in his team. I think Victor Muller has also this skill. I thought… Read more »

hh1b9816
Guest
hh1b9816

YES YES YES

The perfect fairytale story. Made the hairs on my arms rise reading about your future at Saab!

Carl-Henrik
Guest
Carl-Henrik

Swade – Thank you as so many others have already said. But almost more important – send my greatest hank you to your wife.

And… I KNEW IT! I knew you something like this was going on. I just had a feeling and it turned out right. Keep it up!

2-don
Guest
2-don

Swade, I wish you the best in your future endeavor with SAAB and thanks for all that you did for us enthusiasts!

Radu
Guest
Radu

Goodie! I had a feeling it will end like this. It comes natural such a match. Wishing you all the best with the new assignment and look forward to meeting you if your ways will cross Romania. Thumbs up!

Bilskrot
Guest
Bilskrot

Steven, thank you for all these great years. Congratulations with your new job. I wish you and Saab all the best.

Joost

Bill P
Guest

Congratulations Swade and well done on the new Job .

be in touch soon

Cheers

Bill

Belfast_Saab
Guest
Belfast_Saab

Now, why am I not surprised – should have seen this coming – fantastic news, I think we all feel a little more confident today! Well deserved.

StefanH STHLM
Guest
StefanH STHLM

There will be hundreds of Save Swade Convoys around the globe now.
Iยดm shure of that!
๐Ÿ™‚

AJ
Guest
AJ

As a long time reader of SU and avid Saab fan, I just wanted to thank you for giving so much to this community and company, especially during the hard times over a year ago. Congrats on the new job!

RS
Guest
RS

Good job Victor!

Congrats Steven, or should we now call you Mr. Wade from Saab Automobile? ๐Ÿ˜‰ (NOT)

Janne
Guest
Janne

Congratulations! And thanks!

Michael
Guest
Michael

Congratulations, Steven!
I always believed this should happen!
Good luck with your new job, I’m sure you’ll do it with passion and I’m anxious to see the results.
And thank you Saab for hiring Steven!

David C
Guest

Once again best of luck and congratulations. Such a proximity to the “masses” will hopefully translate in more sales. Regards

Lennartsson
Guest
Lennartsson

Great Words Swade!

As a regular SU reader that last three years I am glad to hear that you will continue to work with SAAB and I really wish you good luck!

Thanks for the fantastic coverage the last years and you really made me interested in SAAB!

MillerMan
Guest
MillerMan

Congrats Steven! I hope your new job gives you a better opportunity to devide your time. As Victor will be giving a speech on Saab’s future here in my hometown, I will try to congratulate him with his new employee!

Bjoern
Guest
Bjoern

Greetings and a big shout to you from Frankfurt. I just want to say THANK YOU for your fantastic work and support for Saab. I’m happy to read that you will be working for Saab, it’s the best thing they could do! ๐Ÿ˜‰ So good luck for the future and I’m thrilled to see you in offical action. Best wishes to the new SU Crew, keep up the great work. Swade, it’s been a pleasure that I was able to had a funny and interesting evening with you in Frankfurt while you were on the IAA, even though we had… Read more »

vladarh
Guest
vladarh

Excellent news Swade!

I’m so excited to see that you’ll be doing even more for SAAB in the future (if it’s possible to do more than you have done). Great move by VM and I hope they give you the red 9-3x you want so much. As always SAAB is at the forefront, this time concerning media involvment.

Good luck at your new job and I hope we hear a lot of good news from you :):):):):):)

JohnnyBravo
Guest
JohnnyBravo

Congratulations!!!!

Well deserved – and one of the best people news that new Saab can announce!

Rgds,
JohnyBravo

Alex
Guest
Alex

Steve, many thanks for SU. Good luck in your new challenge.

cheers from Russia. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hans H
Guest
Hans H

Great !

Good luck with your new job, then. And thanks for all!

/Hans H

Marco
Guest
Marco

Congratulations are in place Steven…!

One thought has always guided me:

“Whatever you do, if you are good enough in it, you will be able to make a living out of it…”

And we all have seen that here in SU over the past years…

Good luck in your new job – it’s a dream come true for you!!!

Cheers
Marco

Saabulon
Guest
Saabulon

Wow, this site really has it all – class, style, suspense, cars, clever people, etc, etc, etc. How can anyone not love this? Steven, lots of very, very, very big congratulations! I hope you can increase the word of mouth effect even more. If people, who aren’t SAAB drivers, or SU readers for that matter, knew what they were missing out on there would be a tidal wave to deal with at Trollhรคttan! A very big good luck (and I hope you get a fully speced, laser red, 9-3x company car soon)!!

Olav
Guest
Olav

This is like a good fairytale, with an awesome ending! And now it will have many new and exciting chapters to come. These are good times for the SAAB brand!

Thank you and congratulation, Steven!
Thank you and congratulation, SAAB!

Cheers from Norway!

-Olav-
Always on the longest road home when out there with my SAAB. Always!

Ralph
Guest
Ralph

An ideal deal, great to read that things end (or rather continue) like this !
Turning a hobby into a paid job, what could be better? Congratulations to you, Swade.
See you around!

Nils
Guest
Nils

Thanks a lot Swade for your excellent blog and your work to help saving Saab and get a community on board! Congratulations and good luck with your new job! I am now even more confident that Saab is on the road to success! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Back in 2000, I read a good book: “Futurize Your Enterprise: Business Strategy in the Age of the E-Customer” by David Siegel. He predicted that successful enterprises in the future would be those who would use the Internet to be in a close dialog with their customer, to offer what the customers want, as opposed to… Read more »

Anddeu
Guest
Anddeu

I think that this was the best Mr. Muller could do.
Good luck!

Knape
Guest
Knape

Congratulations and many thanks for a very good job. You have been a true inspiration who have made my SAAB-interest grow.

Good luck!

Johan Knape

Tim Wouters
Guest
Tim Wouters

Steven,

I want to take some time to thank you for all the work you did. Especially during wind down period where we, as (independant) Saab personel, found lots of support and a massive amount of “Live” information. I’m very pleased that Saab, yet again, listended to SU readers and offered you a job.

I bet you’l get your new 9-5 after all too !?!

Cheers

Tim – Saab BE

wilfried
Guest
wilfried

First of all congratulations with your new job ! That ‘boomerang-trophy’ you recieved earlier from the hands of Victor Muller makes sense now and it must be a great opportunity to combine your free-tim passion with your day-to-day job. I will look forward how this will continue, both your now official ‘pr-job’ at saab and the continuation of this saabsunited.com. And many thanks for the numerous posts over here, the passion and inside information you shared, and I recall the period before SU, I allways enjoyed reading your trollhattansaab-articles. Even if it wasn’t direct as a forum, your blog was… Read more »

Golfhunter
Guest

Great times , great memories and great emotions since 6 years .
I’ve always loved the way you wrote your topics .
I’m glad to read that the Saab adventure continues for you .

Jeff.

benrp
Guest
benrp

Is Swade moving to Melbourne? If you do you won’t regret it, great city.

Camasi
Guest
Camasi

Thank you Swade for so many hours of great reading. Good luck with the new job ๐Ÿ™‚

BengtP
Guest
BengtP

Congratulations and thanx for all of your work here att SU!

Eirik99
Guest

Thanks for all you’ve done Steven! I wish you all the best in the future, and I’m looking forward to see you “do your thing” for Saab. Good luck!

nickX
Guest
nickX

this is sooo COOL! well done, mr. wade. this is a perfect fairytale story!
I guess you’re going to have a lot of fun.

Ken H
Guest
Ken H

Congratulations, you car hugging bear!

I think it’s a very interesting move by Saab, because I am sure they are not doing this just to be nice with swade. Very few people, if any, has the same knowledge as swade about what the crowd wants and what the company can do. This knowledge will be valuable when treading these new grounds.

Best of luck!

PS. Send pics of your new ride, ok?

elli wilson
Guest

Swade, on behalf of the SOC GB, we wish you all the best, SAAB has gained a true Ambassador for the brand,
best regards
elli

Jeroen Sprenkeler
Guest
Jeroen Sprenkeler

Congratulations, Steven! Hiring you is sooo Victor Muller ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck with your new job at Saab.

LMG
Guest
LMG

Thank you.
And good luck!

//LMG

saabaudi
Guest
saabaudi

This is another example how Internet and bloggers are able to influence more and more the daily work and decisions of international companies. VM recognized the enormous and positive input of Saabsunited in the brands fight of surviving. So it`s only consequent to haul the creator of SU on board as an inspired coworker in focusing all the needed power for the long lasting battle of regenerating Saab. As a sceptical observer I may only wish good luck.

Tobias
Guest
Tobias

Hello Steven,

all the best for you, and nice for you that you can stay in Australia! Thank you very much for the time we had with you!

Tobias

aerobert
Guest
aerobert

Thanks and good luck! Looking forward seeing you in action for Saab!

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