Tuesday Snippets – Captain Slow, Let them eat Cake edition

Security staff at Arlanda Airport, the main airport in Stockholm, will be having a little Saab Support Convoy of their own today.

Two of the staff there are massive Saab nuts, so they’re bringing in some cakes to celebrate Saab’s recent good news:

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What an absolutely brilliant happening!

And speaking of backed goods…….

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Here’s a little story from Saab’s internal newsletter:

“Baked muffins for everyone in the factory.

One day last week, just before the deal with Saab/Spyker was a fact, we got a phone call to the information department from a private individual who wanted to bake muffins for those who work in production.

– How many employees do you have in the factory, he asked.

– We are about 1,300 people, we replied. We hung up the phone and asked ourselves if we understood it all right.

Today Linda and Jan W, who recently moved to Vargön, arrived at Saab with 1,311 muffins for the production staff.

– We wanted to show that we care,” says Linda and Jan, who followed the battle for Saab. “We knew there were many who risked to lose their jobs.”

Anna-Lena Nystrom, Dagfrid Snäll, Ann-Christin Andersson and Anita Käll from the production area received the muffins to distribute them in the factories. We all asked the same question? Have you baked all this stuff at home in the kitchen?

-Yes, we have. We started on Tuesday and finished this weekend. We are delighted that people in our surroundings has been committed to us and would like to do something for others.

It is not the first time Jan and Linda show his humanity. This Christmas they invited lonely people without family or friends, into their own home to celebrate Christmas.

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James May – aka Captain Slow from Top Gear – has written a wonderful perspective piece concerning an ex-girlfriend, another ex-girlfried, their repective fathers, a Volvo….. and Saab!

I think this might be interesting. Other, massive car makers would consider Saab as a slightly left-field curiosity; something of an indulgence and a way of making themselves appear more interesting. GM owning Saab is really no different from my old girlfriend’s father owning a Saab back in 1978. But to Spyker, Saab is a towering mainstream colossus. Spyker buying Saab is like the treasurer of a residents’ association buying Barclays Bank.

But now fire up your internet and take a look at the Spyker C8. Do we really want the people who came up with that to be building a regular four-door saloon?

Yes please.

I got a scanned copy of this on the weekend and I’m so pleased it’s come out online now as it really is recommended reading.

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Throughout the Saab sale process, we all got to recognise which news services did a good job of reporting accuately and up to date, and which one weren’t so crash hot.

Let’s just say that Reuters didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory and today, they’ve managed to do something that seems almost impossible.

In an entry dated February 1st, they’ve written the following:

Sweden’s other major car brand, Saab, is unlikely to make it through the crisis, and is probably will be shut down by GM, despite a handful of late rescue offers.

Now, it is from a section called ‘Acquisitions Monthly’, so there’s a chance this was written earlier in the month and filed away for scheduled future publication, but still……

A terrible job.

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The Toyota saga continues, with the Head Honcho for Toyota in the US going on national television to try and convonce people that they’re on top of things.

Problem: Jalopnik were watching and are claiming a reasonable ‘gotcha’.

It’s a question of whether or not he intenionally lied, or if this is just too big, with too many reports and dates for him to get his head around.

He’s certainly earling his fat salary this week…..

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And finally, David Finlay from CarKeys is disappointed to find that the Saab 9-3x isn’t a sports car.

It’s not. But it’s bloody good.

David also complains about a lack of rear visibility and the fact that Euro NCAP haven’t tested a solid-roof Saab 9-3 since late 2002 (i.e the intro of the Sport Sedan model).

My advice to David: drive forwards, not backwards, try not to roll the car and don’t worry, the car is as safe now as it was in late 2002 because structurally, it hasn’t changed.

He seems to like it over all, but there’s not much to read beyond some facts and figures.

Monday Afternoon snippets – taking stock edition

Now that much of the Saab sale malarkey is done, I’m currently taking stock of what should be done around here, and at home. Of course, Spyker still have to close this deal, so it’s not all over yet.
But that doesn’t mean the wheels aren’t turning in my mind already as to what this transition will mean for Saabs United as a Saab news site, nor for me as a writer and publisher. Things have changed in the last 12 months and this isn’t the site it used to be anymore.
Can it go back? Can I go back?
I’ve taken some first steps in terms of both the site and at home. There’ll be one big change around here coming quite soon and possibly some changes at home, in the garage area, as I try to return to being a normal person and an actual participating member of my family again.
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THE top executives at most car companies can rattle off the names of their models. Victor R. Muller can tell you the names of his customers.

…..so begins a story about Victor Muller and Spyker in the weekend’s New York Times. It’s a very interesting read about both the man and the company and they even talk to a Spyker owner about owning one as they take a C8 Laviolette out for a test drive.
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Are Renault looking to pinch the Saab 9-X Air’s beautiful back end?
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That’s a 1:43 scale model Renault seen by Auto Motor and Sport in Sweden. Apparently they’ve also seen full size testers up in the Arctic north for winter testing.
They believe the car could be scheduled for a debut at Geneva and have commissioned one of those clever photochoppers to prepare a CGI based on what they’ve seen.
Twingo_CC_schulte_481_0.jpg
Now compare that back half with the supermodel of Saab Concept Cars, the Saab 9-X Air….
Saab 9-X Air
Sacre Bleu!!
Saab need to get that 9-X Air out – and soon!
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Off topic for a moment…..
The crisis facing Toyota right now is something you just can’t ignore. I’m not sypathetic towards Toyota at all (but definitely towards victims) but am just amazed at how quickly and comprehensively a company’s reputation can go out the window.
In the event some of you haven’t heard, Toyota have stopped selling 7 or 8 key models in the United States, including the Camry and Corolla, and have issues recalls amounting to millions and millions of vehicles in the US, Europe and China. The problem is unintended acceleration, which Toyota wrongly blamed on faulty floor mats and customer misuse before finaly admitting that there’s a problem with their accelerator pedal assembly.
AutoExtremist has a very pro-Detroit look at the situation.
Andy Rupert has a couple of videos that you must watch (esp the ABC one) if you know anyone who owns a relatively recent model Toyota.
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And speaking of videos, here’s some Spyker beauty to start your week off right.



The worst car ad ever?

If six-figure product recalls and unintended acceleration incidents aren’t enough proof for you that Toyota’s losing its mojo as fast as Tiger’s losing sponsors, then check this out.
Warning – sexual innuendo abounding.



I’m not an overly prudish person and I could see the funny side of this if it were a National Lampoon skit. But from a serious car company, this is just absolutely rediculous. Particularly when it’s for a car whose demographic is overwhelmingly comprised of those who do Number 1s with the seat down.
Unbelievable.
Oh, what a balls-up, Toyota!

UPDATE: This ad was the winning entry in a competition run by Toyota using social media. The ad has now been removed from circulation due to the public backlash it’s created.

Friday Night Snippets – Show me the money edition

From GM Media:

These items were offset by charges of $116 million for restructuring, a charge of $822 million related to Saab filing for reorganization, and a charge of $291 million in GM North America (GMNA) related to asset impairments.

OK, so that’s not Saab’s losses for the quarter. GM don’t break down the numbers for different brands. But let’s just assume it is.
From the SMH:

Toyota lost 765.8 billion yen (7.7 billion US dollars) in the quarter to March alone, even more than General Motors, as it idled plants to ride out the biggest crisis in its more than 70-year history.

I guess that means it’s (not quite) official: Saab are more profitable than Toyota!
No wonder they’ve got so many interested suitors.
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Iwas cleaning out some old email today and I came upon this from Mark S. I’m not sure I ever featured it at Trollhattan Saab, but as I read it I felt I just had to give it a run here.
Mark’s noting just a few things that he loved from his C900 and missed when he picked up a 9-3.

  • 1.) The protected door sill – This feature made entry/exit of the vehicle very easy, and kept the sill clean! The first time I smeared road salt across the back of my pant legs exiting the 9-3, I realized my last Saab had a design feature that my new one lacked!
  • 2.) Integrated car jack “brackets” – I’m sure Saab had a term for these, but I’m referring to the jack “holders” found in all four jack locations on the 99/900. This was a safety feature I completely took for granted until the first time out with my GM supplied suicide jack. Unless you’re on perfectly level ground, watch out! And even then! On the 900, the jack actually slides into a brace in the proper jack position, eliminating the chance of the jack rolling over once the car has been hoisted up.
  • 3.) “Exposed” wipers – Okay, this might sound crazy, but hear me out. Here in New England, we spend alot of time brushing snow and scraping ice off our cars. As you will recall, the hood of the classic 900 consisted of one unbroken plane running all the way to the base of the windshield. Unlike most other cars, the wipers were not buried in a channel at the base of the hood. With the 9-3, ice and snow tend to pack into this space around the wipers, and it’s a pain to clear out. This was never an issue with the 900.
  • 4.) Flat cargo area – Remember folding the back seat of your classic 900 in order to transport stuff that only station wagons or pickup trucks would normally be able to carry? I can recall how easy it was to load a full size clothes dryer into my 900, by myself. Since the floor was completely flat from the rear bumper all the way to the seats, it was quite easy to load and unload such cargo. My 9-3 also has a large cargo area, but the floor is not flat and a bit more difficult to load and unload.
  • 5.) Lower “waistline” – The trend seems to be toward a higher and higher posterior, which makes visibility a bit more of a challenge. The 900/99 had much better rear visibility.
  • 6.) The curved windshield – Okay, this might be more of an aesthetic point but the curved windshield contributed to the cars character and exciting appearance, and also brought the glass far away from the passenger’s face. This was safer, and created a greater sense of space in the cabin.

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From Flickr:
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