Passion Saab 20th, Italy this weekend.

The Saab Club of Italy is holding a great event this weekend in Varese near Milan in northern Italy.

The 26th and 27th May 2012 will see the event “Passion Saab 20th” hosted by SaabClubItalia.
The event is not just a rally, but will see the participation of key partners such as state agencies: the Province of Varese, City of Varese, Volandia Museum (dedicated to aeronautics) and also Shopping Center “Belforte” Varese and of course the local Saab dealer.
All the details can be found on their little blog as well as .


Painting the Picture

As I left my home to get to work this morning the weather could not have been more fitting. Half of the sky was sunny, the other half filled with black rain clouds. And as I got to my Saab the biggest rainbow in years showed up. I enjoyed the sight a lot and to a degree took it as a sign after those indications we got yesterday on how the bidding process has developed.

As I expected, last night’s post brought up very mixed emotions on the future of Saab. This may be caused by the name of the potential winning company, National Electric Vehicle Sweden. But as far as all sources I could reach told me this name is a bit misleading as it is not about pure electric vehicles, the main focus is said to be hybrids. Sounds like an evil word, as it is in most heads tied to the ugly face of the prius but we must not forget that a car with a 1.6 twin turbo BioPower engine and eAAM rear axle technology is also a hybrid. And I can see nothing scary about that.

Read morePainting the Picture

What are we up to now?

Today news broke that Youngman ceased their efforts to buy Saab. In a way we have become used to see them around as they were trying to take over a part or all of Saab for over a year now. But other than one would expect I cannot say that I am too sad to see them go. They may have been an option being a part owner as intended under SWAN but not in a full take over.

One thing that mentions is that Youngman were not as reliable in keeping their promises as one would wish. Sure, last fall they sent money bit by bit to keep Saab afloat but only enough to avoid death. I don’t think this was to push Saab into bankrupcy, they knew pretty well that they might face some players who are much bigger and more attractive than they are. Rather, their behaviour draws me to the conclusion that they either faced troubles in getting proper financing or in dealing with the NDRC. Or even both.

Whatever reason it was they did not make a too trustworthy impression on me despite their attempt to give a positive impression in a number of interviews. In the end it left me with more questions than answers. An additional point was that all the collaborations and joint ventures Youngman’s car sector did not work out too well. A good example is that they registered the Chinese equivalent name of Lotus. You can imagine that Lotus was not too happy about that.

Read moreWhat are we up to now?

Examining the Options

A major issue for a future owner of Saab will be if there are products available they can sell more or less right away. For sure, with the factory standing still for over a year now it will be tough: the supply chain has to be rebuilt, staff has to be rehired and (re)trained. The receivers say they kept the production line in shape but to make it ready will cost quite an amount of time and money. In the end it is close to starting from scratch.

Even more important would be the chance to earn a bit of money on existing models. While this would surely not make profit, it would at least generate income that reduces loss. Additionly, and maybe even more important it keeps Saab in the market and offer the remaining dealers something to sell.

For the factory this would mean they could restart with models they know. So they could relate to some experience, be it to re-establish the former suppliers or to integrate new ones. Should be much easier than ramping things up with something totally new. Any future model then would come into a running factory with a team that has already worked together for a while. Setting up the line, training the team and introducing a new model at the same time might be too ambitious, regardless of a new owner.

So let’s take a look at what is there and if it could work. For a start there is a model that is a source for very contoversial discussions, even within the SU team: the 9-3. It’s the oldest model in the recent lineup with already almost ten years in the market. So it may be the toughest one to sell while looking at its core, it is still a great car. Also important, to a degree it is the one that can be built without GM’s ok. It would not be magic to shift the 9-3 into an even more contemporary car as the base is still great.

Read moreExamining the Options

Swedish Day UK 2012

Swedish Day UK 2012.

Swedish Day 2012 was another great success and the order for good sunny weather was pleasantly answered. After weeks of rain it was great to see the sunshine come along just when it was needed although it did result in very long grass in the show field.

As in the last couple of years the weekend started on Saturday evening with another successful Carvery at The Sparkford Inn. 32 Swedish Fans sat down and enjoyed a three course meal followed by lots of chat until closing time.
Many of our friends from Europe were there sharing their love for both Saab and Volvo and chats about trips to Sweden.
The car park was full of Swedish cars including a Rally ready Volvo PV544 and a Saab 900 Toppola.

Read moreSwedish Day UK 2012

Last Batch Of 2012 RHD 9-3 Convertibles Available Now In The UK

As reported earlier by Robin, the UK now has the final batch of RHD convertibles ready for sale. A report today in This Is Staffordshire covers a little more detail.

THE very last 26 hand-finished, right-hand drive Saab 9-3 Convertibles are up for sale – after which there will be no more of what has been a remarkably popular car over the past 25 years.

Now I for one am not sure or positive that these will in fact be the last 9-3’s or 9-3 convertibles ever produced, but I can almost as a betting man bet on the fact that they may in fact be the last RHD’s ever produced. I think personally the cost of running a small number of RHD’s on the production line slows production and becomes an unneeded expense to the business plan. This has not been confirmed to me by anyone but is my opinion based on numbers.

They go on to mention that these 26 are available in three levels, SE, Aero and Independence. They also mention two engine options of the 2.0L turbo gas engine and the 1.9L diesel. For us in Canada, we didn’t even get 26 convertibles last year and had one engine option. I would say if you want a convertible, the time is good in the UK now.

It is said that these cars are available through some of the network of Saab authorized repairers, but there is no list of who has them. Some dealers have opted not to purchase any.

Mike Shotbolt, manager at the former Holdcroft Saab, which now has the Chevrolet franchise, says: “We have not taken any because by the time we have added a warranty, they will be quite an expensive car and we are doing extremely well with used 9-3 Convertibles, which we are selling from around £12,000 for a typical three-year-old example. We give a 12-month warranty on these used cars and they are in excellent condition, so I am not sure that someone would pay nearly double for one of these last ones.

I can see the point of the dealer not wanting to risk buying a bunch of these cars when they don’t feel they need them. I also know that where I’m standing that if I had them, I could find people for them. A three year old 9-3 convertible buyer is not the same buyer as the new car buyer. The new car buyer is typically the one trading in that three year old convertible to buy a new one. I understand too that I am not in the UK market and different markets command different trends. If you are a dealer in the UK and you have some of these cars, please respond in the comments and let people know where to go to find them.

New MY12 Saab Convertibles For Sale in the UK

I’ve just seen on an article mentioning the final 26 9-3 Convertible’s for sale to the British public.

This is the batch of 26 Saab RHD 9-3 Convertibles produced by Saab Automobile and ANA that we mentioned a few days ago. They include the comprehensively equipped Independence Special Edition. Please check out the site or better still get in touch with your local Saab Authorised Repairer for more details.

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