As mentioned last week, I spent my last day in Geneva meeting up with Till72. It was a long-awaited meeting as we’ve been email correspondents for some time and I was really looking forward to meeting the big man from Munich and catching a ride in his Hirsched Saab 9-3x (a truly awesome example).
We spent several good hours catching up and talking about various Saab issues before parting at Geneva Airport – I hopped on a plane and Till walked across the road and into the Palexpo center to check out the Geneva Motor Show.
These are his thoughts.
My trip to Geneva was quite tough. I started a 3 am on Thursday in Munich to be at Geneva in time to pick up Steven for a ride to the airport. May sound a bit silly but in fact it was the only way for him to get a Saab taxi in Geneva. And more than that it was the long awaited chance to meet up and have a good chat. After he had to jump on the plane I proceeded to the auto show for a quick look around and a long stay at the Saab booth. At the evening I went to a cheap hotel in France for a few hours of sleep as I had to get up early to make it to an appointment with Hirsch at Sankt Gallen.
I found out a few things on this trip….. For example, I can go 1100 km on one tank of diesel with my 9-3x if I obey the Swiss speed limit. And Audi drivers in every country I went through on my trip were pretty interested in my Saab because they always drove like 15 cm behind me to take a closer look. I thought about attaching some brochures to the back of my car, those guys could have easily read it. Oh, and Steven is a real nice guy. I’m gonna miss his writings here on SU. And no-one wanted to enter the Dacia booth. But those things are not what you would like to hear, or maybe you already know them. So let’s get to the interesting things.
I won’t go too much into the details, they’ve been worked out here already. It’s a concept car. And it’s main intention was to get attention and to shout out “Saab is alive”. And that’s what it does. You could hardly get near the car because it was being photographed all of the time. The day I went there was the first visitors day so that is a pretty good sign.
As I saw the first photos of the Phoenix I was pretty unsure what to think about it. But as I saw it in metal (or whatever) it quickly started to grow on me. Once I spent about 15 minutes just looking at the car. And while doing that my mind erased some of the obvious concept stuff and formed some kind of a production version of that car. A new Sonett. It really worked and it looked amaizing. I wished my head had a printer port but since I was made in the last century… Well, it might be something for the Photoshop guys around here.
I was told that the PhoeniX concept really drove in Trollhättan. So there’s hope 😉 (and I believe there maybe some plans to take it on the road – for a short stint, at least – in the near future)
Another really good thing was that the entire booth was crowded most of the time. Those nice ladies were explaining the models to visitors one by one and all of the time. I love those real ice blocks, too.
The choice of cars was good with two 9-5 SportCombis so everyone could manage to take a look. In fact you could hardly sit in a car because there were so many interested people around. I’d say that Geneva was more than important to send out a very positive sign. Everyone of the Saab crew performed great.
As I was about to go, I ran into Victor Muller, who was on the way to the airport. I took the chance to thank him for saving Saab and despite the fact that he seemed to be in a hurry he took a minute for a short chat and to shake hands. I like this guy even more now.
This short visit left me with a positive feeling. They had the chance to create some attention and they took it. I understand better why Saab showed their new models a few days before at the independence day celebrations, because the Phoenix may have taken some attention from them in the press.
Well done Saab.
Swade here again….
That last point is one to note. As good as it’s been to get Saab’s name in the media for the PhoeniX and IQon, there’s still plenty of work to be done by Saab on the new things that are ready to be ordered now – the Saab 9-5 SportCombi, The Independence Edition Convertible, the sub-120g/km 9-3 SportCombi and the Saab 9-3 Griffin.