What’s New From Canada

Well, it has been a while since I’ve written a post here. The love for the cars and the community that make it more than just a car still exists with me. Where have I been? What has happened? Well much like many other salesmen, managers and owners, my dealer is no more. This is an all to familiar story in North America and I don’t see it changing anytime too soon.

The problem simply comes down to economics. Owners cannot afford to operate on a service only business until SAAB comes back. My dealer tried very hard to hang on and in the end we suffered the same fate as many before us.

For over twelve years I worked for the Springman’s family in Surrey, BC. I can’t say enough about Dan and his brother Rueben and how they personally sacrificed so much of themselves personally and financially to try and keep things going. The history to this dealer mirrors a lot of the GM nightmare. They started as a body shop and moved to Langley to become a used car lot and then became a Passport dealer. Over the years things would change and GM offered them the Saturn, Isuzu brands. Under Saturn they became the highest volume dealer in BC and life was good. For many years we were busy and building a family of great customers who became very loyal. When GM discontinued the Saturn brand we became a used car dealer once again for one year. Obviously when we were approached to be a SAAB franchise once again, it really seemed like the perfect marriage as we both were left behind with GM’s reshuffle. Unfortunately we all know how that worked out.

Springman's Saab
Springman’s Saab

In August of this past year, after long consideration, I gave my notice after 12 years of service. I had received an offer to manage a Kia dealer five minutes from home and could not justify letting it slip through my hands. Leading up to my decision, I had heard rumors that the dealer may be sold and that the new owner was looking to make it a Fiat dealer. To be fair, I was told that I would still have a job when the new owner came and that I would be taken care of but it did not sound exciting to me. At the end of September it was confirmed that Springman’s had been sold and indeed was to become a Fiat store. They do still hold a service contract to be able to offer parts and service but it is not their main focus.

Fast forward to today and I have to say that I am very happy with my decision. I do miss the people and the time that I spent trying to be everything I could to the local community. I am still here and will continue to post from time to time and still believe that Saab can once again thrive. I wish the whole SAAB community a very Happy New Year.

SCWC check out Saab 9-5, Springmans Saab

We’ve been following events related to Saab’s reintroduction into Canada for some time now and one of the dealerships that’s been in contact quite regularly through comments is Springmans Saab in Vancouver, BC.

Last weekend, Springmans hosted a group from the Saab Club of Western Canada. Around 10 cars and 20 people attended and many of them got to see and drive the new Saab 9-5 for the first time.

SaabKen is a both at Saab Central and here at SU and he emailed me the following report from the weekend.

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At our December 18th club meet, we went to visit Greater Vancouver’s first (and so far only) post-GM Saab dealership, Springman’s SAAB.

Their staff greeted us with tremendous hospitality (you know who you are, gents …. ). Some of us luckier ones got to sit in, and test drive, the 9-5. They only have the turbo 4 (6-spd) at the moment, but will be getting the Aero Turbo6 XWD in the next month or so. New inventory for Canada is still trickling in.

Below is some very limited footage of my drive (only out of the dealer lot, since all the parts where I was cruising supersonic we’re not allowed to post cuz a certain important somebody from Springman’s is sitting shotgun ).

Oh, the DI 2.0T (220hp) turbo 4 was sweeeeet and if anyone thinks it’s inadequate for the 4,400lb 9-5, you HAVE to drive it first to see how sweet it is, or else shut the heck up. I think in the clip I shifted up to 2nd at 4000rpm but it likes to rev. The shifter was still a bit too Saabish (read: notchy) for my taste, but at least the throws were short and the shift knob shaped perfectly. Torque steer ….. nada. Turbo lag ….. nada.

Here goes…. (two other SCWC-ers heard speaking from the backseat)

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSipmSx3bC4

I’ve not driven the Aero obviously, but I can easily imagine years of me happily driving with the turbo 4 without any urge to step up in horsepower nor the fancy driver-adjustable suspension setup. But I’m quite curious how different the FWD and XWD feel in spirited driving.

I’ve posted some pics here (and note how tiny the 96 looks compared to the new 9-5! – SW).

And also one other highlight is meeting a new member to SCWC, Jason, who brought his ’73 96. He also has a Sonett (in rebuild mode, I believe).

Again, my big thanks to Jason Powell and Rob Adolph for their time and hospitality. We look forward to being part of another event with Springman’s Saab in the near future.

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Cheers
Ken

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