The Zero Hero snippets

Saab UK had PR campaign were they called the 119g 9-3 TTiD 180 the Zero Hero because the Vehicle Excise Duty (the vehicle taxes) was equal to zero because of the low CO2 value.

Today Saab UK has presented the new Zero Hero, the Saab 9-5 TiD4 MY 12, with manual transmission. It will also, like the 9-3 TTiD, be exempted of VED because of the low CO2 figures, 125 for the Saloon and 128 g/km for the SportWagon.

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Fuel Wars: 9-4x vs. the Diesel Competition

I decided to pull out a part of the comment thread from our earlier 9-4X Test Drive post for discussion on the main site, since this subject often gets a lot of attention around here. Commenter dbv thinks that the 9-4X’s gas mileage is going to be a “deal breaker” for him, I’m assuming on price. I’m not trying to be argumentative with him at all (don’t mistake my sarcasm in my comment for facetiousness, it’s late here :)), I just thought it was about time to let the numbers tell the real story. Maybe it will shed some light for International Saabers why I really don’t think the lack of a diesel option is going to kill the 9-4X, especially in the US market. Click past the break for the full thread.

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Monday Snippets

For those Swedes who like their cars to be green, Preem are launching a new diesel variant that’s either 16% or 20% more environmentally friendly (depending on how you read the literature).

Describing the development of the product, which hits the market in April, as “unique”, the firm claims that Preem Evolution diesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 16 percent due to the fact that a fifth of the raw material is tall oil.

“New thinking on green solutions lies behind the development of the Evolution diesel. The tall oil has hitherto been regarded as waste by the forest industry. Through innovative thinking and co-operation it has been developed into a renewable resource,” the firm said in a statement.

The product is developed from processing a residue extracted from black liquor in pulp mills and is the result of six years of research and costing the firm more than 300 million kronor ($47 million).

The diesel is identical to fossil diesel molecularly, but is made up of 20 percent renewables, thus qualifying it for tax free status in Sweden and thus comparable in price to regular diesel.

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Don’t blink as you’ll miss it, but here’s our mate Etienne and his Saab 99 in the Boucles de Spa over the weekend.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k4AJqABr-w

From what I can tell of the updates on the Saablog-in website, Etienne completed the course and finished 20th of 140 vehicle in the class.

An excellent effort by the world’s happiest Saab fan (anyone who’s met Etienne will know what I mean)

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If you’re in North America (I think it may be cost-prohibitive otherwise and I’d recommend Maptun anyway) and you have a Saab 9-3 V6 and you haven’t already got a solution to your need for a fatter downpipe and midpipe on your exhaust, then some people at SaabCentral would like to hear from you. They’re looking for 25 people to get a job lot made up.

The thread starts here and ‘kanundrum’ from SC got in touch asking if I’d pass the word around. Consider it passed.

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A little while ago I invited you to participate in some Saaby Student Research. A series of questions were posed and I’d like to thank the many people who completed the questionnaire and sent it to me via email.

I can pass on that I did indeed pass them along to Robin M, who in turn passed them over to the young student concerned.

More than that, though, Jette (the young lady conducting the research) went up to Robin’s neck of the woods over the weekend and a group of Southwest Saab Club members got together to provide more answers, and a few photos as well.

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BMW ownership can come at a price some aren’t willing/able to pay here in Australia.

So much so that it actually made the news over the weekend.

BMW is pursuing hundreds of Australians in bankruptcy proceedings over luxury vehicles collectively worth up to $18 million, as dreams of enjoying opulent lifestyles crash.

The social aspirants now face losing their luxury vehicles and possibly their homes to repay massive debts to car financing giant BMW Finance…..

…..The Sunday Herald Sun inspected 32 BMW actions in the Federal Magistrates’ Court, where the debts ranged from $8000 to $190,000, with most in the $30,000-plus range.

Friday Snippets – Red J edition

This is my first snippets edition, let’s see what I found.

For the Canadian Saab fans:

The first Saab to arrive in Edmonton is expected to arrive next week. It will be an Independence Day convertible. Other “normal” Saabs are expected to arrive in Edmonton mid-April.

Saab Canada is telling a different Story about the dealer in Edmonton.

One dealership in Edmonton is selling high-line certified used vehicles and doing a booming business in import service, as well as carrying the new Saab line-up.

Source: The Edmonton Journal, Autonet

For the US American Saab fans:

Saab is having really interesting incentives in February in the US for the 2010 Models, upp to $7,000 for a 2010 Saab 9-3 Convertible.

Source: Autoloaddaily

For the Rally fans:

Saab’s friend and rally enthusiast Vladimir Antonov said to have cleared North One Sport’s (a WRC team) outstanding debt and is providing significant investment for the future.

So people are starting to speculate if this means the return of Saab to Rally racing, maybe next year.

I think, not with the current cars and not next year.

Source: Rallybuzz

For the Swedish Saab fans:

BIL Sweden County and Municipal distributed statistics for January 2011 shows that diesel cars with carbon emissions of up to 120 g / km dominate green car market. In Stockholm County, every newly registered clean car in January, a diesel-powered “120-gram down”. While losing both ethanol cars and gas vehicles market.

Better translation thanks to Börjesson:

In Stockholm County, every second newly registered clean car in January was a diesel-powered “120-grammer”. At the same time, both ethanol cars and gas cars are losing market shares.

BIL Swedens läns- och kommunfördelade statistik för januari 2011 visar att dieselbilar med koldioxidutsläpp på max 120 g/km dominerar på miljöbilsmarknaden. I Stockholms län var varannan nyregistrerad miljöbil i januari en dieseldriven ”120-grammare”.Samtidigt tappar både etanolbilar och gasbilar marknadsandelar.

I think there is indeed a reason for a sub 120g Saab Wagon.

Source: Bil Sweden

For the BioPower fans:

There is a fascinating article at just-auto explaining why bio-ethanol days of glory are already history in Europe.

I think the last 2 paragraphs tell the hole story.

A spokesperson for Renault, which now sells more FFVs in Europe than any other carmaker, told just-auto that “what is clearly lacking is a stable EU policy environment that delivers a clear and consistent signal to industry.” Meanwhile, Jonathan Nash, Managing Director of Saab Great Britain is clear about what he thinks are some of the reasons behind such inconsistencies: “There has always been a high level of government policy sensitivity around biofuels. This scepticism has been caused in part by the powerful anti-biofuels lobby, while the lack of credible well-to-wheel certification for biofuels’ emissions also makes policy makers ambivalent towards them.”

Whatever the reasons, it is clear that biofuels continue to divide opinion on a major scale in Europe. The fact though, that Europe’s policy makers are as confused as the general public about them is helping no one.

Source: Just-Auto

If I’ve forgotten somebody please rise your hand!

Fiat buys 50% of VM Motori

Swades friend Pär Brandt asks in automotorsport.se if the the acquisition of 50% of VM Motori by Fiat could help Saab.

In the past VM Motori was owned by Penske. On 2007 Penske sold half of its shares to GM. On Monday February 14 Fiat Powertrain announced that they had bought the remaining shares from Penske.

The new owner structure of VM Motori is 50% Fiat 50% GM.

GM stooped the development of the V6 Diesel at the end of 2008 because of their money problems, and after Cadillac left the European market and Saab was put for sale, GM had no use for that engine.

Could the new ownership structure of VM Motori help Saab to gain access to a much needed big diesel for the European market?

On the one hand, Fiat needs such a big diesel engine for cars like the new Thema/300c, thus Fiat should develop a production version of that engine. Saab developed the 9-5 and the 9-4x with this engine in mind, thus the cost of the integration of this engine should be minimal.

On the other hand, Mr. Marchionne and Mr. Muller don’t seem to be best friends, so it could be difficult to convince Fiat to sell some engines to Saab at a reasonable price.

My personal thought is: If Fiat buys the GM shares, then Saab won’t get access to that engine. If GM keeps its shares, it could be possible for Saab to regain access to that engine thanks to GM.

And one last note; many people think that Saab gets its Diesel engines from Fiat, but this is not the case. The original 1.9L Diesel engine single Turbo found in the 9-3 was co-developed between Fiat and GM, since then GM-Powertrain Italy, owned 100% by GM, is in charge to develop the Diesel engines.

9-5 Diesel under 120 g/km CO2 (?)

Magnus Hansson seems to like to keep people interested in Saab by spreading rumours about new Saab cars.

On march 2010 he spoke about the 9-3 emitting less than 120 g/km CO2. A couple of months later those cars were on sale.

Well it seems like Mr. Hansson is spreading some rumours once again. In an interview about Saab hunting for Volvo and Audi in the company car market in Sweden he indicates that Saab has still some card to put on the table.

Original text:

Dragloket i dag är den mindre 9-3:an, som också har kämpat sig under den magiska miljöbilsgränsen på 120 gram koldioxid per kilometer, något som är viktigt inte minst för företagsförsäljningen. Frågan är om det kan vara något som även 9-5:an kommer under?

– Det får vi se, säger Magnus Hansson och ler.

Google-trans:

Main engine is now less of 9-3: an, who also has struggled over the magic green car limit of 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, which is important, especially for corporate sales.The question is whether there might be something that even 9-5 is over?

– We’ll see, “said Magnus Hansson and smiles.

So, will we see a 9-5 emitting less than 120 g/km CO2?

I say yes. And although I have no Djup Strupe to back up my affirmation, I see different hints out there that point in that direction.

2011 will be a very interesting Year for Saab !!!!!

Thanks to Gaijp and TurboLover for the hint.


Addendum

BMW will present in March its 320d Efficient dynamics Touring with 161hp and 114 g/km CO2.

This is in my eyes the only competitor for the Saab, because BMW is also trying to combine good performance with low CO2 values.

LA Q&A – Saab 9-4x diesel

I’m still finalising some answers to the questions you asked prior to the LA Auto Show. One of those was about the Saab 9-4x and diesel.

There are reports floating around adressing this question, so rather than wait until the whole Q&A is ready, I figured I’d get the 9-4x engine question out of the way now.

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Any update on a diesel engine for Europe? – for Saab 9-5 and Saab 9-4x

There are several issues with alternative engines for the Saab 9-4x. It’s known that there isn’t a V6 diesel available right now and that’s the ideal engine for this model in Europe.

Jan-Ake Jonsson spoke to a few reporters about this issue and he’s being quote fairly widely now:

Saab sources have conceded to Autocar that sales will be hampered by the lack of a diesel and company boss Jan Ake Jonsson has said a diesel 9-4X is unlikely to ever be launched.

“If you then look at the life cycle of the vehicle, typically five or six years, before we actually have a diesel engine, we have to find one, we have to test it, we have to install it, validate it, and you are two years into the life cycle,” he said.

“And then you have a very short payoff period. So I think it is unlikely.”

Before you go and all sackcloth-and-ashes in comments, please know that every Saab enthusiast with a heartbeat already knows that this will severely restrict sales of the 9-4x car in Europe. It’s been thoroughly documented and discussed and JAJ’s quote only sets in stone what we already knew. Please save your keystrokes and move on.

I spoke with other staffers in LA about alternative powerplants for the 9-4x. Their responses inadequately expressed in my words – in a nutshell…..

It’s considered that both the 2.0T and 2.0 TTiD could pose emissions and refinement issues in the Saab 9-4x because of its larger size and weight.

Further to that, it’s a basic fact that a modern four cylinder engine will generally not be as refined as a modern six cylinder engine and it’s considered that refinement and smoothness are a bit more of a priority for the average 9-4x buyer at all levels. Hence, we have two six cylinder powerplants and it seems Saab would be unlikely to use a diesel unless there was a suitable V6 diesel available.

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The bottom line – we have always known that the Saab 9-4x is a vehicle designed with the United States as its primary target. Whilst I’m sure there are/were potential buyers in Europe, these were always going to be small in number, even smaller now with no diesel in sight.

The Saab 9-4x will do its job in the United States. It looks great. It’s a good size, without being too big and cumbersome. It should feature car-like handling with its chassis tuned by Saab and the price range for the five Saab 9-4x model variants seems spot on.

New Saab 9-3 diesel road testing underway

The following photograph was taken by one of SU’s Swedish mates, Tim R, just outside the Airport Hotel at Landvetter Airport, Gothenburg.

As you can see, there’s a fleet of Saab 9-3’s in place there. These are cars featuring the new, low-emissions diesels that Saab announced at the Paris Auto Show last month.

Journos Testing 9-3 diesel

My guess is that we can expect to start seeing reviews in automotive magazines fairly soon. That 180hp TTiD engine is a cracker and with the new, lower CO2 figures, is now a more attractive cracker than ever. The’re going to sell a few of those, I can tell you.

And if the press guys look a little chilly…… a friend in Trollhattan reported it was -4C there yesterday! Can’t have been much warmer at Landvetter.

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