Restoration of a Sonett by Saab nuts

Those of you who know the Facebook group Saab Nuts! definitely know that Phil Cymru is one of the biggest Saab nuts around. And that’s a compliment. Phil informed me about a recent Saab project of his, being an amazing restoration of a great looking Saab Sonett. A nice story showing that there is still plenty for us Saab enthusiast to enjoy about Saab while awating a hopefully positive future for the brand.

Enjoy the story and pictures of Phil, his son and the Sonett:

I’ve been having a Sonnet restored in the states, I literally just got a call saying it’s finished! I’ll be flying out to Florida in two weeks to drive it for the first time!

I met Shawn Liegl after I set up Saab Nuts! We became friends, he invited me to visit him in Orlando in September 2013, I met a lot of his friends in the Saab community there, and was introduced to a Sonett for the first time, I decided I had to have one (there are only a handful in the UK). Eventually I found two cars that were destined for the scrap yard, they really were in bad shape, I commissioned Nick Mazzochi (also of Saab Nuts!) to start a nut & bolt restoration. It has taken until now to complete the work, I’m flying my family out to see it in the 18th of March and we will take it to Cape Canaveral to be shipped to Southampton, England.

 

Before:

After:

Enjoy your new Saab, Phil and family!

Idiosyncratic loyalty

Saab drivers and Saab. A unique relationship between a brand and its customers widely known for its high amount of loyalty and dedication. Personally, I’m proud of being part of this group of enthusiasts who are continuously Saab spotting on the streets, on television, on the internet and while watching movies, where a comforting glance of a Saab is enough to put a smile on our faces. Enthusiasts who go out and wash their Saabs even when it’s almost starting to rain. Enthusiasts who grin when the sporty performance of their understated Swede leaves its (often German) challenging counterparts becoming smaller and smaller in the rear mirror. Enthusiasts who can just enjoy watching the perfect design of their Saabs.

A love affair
The Saab community is alive and well, dedicated to support and thoroughly enjoy the brand. Examples are well known, such as the SAVE SAAB convoys, the We Are Many We Are Saab events, the collective purchase of DJA 880 for the Saab Car Museum, Facebook groups such as Saab Nuts!, the official Saab Cars (Parts) Facebook page, The Saab Cars Instagram page and an always stunning and inspirering celebration of Saab culture sharply displayed on Saab vs Scepticism. And of course all of the websites that keep track of all things Saab, such as SaabsUnited.

Maybe this relationship is best described by Saab in a great book entitled Made in Trollhättan (2002):

 

“How come a car from a small factory, in a small city, in a small country far away can attract people all over the world? Perhaps it is the comfort and the driving characteristics that do it? Or the turbo engine and the performance. Perhaps it is because it is so safe. Maybe it is the design that is the attraction. Perhaps all of it. We believe that people who choose a Saab do so because of its personality. We have 0.3% of the world market and it will probably remain in that neighbourhood. Our goal is not to build lots of good cars, but to build fewer great cars. To own a Saab is to belong to a small group of people, all with their own reasons for choosing a Saab. The common denominator is that you have chosen a car that stands out from the crowd. Welcome to a small but exclusive club. We hope you will remain a member for life”. (Thanks to Saab vs Scepticism for the quote).

 

This idiosyncratic loyalty is a very important asset for the Saab brand. Its an important part of what drives new car sales. And it’s also about the enthusiasts sticking to their trusty Saab, also when for the time being there are no new Saabs available. Saab drivers enjoying and taking care of their Saab. Which is providing a continuing market for Saab Service Centers and Saab Parts as well.

A love affair

 

At the moment, negotiations seem to be ongoing about a possible new majority shareholder for NEVS. If we’re lucky, no matter what strategy the possible new owners of NEVS are going to apply (though it seems that a thorough approach is required), it will still take a couple of years at the least before new Saabs come rolling off the production line again.

Interacting with the community
In the meantime, it would be interesting if the new owners would seek contact with this loyal community of Saab drivers. These days, communities around a brand seem to become increasingly important for businesses worldwide. While on the product development side of things Saab has to catch up because of the years when it didn’t have many resources, Saab has a natural advantage when it comes to a dedicated community.

If the new owners can interact with the Saab drivers while developing the Saab brand and new Saab cars, they have access to and can tailor cars for a group of customers coveted by many other car brands. By doing that, they can also bridge the period of development and keep this customer base involved. As mentioned here many times before, it seems logical that Saab has to continue focusing on being a premium car brand. With the historical production capacity typical for Saab, premium is the way to go. And premium can focus on a niche market, where loyal Saab drivers are strongly represented. When the foundations of the brand and company are strong, the Saab drivers can again serve as a customer base on and with which a thriving Saab brand can be built.

Aside from the most important thing right now, being the outcome of the negotations about the future, how would you like Saab and its owners to interact with its community? Looking forward to read about it in the comments section.

 

New Saabs have arrived at Dutch dealerships

As reported earlier here on SaabsUnited, 6 new Saab 9-3 Aero’s were on their way to Saab dealerships in the Netherlands. Yesterday the Saabs arrived and they are now proudly parked in the Saab showrooms. If you’re in the neighbourhoud of Saab Arnhem, Saab Apeldoorn, Saab Utrecht or Driessen Saab, be sure to have a look.

Photo by Saab Arnhem
Photo by Saab Arnhem
Photo by Saab Apeldoorn
Photo by Saab Apeldoorn
Photo by Menno Herstel
Photo by Menno Herstel

New Saabs on their way to the Netherlands

The 6 new Saab 9-3 Aero’s ordered by Saab dealers in the Netherlands previously reported about here on SaabsUnited, are on their way to the dealers.

At the moment their is still a small stock of new Saabs at the factory in Trollhattan, so for the moment their are still new Saabs available when more customers are interested. Ruud Blokhuis from Saab Arnhem, Saab Utrecht and Saab Apeldoorn is delighted and honoured that he will receive new Saabs again after three years. This week, Francois Driessen from Driessen Autogroep, who ordered the new Saabs together with Blokhuis, will personally attend to the National Autoshow of BNR in the Netherlands with a new Saab 9-3 Aero.

These entrepreneurial actions strongly contribute to the Saab experience in the Netherlands, but also among the Saab community internationally, while we are awaiting more news about the future developments of NEVS.

 

New Saab 9-3 Aero's on their way to the Netherlands
New Saab 9-3 Aero’s on their way to the Netherlands

New Saabs coming to the Netherlands soon

“Saab is still very much appreciated in the Netherlands.” A fact Dutch Saab entrepreneur Ruud Blokhuis can happily conclude after many positive reactions following his cooperative initiative with the Dutch Driessen Autogroup importing new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan Aero’s to the Netherlands. As reported earlier here on SaabsUnited, Ruud Blokuis (Saab Utrecht, Saab Arnhem and Saab Apeldoorn) and Driessen Autogroup, both running Saab Service Centres, aim for a positive impulse to the Saab experience in the Netherlands. And they already partly succeeded in that by ordering 6 new Saabs 9-3 Sport Sedan Aero 2014 to present them in their showrooms and assist interested customers in buying one.

The initiators expect to show the new Saabs in their showrooms at the end of May at the latest. When they receive specific requests from their customers they will take action in ordering more Saabs. So far, they have not yet received any reaction from NEVS on their initiative. Based on the many positive reactions the Saab Service Centres already receive from Saab enthusiasts on a daily basis, one can expect a good beginning in bringing Saab back to the Dutch Saab market. Hopefully more former Saab dealers can follow this inspiring initiative, and by doing so, let NEVS know there certainly is an interest from these markets themselves in the return of Saab.

 

saab_aero_9-3_07

Dutch Saab dealers order new Saabs

Several Dutch Saab dealers have ordered new Saabs with the help of a Swedish intermediary. After Ruud Blokhuis, who has three Saab centres in the Netherlands, Driessen Autogroup also placed an order.

According to an article on BovagKrant the new Saab 9-3 Aero Sedans will be presented in the showrooms of Blokhuis in May 2014. For now it is mentioned Blokhuis has ordered three models. The Dutch entrepreneur aims at a positive impuls for the brand experience in the Netherlands. “Saab is and remains a niche brand. We don’t expect to realise substantial sales numbers, but we predominantly focus on the Saab enthusiasts who would love to again drive a new Saab. (…) When there is serious interest we will of course pick up more Saabs from Sweden.” Sales prices and terms of delivery are not yet known.

Also Driessen Autogroup jumped at the opportunity to supply loyal Saab customers with new Saabs, according to an article on Automotive Online. “We have a big and loyal group of Saab fans in Brabant (province of the Netherlands) who are without a doubt happy with this initiative”, says Jeroen Smits, Chief Operational Officer at Driessen Autogroup. Smits also recognizes an interesting opportunity for the business market with the upcoming electric Saab 9-3.

These interesting and positive actions follow the initiative of the Swedish Saab dealer who ordered a couple of new Saabs for his customers, as mentioned here on SU earlier on. It sounds like a good business case for Saab centres. They know loyal Saab customers who want to buy a Saab and they do them a huge favour. Of course it’s a relatively big investment for the companies involved, but they could for example work with a pre-order system.

Hopefully this news can inspire other Saab dealers, at least for now all over Europe. Imagine if multiple dealers per country would order a couple of Saabs, the total sales numbers of new Saabs could get a significant boost during the restart of production. Of course the sale of these first cars can have an advantage as the demand side of fans has been waiting for some time, so it’s no guarantee for a steady increase of sales numbers, but it’s an important start with a hopefully global future of Saab and its future models in mind. Customers waiting for a new Saab can be adequately serviced with a new Saab, and Saab centres can continue working with new Saabs, hereby definitely improving the Saab experience in the respective markets.

Maybe ask your trusted Saab centre about the possibilities, and who knows what little but valuable impulses we can offer for the Saab brand together.

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