New York Auto Show Day 1

It’s been a freakishly busy two days in New York, but exciting for Saab no less. For those who haven’t experienced a major auto show, rest assured it’s a media circus and the press have been coming non-stop to see and report on Saab. Of course there’s only one journalist whose opinion you actually care about, and that would be the one and only Swade. This is the first time I’ve met him and I have to say, he’s just as warm, intelligent, and plugged-in to Saab as anyone could ever be. It’s a great honor, and I hope to see much more of him when he’s here. We spoke briefly with Gunnar Heinrich, the producer of, who’s got a huge soft spot for Saab and was really impressed by the PhoeniX in person.

In fact I’ve seen hundreds of reporters come and marvel in awe at the new PhoeniX. Let me just say, seeing it in person changes things completely. It isn’t polarizing, it’s mesmerizing.

Every angle, every bulge, even every color choice, is dead on sexy. If Saab was lacking anything in the design department it was heat so to speak, the PhoeniX brings it.

I’m not going to post hundreds of pictures of the cars, though please post in comments any particular detail shots you might like. I’m happy to report on any nook or cranny of a car you can think up.

Instead for now I’ll show you general atmospherics to show just how premium a spot Saab has landed at the show. Saab has a great spot.

As you can see, we’re neighbors with Audi…

Next to Jaguar, they have a swanky bar serving up libations, which actually makes the Saab stand look even better. If Adrian Hallmark had anything to do with putting the bar next to Saab, thanks 🙂

Jaguar also had a beautiful grey XKE on display, I took extra pictures for my dad since he collects them.

Porsche is behind Saab, I have to say it’s weird seeing more Cayennes and Panameras than 911s. Times have changed…

And finally here’s the beautiful 9-5SC, sadly without the North American hatch, but still beautiful. The US dealers who got to see it all came away telling me how they’re going to order tons of them. Swade and I noticed that BMW is shifting from Joy back to Ultimate Driving Machines. Smart move.

I spoke with a few executives, and with Jason and his fellow designer Andreas Andersson. They just finished designing the wheels for the new 9-3, and there are 7 to choose from (no 20″ yet but Jason’s surely pushing for a light, aero option). If one thing is clear it’s that Jason is the only designer who I’d trust with introducing new DNA to new Saabs. I’ll have much more to report tomorrow, videos to post, and many more details.l Much, much more coverage is coming tomorrow, when you’ll see Saab’s live press conference at 10:30AM EST (16:30 CET). Check the site tomorrow when we’ll have a live post up at the top of the page with a link to our UStream Channel.

Update from Carl-Henrik: If you have any questions to the Saab staff that Jeff might run into during the show – post them here!

40 thoughts on “New York Auto Show Day 1”

  1. Jeff,
    You are one lucky man to be there. You are right with the Phoenix, but I would have said the Austin Powers “dead sexy” instead of “dead on sexy”. Can’t wait to hear more of your thoughts on the show.

  2. Wonder if we’ll get to hear some good news about the owner structure on the press conference as well as the usual “true Saab-Saab”-talk? It would be a great opportunity to spread some positivism!

  3. Nice to see that Swade finally has his hands on a DSLR camera. And Jeff – you’re photos are amazing. Keep up the good work “over there” and I envy you sooooo much right now!

    • Yes that´s a very nice approach. Capturing the areas within and around the Saab stand. Photos of the vehicles are always welcome, but we seldom got to see the context they´re in. 🙂

    • Here’s all I can really say- Victor seems to be checking his phone every 30 seconds (not an exaggeration) waiting for the go ahead from the EIB on the loan. Nailbiter.

  4. Thanks Jeff! 🙂
    Very nice reading and the best, and most convincing, photos of the Phoenix I have seen until now.
    I am more and more liking the front, but I have to admit that the back does not live up to the Anniversary Cabriolet on the following picture…
    As always the Saab exhibition layout are very delicate, light and sophisticated. 🙂

  5. Yes, but I’d be disappointed if he didn’t mention Saab-Saabs. I hope to hear something about a perfect storm in the automotive industry as well, and of course an excessive use of the word “clearly”. It’s important to make sure that the audience recognise what they hear.

  6. Thanks Jeff! Truly excellent report. I really like those pics too. Indepedence Convertible is sooo beautiful. I Wish I had money to get one!! The colour combination interior/exterior looks better and better every time I see it.

    Jeff, can you please try to take a pic underneath the PhoeniX!? Would be nice to see what it looks like.

    • Jeff, can you please try to take a pic underneath the PhoeniX!? Would be nice to see what it looks like.

      Smart idea. I’m always curious what kind of gear concepts are running on.

      Jeff, I can’t wait for your big updates tomorrow. Thanks for the great coverage! And if there’s one thing we want from Saab staff right now, it’s information! Not just a quote in a paper, or a tweet from VA, but a genuine press conference with VM (and JAJ, if possible), a big splashy video from headquarters, and an in-depth blog post from Swade – these are the things I (and I imagine many others) am wishing for.

      Of course, I’m also thankful for SU! 🙂

      • Excerpted from my comments yesteday to “PhoeniX Take New York”

        I did have a chance to look underneath the rear and there is a real electric drive back there as advertized. Here’s another giveaway, the “tailpipe” ends about 3 feet before the back of the car and doesn’t feed the two tailpipe openings in the center of the lower rear fascia. And, if you stayed to the end, you did get the hear the BMW engine start and idle. The person driving it back to the transport didn’t do any revving but it can go in reverse. Yes, it looks good in motion – looks fast standing still or going slow!

        See Swade’s Saab Insdie post (NY – Part 2) for the Phoenix in motion with sound!

  7. Wow what a great report Jeff, I can feel your excitement all the way to Sweden, this really made my day. The Saab stand looks fabulous and it’s in the right surroundings for once. Have a good time there.

  8. Saab showcar was covered in this morning’s New York Times. Media attention on Saab is at a multiyear high. They are mostly being very kind (unlike 2010). I urge Saab mgmt to take advantage and position these cars competitively. Many people are investigating Saab’s products. Will they like the numbers they see at Will they visit their dealer?

    I hope so.

    • Over 1,000,000 people visit the NY show. Saab’s stand looks incredible and is in what is probably the most visible spot in the nicest part of the hall. The supplier mess will be a distant memory once Saab gets out the message that they have secured long term financing and are more car for your money.

    • I just read of an interview VM gave Reuters in New York, wherein he said, “he planned to tell U.S. dealers about plans for a ‘huge marketing offensive.'”

      I hope with all my heart this is true. But I can’t help thinking this is what was said when they unveiled their excellent TV ad back in January. The problem is, that was the one and only such ad I ever saw. There was never any major follow-up campaign that I was aware of.

      Does anyone know what VM is referring to?

    • I’ve been told no over and over, but there’s always an “Ehhhh,” attached to the answer. I’ll try to get concrete facts tomorrow.

    • Kraig,
      the independence edition they are using for auto shows happen to be a TTiD, thats all, pure coincidence. Don’t expect Saab to bring diesel engines to the uS with this engine generation.

  9. Jeff-
    Here’s a question: Will we see teaser sketches/photos of the 9-3 replacement before its release? If so, then when will we see them?

  10. Here’s another question: In future SAABs is there any chance we will see the automatic window switches moving back to the center console between the arm rest/storage and shifter like we had up through at least the 2006 9-5?

    I thought that was a neat design and you didn’t need to clutter up two doors with switches with one complete set in between the front seats.

    – E

    • “window switches in the centre console” – My sentiments entirely! It gives the co-pilot access to these important functions. I sent a message to Saab the other day asking for this very thing!

  11. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m breathing a sigh of relief that Saab made it to NY with some answers to their financials in place.

  12. Correction – Swade, being employed by Saab, is not a journalist nor was he in his previous incarnation as a blogger for SU. I would define his role as a PR manager for Saab, specializing in social media.

  13. With all of that gorgeous metal at the NY show I think Saab is starting to get the msg thru to the US media that we are well and truly alive. That PhoeniX concept looks ever better and I think the fact it seems to have more space around it than it had in Geneva allows you to appreciate its aesthetics even more. That 9-5SC is beautiful. The 9-4X is gonna do wonders here in North America.

    Nice to see Swade there too. Enjoy the show guys and thanks to SU for being there when I cant be.

  14. Question 1: Seeing how much of the Phoenix actually is quite production-ready, is the interior and especially the dashboard some sort of clue about the future as well, or is it only a design theme especially made for the Phoenix?

    Question 2: Imagine the new 9-5 as the successor of the 9000 Aero, and the Phoenix is like the EV-1 of today — where would Saab management put the new 9-3, in terms of image, feel and concept?

    Question 3: Hearing about all amazing tech that’s going to be in the new 9-3 makes many of us wonder about the price. Is it really possible to position it below the 9-5?

    • Now that’s what I’m talking about. All these questions will be asked in a few hours, Peter. Happy to ask them on your behalf. I can say on behalf of all the writers here, we get no more satisfaction than acting as a conduit between readers and management, it’s a pretty cool feeling. Thanks man.

    • and the Phoenix is like the EV-1 of today

      Wow, I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed this till now! Great catch, Peter. I loved the EV-1. It reminded me of a better, Saab version of Subaru’s old SVX. What a cool car that was. And now that you mention it in those terms, I already find myself liking the PhoeniX even more. Thanks, Peter!

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