Independence Day – on-site thoughts

Our friend DaveR has been assisted at the celebration, and while it was able to send some pictures during the event, it is now that he had some minutes to write down his thoughts about the event today.

Enjoy !!

Arrived at the factory at 11.00 today on a bright,sunny but cold (minus six) morning. The Press assembled, a bit daunting for me as a complete amateur surrounded by so many seasoned professionals, including regular SaabsUnited visitor Graeme L from AutoExpress.

Jan Ake Jonsson greeted us by outlining where Saab stood at present. He stressed that they were part way through a three year plan, upto 2012.It made me realise that those who want ‘everything now’ ( myself included) should view events and actions with this in mind.

Then Victor Muller spoke. What a truly inspirational bloke! He began by saying what a desperate shape Saab were in just over a year ago. ‘Buried’ as he put it.But now they are ‘alive and kicking’, emphasising how proud he was of everyone involved who had fought to achieve this.Employees, suppliers and ‘most importantly’ the customers.He also said, not all together jokingly, that he was about to collect the bets from all those who last year had said to him that Saab would not last a year. Pointedly, he added that no-one would repeat their bets if he were to offer odds now.

Then we went out into the factory to view the new products.A 9-4X was on display, but under covers were the new Griffin, 9-5 Combi and the Independence convertible. Each was uncovered seperately As he did so , Victor was questioned quite closely, even in some cases aggresively, by some members of the Press. It is truely amazing to see Victor operating in such circumstances. He knows all the relevant facts, politely correcting his questioners ( or even inquisitors) when they try to trip him up .In some ways the style of questions was self defeating – the harder the questioning, the better his responses become.

Interpersed with the new model displays were stands providing food – loads and loads of food and soft drinks.Thousands of hot dogs. Hundreds of ‘ Independence’ cakes .Containers of coffee. Boxes of soft drink cans.There were about sixty Press present, and I thought I would be hard pressed to consume my share , but would do my best.My initial fears for my health were unfounded, as at 12.30 back up, in the form of the four thousand or so Saab employees arrived for their part in the celebrations.

They had their well deserved chance to see what they have been instrumental in achieving so far.Jan Ake gave a speech ( naturally in Swedish) , then Victor Muller introduced Jason Castriota, saying that the ‘concept 9-3’ would be displayed at Geneva in around a weeks time.

But it was not all Saab facts and figures. It is Independence Day, so it is a time for celebration. Those who have worked so hard over the past year, including representives of many suppliers, were entertained by Asha Ali and Tomas Ledin. As a Saab fan I have obviously heard and enjoyed Asha Ali’s music in the past.It was my first acquaintance of hearing Tomas Ledin, but his enthusiastic reception by the assembled Swedes made it obvious I was in a minority of one.

Events at the factory came to a close, and I have returned to my hotel for a brief respite before heading to the Museum for more celebrations (including cake!) and meeting up with Saab owning friends.

What an amazing day I have had so far. I am priveliged to have been able to attend this event, on behalf of all the fantastic Saab supporters who gather together here on SaabsUnited.

My overwhelming feeling is one of great optimism both in the factory and in the town . I was here in Trollhattan last year on February 23rd. The sense then was more just of relief that Saab was not going to be shut down after all. Now the sense is far more positive – the worst is over, and the hard work is begining to bring its just rewards. There is no point looking back any more and dwelling on the past . The future is bright, so let’s just look forward to the suuccesful future of Saab.

Dave R

Independence Day – Australia

No photos – it was a meeting and a dinner. But it was a good one.

Today I had the pleasure of meeting up with Saab’s Australian team, as well as the dealer principals from the dealerships that will make up the beginning of the Australian Saab network.

It’s small beginnings at Saab Australia, for sure, but it’s an incredibly dedicated and enthusiastic team. I was really, really impressed with their industry experience and knowledge, but moreso by their excitement at the prospect of doing a ground-up rebuild of the Saab brand here in Australia.

And yes, they really are starting from the ground up. Right now, the offices are so new that they don’t even have a fridge!

But this is one keen team and the dealers seem pretty excited as well. Some of the original planned dealers have not been able to come on board straight away due to logistic concerns expressed by other brands they hold. Basically, at GM’s request, a Saab dealer has to have a separated building and keep their Saab stuff away from GM stuff (all are carry-over dealers from pre-sale days). Not all dealers have that facility, but those that do are on board and all have taken a share of Saab’s first stock shipment.

The other good news for Aussies is that the 9-5 launch will be held in April. Press events will be held in the first third of the month, so cars should hopefully be available for distribution in the near term, following that program.

I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to make a presentation to the dealer group, talking about Saabs United and the role the website was fortunate enough to play covering the sale. Of course, a huge part of that was the Saab Support Convoys and I got to share just how big an impact you, the community, had on keeping Saab’s fate in the public eye.

We had a great time here. I hope you’re having a great time wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

Independence Day

This post is meant to be a container for all the Independence Day Information that I have or will get during the day. Feel free to post links or pictures to the comments. I’ll try to update it on a regularly basis.

Red J here ….

A last update

Our man in Trollhättan is gone to the hotel to get a small rest before the evening event at the Museum starts.

This is what he has found in his hotel room.

It seems like the whole town of Trollhättan is celebrating with Saab.

A detail of the Ice block front lamps introduced in the 9-3 Griffin.

For our Swedish readers.

Automotorsport.se has a price list for the SportSedan and Sportcombi Griffin and Aero Griffin, and for the 9-3X Griffin.

As an example:
The 9-3X (current) 2.0TXWD (210hp) Man6 costs SEK 317.900
The 9-3X Griffin 2.0T XWD (220hp) Man6 will cost SEK 323.900

The 9-3SS Vector TTiD 160hp Man6 costs SEK 275.900
The 9-3SS Griffin TTiD 160hp Man6 will cost SEK 258.400

Some more pictures from our on-site reporter DaveR.

Swade here…….

A great video from Saab showing some of the achievements from their first year of independence…..

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUDe-JHQ4QA

Also, a couple of photos from Dave, in Trollhattan….

As you know, DaveR is today in Trollhättan, and will be the on-site reporter for SU. 🙂
This is his program for the morning.

I don’t know if those announced 300 special Cakes will look like this

But it could be.

Saab says thank you to you all.

TTela.se has a live article about the celebration.

They also have some photos of the 9-5SC.

Front

Back


On the Saab media site, you can find hi-res pictures of the 9-3 Griffin.

This is the interior update for the 9-3 Griffin.

Wednesday Snippets – Independence Day Edition

It’s February 23rd here – Independence Day!!!!

I’ve been stuck in meetings all morning but am now heading off to Melbourne to make a presentation to all the dealers at Saab Australia – and I’ll be talking a lot about YOU!

——

What Independence Day things are happening where you are?

We’ve got our man Dave R in Trollhattan and he’ll be sending some stuff through from there. If I don’t get it, RedJ will.

But what’s happening in your neck of the woods?

Are you a dealer with a celebration happening this week or weekend? Let us know.

——

Got a great note in via Facebook just now:

Swade, just delivered our first 2011 Saab 9-5 Aero XWD Springman’s SAAB

Springmans is one of the new dealers in Canada, located in Vancouver. They’ve also been active participants in comments here at SU, providing you all with on-the-ground information from the coalface.

It’s great to see the ball rolling there.

——

Independence Day coming in Trollhattan

It’s just a few hours away from being February 23 here in Australia, but over in Trollhattan they’ve still got a bit of time to get their Independence Day celebrations ready.

Saabs United has a man on the ground in Trollhattan – my good mate Dave R from England was heading there anyway so he’s got the invitation I couldn’t fill myself, and will be emailing the occasional update as time progresses.

What can Dave expect to see?

TTELA have a quick rundown:

  • Music and events, including presentations from Saab’s senior executives
  • 300 special car-inspired cakes (I hope Dave gets one)
  • Saab 9-3 Independence Edition Convertible
  • Saab 9-3 Griffin
  • Saab 9-3 SportCombi TTiD under 120g/km
  • ……plus, a little Djup Strupe has mentioned that there may be a sneak peek of the Saab 9-5 SportCombi at around 1830. Wait and see. Might be for attendees only.

    Press Release: Saab Automobile to Host Independence Day Celebration

    • Factory celebration of Saab’s first year as independent company
    • Live music, awards, product displays and presentations
    • Launch of Saab’s latest product news, including special edition model
    • 300 special edition birthday cakes

    Trollhättan, Sweden: All 3,800 employees at Saab Automobile will down tools next Wednesday (23 February) to hold a huge birthday party – the first anniversary of Saab’s rebirth as an independent carmaker. They will be joined by dealers, suppliers, VIPs and media

    Part of Saab’s state-of-the-art factory in Trollhättan will be converted into an entertainment arena, it will be ‘open house’ at the Saab Car Museum, and many of the town’s bars and restaurants are expected to join in the festivities as Saab Automobile celebrates its first year as an independently-run business.

    The celebration will be exactly one year to the day after General Motors sold Saab Automobile to Spyker Cars N.V. of the Netherlands. When the deal was signed, new Saab Automobile Chairman Victor Muller promised his jubilant workforce that this day would be commemorated and next week he and Saab President & CEO Jan Åke Jonsson will keep their word.

    The factory entertainment program includes live music sessions, video shows, presentations, awards for top suppliers, a photo competition on the theme of ‘Independence’ and the announcement of Saab’s latest product news, including a unique special edition car. A celebratory birthday cake – of which more than 300 will be produced – will be shared among all those attending.

    The event will be broadcast live for screening at Saab dealerships around the world and also recorded for video distribution.

    “This is our Independence Day,” said Jonsson. “We will be celebrating becoming masters of our own destiny again, being free to make our own decisions and back our own judgements.

    “Saab has come a long way in the last 12 months. We’ve restructured our operations here in Sweden and around the world, we’ve introduced new ways of working, entered new markets and forged new business partnerships. We’ve also triggered the biggest new product offensive in Saab’s history with the launch of the 9-5 Sedan and the 9-4X crossover, the introduction of the 9-5 SportCombi later this year, and the arrival of a new generation 9-3 range next year.

    “So we will be looking forward as well as back during our celebrations next week. We are at the beginning of a bright new future for the company.”

    Saab Automobile Chairman Victor Muller added: “Saab is being reborn as an independent and entrepreneurial business. We are giving full rein to the free thinking and innovative spirit that has always been part of this company’s DNA. The celebration next week will be part of that process.

    “No other carmaker has such a loyal workforce, such a loyal dealer network or such a loyal customer following. With exciting new products now on sale and in the pipeline, we have all the ingredients in place for a successful future.”

    During the last 12 months, Saab Automobile’s major achievements include:

    • Concentration of all design, development and vehicle production at Trollhättan
    • Reorganization of engineering and technical development processes
    • Introduction of a new global, Saab-controlled sales and distribution network
    • Creation of new business partnerships: e-AAM Driveline Systems, BMW engine supply, 9-3 ePower electric vehicle research program with several partners
    • Establishment of SES (Saab Engineering Services) as an entrepreneurial business division marketing Saab expertise
    • Launch of all-new Saab 9-5 Sedan and 9-4X, Saab’s first crossover vehicle
    • Introduction of 180 hp, turbo diesel 9-3 Sport Sedan with class-leading 119 g/km CO2 emissions

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