SAAB Of The Week

With all the action that is sure to be going on tomorrow and the clear lead that the photo below has on all other entries this week, I figure we might as well post the SOTW today and wish all attending the SAAB Festival a fantastic time. So, this weeks SAAB Of The Week comes again from the SAABSTANCE group in Singapore and is a photo of Dennis Leu’s 9-3 Convertible taken by Abel Tan who we have seen great photos from many times here at SU. In this late night shot, Abel also captures the high school that Dennis attended when he was younger which is the castle looking building in the background and a pretty impressive plate frame too. Abel thanks for the great photo you took and Dennis thank you for the beautiful model you supplied for this epic photo. Again, please keep the photos coming and send them to [email protected].
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CARDYOURCAR Introduced At The SAAB Festival 2013

For some time now Till Drescher has been working his tail off trying to get a shop up and running that will specialize in SAAB treasures for all of us. When I say some time, this has literally been something we have been discussing since even before the calendars were printed last year. Along the way we have had many conversations with each other and the website as it will be would never have happened if not for the help of our late friend Nic Schellekens who spent countless hours on the backend of the site and chatting of different ideas/solutions and was so excited to see this finally be completed.

So after a bit of a break from working on the Card Your Car website and products, we are now able to introduce everyone to the website and for everyone attending the SAAB Festival, Till will be on hand with posters, stickers and wrapping papers.

Home Page
Welcome Page to the CARDYOURCAR.EU webstore

We will continue to add product as we go forward and as of now, Till has some great posters like the example below:

99 eyes

 

For the SAAB fan that wants it all, CARDYOURCAR has also come up with some wrapping papers to make that SAAB gift even more special.

melloyello wrapping
If you’re at the festival, stop by the SAABSUNITED tent where there will be posters and all sorts of goodies for sale from CARDYOURCAR and SAABSUNITED. Prices are beyond reasonable as well with posters being just 5 Euro and wrapping papers being only 5,50 Euro. There are 12 different posters with some of the classic Mioh photos like what we saw in the calendars offered earlier in the SU store as well as 4 different wrapping papers that highlight some SAAB classics.

Lots of future plans with the store as well including ways for you to do as the name says and card your car. We will introduce so many things in the coming months and if you ever wanted a poster of your own car, the wait is almost over and I applaud Till for getting this dream to be a reality.

The Germans Are Coming….. To Trollhättan

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The group from Germany is currently on their way to Trollhättan with approximately 40 SAABs in their convoy. Till Drescher from SAABSUNITED along with REDJ are a part of this convoy put together by Markus Lafrentz from Autohaus Lafrentz. This is unreal how well organized this is, as you can see by the photos attached, they have met at the dealer and then moved on to take over a large portion of the ferry to bring them over.

Till tells me there are 4 9-5 combis and a 9-4X as well as a lot of other specials, some of which you can see below.

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MY12 9-5 interior fascia available!

9_5_MY12_interior_aeroTwo weeks ago we informed you that a german Saab dealership was offering the leather doorhandles that were available in the past from Hirsch.

This time an other German dealership, Autohaus Lafrentz, has decided to deliver an upgrade to the 9-5, that many think it should have been standard from the beginning.

At Geneva ’11 we saw this:

This was the new fascia “meshed metallic”. Most of us thought that this update to the interior of the 9-5 was long due but because the MY 12 never saw the light this fascia remained only wishful thinking….

Read moreMY12 9-5 interior fascia available!

Johnny Johansson And His Story

A few weeks ago we had a SAAB Of The Week that featured a 9-3 Independence model that we were pleased to find out was owned by a former SAAB employee by the name of Johnny Johansson. This past week Johnny was kind enough to forward us his own personal SAAB story and it is quite the read. As I said before and will say again, thank you for all you did with Saab Johnny and thanks for sharing your story.

My Saab Story

Some weeks ago, my Saab 9-3 Convertible IE was ‘Saab Of The Week’. I got a lot of attention, not only for the car, but also because I worked 39 years at Saab. I was asked if I had any interesting story from Saab or the cars I have owned. Then an occurrence came to my mind, something that nearly made me loose my job, but also shows how the small Saab could hold its own against the big GM.

After eight years at Saab, I got my dream job. In April 1981 I became a modeller in the design studio. It was a very interesting job, building clay models of the future Saab cars.

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Left image: I work with the cover of the C-pillar, 9000. Right image: I am not sure, looks a little like the front of the EV-2, a concept car from the late 80’s. A reportage about EV-2 in the Swedish magazine Automobile, #4/2008.

Read moreJohnny Johansson And His Story

[email protected] 2013

[email protected] has come and gone for 2013 and it appears to have been a great success once again. I would really love to attend this event at some point in my life as it really seems to be a place where the community of SAAB comes together to enjoy a weekend together. Whenever this event takes place I am blown away with the stories of enthusiasts helping and sharing with one another. It often looks like a workshop with people showing their cars and working on others. I am reminded of how the first year Jim McGuire went to Carlisle and met Julie Gardner and the amazing story of service like never before.

Not being there myself, I asked my friend Jim McGuire to write about the event and tell the story so I could visualize actually being there with the help of some photos. Jim took it a step further and printed one of my Facebook photos and brought me along. If you know Jim at all, you will know that one thing he is not short on is humor. Here is his take on Carlisle 2013.

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Despite the not so great weather for most of the weekend, [email protected] was another great effort by the SAAB community. As always the official event “Imports at Carlisle” was overrun by cars that sport the SAAB name. My “flight” got me to Carlisle around 4:30pm Friday afternoon and to a show field bustling with many cars.

Once the post flight check was complete I turned off the engine and got out of my SportCombi to see Julie Gardner at the registration tent. Right away I braced myself for the traditional hugs and smiles that she openly gives. I also was happy to see her and her mate Jerry. Jerry along with Julie have become very great friends of mine and are just really good people. Once the “catching up” was done I proceeded to make my way around to see what was happening.

Since I had arrived alone and this being only my third year I was expecting to keep it somewhat low key. This thought quickly went away as I walked around. I kept running into people I knew and we shared simple conversations and story after story. I think one of the great things is that not only did the stories revolve around SAAB, but oftentimes it’s about work, trips overseas, kids, raising chickens (you know who you are), favorite beers we have found, all sorts of topics.

Dinner is always fun with cooking your own stuff on the grill. By special request this year I had made a Vegetable Lasagna to share with all who dared. Myself, Julie and Jerry sat enjoyed the feast while my newer friends Jeff and his better half Brittany enjoyed some as a side dish to their wonderful looking steaks fresh off the grill. Jeff is the proud owner of a rather unique car, a 1986 9000Turbo covered in a lovely Edwardian Grey. The story of this car was that it was originally purchased by a rather well known “rocket scientist” with some documents to back it up. This will be a story for another article I imagine.

One of my better Saab friends, Ross Bagwell and I spent a good bit of time talking over his 2004 9-5 Arc. This is a beast which has a 2.3T mill running Maptun stage 4. It has several big modifications such as a ETS intercooler, Genuine Saab Cobra, JT 3″ exhaust and other engine goodies too numerous to list. To better handle the grip on the road it also has several suspension mods such Powerflex bushings, SAS sway bars, MOOG tie rods and sway links He’s owned it since 2006 and it only had 15k miles when he bought it. I can certainly say based on what has been done and what will be done to this car, it will be a Grim Reaper to many unsuspecting threats on the street!

Bagwell bagwell 9-5II bagwell 9-5

I was missing some of my other Saab friends who were at other important events such as the twins having a soccer game, settling into a new area or a relative’s birthday celebration. I’ll see you guys next year!

As Friday evening settled in we all scattered into our little groups and said goodbye to the first day of the show. From the turnout of Friday, I could tell this was going to be a great show!

Saturday I woke up and crawled out from my little tent to see people already washing cars and getting ready for the show. The weather was forecasted to be sunny and clear but a low base of cloud cover kept us in the shade most of the day.

My earlier thoughts of Saturday going to be a great day were right, it was. There was no shortage of nice cars to be seen as the show grounds got filled. I pulled the Combi into its “spot” on the parking ramp and was flanked with a clean TurboX SportCombi and a Smoke Beige 9-3 Aero. Across from me were 9-5’s for as far as the eye could see, far more than I remember seeing in the past. I’m not saying there were not plenty of 9-3’s, there were just as many! The 9-7x and 9-4x showing was a small scene but still a very proud showing. Viggens, yeah, plenty of those along with a nice scattering of 9000’s

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Another highlight of the show was the appearance of Saab Parts North America. SPNA had a nice display booth and in my opinion gave a good showing to let us all know they are here for the long run. Mr. Tim Colbeck and I got to shake hands once again as he remembered me from many other occasions where we’ve met. I believe SPNA is in VERY good hands with Mr. Colbeck at the controls and I’m always thrilled to see him out in the community with us.

People often ask “Which Saab would you want to take home the most?” Damn, that’s a hard question because they all have certain style that makes each one unique. Personally, I like the one I have, my 2006 SC Aero but if I had to choose, it would be Bill and Joanne Clarks 2006 Anniversary Convertible Aero in Electric Blue (#236).

9-3 vert

Those who know me well know how close I was to buying a 1990 900 that was being offered there. Oh it was tempting and I had taken money out to do so, but in the end, I know I don’t need yet another toy car. I need a daily driver and this one would not fit the bill as needed but boy it was nice and it ran like a charm. Thanks to the seller for the test drive and the time spent discussing the car!

900

The vehicle awards were handed out just before dinner time. Some of the classes were pretty easy to predict such as the Sonett and the 9-7x/9-4x which only had a few examples of each. All total we had 251 cars in attendance, not quite the 300 we all had hoped for but not a bad showing. There is always next year! Central Penn Saab Club put on an extreme effort for the show and as always deserves kudos for a job well done! Special thanks as well go out to all of the sponsors of the show. Without your support we could not enjoy a world class event!

Congrats to all who placed in their classes, job well done! However everyone should walk away with the satisfaction of being part of a great community, which to me, is the best prize of all.

Thanks for bringing me along Jim!!
Thanks for bringing me along Jim!!

At the hub of Saab Automobile Parts AB

In Nyköping many years ago a company called ANA: Aktiebolaget Nyköpings Automobil Fabrik (Nyköpings Car-factory Inc.) was formed with over 3500 employees, where CKD cars, basically kit-cars which were bought from various parts of the world, assembled and sold in Sweden. The products could vary from Simka, Dodge, Van Guard etc. The company had dealerships called ANA located in Linköping, Nyköping, Södertälje, Trollhättan etc…

These dealerships were very good at selling and servicing cars. Saab in Trollhättan started building cars about the same time but sold its cars through a dealership-chain called Filipssons, however they weren’t very good at what they did, so when ANA stopped producing cars Saab decided to purchase the dealership chain.

Once Saab took over, the facility in Nyköping became the main location for its parts-management. In the 80s the facility in Nyköping grew and some parts production was placed there, until the early 90s where most of these in-house production was leased out. 

Saab Automobile Parts Nyköping

First of all: Parts availability is good and Saab Automobile Parts AB cover all major markets that used to sell new Saabs. Tim and I met with Lennart Ståhl, the CEO of Saab Automobile Parts AB, on the afternoon of Monday April 23rd. One of the things we learned is just how big the facility in Nyköping, Sweden is. On an average day the company typically see about 50 trucks arriving carrying between 1000-1200 deliveries from the roughly counted 1700 suppliers. The same amount of trucks leave with parts, now en-route to the customers. The order system peaks at about 12’000 orders per day, which usually happens at the beginning of the week.

Every Monday an inventory check is performed for each model to look for back-orders. E.g. the week we visited SP, the 9-5 had 30 items on back-order. Most of these will be restocked immediately (perhaps even the same day), but a handful remain a problem such as the notorious HUD windshield for left hand drive markets. Work is still in progress on coming up with a good alternative for HUD-equipped 9-5s, but so far the process involving the reflective coating has proven difficult to solve. The 9-5 parts catalogue covers 7000+ items from a wide range of suppliers.

Saab Automobile Parts AB support a total 1200 workshops in 63 markets around the worlds over 1.2 million cars. Roughly 350 people work at Saab Automobile Parts AB around the world.

The racks extend 93.6m back and reign 20.6m tall
The racks extend 93.6m back and reign 20.6m tall

The facility has grown over the years. After GM completed the purchase of Saab Automobile in 2000, the Nyköping facility has exclusively dealt with spare parts. With Spyker’s purchase in 2009, Saab Automobile Parts AB was established as a separate entity and thus financially shielded from the aftermath of the bankruptcy of its mother company.

One of the major challenges post-Spyker has been the North American market. Saab Cars North America owned the exclusive rights to import parts for Saabs. Only when the bankruptcy court released those rights were Saab Automobile Parts AB able to form a new company – Saab Parts North America – to fill the gap.

As Jason Powell reported, SPNA has a huge warehouse in Allentown, PA. Jason tells me that Allentown’s current fill rate is 95% and increasing. It is worth pointing out that when a dealer in the US checks the system it only reports what can be found in Allentown. A low number (or even ‘zero’) is not necessarily representative of what Saab Automobile Parts AB can supply. It usually means more parts are on the way. Even when shipped from Sweden, if an order is marked as “Vehicle Off Road” the part is usually shipped by air and will arrive the next day.

Another issue is that in the normal lifespan of a part, some suppliers are swapped as the factory winds down production of the model that uses that part. Many of the factory’s suppliers require a steady flow of production and are simply not equipped to handle short bursts of production of relatively small volumes. The factory’s production halt in 2011 had wide-reaching consequences that took a little time to sort out.

As can be seen from the drawing, the facility consists of several warehouses, first section which in the middle was built in 1976 which housed a total 20’000 square meters. In the mid-80s more sections were added. The whole area is divided into segments of 10’000 square meters which houses its own fire fighting system which does not even have to rely upon the standard fire-fighting system in the city. The facility has a built in sprinkler system with reservoir tank of 6000 cubic meters of water.

The Two of the warehouses are equipped with robots fetching and storing items on the shelves with impressive speed. A third warehouse is a mix between humans with forklifts reaching the first four shelves and the upper shelves managed by a robot restocking the lower shelves as needed. Eventually the smaller parts are carried to the packaging area where the staff fills up shipping containers as indicated by the computer software.

Meet 'Donna', the autonomous drone that happily scoots crates of parts around all day from one warehouse to another.
Meet ‘Donna’, one of the autonomous drones that happily scoots crates of parts around all day from one warehouse to another.

A crate loaded with parts fetched from the matrix (these racks are 109m long, 21m tall and have a capacity of 16500 pallets)
A crate loaded with parts fetched from the matrix (these racks are 109m long, 21m tall and have a capacity of 16500 pallets)

One of six (in this warehouse) automatic cranes dropping making a drop-off
One of six (in this warehouse) automatic cranes making a drop-off

Lock cylinder assemblyThere are also various workshops on the premises. One takes care of the final configuration and assembly of lock cylinders. Each cylinder contains its own unique little code that is programmed using different shaped inserts. Every insert is installed with its own little spring and the end result can of course only be unlocked using the corresponding key.

Mr Ståhl also told us that the number of authorized Saab workshops is increasing steadily. There are on-line training courses that are used to educate mechanics who wants to start working with Saabs. In addition a few tools are needed, such as Parts & Service Information, Diagnostic Tools and Special Tools.

Shipping and sorting
Shipping and sorting

All the parts of an order are dispatched to one of many packaging areas and the operator fills boxes as directed.
All the parts of an order are dispatched to one of many packaging areas and the operator fills boxes as directed.

End of the line
End of the line

Finally, before the OG9-5 tools were shipped off to BAIC in China, Saab Automobile Parts AB put in an order for a large number of body parts to last us customers a life-time. Similarly, the factory has been producing 9-3 and NG9-5 body parts following the bankruptcy and NEVS’ acquisition of Saab Automobile. These parts are plentiful and drivers of Saab can once again safely engage ‘ramming speed’ as deemed fit, without worrying about the availability of spare parts.

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