Monday Night Snippets

Thanks for all your kind thoughts and words about my looming departure from Saabs United.

To those who suggested I post just every now and then – unfortunately, I don’t seem to be able to work that way. This business has a flow about it, a cadence. Once you miss the beat, it’s very difficult to get back. That’s why you generally get four or five entries a day here, not one or two.

Hopefully there are some solutions out there than can see SU continue. As for me, well…. my time with SU is definitely coming to a close. Hopefully it’s not the end of the road completely, but it is the end of this road. I can’t juggle everything and something’s got to give. Right now, that something is SU.

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Here’s a figure that might surprise you as much as it surprised me.

If I told you there were six pre-orders for the Saab 9-4x in Belgium, you might think “given the lack of a diesel option, that number sounds about right”.

What if I told you that those six orders for the Saab 9-4x were from just one dealership?

Outstanding!

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Good to see Sergio Marchionne tell VW to get their grubby eyes off Alfa Romeo.

Now he just needs to keep up the good work started with the Giulietta. Geneva will be interesting.

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It was great to see the Saab Owners Club GB get together via Robin’s Flickr stream. Looks like they had a good gathering of cars there at Stratford on Avon

And it’s always good to see Elie having a good time. If anyone needs an event to be livened up, get this guy along and just watch him work – a Saab ambassador in the finest and most fun sense.

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I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but people are blowing up my inbox with links to it.

So here’s the Norwegian beer guy in Germany doing his bit to show his Saab 9-3s usefulness. Bring Back The Hatch!

Thursday Snippets – The year finally begins edition

2010 finally starts for real.
Football season starts tonight 🙂
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Victor Muller has reduced his shareholding in Spyker in accordance with plans laid out a week or so ago, so as to maintain a direct ownership stake at less than 30%. A holding over 30% would have triggered a mandatory buy-out offer.
The excess shares have been sold to “a Cyprus-registered special purpose company” and thus, his holding is now just under 27%.
It all sounds reasonably creative to me, but within the law.
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The interesting process of student clay modelling continues…..
SaabstudentModelling.jpg
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Deutsche Welle get all negative:

Swedish carmaker Saab is back in business, making cars again under new management. But some experts worry its reincarnation may end as just another “sob” story…..Last year, Saab sold just under 40,000 cars – less than half of what it sold in 2008. In February, only 97 cars left dealers’ lots in the US, a key market.

Add DW to the list of people/media that we’ll have to write to when Saab start hitting their targets.
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Victor Muller counters the negative stuff, via Reuters:

“Nobody sees us as a threat so everybody wants to talk with us,” Muller said. “And there are good chances that we will be supplying our technology to third parties, we’re not going to be just on the demand side of things,” he added.

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I was in Melbourne last weekend. I wish I could have stayed for the week and watched the 100 years of Alfa Romeo celebrations in the lead up to the Melbourne Grand Prix……
alfa-romeo-club-day-carlton-3-625x468.jpg
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And on another personal note, the other thing that begins tonight is the Hobart screening season for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Will hopefully get to that in the next week.

Crunch day snippets – feat the SSC Saab Ad.

Big day here in the real world, today.
Things will be quiet.
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I’ve received a PDF copy of the new Saab ad that features photos from the Saab Support Convoys. Many thinks to Lowe Brindfors for supplying it.
Many thanks also to Elkparts, who are hosting it on their servers for you to download.
Click here to get your copy.
Saab SSC Ad - Believing
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Auto Prophet recalls some details from a radio interview with Victor Muller.
My own interview with VM has been postponed until the evening (here) or the morning (there). Here’s hoping we can get it together this time.
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VM on Inside Line, stressing a few things.
Interesting that they will looks to choose a partner for the much desired small Saab. I nominate Lotus, as long as that’s not too expensive.
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Toyota’s worst nightmare could be on the cusp of becoming a reality.
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Man lists all twelve of his Jaguar E-Types on Ebay.
The catch?
You have to buy all of them at once.
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If you’re wondering why there’s so much Alfa Romeo concept work going on at Geneva this year, it’s because 2010 marks Alfa Romeo’s 100th birthday.
The 2uettottanta concept by Pininfarina
500alfa-pinin.jpg
And the Pandion concept, with ‘doors’ open, by Bertone:
500x_bertone_pandion.jpg
Cuore Sportivo!
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OK, on to the big day……

Wednesday Night Snippets

Posting is slow at the moment and will continue that way for the rest of the week, most likely.

This week is one of the few crunch times I have in my day job so it’s been flat out there. And trying to kick off a forum during such a week probably wasn’t a great idea.

By the way, the Reader’s Rides section of the new forum is blazing! Thanks to all who’ve visited the forum and left suggestions, too. I’ll be getting to most of those in near-mid term but right now it’s a mix of work, work, more work, family and blog.

I will set out more instructions, do more formatting, enable avatars (!) and a few other things as time permits.

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Jan-Ake Jonsson:

Saab will continue to reduce the CO2 of its small-capacity turbocharged petrol and diesel engines by ‘utilising the electrical technology available, including stop-start systems,’ he says. There will continue to be a strong focus on biofuel engines, particularly for the domestic market.

I really need to see and drive one of these electrified vehicles because I find it so hard to get excited about them ‘on paper’.

Call me simple, but I just want to have fun driving!

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Call me simple – again – but I’d also really like to see something indicative of how Saab are going to use the internet now on their internet sites.

I know it’s only been a week, but the Newsroom hasn’t done anything different after-GM than what it did before-GM.

No big address or other attempt to reach out.

Maybe I need to go to bed. I just want them to do something.

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Have you checked out the Saab Tech Wiki?

You’re probably familiar with a Wiki, like Wikipedia, etc. This one’s for Saab technical information, but in terms that most of us can understand.

I had a brief flick around the 9-3 section and it’s pretty good, with heaps of small repair info accompanied by clear photos and labels.

It looks like a good project. Well done to Matt and his team.

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I’d like to introduce you – again – to a lovely redhead named Giulietta. This is she, looking resplendent under the lights of the Geneva show.

Now if someone would just get that hag in the dress out of the way…..

alfa-romeo-giulietta.jpg

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One of my recent past-times – previously reported here on SU but continuing – is to watch the evolution of Saaby work by young design student, Sven Carlsson.

The latest……
S-CarlssonSaab.jpg

Tuesday Snippets – Thankyou edition

I just wanted to post a quick but very sincere thankyou to everyone who contributed to the Support a Saab Blogger effort earlier today.
Your kindness and support is much appreciated, by both me and the dog 🙂
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I’m pleased to let you know that the forum software has now been loaded up on the interwebs. I’m currently battling my way through the setup of categories and the design. Hopefully it should be up and running soon.
Any suggestions for broad category areas would be welcome. It’s going to be your forum, after all.
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Look what else was making its way to Geneva yesterday…..
HirschSaab9-3forGeneva.jpg
That’s one of the display cars put together by Hirsch Performance and geex, it looks good.
And check out all the stuff that goes into making a fully Hirsched Saab. Cool.
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Speaking of Geneva, here are a few of the more interesting cars that’ll be showing there that don’t wear Saab badges:
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
It’s a non-secret around here that I also have a love affair with Alfa Romeo and this new Giulietta is an absolute stunner. The 8C Competizione styling suits the bigger body of the Giulietta much better than it does the MiTo.
2010-Alfa-Romeo-Giulietta-Image-02-800.jpg
I love the way it looks in white, but it’s an Alfa: Show me one in red, please. If Saab can build a 9-1 with even half as much horn then I’ll be a very happy camper.
It’s not all just about good looks, though. The Guili QV uses Alfa’s new MultiAir engine, bringing back the mystical 1750 moniker with a turbocharged engine that puts out 235hp and 340Nm of torque. Them’s Viggen numbers from an engine only 75% of the size, which shows you how far engine tech has come in recent years.

Koenigsegg Agera
I think I’ll always have an affection and appreciation for CvK’s work after his fling with Saab and I really hope the two companies can work together on some projects in the future.
Koenigsegg are showing their latest vehicle, the Agera, at the Geneva Motor Show.
koenigsegg_agera_f34_ns_30110_717.jpg
The Agera follows the lines of the original Koenigsegg CC and plans are that they will eventually build it alongside the CCX and the CCX-R. It’s part of the continual evolution of Koenigsegg design and features new tyres developed especially for the Agera in partnership with Michelin, a new adjustable ABS braking system, a world-leading traction control system as well as Koenigsegg’s new interior lighting system called ‘Ghostlight’.
Hit this link to see some animated video of the Agera in action. It’s worth it just for the exhaust note on start-up!!
Congratulations to Koenigsegg on another fine creation.

Thursday Snippets – oops! Edition

It was all good news for Koenigsegg at the EIB board meeting, but it was nothing but bad news for a New York Koenigsegg dealership after a car was bought in for service and ended up like this:
wrecked_koenigsegg.jpg
Apparently this scrape with a guard rail also managed to scar a Porsche GT2 as well.
There ain’t a font big enough for this OOPS!
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People like this shouldn’t drive Saabs:

A “professional thug” from Thames Ditton, who was caught by police with a sawn-off shotgun and a pot of sulphuric acid, was jailed on Friday for at least 10 years…..
Police recovered the shotgun and acid, as well as ammunition, ties ready for use as handcuffs, two baseball bats and a picture of the men’s target, from the Saab convertible they were travelling in, the court heard.
They also later found a stun gun.

“Bubba” is waiting in cell block B, Mr McRae.
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You know I love Alfas, right? And I can appreciate Anime, even if it’s not something I’d choose to watch.
But the two should never meet.
This abomination was spotted in the carpark of the Tokyo Motor Show, which is on at the moment. More pics at the link.
RuinedAlfa.jpg
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Employees at the new HQ of Saab Cars USA stand to make an average of around $2,200 per week.
This little factoid was revealed in a story about the company getting some initial approval to set up their headquarters in Royal Oak, just outside Detroit. They’ve applied for some tax concessions and consequently have to spill some beans on how many people they’ll employ, what the jobs will be worth, etc.
That’s an average of six figures a year for 50+ employees.
Here’s an offer, Mike Colleran: I’ll uproot my family and drag our soon-to-be miserable butts all the way to Michigan and work for you for $95K a year.
That’s a bargain, and a genuine offer.
UPDATE: That offer’s out there for you, too, Mr Batish. We could be in Melbourne by yer-end. Just say the word.
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I haven’t covered Per Eklund’s exploits for a little while.
It seems the GFC has limited Per’s schedule and travel to a point where he’s competing in races mostly around the Nordic region. He cancelled an appearance in Belgium in August, but has since taken 5th in a race in Norway and 1st in a race in Finland.
More over at Mike Jager’s page.
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One final little observation from here in Australia.
It seems Saab have had to give up sponosrship of one of the big horseracing events of the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne.
The Saab Quality Stakes was the final big hitout and always keenly watched by punters as an indicator to the biggest race in the country – The Melbourne Cup. Saab have sponsored this event for a number of years, also hosting a hospitality tent during Cup Week.
Not in 2009, however. A search of the Melbourne Cup Carnival website shows no reference to Saab and it seems the event has been taken over by insurance company, AAMI.

Wednesday Snippets – Autoblog made me sick!

Autoblog almost made me physically ill with this image.
alfa-300.jpg
I know this isn’t going to happen, but it is symptomatic of how important brand management can be.
I don’t have anything against the 300C, per se, but as a former Alfa owner and lover of the brand, I must say that I do fear for my favourite little Italians.
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The case for Cash For Clunkers, from Jim Cramer, via Autoblog:

  1. If the total price tag of C4C is $4 to $5 billion dollars, big deal – we spent more than that on Corn Flakes in Iraq.
  2. General Motors and Chrysler are already welfare queens, at least C4C lets them move some metal.
  3. C4C gives Ford, which Cramer calls “the most important auto company with the best lineup of fuel-efficient cars” a chance to stop burning cash, offer refinancing and perhaps equity offers (i.e. offer some common stock).
  4. The environment will be cleaner – “We are doing something good against global warming.”

The case against Cash for Clunkers, from Pete De Lorenzo, the AutoExtremist:

When GM jump-started the auto business – and the nation’s economy – after 9/11 with its “Keep America Rolling” campaign, it was a boon to the industry and to the economic mood of the nation. And it worked well. Too well when it came right down to it. Invigorated by the awe-inspiring sales numbers, GM marketers adopted a strategy that would use the artificially compelling aura of “the deal” to crush its competition in the market, move the metal and grab points of share.
But what was a noble gesture after 9/11 turned into a nightmare in short order. After that, when consumers thought of American cars, their thoughts turned only to the size and scope of the deal.

I can see both sides.
The industry needed stimulation, for sure, but having heard about the Keep America Rolling campaign and having witnessed the “Employee Pricing for Everyone” for myself, experience tells me that De Lorenzo’s right.
This is going to reinforce ‘the deal’ instead of push what car companies need to push for the long term health of the sector – i.e. the product.
I have a feeling that like the Employee Pricing incentives, this one is going to bring a lot of sales forward and create some pain again later in the year.
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Jalopnik have an excellent post today:
The 25 most useful car technologies.
Essential reading.
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And finally, from Flickr, an old postcard photo of a Saab dealer in St Louis, circa 1970-something (I’d guess 1973).
StLouisSaabDealership.jpg
Is that a black vinyl roof on that Saab 99????

Tuesday night snippets – the news edition

There’s a couple of stories floating around the web that I’ll tie together here rather than dedicate to individual posts.
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DI.se on Mark Bishop’s trail
There was a big article in Sweden’s Dagens Industri newspaper in the last couple of days. They were trying to track down The Koenigsegg Group’s mysterious shareholder, Mark Bishop, but seemingly without success.
They even went to the trouble of sending some reporters to California, but they were met with closed doors.
If there was anything worthwhile in the report that we didn’t already know, perhaps one of you Swedes could share some dot points with us? The report is not online as yet.

Leases back in town for UK market.
Some good news for British Saabers and dealers alike.
Lease providers in the UK, who had previously suspended writing up Saab leases due to uncertainty surrounding the company, have started doing business with Saab again.

Now an agreement has been reached between General Motors and the Swedish sports car maker, Koenigsegg, which should see Koenigsegg take control Saab within weeks.
As a result, lease companies here are revising their Saab policies again.
“We are writing business on Saab,” confirmed Mark Sinclair managing director of multi-marque provider, Alphabet.
“We have reconsidered our stance recently and have improved our rates accordingly.”

It’s nice to see a little bit of confidence, eh?
Not all lease providers have jumped on the bandwagon, with some still waiting to see what happens. Here’s hoping for some [K]-egg on their faces soon 🙂
Thanks to Karen, in comments!

Twitter-tipology
One of the reasons I’m getting back into Twitter, is to catch all the things that don’t make the headlines on various websites. I’ll be using it the same way.
Like tonight, where the Saab Newsroom posted a link to a new-old Saab 95 video from 1961 they’ve uploaded to Youtube.
Cool.
Other Saabers you can follow include Joe Oliver from Saab’s PR division and Peter Backstrom from the Saab Museum.

Opel no diamond
News continues to circulate about the Opel deal being far from over.

General Motors has stepped up negotiations with rival suitors to offload a stake in Opel/Vauxhall, its European carmaking business, and could sign at least one memorandum of understanding this week as talks with Magna International, preferred bidder, have hit obstacles.

Fiat’s offer is still on the table and both RHJ and BAIC are said to be considering raised offers very soon.
It’s worth bearing in mind that whilst we’re all very hopeful, the deal with Koenigsegg isn’t done yet, either.
They’re in the midst of their due diligence inspections right now, but that’s not open ended and one would guess there’ll have to be some hardcore negotiations and signatures sooner rather than later.

Money for pleasure
Via Jalopnik, a rare example of the undisputed #1 sex-on-wheels exclusomobile is for sale on Craigslist.
There’s no nudity in that ad but it could still be considered NSFW just because of the car.

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