SAAB – DNA

Skärmavbild 2016-02-21 kl. 17.32.15

Some of us can say we have a Trollhättan DNA, well if You’re like Tim and me are born by parents raised on the banks of the Göta River that night be true. But just half a century of making SAAB cars the city could hardly have changed any of the pairs in the double helix we call the DNA.

The DNA that some people refers to as having anything to do with SAAB has its roots in the chassis dynamics. Form and shape of the cars has nothing to do with DNA since SAAB has never looked inte the rear mirror when making the new car models. Look at the 99 that replaced the 96 in the late 1960. The only thing that resembled the old car was the front wheel drive an the solid rear axle to some extent. So over the years the design has changed in a progressive way and one of my friends Björn Envall was in control of this for almost 30 years.

The SAAB – DNA is a complex mix of advanced applied and theoretical physics combined with the drivers feel and ability to respond to various forces and frequencies told by the car. When harmony is reached almost as when mastering an instrument. That is where the SAAB – DNA can be found. Some feel it instantaneously some not at all.

– Jörgen Trued, SU Historic Rally Team & S2AB Rally Team Manager & Driver

The DNA is in the perception and feel of the driving dynamic of the cars conveyed to the driver. Probably the best guy in the world in this field is another of my good ex. SAAB friends Magnus Roland. The principles he outlined for the driving dynamics of a SAAB is the DNA. That thinking was used by Magnus when he worked on the Le Mans Corvettes some 15 years ago but before that on the 9000 in particular. A rear axle geometry hat still is top notch and a truly affordable construction. There are manufacturers out there who are interested in this axle. Magnus has worked out some amazing constructions and 3 years ago in with his colleague in the S2AB AB, ex rally world champion Stig Blomqvist a 5 link rear axle for Audi. Or should we say put on an Audi 4S. In testdrives head to head with a standard Audi S4 Stig managed to drive the 5 link faster and with more accuracy and less need for micro adjustments. In collaboration with Benteler in Germany they decided to make a sales push with Audi. But apparently Ferdinand Piech himself stopped it all saying that it was not invented in house. The SAAB 9000 was developed with Stig´s driving style as an inspirational source. And The 9000 turned out to be a great performance car.

From what I have heard is that the NEVS corporation at least CEO Matthias Bergman is interested in the “SAAB-DNA” and the two guys who can inject that into their company is Magnus and Stig. To truly understand the underlaying principles for the fundamentals of chassi dynamics would need a presentation by Magnus himself. He is truly a genius when it comes to get to grips with the twilight-zone of classic mechanical engineering old school and the quantum mechanics and forces for beyond the average scope of a traditional car company. A company making average cars. The car going down the road and into a corner with a driver behind the wheel is a very complex system, truly a system of systems. All frequencies in the tire rubber to the G forces and the the forces in a microscopic level bonding the car to the road are hard to understand for a skilled to average skilled engineer. The driver feels sensations and experience the environment, this interface with the car is where the DNA might be hidden. But to do a truly great car that makes you a better driver requires deep expertise in applied and theoretical physics and psychology (Perception & Decision making). I have had many great discussions with Magnus on the topic of driver performance, he is the wiz of chassis physics and have the Man-Systems-Interaction knowledge.

 

https://youtu.be/khUDDMCgBr0

Most probably the best Swedish drivers through history both from the city of Örebro. Stig Blomqvist and Ronnie Petterson

https://youtu.be/SPmhit980e4

SU Mythbusters: Chinese Partnerships

This is the start of a series I plan on doing from time to time that will debunk common perceptions about a particular topic of interest to Saab. I’m sure you all have had to counter someone’s claim that Saab is bankrupt, was killed off by GM, or maybe that it’s part of a communist scheme to take over the auto industry (I kid you not, I’ve heard that now twice). We at SaabsUnited aim to give you the tools to shoot down those crackpot theories with real data, backed up by research and facts to prove that Saab is not only in a great position to capitalize on years of development, but already succeeding on their turn-around as an independent automaker.

This inaugural article intends to show that Chinese partnerships, joint-ventures, and even part ownership is not only common in the auto industry, but a necessity if a brand intends to compete in the global market. In the wake of Sweden’s Chinese Ambassador’s Lars Fredén’s initial report on Hawtai, I feel it’s more important than ever to explain the hard facts about China’s auto industry (stay tuned for a post tomorrow that goes more in depth into Hawtai in a much more holistic fair way than you’ll see from Mr. Fredén’s letter home). In January 2009 for the first time ever, China became the number one consumer of cars in the world, and went on to take the title for the entire year. Can you guess what the number one automaker in China in 2010 was? Some domestic automaker you say? In fact, the Volkswagen Auto Group had the highest sales in 2010, when one combines VW, Audi, and Skoda sales, a staggering 1,886,902 cars were moved on Chinese soil. Hot on their heels is General Motors, who between Buick, Chevrolet, and Cadillac sold 1,052,434 units. To that end, nearly every single automaker in the US has representation in China through a joint-venture. The last two exceptions have been Jaguar/Land Rover and of course, Saab. To their credit, JLR have been in talks with Great Wall Motors and expect China to be their third largest market in the next few years. What this all means is that you can’t be a player in the global auto market without a Chinese partner. Saab’s deal with Hawtai motors shows that it takes the changing landscape very seriously.

A person familiar with Saab, Nick Reilly, who is head of GM’s International Operations in Shanghai, told thetruthaboutcars.com just how up to speed China is in terms of auto production.

Many Chinese plants are more modern than U.S. plants, where modernization clashes with unions. Reilly agrees:

“Their rate of progress in terms of technology, innovation and quality improvements is really remarkable, and we are totally underestimating the technological advances they are making. The gap has completely shrunk. It is a tenth of what it was and a quarter of what we expected it to be. I think everybody thought we had 10 or 15 years before China became competitive, and that is just not true.”

Here’s a quick snapshot of each major automaker and their Chinese partner, by sales in 2010. For those who knew little about the Chinese auto market before this week, let these statistics be your wake up call.

Volkswagen Auto Group (SAIC-SVG/FAW): 1,886,902

General Motors (SAIC): 1,052,434

Hyundai-Kia (Beijing Hyundai Motor Company-BAIC): 1,036,036

Toyota (Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group – Guangqi Toyota Automobile): 775,245

Nissan (Dongfeng-Nissan): 681,360

Honda (Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group – Guangqi Honda Automobile): 646,355

Peugeot-Citroën (Dongfeng, but soon to be Chang’an): 373,366

Ford (Chang’an): 304,103

Suzuki (Chang’an): 275,672

Mazda (Chang’an)225.378

BMW (Brilliance): 62.550

Mercedes-Benz (BAIC, BYD 2013+): 58,382

Jaguar/Landrover (in talks with Great Wall Motors): 26,114

Volvo (owned wholly by Geely): 17,090


For skeptics looking for a background on each automaker’s connection to their Chinese partner and additional analysis and insight on the Chinese market, find out after the break.

Read moreSU Mythbusters: Chinese Partnerships

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