A Visit at Saab Parts’ German Office

Over the last months there were only few positive things to report about. Responsible for a few of those was the team at the German office of Saab, or as it is called now, Saab Parts. Relatively short after bankrupcy was declared they managed to replace the then void dealer contracts by a delivery agreement between the dealers and Saab Parts AB. This spring they ran a special spring offer for the most needed wearing parts. As a next step a warranty solution was found that has now been implemented by a majority of dealers.

After the issue of the parts supply chain and warranty was saved they went on to find a new location. Since they moved out of Rüsselsheim they lodged more or less provisional in the rooms of the Saab Centre Frankfurt. Since May 1st they found their new home in an office tower in Eschborn near Frankfurt. Being located in the Taunus region this brings up fond memories as Saab Germany was also located in the Taunus in the glory days before they had to move to the Opel headquaters.

This move to the new office was the initial reason for my visit but of course it was also about hearing what progress they made in terms of keeping the Saab service network alive. I personally got to know Jan-Philipp Schuhmacher, who is the head of the German three-people-team on the sidelines of the German dealer tour in fall last year. Coming from Jaguar/Land Rover he started his job in April of 2011, just as the production hiccups started. I am very pleased that he stayed through those times of uncertainty because he fits quite well in the Saab team, bringing in fresh ideas.

Read moreA Visit at Saab Parts’ German Office

TTA – Racing Elite first Tests

It is along time since my last post, but I thought It’s time to give you an update on the preparation for the Swedish TTA Racing championship.

 
Next weekend the first race of the Swedish TTA RAing elite league will start on the Karlskoga circuit. In the meantime from May 2 till May 5 some test runs have been done on the Anderstorp Raceway and the Karlskoga Motorstadion. The test have shown that the teams and drivers are quite even, which means that all the reaces will very interesting.

This are the three diferent colours that I will like to see in the podium in all, or at least most of the races.

Both drivers, Robin Rudholm (car #2) and Mattias Andersson (car #20) of the Flash Engineering team will be driving a 9-3 with this white blue red livery.

Linus Ohlsson (car #3) from team Tidö will be driving a black 9-3 with golden letters.

And Daniel Hangölf (car #37) also from team Tidö will be sporting this black&white livery.

(BTW, I was very surprised to hear that Poker Wallenberg Jr. is behind team Tidö.)

I like the black and golden livery most, it remembers me from the old JpS F1 Lotus team and I’m looking forward how the Saab drivers will perform, also hoping that we then will know about the future of the Saab brand as a car manufacturer.

And for the ones that like the sound of speed, a short film of the first test days after the jump.

Read moreTTA – Racing Elite first Tests

The 9-5’s built-in SatNav – a tale of misery and woes

Although I love my 9-5 to bits, there are one or two features I cannot reward with a full “thumb’s up”. Time has come to discuss the 9-5’s built-in satnav system.

Short detours

First niggle when using the satnav is the definition of “short”. The short version is this: Selecting “short” can get you into trouble fast.

Mariestad to Oslo -- the short (& sane) route
I live in Mariestad and work in Oslo. Even though I know the road by heart, it still helps to tell the satnav just where I am going. That way I receive relevant traffic updates and, if I am lucky/adventurous, I might even get directions to avoid said obstacles. (In reality, it is hard to tell the difference between a one hour standoff and a five minute delay, but at least I have some choice in the matter)

Google Maps suggests two different routes. One goes south of Mariestad and is a little bit longer, but most of it is on the E6 which is very nice road to drive on if you want to get anywhere fast. The other goes north and ends up on the E18 which, in spots, is a good alternative. E18 is a little shorter, but my experience is that it adds at least 10-15 minutes to the drive and you more easily get stuck in traffic moving at lorry-speeds.

A man wronged by my car's satnav
So, it boils down to fast versus short? Almost. The built-in satnav nearly suggests the same routes, with one exception: It has found that going through the village of Hasselrör will cut a few yards off the total distance. There is a similar section on the Norwegian side of this route as well which I haven’t explored, but it certainly is possible to cut a few yards here as well and the satnav knows it all too well.

What the built-in satnav lacks is the option of “short, but still reasonably sane”. I once took years off dear Swade’s life expectancy by choosing ‘short’ on our short road-trip up north in Sweden a year ago. He blames me, and I blame the satnav (maybe I should post a poll on this subject?). Luckily I think enough time has passed for us to look back on that ordeal and have a good laugh about it.

What I sometimes do now is to first select ‘short’ to get a rough idea of which direction and then select ‘fast’. Eventually it will re-calculate the ‘fast’ route properly and everybody wins. More often than not, I simply pick ‘fast’ all the way. I have a feeling this was not what the designer of the satnav intended.

Read moreThe 9-5’s built-in SatNav – a tale of misery and woes

The World Is Watching Us

Personally, I have been watching our totals go up with excitement and anticipation the last few days and I am extremely proud of this unified effort from everyone here. Apparently I am not alone and in the last few days I have seen a lot of media coverage about our cause. This is going to be a big part of the history of Saab and the history of the automotive world. I have searched high and low and have not been able to see anywhere that a group of fans of any manufacturer have done what we are so close to doing. Saab fans are simply the best and this does a lot to show our potential owners that the Saab fans are still here and support the brand to the fullest.

Here are some samples of what is out there about our campaign in different media:

The Motor Report

Enthusiast website Saabs United has put out a call to its fellow diehards to purchase the last Saab 9-3 to be built.

AutoBlog.com

The folks over at Saabs United have been a fixture on the Swedish automobile scene for some time now, cementing themselves as the hub for all manner of Saab news and gossip as the fight to keep the brand alive has ebbed and flowed over the past couple of years.

Saabs United has taken it upon itself to rally the faithful in an attempt to purchase the car for donation to the Saab Cars Museum, which was itself only recently saved.

In Auto News

A group of Saab fans hope to raise money to buy the last 9-3 and donate it to the official Saab Museum in Trollhattan, Sweden, which was recently saved from being divvied up.

Auto Evolution

The members of SaabsUnited have decided to chip in as much as they can and buy the last Saab ever to be produced. It a 9-3 Griffin which is scheduled to roll off the production line at the end of the month. Their plan is to raise the necessary cash, through donations, to buy and then permanently place the car in the Saab Cars Museum, where it belongs.

Motor Authority

A group of Saab loyalists at Saabs United are hoping to raise enough money so that this final 9-3 can be purchased and then donated to the official Saab Museum in Trollhattan

Automoblog.net

When Saab production stopped last year, many cars were still left on the line. Slowly they are being completed. One of them was a Saab 9-3 Griffin; the very last one to ever be produced. It is scheduled to be finished off at the end of May. Saabs United has rallied fans to give enough money to purchase the car.

Note: We rallied fans, yes, but still a little way to the finish line.

Autoweek.nl

Saab Saab-United is a group of enthusiasts dedicated to the (mental) existence of the brand. They started a campaign to get the latest Saab 9-3buying.

Sometimes it’s worth it to use google translate, I love that we are dedicated to the “mental” existence of the brand.

CB (Russia)

Fans of Saab cars have begun to raise funds to purchase the last car

P4 West

This is the blog Saab United, which has launched the collection and in a week it has received almost 200 000 SEK from Saab enthusiasts around the world.

As I write, the last updated amount is 26527 euros and climbing. Now my excitement and anticipation is focused on what will be written about the great fans of Saab who saved the last 9-3 for the museum. I see this happening very soon and I applaud all of you who have taken part, I know that for me, I will be happy to be mentioned as one of the donors of this great Griffin. There has been some talk about an unveil and a way to commemorate the whole thing, we will keep you up to date with everything as it becomes a reality.

As a side note, once we hit the goal, lets keep going and provide a nice little extra for the museum to offset their monthly expenses. We will get this done.

The Last 9-3 And What It Means

Since Thursday of last week, we have received a total so far of 13,325.11 euros which is the equivalent of $17,624.78 USD. For the first six days I have to say I am impressed to see so many people support such a great cause. Judging by the ticker I see to the right, it would look like we have 18 days and 15174.89 Euro left to reach the target. We have done a great job collectively so far and need to continue to push to reach the target.

I know that North America has been behind Europe in donations, but I can’t stress hard enough that every donation counts towards the final goal and hey, most of us got paid yesterday. We are many in North America and if every owner donated 5 euros towards the total, we would already be surpassing the required amount. In know way am I saying only donate 5 euros, donate what you can, if it’s 5 or 500, doesn’t matter to me. Do what you can or what you want and we will get there.

Some questions have come up about what happens after the first five years? Why is the car not just gifted to the museum? And what if we don’t reach the goal? All of these questions are good questions and have been answered as follows.

Regarding the five year contract and why the car is not just gifted answered by TimR in comments:

The real reason why we keep it private and only loan it to the Museum over a renewable 5 year period is that the museums future is still not secured. IF the museum would fall into financial difficulties next year, which is very likely at this point, this car would be the one, which would be easiest for the owners to get some money out of, and thus secure the future a bit longer… this must not happen!

So by keeping it private for the first 5 years, guarantees that nothing can happen to the car regardless of what happens to the museum.

Many cars at the museum have a similar deal, where a contract is signed between the museum and a private owner, that the museum will keep the car in display condition and I guarantee by that contract that the car will stay where it is.

IF after the first 5 year period, the museum’s finance are in order and its future secured for a minimum of another 5 years, the car can be written over to the museum…

What if we don’t reach the goal? Answered in post Buying the last 9-3. Status update friday 27th of April.

The deadline for providing a donation is the 20th of May at 14:00 Central European Time. That is when we will know if we have been able to complete the task of saving this valuable car or if the money gathered will be sent as a one time donation to the Saab Cars Museum.

Now with all that out of the way, I will tell you why this specific car is so important to me and all of us. Not that long ago there was talk about all the remaining cars on the production line being scrapped altogether and never being completed. This didn’t happen and ANA, a Saab dealer agreed to purchase the final cars at different stages of production and complete the ones they could in house which to me is very impressive. This car is to be the very last Griffin to come of the line and be completed and weather or not it’s the last 9-3 to ever be built remains to be seen, but I would think it is more then likely the last of its kind which makes it a very special car. It also closes out the Spyker/SWAN era of Saab and like it or not, that becomes a part of our history.

Why this whole cause is important to me and all of us is because I personally don’t know of another brand where fans and customers of the brand have come together like this. We are looking at as a collective group, buying a historical car to ensure it has its place in history so that people can see this car and say “that was saved by the fans”. As a fan, that image just makes me happy and proud of this group.

If you have already donated, thank you very much. If you are thinking about donating, please do it. For those of us in North America, come on guys and gals, lets show everyone that Saab matters to us too, lets make this dream a reality and show the world how different we are and why Saab fans are the best.

Click here to donate

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