Hirsch Saab 9-3 for sale in Oz

I was surfing the Saabs for sale on the interwebs today and noticed this unique Saab 9-3.

HIrsch Saab 9-3

According to the ad description, this is one of the three original vehicles brought in by Saab Australia and modified by Hirsch Performance, Saab’s official tuning house. The other two were a 9-5 sedan (owned by a friend in Melbourne) and a 9-5 SportCombi. No other Hirsch modified vehicles have officially been sold by Saab Australia (though I do have a Hirsch ECU on my Monte Carlo 🙂 )

Hirsch 9-3 rear

It doesn’t seem to have the full interior treatment or as aggressive a stance as Jeff’s 9-5, but it does look pretty good. You can see that nice big Hirsch pipe out the back, venting the 250hp lump in the front.

The car’s only got 86,000kms on the clock and is priced at just $22,500 – seems pretty reasonable for the age, power and unique nature of the car.

Just thought the rest of you Aussies might want to know.

Australian car sales – August 2010

I’m only guessing, but there’s a high likelihood that you could count the number of Saabs sold in Australia last month on one hand. Perhaps even no hands.

It’s my understanding that Saab will “go it alone” here in Australia, setting up their own import group rather than appointing and import company like they’ve done in Canada. This is a great decision, primarily because all the importers here are crap and don’t pay much mind to smaller brands. Timing for this venture is unknown at this point.

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I thought I’d post some sales numbers here on site, just to give you all a look into the marketplace here in Australia. As you can see, there’s quite an influence from Asian manufacturers, which is not surprising given our proximity to the region.

An interesting development in the last week or so is the rumour that Opel might start bringing cars here and selling the with the Opel badge. In years past, Opels have been sold as Holdens. It may be that GM want to bring Opel in as the premium product with Asian designed and built Holdens sliding in underneath.

Anyway, here are the sales for Australia last month. This is the kind of stuff we’re putting up with on our roads.

Top Selling Brands

1. Toyota – 16,633
2. Holden – 11,146
3. Ford – 8212
4. Mazda – 6473
5. Hyundai – 6560
6. Nissan – 4733
7. Mitsubishi – 4502
8. Honda – 2740 (I think that’s a typo, should be 3740)
9. Subaru – 3230
10. Volkswagen – 3022

Top Selling Cars

Top selling cars:
1. Commodore – 3674
2. Corolla – 3520
3. Mazda3 – 2871
4. i30 – 2496
5. Cruze – 2383
6. Falcon – 2344
7. Camry – 1955
8. Getz – 1789
9. Lancer – 1614
10. Yaris – 1488
11. Forester – 1406
12. Barina – 1325
13. Captiva – 1317
14. Mazda2 – 1281
15. Prado – 1253
16. RAV4 – 1160
17. Golf – 1149
18. Territory – 1093
19. Swift – 1021
20. Fiesta – 911

Australia to get more E85 access

This press release is actually from Holden, but the content is primarily news that will be of interest to any Saab BioPower owners here in Australia.

Caltex are looking to expand the number of E85 pumps, first in NSW and then the rest of Australia, providing up to 100 pumps by mid-2011.

Of course, it mentions nothing about GM’s former Swedish brand, who would have heped holden optimise for E85 and who were the first company to offer E85 use here in Australia, but that’s OK.

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Holden welcomes Caltex Bio E-Flex to NSW

* Caltex launches first NSW Bio E-Flex fuel pumps, to increase to 100 by mid 2011
* Ethanol fuel can power vehicles in the upcoming Commodore VE Series II range
* The ethanol in Bio E-Flex reduces COâ‚‚ and is a renewable resource

Holden today welcomed Caltex Australia’s announcement that it would install 10 pumps in New South Wales to sell its new fuel, Bio E-Flex.

Making the announcement was New South Wales Minister for Planning, Infrastructure and Lands, Tony Kelly, who is a strong advocate for the development of the Australian biofuel industry.

Holden’s Energy and Environment Director Richard Marshall said the ethanol-blend fuel, also known as E85, would be suitable for vehicles within the new Holden Commodore VE Series II range, to be launched in the coming months.

Read moreAustralia to get more E85 access

Could this be the first Saab delivered to Australia in 2010?

Saab Australia are basically non-existant right now. Officially speaking, Saab is still being distributed by GM here but the head of Saab Oz, Parveen Batish, has been snatched up by Saab Cars North America and in the last few months, he might have actually the been the only person to see any correspondence at GM relating to Saab.

There hasn’t been a car come into the country since early 2009. Dealers were living off old stock for a while but we’re now in a situation where there have actually been several months where the total number of Saab sales in Australia was zero.

I don’t know when regular importation will begin again, but it’s good to see at least one Saab land on the docks…..

Read moreCould this be the first Saab delivered to Australia in 2010?

Sydney Saabs meet

I haven’t done a post about events here in Australia for some time and these photos from Sydney last weekend were so good I just had to show them off.

See, we have some pretty nice Saabs here downunder as well!

The event was a BBQ for members of the NSW division of the Saab Car Club of Australia. My thanks the Ferd for sending on the images (and as you can see, I’m kinda taken by that early model blue 900 – ooh la la!).

Click to enlarge.

Saab updates from Finland – and Australia

Last Friday saw the beginning of Saab Finland as a separate entity from GM.

The following story appeared in autotoday.fi last week:

“The smallest car importer of Finland starts tomorrow”

Tomorrow (01.05.2010) the roads of GM and Saab separates for good in Finland as well. From the first of May the imports of Saab in Finland will be handled by Saab Automobile Finland which is owned by the mother company (Saab).

The organisation consists of only 2 persons, which probably makes it the smallest car importer in Finland. In charge of the operations in Finland will be Antti Foudila.

The founding documents of the company was cleared in the Finnish company registry today and during next week the company will separate also physically from GM.

The importing organisation of Saab will move to Vantaa close to the junction of Ring road III and Highway to Hämeenlinna.

Marco provided that translation (thanks!), and as he observed via email to me, things are moving slowly, but more importantly…. they’re heading in the right direction.

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And in Australia….

I spoke with the head honcho of Saab in Australia, Parveen Batish, and he confirmed that Saab are still in discussions with people here but couldn’t name those people (i.e. companies) or outline any plans to either appoint a distribution company or do things in-house.

GM are still the effective importer and distributor here in Australia and New Zealand and all dealerships who were selling Saab before could be selling Saab now (if they had stock and a mind to promote it, both of which are in short supply at the moment).

Effectively, nothing’s changed at this point, but we’ll hear from them as soon as it does (I hope 🙂

He did reaffirm that Saab were committed to being in Australia and New Zealand, which is great to hear.

Australian Saab distribution – Ateco says ‘No’

I’ve received an advance snippet, apparently from tomorrow’s Carsguide as it will appear in the Melbourne newspaper, the Herald-Sun.
It’s a scan, which I’ve had to enlarge and treat for color, so it may be a little fuzzy.
SaabAteco.jpg
What it says (for those can’t be bothered) is that one of Australia’s larger automotive importing agencies, Ateco, has apparently turned down the opportunity to distribute Saab down under, saying the agency is almost worthless.
He then has a crack at Hobart, where I live, but I’ll leave that along for now…..
I’ve heard enough complaints about Ateco to not be too fussed by this. They’re apparently quite selective with their model mixes, meaning we could miss out on some vehicles all together.
Still, it leaves Saab in Australia languishing in the legacy that GM created for it here. Whilst they had some absolutely fantastic people in recent times, the burdened those people with failed ventures in Hummer and Cadillac, soaking up resources that used to be used (pretty well) for Saab’s promotion.
The last 12 months, like the rest of the world, saw Saab decimated here. I’ve heard informally that Saab sold just one new vehicle here in Oz in the first quarter but I don’t have access to the official stats to back it up.
We talked about Australian distribution a little while ago, based on a story in Go Auto that had Ateco as the leading contender.
The other two contenders were companies named Inchcape and Sime Darby, neither of whom Go Auto saw as prime candidates for taking on a Saab franchise.
I hope they can work something soon. Better still, I hope they can make a brave decision and do the job in-house. It can’t take that much in terms of resources, can it?
OK, candidate for naive statement of the year, there, but still…..
Thanks to You-know-how-you-are for the advance clipping.

Wednesday Afternoon Snippets – Muller interview and Autoline After Hours

Autosavant have a good interview with Victor Muller from a function Saab hosted in Greenwich Village during the New York Auto Show.

…..no company becomes premium because it calls itself premium. You have to earn your premium status. And, you have to earn it in every aspect of the business. From your showroom CI to your quality of your product, to the look and feel of your interiors, it’s the whole experience, from service, to the way you’re greeted when you enter the dealership. All those components, define, in the end, whether you’re accepted as a premium brand or not. Clearly, Saab is a premium brand. But, I would like to see the brand go up in terms of being premium.

I don’t know that there’s anything we haven’t heard already, but it’s always nice to hear from Victor and reaffirm what we’ve heard before.
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If you’ve got a spare 80 minutes – and yes, I know that’s a long time – then check out Edition #49 of Autoline After Hours.
AAH is the laid back, guys-in-a-bar version of Autoline Detroit where they get in an industry type to chat with a few automotive media guys. It’s always good viewing.
This week there’s some very interesting stuff, none of which is directly Saab related, but is interesting nonetheless. Like the way Ford have a pipe going from the induction chamber of the Mustang to the cabin to channel the induction sound so the driver doesn’t miss that noise with all the NVH work they’ve done on the car. There’s also a good insight into climbing SUV sales, which by extension, can be taken as ‘why Saab dealers in the US would love to have the 9-4x yesterday’.
AAH is on every Thursday night.
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Saab sold no cars in Australia in March 2010.
Zero.
Of course, my understanding is that we haven’t had any new cars delivered into the country for some time, but still, I thought there’d be some stock somewhere to be sold.
We need that new import organisation to start up in Oz asap, and yes Victor, Parveen, whoever…. if you need a committed, professional and competent staffer, you know where to get hold of me.
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On the upside……Australians:
Soon-to-be supercar makers,
Writers of the best letters ever used to get out of parking fines, and
Great pilots.
We rock!

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