Saab And Safety A Readers Story And Life With Saab

I posted an article a few days ago about what makes a Saab driver a Saab driver and the responses are still coming in. I had noticed a very short response from David Mills and I pushed for more of a response and he told us why safety was such a big thing to him and it was quite moving. He also has owned about 15 Saabs over time and will tell us his favorites. I felt his response should be a post on its own and asked him to write a follow up to his response. We may not always agree on everything written on SaabsUnited and that is the beauty of a site like ours, I thank David for sharing this story.

Jason Powell has asked me to write an article about my experience with Saabs, as a follow up to his article asking why we on SU buy Saabs.  Jason asked me to elaborate on my answer to his question about why I have owned so many and why I am so loyal to the brand.

I have leased, or purchased, or helped to purchase, 15 Saabs for my immediate family since 1999.  So why so many?  Primarily safety.  I think pound for pound, Saabs are the safest cars in the world.

I am a safety nut, geek, and guru, and I must confess to a car safety obsession.  I realize that most people never think about safety the way I do.  Although safety is becoming more and more part of the car purchase equation today, that has not always been the case.  And in my early years of car driving, it was hard for me to find out any information on car safety no matter how hard I tried.  I am also a car nut generally, and had car magazine subscriptions for 30 years.  But I think it is fair to say that car magazines are very deficient at giving good safety information about cars.

Read moreSaab And Safety A Readers Story And Life With Saab

Saab 9-4X Joins Saab 9-5 Sedan in earning Top Safety Pick 2011

Nice news from Trollhättan, Sweden: The new Saab 9-4X crossover has earned ‘Top Safety Pick’, the highest rating for crashworthiness awarded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States. Only three weeks ago, the Saab 9-5 Sedan received the same accolade.

“To achieve two Top Safety Picks in three weeks is, of course, extremely gratifying,” says Per Lenhoff, Head of Safety Development at Saab Automobile. “Our main priority is always the protection of real people in real accidents, but the IIHS tests are a valuable guide for consumers and it is important for us to achieve good results.”

Read moreSaab 9-4X Joins Saab 9-5 Sedan in earning Top Safety Pick 2011

Saturday night snippets

Actually it is still barely afternoon, but as you all know the spirit of SU was born in Australia so by the time this is published it will already be almost Sunday. Eventually, I expect SU will convert to Saab Mean Time (SMT) which is more or less GMT+1.

On to the snippets.
Pam sent our team a note letting us know that the IIHS has published the first MY10/11 9-5 crash test scores. No side impact testing as of yet, but I’m sure their testing regiment will continue. Good score so far.
AutoNews’ Rick Kranz offers up some nice thoughts on the PhoeniX. “The PhoeniX design is polarizing. But that’s OK.” (thanks John for the tip).
Both Saab PhoeniX and IQon continues to receive attention all over Internet. A little googling turns up heaps of articles and opinions. “Don’t Angry Birds and drive!” writes Rik Henderson of A colleague of mine received a citation a week ago for using his mobile while driving. He tried to demonstrate that he had a handsfree device in his glove compartment, but no rebate on the ticket was offered. Imagine the cop’s reaction had there been a little Angry Birding going on too.

Personally, I suspect digital distractions will be difficult to avoid in the future. By blocking content on the main satnav screen, all you will accomplish is that the driver will whip out his other portable screen and use that instead. The choice will be between being able to use only one hand or be forced to employ other body parts as well. Still, as with the “fasten seat belts” sign, the car should lead with a good example. In either case, IQon is long overdue and an welcome addition to the Saab product range.
Keep sending us tips.

Away snippets

The Mrs and I are having a getaway this weekend. No computers are being taken. Can I survive?

Obviously, no emails will be answered.


State of Nine, an SU sponsor, has a good page full of Saaby Christmas gift ideas, many of which can be shipped prior to Christmas (and some that are shipped for free!) for your last-minute gift needs.


Just this morning I received the final judges votes for the Saab ad competition. I’ll tally the votes when I get back and will have a poll up for your vote as soon as possible.


How to run your travel logistics if you run a car company….


Haldex have sold their traction systems business to BorgWarner. Looks like we’ll have BW XWD systems from the near future onwards.


The Car of the Year 2010 poll (otherwise known as Which Car Company has the Bigger and More Mobilised Fanbase for 2010) has been run and won…

by the Saab 9-5!!

Yes, we did vote in numbers, but so did fans of the other top contenders. We just voted in bigger numbers 🙂


Old vs New.

Next time someone says that older cars have more steel in them and are safer, just show them this.



Seeya in a few days. But don’t miss the next two “December 18” entries that’ll be coming on site while I’m away.

Saab 9-5 might be World’s Safest Car

Greetings from Stockholm, where it warm and balmy.

I just noticed this in comments and figured that it was well worth sharing. Thanks very much to Arild for posting it there.

From Vibilgare


“We have made the world’s safest car”

The new Saab 9-5 is the safest car to ever have left the assembly line in Trollhättan. Last year it received five stars in Euro NCAP’s new and comprehensive crash test. The first large Saab car, the model 9000, was appointed by Folksam as Sweden’s safest car in real accidents.

Top score
Since then, Saab’s safety has often been rewarded with top marks in crash tests. In December last year, the result of the new 9-5 was presented: Five stars according to Euro NCAP’s new crash test standards. The new Saab car got higher scores than the Mercedes E-Class, which is the only competitor tested under the new norms. Chief engineer Mats Fägerhag doesn’t even sounds a bit boastful when he observes:
– We have made the world’s safest car.

Gyro detects rolling
In the new 9-5, Saab has developed the safety systems even a few steps further. All outer seats are fitted with side airbags and dual pre-tensioner to tighten both the diagonal and the horizontal part of the safety belt. Side curtains cover the side windows all the way from the front to the rear window and also covers the windscreen pillars.

– In some oblique collisions, we have seen that the front-seat passengers can hit the pillars, says Mats Fägerhag.

Even when the car crashes head-on, the side curtains will deploy, and also if the car should roll. A gyrometer detects if the car is about to roll.

110 cars crashed
Before the 9-5 was ready for test drives, Saab had destroyed 110 cars in crash tests. 71 different types of tests have been conducted, including collision with an artificial moose. Saab and Volvo are the only manufacturers in the automotive world to do the moose crash test.

The “Just Saab” vehicle to show at the Cincinnatti Auto Expo

Eggs wrote earlier today about how Just Saab in Cincinnatti, Ohio, plan to use a wrecked Saab 9-3 to showcase the brand’s safety at the upcoming Cincinnatti Auto Expo.
I agree with Eggs that this is a fantastic idea and it’s just the sort of impactful statement that Saab need to jolt people from the incorrect impressions they’ve been getting from the press the last few months.
Back in November last year, I actually received some photos from AJ Murphy at Just Saab and posted an article here on SU. I’ve reproduced that article below so that you can see (again) what the people at the Cinci Auto Expo will be seeing.
I’d like to thank AJ Murphy from Just Saab in Cincinnati, Ohio, for sending me these images from the Just Saab showroom.
What you see here is a real-life demonstration of Saab safety and it’s become quite a talking point for customers coming into the dealership. The car is a 2009 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan and it was recently hit in the rear by a truck.
The owner walked away without a scratch or even an ache and as you might expect, is awaiting delivery of his new Saab 9-3.

….we were so impressed that this much damage resulted in no injuries that we put the car in our new car showroom! It’s a fantastic conversation piece but more importantly delivers a strong message to prospective SAAB owners of just how safe these cars are.

Some interesting points from AJ:

  • 3 of the 4 doors open and close
  • The car still drives (was driven from the body shop to the detail bay, then to the showroom)
  • No airbag deployment (how intelligent is this SRS system?)

Here are the images. Click to enlarge.

Snowbound in a Saab – Lance Cole

Lance Cole is a writer living in England and has penned several books on automobiles and aviation. Saab enthusiasts would know him best for the book Saab 99 and 900: The Complete Story, which is an excellent and essential volume and available for sale at the SU Bookshop.

Click here to read all of Lance’s previous contributions at Trollhattan Saab.


Snowbound in a Saab

Lance Cole takes to the road for a blast into the past and a musing upon Saab’s fight to survive

The man that runs Saabs United – Mr Wade – cannot be getting much sleep lately. He is not alone, for any Saab enthusiast must feel tortured by the apparent bipolar antics of the Saab sale and its seller.

Contrary to perceived wisdom, not everything General Motors (GM) does or has done in its history is as silly as its current demeanour. Messrs Mitchell, Earl and Cole (not me!) were leaders in design, engineering and brand-ability. GM has made some great cars – under various names.

The American design iconography of GM usually gets all the plaudits. But GM’s Opel design bureau in Germany has turned out some fantastic cars under some talented design chiefs. Are you familiar with the Opel Manta mk1, the Lotus Carlton/Omega, the 1980s ‘aero-weapon’ designs of Gordon Brown? (And no, that’s not the UK’s Prime Minister but the brilliant GM head of design who fell off a cliff in Germany’s Hartz mountains in the late 1980s). Remember the Equs? Recall Wayne Cherry’s designs and the ‘droop snoot’ Firenza cars of the ’70s?

Don’t forget either that Sixten Sason’s one-time apprentice, a certain Mr Bjorn Envall (he of Saab, and Scandinavian Design), was a lead figure at Adam Opel design in the 1970s before he returned to the fold.

In fact there were many aerodynamic and stylistic synergies between Saab and Opel, and it is odd that these did not flourish under GM’s control in the late 1990s.


SnowySaab900.jpg All this occurred to me as I sat in an untypically British -18 degrees snow drift, high up in the hills of England’s West Country. I was waiting for the youths of today ( I am an old fart of 40 +) to stop spinning their wheels and to stop blocking our Saab’s progress.
Image was sourced from Flickr and is not related to the events described.

Young Brits you see, have no idea how to drive in snow. Watch BBC Worldwide or Sky to see footage of everyone revving madly, wheels spinning wildly as they try to drive on the snow before they hit brakes hard and wonder why they crash.

Swedes in front drive Saabs learn how to drive in snow and ice at their father’s or mother’s knee. As do Canadians and some Americans: Germans in rear drive BMWs are not so hot in snow though…

Anyway, the thoughts continue…..


Read moreSnowbound in a Saab – Lance Cole

New Saab 9-5 achieves 5-star EuroNCAP rating

The crash test results for the 2010 Saab 9-5 have been released and I’m very pleased to share that the car received a 5-star rating from Euro NCAP.
Safety has always been a pillar of Saab design, right back to their earliest days. This result continues the tradition of a Saab being as safe as a car can be.
Saab 9-5EuroNCAP.jpg

The full results of the tests, along with VIDEOS, diagrams and scores for various parts of the test are available at the EuroNCAP page.
Following are the comments by EuroNCAP on the Saab 9-5:
Adult occupant
The passenger compartment remained stable in the frontal test, the windscreen pillar moving rearward only 2mm. Dummy readings showed good protection of the knees and femurs of the driver and passenger. Saab were able to show that occupants of different sizes and those sat in different positions would be similarly well protected. In the side barrier test, maximum points were scored with good protection of all body areas. In the more severe side pole impact, protection of the chest and abdomen was adequate. Protection against whiplash injuries in the event of a rear impact was rated as good.
Child occupant
Based on dummy readings in the dynamic tests, the 9-5 scored maximum points for protection of the 3 year infant. Forward movement of the dummy’s head was well controlled and both the 3 year and the 18 month dummies were properly contained by their restraints in the side impact. The passenger airbag can be disabled to allow a rearward facing child restraint to be used in that seating position. However, information provided to the driver regarding the status of the airbag is insufficiently clear. The dangers of using a rearward facing restraint without first disabling the airbag are not clearly indicated.
The bumper scored maximum points for the protection it offered to pedestrians’ legs. However, points outside Euro NCAP’s normal test zone were found to be injurious. From 2010, Euro NCAP’s assessment of the bumper will be broadened to include such points. The front edge of the bonnet provided poor protection as did the bonnet in most areas where an adult’s head might strike.
Safety assist
Electronic stability control is standard equipment on all variants as is a seatbelt reminder system for the front and rear seats.
Thanks to Edonis for the tip!!

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