Definitely a candidate for worst photoshop job ever, but regardless, HAPPY NEW YEAR.
The 2008 Saab 9-3 is now this year’s model. Time to look forward to 2009…..
Definitely a candidate for worst photoshop job ever, but regardless, HAPPY NEW YEAR.
The 2008 Saab 9-3 is now this year’s model. Time to look forward to 2009…..
The Saab Pride of Ownership competition closes in just over
two weeks twenty four hours. I’ll be accepting your entries right up until midnight on December 31st (your time, not mine).
Entries will still be shown in the new year until I run out. As you can see from the screenshot of my email application, there’s a few yet to show (not a full 47, though, as several have multiple emails associated).
For full details on the competition, click here.
The entries so far have been fantastic. It’s been great fun to see people’s cars and learn a little about where they live, where they holiday, as well as why they love their Saab – which is what this competition is all about. Great photos, great stories and pride of ownership.
Following is an updated list of the entries so far. If you haven’t seen them yet, click on through and check them out.
These have all been fantastic fun and the good news is that I’ve still got a bunch in the queue already, waiting to be posted.
This Saab Community is just fantastic, and it’s been great to see the variety of cars, and places.
They provide a great range of Saab parts and accessories at very competitive prices. Best of all, the service is first class and the goods will be at your door faster than you can say Fasta egentligen porto.
If you’ve got some places left unfilled in your Christmas list, there’s some TS suggestions from the Elkparts catalogue here.
Ummmm….I was going to do a year in review entry where I sort through the five biggest stories of each month in 2007. That’d be sixty stories linked here.
Not gonna happen. I have a bathroom to paint today, plus, there was over 1,000 entries written on this blog this year. Actually, we’re up to 3,667 entries and over nearly 26,000 comments now.
So here’s what I see as the Top 9 Saab stories of 2007. These are in no particular order.
1 – Diesel comes to Australia
This makes the list becuase it’s a case study in bringing the right the car to the right market at the right time.
The arrival of Diesel Saabs here in January gave them a full year to measure the market and it’s definitely been a bonus, with diesels accounting for almost one third of sedan sales and more than half of SportCombi sales, and Saab Oz passing their 2006 sales total in October of this year.
The addition of the TTiD Aero model next year should prove to be another added attraction for 2008.
2 – Saab 60th Anniversary
The year in the US kicked off with Saab hosting a 60th Anniversary drive event in San Diego.
1985 Gripen was there and did an absolutely brilliant job of covering the event. Gripen got to spend the day driving 2007 Anniversary edition Saabs, as well as a session at an airfield driving Saabs from the GM heritage collection. And did I mention that all that time in the Anniversary editions was spent with one Erik Carlsson in the passenger seat?
There’s also a 60th Anniversary category section, with a whole bunch of photos from the event as well as other 60th stories.
3 – The 2008 Saab 9-3
Te biggest news of 2007 was undoubtedly the arrival of the 2008 Saab 9-3 range. With new aggressive styling and improvements inside and out, the 2008 Saab 9-3 is a very positive move on Saab’s part. The 2008 model year introduction saw the arrival of the TTiD engine, which is an absolutely brilliant package that should see Saab diesels increase in popularity even more.
The 2008 model year also brought about the introduction of the new fourth generation Haldex all-wheel-drive system. Saab call it XWD and it’s a cracker of a system. Coupled with the optional eLSD this system is able to not only split power between front and rear wheels, but also from side to side at the rear. It’s rollout in 2008 should definitely see some increased interest in Saabs.
4 – The Saab Turbo X
The Saab Turbo X was unveiled in Frankfurt as the launch vehicle for the new XWD system. It’s limited to just 2,000 units worldwide, has the full XWD system (including eLSD) as standard equipment and special wheels and trim to mark the special nature of the model. Hit the following link for EVERYTHING you need to know about the Saab Turbo X.
There was considerable debate about the 280hp output of the vehicle – given that Saab now had all-wheel-drive an output of 300+ was expected, and even spoken about to me by one source in Sweden. But horsepower aside, this is going to be one very exciting vehicle to drive.
5 – The Saab Festival
For me, personally, this was definitely the highlight of the year. To go to Trollhattan, visit the factory, the museum, the parts sale, to see so many vintage Saabs in one place, see them on the track (V4′s, strokers, SPT), and to meet so many other like-minded enthusiasts was a dream come true.
The Saab Festival was just incredible and I owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who helped me get there this year. I can’t speak highly enough of the city, or the people there who made the trip so memorable. The next Saab Festival will be in 2009 – hey, that could be right around Saab 9-5 launch time – so set aside some time in your calendar now and make sure you get there.
There’s a full Sweden 2007 archive here.
6 – The Saab 9-4x is coming
Saab traditionally don’t deal with the media too much, and after learning lessons with the last few cars showing early on the internet, they’ve got their act together and have kept everything very tight-lipped with the Saab 9-4x. I’ll bet my house, though, that it’s going to be the vehicle we see in Detroit in just a few weeks time.
This is significant, of course, because it’ll be a third model added to Saab’s lineup, which is sorely needed, and it’ll be a genuine Saab replacement for the much-maligned but capable Saab 9-7x.
The 9-4x file so far, is here.
7 – Jay Spenchian leaves, Steve Shannon arrives
This one was unexpected. Jay Spenchian took over from Debra Kelly-Ennis in 2005 in a management move that was welcomed by most. Jay immediately impressed with his ‘car-guy’ attitude and the Born From Jets made a great initial impression.
Jay Spenchian left Saab USA in April this year and was replaced by Steve Shannon, who came from Buick. I think it’s fair to say that Steve didn’t make the same initial impression as Jay did – sometimes we wondered if he really existed – but word is he’s been working away behind the scenes to shore up the dealer and support networks this year. With a slow-moving model timeline and declining sales in the US, there’s been plenty of support work needed.
I welcomed Steve with an open letter on the website, which ended up being mentioned by a few US-based news services in interviews with him, which was fun. I finally recorded my own interview with Steve a few months ago and published it here and it makes for some interesting listening – part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
There’s still a long way to go there.
8 – Germany falls through the floor
One of the things I really hoped for in 2007 was a building up of sales in Germany. It’s not written about too much, but this was probably another of the most important stories (or non-stories) for Saab in 2007.
This didn’t happen. As a matter of fact, things went backwards there in 2007. Germany is almost a greenfield market for Saab again now. Hopefully a full year with the 2008 models with XWD and TTiD will see some increased interest there. It’s such a huge market for Europe and Saab need to be amongst it more.
9 – BioPower growth
Saab’s BioPower range experienced some serious growth in 2007. We even got it here in Australia!!
The biggest growth was in Sweden, of course, where a BioPower option was introduced into the Saab 9-3 range. This led to increased 9-3 sales at the expense of the Saab 9-5 there, but not quite to the extent we expected (which was basically total obliteration). Of the Saab 9-3 sold in Sweden in November 2007, around 80% were BioPower, and this figure was even higher for Saab 9-5s.
Saab are poised for further BioPower growth in 2008 as more countries in Europe take up E85 and make suitable legislative moves for its introduction. Other manufacturers are coming up with flexfuel options, though, so it certainly won’t be a picnic in the E85 market in the future.
Saab also showed the BioPower100 concept during 2007, which had the coolest tail lamps ever!
So there you have it. Those are the stories I see as being the biggest news for Saab in 2007 in one way or another. They didn’t always bring in the most comments, that’s for sure, but they were significant in either showing the way, or shaping the future for Saab.
On a personal note, I’ve mentioned here more than once that this has been an up-and-down year for me. I always seem to have bad years when it’s an odd number. I’m not superstitious at all, but it just seems to happen this way.
I had the high of the Saab Festival in June, followed immediately by the lows of crashing my Viggen and modifying this website (disastrously) in July. I’ve been in recovery mode ever since.
2008 will start with a bang with the Detroit Auto Show and the Saab 9-4x concept in less than two weeks from now. I’ve also got some other thoughts with regard to the development of this website, which are scary and exciting all at the same time.
Thanks for your support throughout 2007 and I look forward to seeing you all again in 2008.
A fun pic to start the last day of 2007:
It’s time for yet another entry in the Saab Pride of Ownership competition. Great pictures, great stories, great Saabs and great prize to be won.
Thanks again to Elkparts for the support.
Those of you who frequent Saab forums online will know that there’s one particular guy in France who’s very, very passionate about his Saabs. He represents a lot of what a Saab nut is, and exhibits the happiness I wish I had more often. He really is an inspiration.
This photo should tell you just about everything:
His name is Jeff but online he goes by the name Golfhunter.
He’s sent through pictures of his three Saabs, two of which I’d seen before, but this 900 was new to my eyes. We got a few of these two-tone models here in Australia and I always thought they looked special. There’s a couple still in Hobart and they always make me smile.
As always, click to enlarge.
More from Golfhunter below:
A picture of my Tartine , taken not in the desert but in the fields of the well known French region called Champagne . It was on the way to the meeting put together by Etienne in Huy.
I have owned Tartine since August 2006 . I found her on Blocket.se , and took an airplane to bring her back from Sweden (in Lund) to France. I bought her by night under a strong rain.
A great memory.
Behind is the city where I live: Grenoble with the Alps.
A friend of mine (Gerard Mourlot) had a friend who wanted to sell this car.
I went to see her and fell in love. It’s my first oldtimer. I never thought before that I would own such an old car in my life. This car belonged to the telephone company of Sweden from 1969 to 1977. Then a Swedish guy had her 2 years and then sold her to a French guy in 1979. She lived 10 years in Paris and then ended up being stored by the guy who sold me the car. She hadn’t taken the road for 6 years when I bought her!
I love her also because we are born the same year: 1969.
The Boston Globe has an interview with Brian Nesbitt, Vice President of GM Design North America.
Toward the end, Nesbitt is asked by Globe reporter, Royal Ford, what he’s driving:
I had a Saab 9-3 Aero for the summer. I test drive a lot of the stuff we’re dealing, and right now we’re kind of in the 2012 time frame, so now I’m driving next-generation Enclave, next-gen Acadia, next-gen Escalade.
Well, at least he had one for a while. It’s important to get these movers and shakers from GM into these vehicles so that they can see where the strong points and weak points are.
He also had a few things to say about Saab’s target market, which were interesting:
That’s what I love about working for GM today, because there are so many brands to target to different customers. I mean, there’s Hummer, with extreme mission equipment. With Saab, we target upper liberals, small engine displacement, appearances that originated out of the Nordic region, all those play together to portray an image and a value system that upper liberals appreciate.
I….kinda……really……really……hate that sort of thing.
The cars were built a certain way for a reason, whether it be practicality or safety, or whatever. He makes it sound like their designing Saabs just to suit a particular demographic.
“This is Joe Saab-buyer, and he will be attracted to X, Y and Z”
Therefore, apply X, Y and Z to chassis “E” and all will be right with the world.
The problem is that the market, especially the American market, can be so fickle. And what if you get the definition wrong? He’s pushing Saabs at ‘upper liberals’ when polling here amongst Saab readers indicated that the minority of respondents were left-leaning, politically. Perpetuating the stereotype at a cost to the integrity of the car’s a dangerous business.
Perhaps I’m taking his response the wrong way here, but it sounded a lot like formula-driven planning. I worry that marketing is structured the same way.
It’s great to see that Nesbitt has a familiarity with the brand and has been driving around in a 9-3. We need GM’s brass to be familiar with Saab on a day to day level.
I just hope they’re getting it right, and getting the right insight.
Royal Ford has also put together a list of vehicles that’d make good acquisitions in 2008.
Amongst them was the Saab 9-3:
A classic for New England drivers, this Saab features an all-wheel-drive system that, combined with stability control, made it virtually impossible for me to toss it off a test track in Sweden. Simulated ice, wet corners, gravel, nasty potholes, sudden lane changes – they were all no problem. Expect to pay from the mid-20s to the high 30s.
He’s a great appreciator of Saabs in all the time I’ve been checking out the motoring press, so it’s good to see Saab making his list once again.
I think I’ve got tipping sorted…..
I’m going to sound like a complete noob here, but what the heck. Maybe some of you Euro types that travel to the US can help me out here.
I’m bringing my laptop along for the trip. Here in Australia we run about twice the voltage in our electrical system as what they do in the US. I’m going to get a plug adapter so that I can plug it in, but will it run OK on the low voltage they have there? Is there anything else I need to do?
I was planning on bringing my handset over. My phone is provided by my employer and the SIM card won’t work overseas. I’ve never actually bought a phone of my own, believe it or not. So will I be able to buy a prepaid SIM card there and have a number for the time I’m there?
I’m trying to figure out how I can make the trip using carry-on luggage only. One carry-on bag and my camera pack. It’ll save a bundle of time and make moving around a heck of a lot easier. It’s only 5 days in the US, so I figure one spare pair of pants, a few shorts and my underwear should do it. I can buy toiletries there.
What do you think?
Any other travel tips from frequent US travellers would be more than welcome!
What a job! Wilfried sent in over 30 photos to choose from for this installation of the Saab Pride of Ownership competition. I’ve whittled it down to 3-per-car for each of his two Saabs.
Entries for the competition close December 31st (which will be Jan 1st my time as I’ll pass the date line before most of you).
Click to enlarge.
This house was designed by my wife and myself for my brother in law and his family. It’s situated in the outskirts of the Belgian city of Brugge.
What makes the building interesting as a setting for the Saab are the clean modern lines as a background. What makes the Saab interesting in front of this particular building is the fact that the owner of the house is a hardcore Ovlov-chauffeur. The fleet changed recently from V40 & V70 towards V50 & XC90, so family-meetings have always been competitive, Swedish-style.
About this 9-3:
It’s the daily driver that replaced a similar model in cosmic-blue, that’s now resting in peace after a severe accident in 2001. At the moment it’s covered about 170,000km. I bought it in 2001 with less than 30,000km. It’s an SE-fully-specced diesel with a humble 115 hp.
It’s a very tiny city in the east of Belgium, with a medieval centre wich is build on this hill. Countryside around has the same character. A region known for its fertile soil, already in Roman-times, 2000 years ago.
And safe n sound back at home….
About this 9-5:
This 9-5 is a replacement for our 900 i-16 convertible. It’s a 9-5 Vector Sport with 1,9 TiD.
About the setting:
The small wall on the right of the car is part of the wall around the city of Tongeren, Belgium. The wall is actually about 2000 years old and build by the Romans. There’s a hill on the left side of the car, which housed the Romans’ man-made aquaduct, to provide fresh water for the city.
The gate in wood is only about 10 years old and part of a temporary art exhibition, called Archi-Arché.