Friday Snippets – Floods

I’ve had quite a few people emailing me about the floods, some asking if we’re OK.

We are absolutely OK. Australia’s a big place and whilst there has been a lot of rain here in Tasmania and some flooding in the north of the state, there’s nothing at all that effects us here in the south. Thanks to all for your concern.

Of course, the big floods are in Queensland, the northernmost state on the east coast of Australia. We’ve all been glued to our TV’s here and there has been plenty to see, around 95% of it quite tragic.

Image from Grantham, the town probably worst hit by the floods, which claimed houses, vehicles and lives in just minutes.

Everyone in southern Australia knows someone who’s moved to Queensland in the last 10 years or so, quite a few of them to Brisbane. We all feel like we’ve got someone involved in this in some way.

If you’ve never seen how a flash flood progresses, watch this video from Toowoomba, which was hit without warning by a flash flood earlier this week (much of this is the water that’s effecting Brisbane now). Amazing.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYUpkPTcqPY

Personally speaking, one of my good friends will have to find somewhere else to live. Her house (a rental, so it’s not hers to rebuild) was overcome very early in the Brisbane flood. Thankfully, she got most of her stuff out and of course, the best news is that she’s safe.

I have a few semi-regular Saab contacts up there, as well, one of whom (Simon L) owns a Saab 99 Turbo that I used to own. Simon lives on high ground and was never in any trouble from the water.

Some of you might be familiar with a bloke named AussieLars, who comments here occasionally. Lars got his Viggen on to high ground before the water came, but there was some concern about the Saab 96 V4 that’s he had stripped and part-way through restoration. Obviously, it wasn’t as portable as the Viggen and time was very short.

As it happens, the water level wasn’t quite as high as people feared and for Lars, that means that the 96 will just need some mild cleanup. Nothing too major. He and Mrs AussieLars will be just fine, which is great to hear.

There are plenty of harrowing stories, however, the most striking and heartbreaking of which is probably that of Jordan Rice and his mother, Donna. Click here.

If you feel moved to support flood victims, many of whom will not be covered by insurance because of their proximity to the river (and because insurers can be bastards sometimes), then I invite you to donate to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal, the primary fundraising effort run by the Queensland government.

Again, thanks for your concern, not just personally, but for all the people in Queensland who have done it so tough in the last few weeks.

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On to some more Saab-specific things……

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Beijing Automotive, who were looking to buy Saab back in 2009 but settled for $200m worth of older-generation tooling, are trialling 30 electric cars with the local government in Beijing.

A number of them are based on the Saab 9-3.

Beijing Auto Electric Saab

Beijing Auto has started production of electric ‘Saab’ 9-3’s. The car is called Q60FB and is part of a trial project for electric cars with the Beijing city government. They will make 30 cars in total, including a number of electric BC301Z’s, called the C30DB and a number of electric minivans called MR30DB.

The full story is over at thetycho.com.

BAIC were always pretty serious about doing electric vehicles and using the Saab tooling they bought as part of the project. It’s good to see them progressing on this and I don’t think it’s a bad thing that they’ve used Saab’s bodies instead of their own for such a project.

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I wrote about a new Saab dealership popping up in Seattle a few months ago, but they weren’t online at the time.

It’s good to see Saab of Bellevue are now up and running.

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The Saab 9-5 won a Car of the Year vote in Finland, and I’m pretty sure SU had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Not sounding surprised there, just happy. The Finns love their Saabs, as they should 🙂

BAIC (C60) continues to electrify Saab 9-3

The China Car Times have caught an electrified Saab 9-3 lookalike testing in Beijing.

The photos have been ‘shopped to disguise the surroundings. Click.

BAIC-C60-electric-saab4

BAIC-C60-electric-saab1

Beijing Automotive (BAIC) are hoping to have an electric vehicle based on the Saab 9-3 architecture on the market late in 2011. Readers should note that this is BAIC’s own development and not related to the work Saab is doing on electrification, where they’re releasing a test fleet of 70 electric Saabs in Sweden in conjunction with ElectroEngine, or their new joint venture, e-AAM.

BAIC showed what they’re C60 model could look like at the Beijing Auto Show earlier this year.

BAIC C60 front

Saab sold technology for the old Saab 9-5 and pre-2006 Saab 9-3 to BAIC for $200 million USD late in 2009. This development is now BAIC’s rather than Saabs but Saab will have an ongoing relationship with BAIC in consulting about these vehicles.

Wednesday Snippets – airbag edition

Tonsilitis still sucks, but the Girl Who Played with Fire was awesome.

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Wulf has picked up on a quick interview with Victor Muller, which appears in the latest magazine from the American International Auto Dealers Association.

You can view the interview itself on Saabworld, or go to the AIADA website and download a copy of the magazine.

It’s a short piece, but it’s Victor, and any interview with Victor makes for interesting reading.

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Voting for the Norwegian Car of The Year is open and the Saab 9-5 is on the ballot.

Click that link, select the 9-5 in the poll at the bottom and then click the button “send inn”.

I thought we’d done one of these Norwegian awards already. How many of them are there?

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And whilst you’re in a voting frame of mind, why not get a Saabnut into the finals of Jalopnik’s Next Top Car Blogger competition?

Phil Lacefield Jr is currently in second place and only the top two get into the final of the competition. It’d be terrible to see him drop down to third and miss out, so please click here and cast your vote for Phil Lacefield Jr.

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Beijing Automotive bought some old Saab assets at the end of last year. We’ve seen a couple of their ideas for their remodelled Saabs already, and here’s something they’re going to build on the architecture of the Saab 9-3:

BAIC B61

It’s called the B61 concept and yes, it’s a little scary. More photos here.

It seems they’re planning a plethora of new cars based on their architecture acquisitions. From the China Car Times:

Other plans for the Saab 9-3 platform include a compact SUV that has been codenamed BC506, and was on show in Beijing as the B61 SUV, as well as the compact SUV, BAIC are already preparing a Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze fighter that has been codenamed BC501. Another mid size SUV is being developed, this will be codenamed BU506 and will also be be based on the 9-3 platform, it is rumored that the 007 and B40 SUV models are based on the 9-3 platform.

Thanks Justyn

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From a news site in Malmo, Sweden.

Nooooooooooooooooo!

Lighted Saab 9-5

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And finally, I can’t resist sharing this. Don’t try this at home.

Note the Saab wheel to the left of this rather drunken airbag test…..

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flE41vwPTds

Thursday night snippets

Another bunch of small-ish Saab stories that are bouncing around amongst all the BMW engine stories……

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It looks like someone from Autospies has been staying at the Swania in Trollhattan. They’ve done a pictorial ‘tour’ of the town that pretty much features Saabs parked on Storgatan, the street the Swania’s on.

I miss Swania.

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Here’s another story stating the BAIC plan to release their remodelled Saabs by the end of 2011, and they’ve built 30 full electric test vehicles based on Saabs already.

They hope to build 150,000 full electric vehicles per year by 2015. And Pete D the AutoExtremist thought Volkswagen’s targets were ambitious!

Still, good luck to them. The better they go, the better off Saab’s relationship with them should become. Does that make Saab BAIC’s BMW?

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By the time you read this there will be mere hours to go on the auction, but it might be worth a look.

Selling via Ebay in the US is a rare Saab 900 rear spoiler
(and no, I don’t know the seller). Apparently it’s a genuine Saab part, though not seen very often. Below is an image of the spoiler attached to an actual 900.

900 mid-spoiler

Definitely different.

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A few US Saab events coming up this weekend that locals might want to check out…..

People are gathering at various places for a drive up Mount Washington, New Hampshire, on Sunday 3rd October. There’s a Facebook Page for the gathering, so check it out if you’re nearby and in the mood to take on one of Mr Pastrana’s favourite roads.

The Mitchell Saab and Volvo dealerships in Simsbury, CT, are having an Annual Swedish Beauty Contest Car Show. Send photos, please.

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Don’t put your eggs all in one basket, or your executives all on one plane.

TROLLHATTAN, Sweden — Whoever books Saab’s charter flights at the automaker’s headquarters here apparently thought this was a good way to reduce costs.

The plan was simple: Put Saab’s senior management, everyone scheduled to be at the Paris auto show, all on the same plane today along with journalists from Europe and the United States.

When the plan was discovered, and fearing the potential for disaster to the small automaker, several executives were taken off the list and issued plane tickets on a commercial aircraft. It is not known when the plan surfaced and was quickly modified.

Saab Automobile Chairman Victor Muller and Saab Automobile CEO Jan Ake Jonsson remained on the two-hour charter flight. Their time was spent in interviews with journalists.

Saturday Night Snippets – smashed edition

Here’s an unfortunate circumstance that highlights another issue that Saab are dealing with as they get up to speed once again.

This is Nicolas D’s Saab 9-5. He lives in Belgium and his new Saab is his pride and joy.

It’s a fully optioned TiD Vector with an automatic gear box. It was the first 9-5 on the roads in Belgium, with Nicolas taking possession back in July. He’s done just under 8,000kms since and absolutely loves it.

Unfortunately, it’s also the first Saab 9-5 in Belgium to be involved in an accident….

The problem?

The car is at the dealership awaiting repairs and the dealer isn’t able to give Nicolas an expected date for the fix. The dealer is unable to get parts at this point as spare body parts aren’t available yet, apparently.

Thanks to Nicolas for the email, and I really hope you can get your new toy back on the road soon!

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Beijing Automotive are looking to get their new 9-3-based vehicle, called the C60, out in Chinese showrooms by the end of 2011.

BAIC’s C60, which is based on the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan, will come with 2.0LT and 2.3T engines of which the 2.0T will be available in four models. It is unlikely that many changes will be made to the car’s body and appearance.

The C60 will be euipped with the anti-skid brake system (ABD), electronic brake distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Program (EPS), traction control system (TCS), electric seat with memory function, Global Position System,bluetooth / car phone, cruise-control system and so on.

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Here’s something I’d love to see more of…..

Peugeot have released a new coupe in the Australian market this week. It’s called the RCZ and it looks distinctive, to say the least.

You can read more about the RCZ at Australia’s newest motoring website – At The Wheel.

What I really like about this release is the pricing policy. The RCZ is available with three different engine configurations, with both diesel and petrol options available. The good news for people looking at the RCZ is that they don’t have to miss out on their preferred engine because of cost.

All three models of the RCZ cost the same – $54,990.

The pick of the bunch would seem to be the 1.6T petrol, with a pretty decent 200hp under the hood.

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Video via Saab Cars Official:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r26gSALqm8

BAIC are NOT believed to be distributing Saabs in China

As is the way of the internet, there’s a lot of secondary stories coming out now, stating that Beijing Automotive are going to take over the distribution of Saabs in China from Shanghai Automotive (GM joint venture).

I posted the story myself, then added an update when I heard from Sweden that this is something that’s been written in China only, and hasn’t come from Saab or been confirmed by them.

With the proliferation of more stories on the web, I thought it prudent to get a headline out there stating that the base story is, for all intents and purposes, not true.

From what I’ve heard, the relationship between Beijing Automotive and Saab does not extend beyond the outgoing technologies they’ve bought from Saab and whatever contracts are in place to assist with engineering those vehicles for production.

Whilst I can say that the story hasn’t originated from Sweden and is not confirmed by Saab, I can’t say categorically that BAIC won’t distribute Saab in the future. However, the fact that Swedish sources wrote to me to jump on this so quickly suggests that the story is basically untrue.

BAIC to distribute Saab in China

UPDATE: I’ve received some email about this story, from Sweden, indicating that this story is one that hasn’t been confirmed at all by Saab and is therefore, only to be considered as rumour on the part of China Car Times.

As noted in my original post, they didn’t cite a source for their information, so this email from Sweden is therefore understandable. I’d now take the story as being false pending further announcements.

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This one’s a few days old, but needs to be passed on for those who haven’t seen it yet as the ramifications are significant. File it in the “I thought that might happen” file.

From the China Car Times (they don’t cite a source):

As well as buying old Saab platforms, Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC) has gained the rights to distribute Saab vehicles in China. It is still unclear how exactly BAIC plans to distribute Saab vehicles in China, if they plan to set up a new Saab dealership network totally devoted to Saab, or use its existing dealership network that already deals in Mitsubishi, Jeep and Chrysler products under one roof nationwide.

Whilst we saw a great turnout at Saab Support Convoys in China, the market for Saab is comparatively small, with just 800 vehicles sold in 2008.

Given the release of a new, larger Saab 9-5 (the Chinese like their cars big) and the fact that China is now the world’s largest automotive marketplace, this is an appointment with real potential for Saab.

The report goes on to say that they hope to sell 5,000 vehicles in China in the first full year of business there, which would zoom China up into around fourth place in terms of Saab’s sales ladder.

This is significant additional volume and with the addition of a 9-4x, 9-5 wagon and a new 9-3 coming in 2012, the sky’s the limit.

Here’s hoping that BAIC can get their network in place quickly. This is turning out to be a very nice partnership.

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Thanks to Justyn and Johan!

Teknikens Varld drive final Saab 9-5, check out BAIC C71 and C60 in Beijing

Teknikens Valrd have been quite busy reporting on Saab related stuff this week.
First of all, they took the final Saab 9-5 to roll off the production line for a spin, ending up at the Saab museum in Trollhattan. I don’t understand Swedish, but it looks like they might have been met there by Peter Backstrom along with what I’m guessing is the first 9-5 to roll off the production line way back in the 1990s.
TVlastSaab9-5.jpg
Apparently they talk about this final 9-5 drive in very nice terms.
Click here to watch the video (best if you speak Swedish).
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Second, they’ve been in Beijing for the Auto Show and paid some special attention to the vehicles shown by Beijing Automotive that are based on old Saab models acquired by the company.
There are two C71 models on show, one of which is a regular car and the other being a prototype electric vehicle. BAIC are looking to turn Saab’s old 9-5 into an electric car capable of a 90 mile range, with a battery pack that can be swapped out and replaced at outlets set up for the purpose.
Teknikens Varld have a gallery of 20+ photos on their site.
The C60 on show is basically a recent model Saab 9-3 with some different lights front and rear. It’s likely something that was put together very quickly in Trollhattan in the lead up to the Beijing show.
C60front.jpg
C60rear.jpg
It looks like they’ve put quite a bit more time into the customisation of the C71, based on the Saab 9-5. It also looks like the 9-5 wasn’t all they picked up whilst they were in Sweden 🙂
C71helloladies.jpg
Whilst the C60 wears a basic Saab interior, the C71 interior seems to have been embellished quite a bit on the show car.
C71Interior.jpg
And it is important to remember that these are just show cars. BAIC won’t start building their Saab-derived vehicles for another 18 months to 2 years as they’re still building the factory at the moment.
We won’t know what the final vehicles will look like for a while yet.
The blue one, which we first saw coming off a truck out the back of the show building, is the C71 Electric Vehicle.
BAIC are pouring heaps of money not only into the Saab tooling acquisition and factory build, but also into electric propulsion.
C71EV-TV.jpg
Thanks to several people for the links to the various Tekniken’s articles today.

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