Italian Passion Saab the 20th

Passione Saab 20th by Dimitri.

This Year, the oldest Saab Club in Italy, Saab Club Italia celebrates it’s 20 Years.

For this celebration, they organised a great meeting in the lakes country in the north of Milano nearby Varese.

As I participate 15 years ago to one of this Saab Club Italia meeting, we decided to go and celebrate with our italian friends.

We took our oldest Saab, the 99 with Triumph engine 1750cc and passed trough The Alps on the train to go to Italy.

After this nice trip we arrived at the meeting point at the Volandia Museum, an aircraft museum in an ancient airplaine factory « Officine Caproni ».

Read moreItalian Passion Saab the 20th

Hirsch Performance Special Offer for Performance Upgrades MY ’01-’08


Hirsch Performance has expanded their special software performance upgrade offer for Saab 9-5 and 9-3 of model year ’08 and older.

As before, owners of MY ’07-’08 cars save 30% on the price of the upgrade. Saab owners of MY ’01-’06 can even benefit from a discount of 50%.

Please check the Hirsch Performance homepage for availability and contact your dealer for details and installation cost.

Neo Brothers – Summer Service Filter Kit TRADE PRICE DROP

**Summer Service Kit Special**

Get Your Summer Off To A Good Start – Give Your Saab A Fresh Lease Of Life With Our Filter Service Kits Dropping To TRADE PRICES Across The Range!

These filter kits comprise of OE QUALITY air filter, cabin filter, fuel filter and oil filter.

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Click Below For More Details

Saab Service Filter Kits

Competitive WORLDWIDE shipping available, proceed to the checkout page of the website for a quote.

Neo Brothers

Last 9-3 Griffin, the handover on Saturday 26th

As previously reported, Saturday was the day the last 9-3 was handed over to the museum. The turnout was decent and the remaining Saabs got plenty of attention. On a personal note, I put my name down to reserve a 9-3 TTiD and there are two other people also interested in that one. I have to tomorrow to decide… Anyway:

The following family pictures gives a glimpse into what I experienced during that day. Since I was part of the tail-end of the convoy, I did not get any pictures near the factory. Someone followed the wrong Saab out of ANA and I guess it is a miracle we did not end up at a shopping mall. 🙂

I would like to say a big ‘thank you!’ to all of you who contributed. Also be sure to check out MapTun’s event next weekend.

Pictures follows after the jump.

Read moreLast 9-3 Griffin, the handover on Saturday 26th

Maud receives criticism from constitutional committee

Spyker fought hard, but Maud won -- for now

TTELA reports that Maud has been criticized by the Committee on the Constitution (KU). The committee states that Maud kept important information from other branches of the government concerning Antonov, thus causing unnecessary delays for Saab. Saab wasted several months waiting for government and EIB approval of Antonov’s potential investment in Saab.

As for Antonov, the plot thickens as the Lithuanian chief of the national bank Vitas Vasiliauskas turns out to be the former head of council for the Baltic company LAWIN. On LAWIN’s website, GM Europe is listed as one of their clients. Mr Vasiliauskas has been quite active in building a case against Antonov.

In related news, Pravda recently reported that Snoras was little more than a shell before Antonov got involved and has since been developed into a fully fledged bank with modern Internet solutions and many ATM cash points. I realize Antonov has already been publicly convicted by the Swedish media, but the situation is quite reverse in Russia it seems.

Finally, there is a rumor floating around in various forums that claims Lithuania’s government adjusted no less than seven different laws before they were able to bring charges against Antonov’s bank.

A Word From NEVS

 

As we all know, the Chinese-Japanese consortium seems to be in pole position (the presumed winner) of the bid process for Saab’s bankrupt assets. Bloomberg spoke with their spokesman in Sweden, Mattias Berman.

A group led by a Chinese energy company and a Japanese venture-capital firm has placed a bid for bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab, a spokesman for the investing team said.

The two main parties in the group are Sun Investment, a Japanese firm that specializes in high-tech environmental projects, and National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., which has roots in Hong Kong and builds and owns power plants.

“We have placed a bid, and we want to buy Saab and build cars,” Mattias Bergman, a spokesman for the group, said today. “We’re interested in what Saab’s brand stands for, the innovation and competence in the company, and the production facility that’s world class.”

Read moreA Word From NEVS

The Phoenix platform is still available to the future owner of Saab

TTELA today brings news on the phoenix platform and its status. Update: I cleaned up the heading a bit to remove ambiguity. My apologies for any confusion caused!

Rough translation:

The Phoenix platform is ready if someone wants it. Many of the brains behind the platform are today employed at Innovatum – the engineers at Lean Nova. Lean Nova is an expanding business employing former Saab engineers who are also advicing the bankruptcy estate on technology.

The 70 employees have on average 15 years of technology expertise and the company is expanding:

– “How many and at what rate is dependent on what happens after the sale of Stallbacka” said Martin Öman, referring to his former workplace, Saab Automobile AB, where he was development manager for the chassis. Today he is lean Nova’s Chief Operating Officer, COO.

– “The rate of growth will probably slow down a bit during the summer”, think Öman.

– “But on the other hand, we employed 70 in three months and we hope to find ten more within one month.”

Lean Nova’s main strength is the ability to create a complete car. The engineers are sourced from virtually all corners of Saab’s technological development domain. In Saabvägen 1 (“Saab Road 1”) skills available for chassis construction are available in the form of technical consultants from Combitech, also former Saab employees. The division is a strategy developed when “Plan B” became reality.

– “The idea that there would be new engineering company in Trollhättan was a bit of an incentive for employees to remain before Saab’s bankruptcy. Plan B was planned in the late autumn, and funding was needed. Saab AB, the defense group that owns the Combitech, needed the knowhow present in the chassis department for their development of airplanes, and Fourier transform was interested in funding a company that took advantage of the skills associated with vehicle development – Lean Nova. In time, we may see a merger of the two, or Combitech becomes subcontractors to Lean Nova in the assignment of vehicle development.”

Lean Nova in a few months gained some heavy names for customers like Volvo Cars, Scania and Jaguar Land Rover – but has also worked for Saab’s bankruptcy estate:

– “We have been helping out with technology issues and presented the Phoenix platform to potential buyers”, says Öman.

– “The platform is absolutely up to date, and is not idly decaying. But how long it takes to completion depends on exactly what a new owner desires. In two or three years, the first car based on the Phoenix platform can be ready, and for new entrants in the automobile industry, it would be a fantastic catch.”

The number of engineering inquiries has declined as the stakeholders come closer to the final phase of negotiations.

– “We understand that it takes time for a buyer – if unable to reach an agreement with GM to sell the current generation products they really have to start from the ground up and break-even is not in the near future,” says Öman.

– “But in the long run, Phoenix offers a huge potential, and the hope is of course an owners with deep pockets, who can afford to let the development finish.”

The Hybrid Theory

Something about the way the threads were going yesterday didn’t sit well with me when I heard Saab people saying they were done with Saab. People that have loved this brand were actually talking about selling their current Saabs because they couldn’t stomach a Saab that was different then what they have come to know as Saab. People were even writing about how if they build electric and hybrid models, it would be better if they just shut down and died. This prompted me to write this below.

In the world that is Saab, yesterday brought news of a newly formed company in Sweden trying to acquire Saab. This company is called National Electric Vehicle Sweden and has upset some Saab faithful. The name of the company has sent fear that this will be an electric company with no interest in gas. In fairness, what we know of them so far is that they are interested for sure in electric and hybrid technologies and my question to this would be, is this a bad thing?

Forget about electric vehicles for a moment and let’s look at hybrids. The number one selling hybrid is the Toyota Prius (which I personally can’t stand and think is beyond ugly). I can tell you that on a recent trip to Seattle, I was amazed at how many I saw on the roads, I think I counted ten and in that span maybe 4 Saabs. As much as it surprised me to see so many in Seattle, today blew me away. While looking at a webpage called Hybrid Cars I was floored. More than one fifth of new passenger cars sold in Japan are hybrids and leading the pack is the Toyota Prius with 35,875. Even more shocking is that the number is for February 2012. Nearly half of Toyota’s sales in Japan are hybrid vehicles.

For Toyota, the hybrid business is booming so well that the third on the list is the Toyota Aqua sold in the US as a Prius C. They had originally planned on selling 12,000 of these Aqua’s per month and with the February total reaching 21,951 they are not able to keep up with demand. Wouldn’t we love to have this issue at Saab?

The reason I bring this all up is to level the playing field. We heard many people yesterday saying this would be the end of Saab and it was a disaster waiting to happen. If you look at the facts above, you have to at least see that there is a business model for success in there somewhere. We need to open our minds a little and not be quick to judge. I don’t know for sure that this company will only look at electric and hybrids as their way into the market and even if I did, I can’t say that they would be wrong.

Now with all this in mind, is a hybrid so bad? I don’t think so. Will a hybrid Saab be for everyone? Probably not. Is hybrid technology getting better and are hybrids selling? Yes is the simple answer to both. In the month of February 2012, Toyota has sold more hybrids in Japan then Saab did globally in 2011.

I love the old Saab as much as everyone else, but when the alternative is no Saab, to me there is no alternative.

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