What’s New From Canada

Well, it has been a while since I’ve written a post here. The love for the cars and the community that make it more than just a car still exists with me. Where have I been? What has happened? Well much like many other salesmen, managers and owners, my dealer is no more. This is an all to familiar story in North America and I don’t see it changing anytime too soon.

The problem simply comes down to economics. Owners cannot afford to operate on a service only business until SAAB comes back. My dealer tried very hard to hang on and in the end we suffered the same fate as many before us.

For over twelve years I worked for the Springman’s family in Surrey, BC. I can’t say enough about Dan and his brother Rueben and how they personally sacrificed so much of themselves personally and financially to try and keep things going. The history to this dealer mirrors a lot of the GM nightmare. They started as a body shop and moved to Langley to become a used car lot and then became a Passport dealer. Over the years things would change and GM offered them the Saturn, Isuzu brands. Under Saturn they became the highest volume dealer in BC and life was good. For many years we were busy and building a family of great customers who became very loyal. When GM discontinued the Saturn brand we became a used car dealer once again for one year. Obviously when we were approached to be a SAAB franchise once again, it really seemed like the perfect marriage as we both were left behind with GM’s reshuffle. Unfortunately we all know how that worked out.

Springman's Saab
Springman’s Saab

In August of this past year, after long consideration, I gave my notice after 12 years of service. I had received an offer to manage a Kia dealer five minutes from home and could not justify letting it slip through my hands. Leading up to my decision, I had heard rumors that the dealer may be sold and that the new owner was looking to make it a Fiat dealer. To be fair, I was told that I would still have a job when the new owner came and that I would be taken care of but it did not sound exciting to me. At the end of September it was confirmed that Springman’s had been sold and indeed was to become a Fiat store. They do still hold a service contract to be able to offer parts and service but it is not their main focus.

Fast forward to today and I have to say that I am very happy with my decision. I do miss the people and the time that I spent trying to be everything I could to the local community. I am still here and will continue to post from time to time and still believe that Saab can once again thrive. I wish the whole SAAB community a very Happy New Year.

Open Day at Astley Saab in Yeovil. Updated.

insidegarageThe “Open Day” can only be described as successful. Jerry and his crew were there early on Saturday morning ready with coffee and food for all visitors. All cars were welcome to be “Tech 2’d” and there was a steady flow of Saabs both new and classic in the work shop during the day. Even Kerry’s 9-5 Aero was driven on the ramp for a check-over with happy results. A few full had their air-con re-gassed and cleaned.

Test drives were available to those who were both interested in a new Saab or just wanted to drive a different model to their own. The NG 9-5 was very popular as was a 9-3 Aero that the garage has for sale.

My local Saab group was there, as I’ve said, and we talked to many new faces about our club and the things we get up to during the year.

Saab Parts UK were also on hand to chat about what they were doing and to confirm to everybody that there are plenty of spares to last many years.

The day was such a success that it is planned to do other events around the country, Local Clubs, Local Dealers and Saab Parts UK will get together and offer this great idea around our country.

Maybe its an idea that could go “Around The World”

A few pictures can be found here at my Flickr page.

Read moreOpen Day at Astley Saab in Yeovil. Updated.

Four 9-5 II SportCombis meeting in Kiel, Germany

Bild 6

One has to say that these are historic shots. Four 9-5 II Sport Combis in one place will remain a rare view. The reason for the meeting was to get those cars street legal. An issue that Saab Service Lafrentz has earned a lot of experience in recently. On that day the three visiting Combis (from Sweden, Switzerland and the Baltic region) got all approvals to get registered for road use.

Read moreFour 9-5 II SportCombis meeting in Kiel, Germany

German Saab Spirit – Saab Service Lafrentz

range

If things had gone a bit different a view like this with 9-3, 9-5, 9-5 SC and 9-4x side by side would have been rather normal. But we all know how things went for Saab, so meeting this range of cars on a dealer lot tells a lot about the amount of dedication that is involved in their business.

Saab Service Lafrentz in Kiel, Germany has been selling and servicing Saab for more than 25 years and even after bankruptcy they’ve never stopped. As the flow of new cars from Trollhättan ended they put a focus on finding pre-owned cars. They also have already imported two 9-4x, one more is right now on its way to Germany. When the auction of those 9-5 SC in Sweden took place they also bought one of them.

It’s rather unlikely that this car will ever go on sale (as it is drven by Markus Lafrentz himself) but through the experience with that car Saab Service Lafrentz became an unofficial competence center to get the 9-5 SC street legal here in Europe. As I heared they are right now helping other owners of this rare car to get the needed approvals. It was said that those could not be obtained but never say never…

Read moreGerman Saab Spirit – Saab Service Lafrentz

Dealer Profile – Saab of Bellevue

This is our second dealer profile and if your remember we had asked Saab dealers around the globe to share their stories about who they are and what they do. One such dealer to take us up on that is Saab of Bellevue, Washington. We were contacted by their brand manager Hunter Ross, asking if they could have their story included. Saab of Bellevue is actually located just across the border from me and close to Seattle. I may need to make an excuse for a road trip to visit their beautiful showroom. Here is their story as told by Brand Manager, Hunter Ross.   

Read moreDealer Profile – Saab of Bellevue

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