Wednesday Snippets

Posting was challenged today by email correspondence and two mega entries coming online later – 2011 Saab 9-3 and 9-5 specs for the US market.


From Till, for those who complain about Saab v the competition…..

This weekend I attended an event and got the chance to take a ride in the backseat of a new A8 (Audi Shuttle Service). The interesting thing was that I had less headroom there than in the 9-5 I sat in a few weeks ago (both cars with sunroof). I am 1,98 m tall

Still I believe that the 9-5 should have more headroom but even Audi can’t do wonders with a car being one class higher…


Reports have come through today of Saab 9-5 and 9-3x sightings – in Spain!

Good to hear. Thanks Lars!


Following up from SaabRobz’s moose test last week, I received another crash report from a guy named Daniel.

This isn’t exceptional just because it’s another amazing Saab 9000 survival story. It’s also exceptional because Daniel’s from Argentina, a country from which there’s been precious little SU interaction over the years. Welcome Daniel!!

To his car, then….. Daniel’s currently driving a Saab 9-3 with a nice BSR tune to 245hp. Before that, though, he owned a series of Saab 9000’s. He even went to his wedding in one.

The last Saab 9000 he owned took a hit at 130 km/h…..

Saab 9000 crash

It doesn’t look too bad from the back, but check out the front….

Saab 9000 crash

Daniel survived this impact with just a broken toe and a few other bruises.

Not all accidents turn out this fortunately. I’m pleased Daniel’s did.

There really is no other safety quite like Saab safety.


Thanks to all who contributed to the following discussions:

Kids and Saabs

Who is a typical Saab 9-5 buyer – really?

I’ve received some fantastic emails from people in higher places about the quality of the discussion there. Things do get noticed.

Monday morning snippets

It feels good to be back in the saddle. Did I miss much?


Whilst I actually like the Porsche Panamera, I know that a lot of people out there think it looks worse than a bashed crab.

Saabers of such a mindset should take heart, then, when hearing that Porsche sold 22,500 Panameras in the model’s first full year on the market. If there’s room out there for 22,500 bashed crabs, there’s got to be room for 45,000 beautiful Saabs.


Audi seem to be taking the BMW route of building every variant possible of every model they make, albeit without forcing new niches that people may not really want.

The new A7 Sportback might be the answer to the Saab 9-5 hatchback question that I’m sure a few people are asking.

Yes they could.


It’s a bit late for this one, but a car show on Sunday in Connecticut was to feature not only a collection of beautiful, shiny, valuable things, but also a collection of dirty and dusty ‘barn finds’.

Believe it or not…..The eight old clunkers were carefully selected from a large field of applicants and included in the display is a 1965 1968? Saab 96 that sat for 30 years.


Saab 9-5s keep arriving around the US, like this one in 100% Saab‘s local dealer in Lubbock, Texas…..

……and this one in Baton Rouge, LA.


Warning: Listening to this song by Andy Rupert may hypnotise you into test driving a Saab. Or acting like a chicken. Or both (test driving a chicken?)


Andy, you need a new mike, mate.

Tuesday Night Snippets – profits, boats, incentives and Audis

The official US launch of the new Saab 9-5 took place today and there’s a reasonable amount of news arising as a result.

Unfortunately, I was away doing non-Saaby husbandly holiday things (i.e. touring the Tate Gallery here in London and then seeing Tap Dogs – both worthwhile) so I didn’t get to see the launch, but hopefully video will be available soon.

To the news……


Saab makes a profit

Journalists can scrub away the prefix “GM’s previous loss making unit” from the Saab name as Saab actually made a profit in 2009 – sort of.

Deals with creditors and the BAIC deal to sell old IP actually led to a US$531 million profit for Saab in 2009. Those are extraordinary items, however, and the truth of the situation is summed up pretty well by Saab’s Eric Geers:

“2009 was not a normal year. Saab went in and out of a reconstruction phase. 75 percent of the debts were written off and we sold tools to BAIC. The annual report has limited relevance, as it does not show Saab’s global results,”

Still, whether technical or not, people will now have to say that the last time Saab made a profit was in 2009!


Saab to make electric vehicle test fleet

From Auto Observer

Saab also is going to produce a 100-car test fleet of all-electric vehicles based on the current 9-3 with Boston Power as a partner

…and from Motor Trend:

Saab said the fleet was simply for research and development purposes, and it will only build an EV for the masses when the timing is right.


The Saab 9-5 will land at US dealer showrooms soon

Victor Muller as quoted by Just Auto:

“We are loading boats as we speak in Sweden with 250 units of 9-5s and another 100 will leave in a couple of days,” said Saab chairman Victor Muller.

“We should see units landing in US dealerships by early August.”

Read moreTuesday Night Snippets – profits, boats, incentives and Audis

The Best SAAB Trollhattan Never Made

The following note was sent in over the weekend by Jon C. Given recent events, I was in two minds about posting it as an article here. I’ve done so because as you’ll see, his thoughts, actions and story come from the right place, they’re done the right way.

Thanks Jon, for an insightful piece.


If I was to say to you that I just bought a car and told you the spec, what would you think it was? My new car is a black two litre 4 cylinder turbo with the engine running north – south and driving the front wheels . It is a five door hatch with folding rear seats and I can lie down when they are folded. The seats are leather and the fronts are heated.

You are probably guessing it’s an OG 900 turbo? Well no, it’s not but in my opinion it’s a car as vital to SAABs future as the new 9-5.

I can give you all the excuses but in reality when the lease came up on the current family car 6 months ago a SAAB was really not an option for us (the car is leased and leases were really not happening back then). So I sold out and went for an Audi – and looking at recent research I joined a large number of former SAAB owners.

It was only a few months into ownership that I realised what I had bought was actually an OG 900. When we were looking around at a replacement for the family 3 series we looked at all the premium options – BMW, Merc, Volvo Audi A4 etc and discounted them for the reason that I am sure many SAAB owners discounted them back in the 80s and 90s – with a young family (two daughters under 6) they just didn’t have the flexibility that we needed to load up bikes and toys and the rubbish for the dump. An estate seemed like a waste – hauling around all that extra glass during the week when it wasn’t needed. We actually were going down the 4×4 route – a 2wd Ford Kuga or maybe an Audi Q5. This was the eureka moment. I am guessing that when we saw the A5 it was like it was for some of you when you discovered the 900 – a car that ticked all of the boxes. Space, practicality, comfort, performance, luxury and beautifully built.

It even matches the old SAAB trick of getting better the more I drive it. Now before anyone thinks I am trying to encourage anyone to go out and buy one over a SAAB, I am not. If the lease had been up 12 months later there would be a new 9-5 on the driveway.

What I am saying however, is that the team in Trollhattan should take a long hard look at this car when developing the 9-3. It is a modern take on the combi-coupe, without the emotional baggage of the hardcore Saaber – like I say it took me a few months to realise that I had accidentally bought a SAAB. Not because of the badge but because all of the things that made me fall in love with SAAB when I was a kid in the 80s made me want this car. So can I say to everyone – it’s not about door handles, SIDs, or the location of the key. It’s about a genuinely great concept shining through no matter what the details are – the concept of a sporty, classy five door with the ability to cover long distances at speed.

I reflected on Swade’s recent Break and Line in the Sand posts, and I agree people need to be realistic in what they want and set expectations accordingly. I do know what is involved in creating a new car and it is easy for me to write this – it’s harder for all of those who do the real work to make it happen.

Looking back the 9-3 saloon was not a mistake because that was what the market wanted – what I think we can thank Audi for is showing that we can have our cake and eat it, too – saloons and hatches in the same range and it can even work financially the underneath of my car will be found under the A4 and Avant, A4 Allroad, A5 Coupe, Sportback and Convertible, Q5, A6 and Avant, A6 Allroad and A7. One platform could underpin every car in the SAAB range.

This will take time and SAAB needs to survive but a 9-3 combi coupe would be a good start and something for me to look forward to when I come to change. Audi rolled their tanks onto SAABs front lawn – it’s time we asked them nicely to go home.

Audi A5 Sportback – don’t call it a hatch!

I’m pretty sure that if Saab released a hatchback version of the new Saab 9-5 or even the current 9-3, people would be whoopin it up all over the place.
Not so over at Audi.
It’s mesmerising the ladies…..
And it’s apparently so steamy sexy that even the ground itself is sweating….
Polo-neck guy is smiling….
And yet despite all this newness, all this coupe-sedan-avant beauty and a whole new naming convention, there’s nary a photo of the actual new feature on the website.
I got all of these images from the a5sportback website after seeing an ad on a news website I frequent and getting curious about it. I actually made a point of going through the whole thing (almost) and was astounded that the main feature (for me) was shown so rarely.
Are we Saab fans really that different? Is the hatch really so disliked that even here in Australia – a land not that averse to the hatch – Audi feel like they shouldn’t show it?
The website instead focuses mostly on the design of the car, and yes Audi are the latest company to claim they’ve build a 4-door coupe. Or is that a 5-door coupe?
It’s no ugly duckling, though I’m not sure the front really sets it off that well.
But here’s one of only two shots I found on the site that actually feature the hatch.
In a Saab ad, there’d most likely be a wide shot of the entire car with the hatch open so that you can see the full extent of the load capacity. These shots are all very close in, almost like they want to hide the car from view when the hatch is open.
Not much, I guess, but I just find it interesting how other companies develop and then promote new vehicles.
Why go to the trouble of developing a body style like this if you’re not going to max out the promotion of it?

2010 Saab 9-5 price? How much is an Audi A6 where you live?

In the Q&A prior to Frankfurt, several people asked about pricing for the 2010 Saab 9-5.
Saab haven’t released pricing information yet, but they have indicated that the Audi A6 was their benchmark vehicle when developing the 9-5 and talks with Saab people in Frankfurt left me with the impression that that benchmarking included pricing for the vehicle.
So what’s an Audi A6 worth in your market?
Here in Australia the A6 is actually marketed at slightly different prices depending on which state you live in. The biggest market is in New South Wales (Sydney is the capital city) and there, an A6 ranges from A$82,026 to A$121,927
Here in Tasmania the A6 sells for between A$81,797 and A$121,342 (sucked in to the latte crowd for getting ripped off!).
That $40,000 range covers a starting point with the 2.0 TDI and finishes with the 3.0 TFSI Quattro.
How closely Saab models their pricing remains to be seen, but it’s a fair step up from the outgoing Saab 9-5. I’d love to tell you how much a 9-5 costs here in Australia at the moment, but the model no longer shows up on the Saab Australia website (which should be a headline story in itself). It’s not on the car configurator, either.
The Saab 9-5 Aero was previously listed in the A$80,000 range, though I don’t think anyone’s paid that much for a 9-5 in a long, long time.
The final answer really is a bit of a guessing game, but I think that if Saab can come in just under Audi’s range of prices here in Australia, then with the range of engines and technology they can offer, they’ll have some interested customers.
Your A6 price listings and thoughts are welcome.
And yes, jetlag’s a pain the behind……

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