EnG Thanksgiving Top Nine List

Just a few small observations as we enter the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend here in the United States. Some things for which to be thankful.

9. Saab’s continued existence. Gents, you know that Saab wouldn’t have made it out of the 1990′s if it weren’t for General Motors. Now, for better or for worse, it is Saab’s role to help GM make it out of this decade. Let’s hope that Saab leads the way.
8. The 9-3x. I know that some don’t like it, but at this point I’m grateful for a new model, any new model.
7. Saabs will continue to be made in Sweden. It’s a small thing to me where the cars are built (after all, my 900 was built in Finland), but it’s still a thing.
6. The Saab concept cars are very good, even if they are just concepts.
5. I can see the light at the end of the 9-5 tunnel. My troublesome 9-5 will be, hopefully, soon fully functional thanks to a trip to my indy mechanic and a few hours of wrench turning.
4. The BLS is no more. Even though I believe that Cadillac will succeed with their great line up, the BLS was truly a waste of time.
3. Saabs are safe. One actually saved me from a great deal of injury, and I should recount that story for those of you who care to read.
2. That the new 9-5 and the 9-4x are close at hand. The dealers need new product to succeed.
1. Swade didn’t stop TS. For that we all can certainly rejoice.

State of Nine: Christmas offers on Saab accessories

TS Sponsor State of Nine has put together a bunch of Christmas deals for the Saab nuts out there and I thought I’d bring a number of their specials to your attention.

Please note that deliveries will be affected by the Christmas rush, so State of Nine have put together an ordering schedule. If you want your goodies to hit your front door prior to Christmas, then this link gives you the low-down on when you need to order.

On to the specials…..

Save $7 off SoN’s new custom Euro plate. In states where you don’t need a front plate (is that all of them in the US??) you can attach this custom Euro plate and personalise your own message on it, too. They’re available with a selection of country letter codes in the blue section, or with no country code at all.

NEW mesh grille for the Saab 9-7x. There’s also an optional grill for the front spoiler, too.

$20 off rear seat protectors so your pet can ride along without damaging your leather. These are made to fit your specific model Saab and there’s 10 different models catered for in the range.

Get 10% off SoN’s full custom neoprene seat covers OR SoN’s 2-tone neoprene seat covers. There’s an unbelievable array of color combinations available with seven different seat colors and thirteen different piping colors for the edges. Protect your leather and look good at the same time.

FREE storage bag with a SoN custom block-it car cover. These covers are custom made to fit your model Saab and offer rain, snow and UV protection.

Save 14% PLUS a free storage bag with the Noah Car Cover with a non-woven 4-layer protection system. Comes with a 4-year warranty.

Save 13% and a FREE storage bag with SoN’s premier car cover – the HP Weathershield cover. It’s super compact, super protective, has customisable colors, is machine washable and has a 5-year warranty.

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Check out all of State of Nine’s offers at their website and if you really want to stay up to date, then sign up to receive their newsletter and you’ll get these offers delivered right to your inbox.

Saab = ?

Some of you might know that I’ve got an Alfa Romeo 33 in addition to my 1985 Saab 900 16V. Whilst I’ll always keep a Saab in the garage, I’m now cycling through a number of cars on a list of vehicles that I’d like to own some time during my driving life.

The Alfa was the first of those and I’m currently saving up for the car that will replace the Alfa. My problem is that the car I’m looking at came in both a turbocharged and a non-turbo form over it’s lifetime. There are variants of each that deliver similar power and torque. The only things I’ve decided on are a maximum age and a few exterior/interior color preferences. The turbo/non-turbo issue has me completely lost. But being who I am I’m inevitably drawn to the Turbo.

It was whilst I was considering this that I started thinking about the fact that to me, the one quintessential element that sums up Saab for me is Turbo. Just as I cant imagine not having a Saab in my driveway at all tmes, I can’t imagine not having a turbocharged car.

I know that plenty of manufacturers use them now. in fact, there’s barely a manufacturer nowadays that doesn’t do a turbocharged model but I con honestly say that I’m not drawn to any of them. To me, Saab is Turbo and Turbo is Saab.

It was the incredible comfort and the turbo performance of the Saab 9000 I took my first Saab-ride in, way back in the early 1990s, that really got me interested in the brand and it’s been turbocharged performance that’s kept me interested ever since.

The favourites amongst my own Saab vehicles over the years have been my Viggen (again, comfort and turbo performance) and my old 1979 Saab 99 Turbo (turbo performance, yes. comfort – not so much).

I’ve only owned one non-turbocharged Saab and that was the first one I ever bought, before I really understood the brand. That one I loved for it’s individuality, the fact that it was so unlike any other car I’d ever seen or even considered owning.

Now, with six or seven turbocharged Saabs having passed through my hands, I could rarely consider not having a turbocharged car in the driveway.

There’s a lot of other characteristics that Saab are really stong in. Safety, for sure. Design, definitely. Comfort, absolutely. And let’s not forget that Saab have their own brand pillars like responsible performance, etc.

But for me, Saab is Turbo.

You?

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And by the way, the most distinctive Saab, in my opinon, were the 99T and the C900. Both had turbo badges stuck proudly on their flanks and rear end.

I don’t know why Saab don’t do that today. They should own the turbo identity arena, a point we’ve discussed at length here before.

Bring back the turbo badge!!!

Essential GM crisis readings for today

Here are some of the best articles I’ve seen covering the GM crisis in the last few days. Many of them are long articles, but are well worth the effort if you want to round out your understanding of the situation.

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AutoExtremist: Pete’s latest rant is a compare and constrast of the way the Detroit CEO’s have been treated in Washington vs the way the CEO’s of financial institutions are treated.

What’s going on is the activation of a New American Double Standard, one that goes something like this:

Washington to Detroit: Drop Dead.

Washington to Wall Street: Who do we make the check out to again?

He definitely has a point.

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The Local – “Swedish carmakers should come home”

This is a translation of an article that appeared recently in Dagens Industri. It was written by Rolf Wolff, dean of the School of Business, Economics and Law at Gothenburg University, and in it he argues that it’s time to nationalise the Swedish car industry, or more specifically, Volvo. Saab doesn’t get a mention beyond it’s single mention in the fouth paragraph.

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Why I Still Support Those Boneheads at the Big Three – John McElroy

On Autoblog, J-Mac discusses the apparent lameness of the testimony and leadership provided by the big 3 CEOs at the congressional hearing last week. He also has some travel tips:

Why didn’t they car-pool and all drive to DC together? That would have sent a message. Especially if they had been in a hybrid.

Better still, next time they should each take a fuel-cell car, a plug-in, or a two-mode hybrid. They should caravan down together, asking supporters to join them along the way, pulling into Washington with thousands of American-made cars and trucks, pitch pup-tents on the Mall, hold a march, and turn it into a movement.

As silly as it reads at first glance, that would actually be quite a sight and a show of support.

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Ford Europe beats GM Europe if the worst happens in Detroit – Detroit News

This is the article from which my Don’t Call Me, Dude article was written. It’s got a lot more in it than just The Dude and is well worth a read.

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The Czechs do it, so should Detroit

An excellent article by an intellectual capital specialist about Detroit’s need to innovate with a lot of references to the way VW run Skoda.

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11 other countries with big auto industry problems – Huffington Post

As the title says……

It spends most of its column space on GM’s problems in these various locations and is therefore interesting by default.

Spyshots: the Saab 9-3x appears

As has been mentioned a few times already, Saab had the 9-3x out for a photoshoot in the last few weeks and sure enough, Djup Strupe has come through with some albeit lo-res goods.

Here’s the car. Click to enlarge:

As you can see, it seems to have all the things we’ve mentioned here in the past: The riased stance, the cladding all round, the scuff plating front and rear, the roof rails.

The only difference that I can see is the set of wheels they’ve put on this one, which seem to be a new split 10-spoke wheel on this model vs the silver Turbo X alloys they had on the model shown in Germany.

For our previous intel and spyshots of this car, click here.

I just hope they market the crap out of this one as being the anti-SUV. Or can they not do that with a 9-4x in the pipeline?

Winter Saabing

Summer’s approaching here in Oz (though you wouldn’t know it right now) which means that all you suckers up there in the crowded hemisphere have winter coming up.

WooDz sent me through some pics of his Viggen today, and apparently it’s feeling right at home with a big dump of the white stuff on the roof.

He says the car is feeling plenty stable now that he’s got his winter treads on:

I think people don’t give winter tyres much thought but trust me if your climate drops below 8ºC then invest in a set. Traction improves ten fold… and as the saying goes, a Viggen on the road is worth more than one in the bush.

I guess that’s as good a reminder as any that you folks in the colder parts ought to prepare your cars for the coming months.

TS has got you covered with Saab’s own A to Z of winter driving tips.

Saab 9-3 an IIHS Top Safety Pick – again

We expect this sort of thing nowadays. In fact, we probably take it for granted that it’ll happen automatically so we forget that they’ve got to re-test every year.

Still, every year it seems to happen – the Saab 9-3 earns a Top Safety Pick award.

Here’s the press release from SaabUSA

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2009 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan, SportCombi and Convertible Keep IIHS Top Honors Secure

DETROIT — The entire 2009 Saab 9-3 family, including the 4-door Sport Sedan, 5-door SportCombi and 2-door Convertible has again earned the Top Safety Pick Award in the midsize category from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the 9-3 Sport Sedan has brought home IIHS top honors, a unique achievement in the luxury segment. For 2007 the 9-3 earned the Top Safety Pick Award, in 2006 the 9-3 earned the Top Safety Pick – Gold Award and received a Double Best Pick crash-test rating for 2005.

The institute began testing convertibles in 2007. In the inaugural year, the 9-3 Convertible earned a top spot. This is the third year that the Saab 9-3 Convertible earns the Top Safety Pick Award – one of three convertibles and the only soft-top convertible to earn a top spot for 2009.

The Institute rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side-impact crash tests plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries. Winning vehicles must earn good ratings in all three tests and offer electronic stability control.

“The Saab 9-3 earned the Institute’s highest rating in front and side crash tests, and the Saab Active Head Restraints provide state-of-the-art protection against neck injuries in rear-end crashes,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund. “The addition of electronic stability control as standard equipment confirms Saab’s commitment to vehicle safety.”

IIHS is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. The Institute’s research focuses on countermeasures aimed at all three factors in motor vehicle crashes (human, vehicular, and environmental) and on interventions that can occur before, during, and after crashes to reduce losses.

“We are delighted that these IIHS findings confirm our own crash test results,” says Per Lenhoff, head of Safety at Saab Automobile AB in Sweden. “This reassures consumers that the 9-3 is among the very best in its class for crash safety.”

As part of its on-going work with crash safety, Saab has led the automotive industry in pioneering the development of active head restraints to help prevent neck injury in rear-end impacts. Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR) are standard equipment to the front seats of all its current car models. The 9-3 Convertible is also equipped with Saab Dynacage, which includes pop-up roll bars to help provide protection in the event of a roll-over crash or an impact that could lead to a roll-over.

Up to 25% off TS T-shirts this week

I’ve just received notice from our T-Shirt producer, Spreadshirt, that they’re having a special Thanksgiving promotion over the next few days.

If your family are struggling to come up with Christmas gifts for you, then here’s your chance to point them towards a top quality TS T-shirt and save some money at the same time.

This offer is available only in our US-based shops, but either of these will ship goods anywhere, so the offer is effectively open to all.

We have two different types of shop. The first is our preformatted store where we’ve come up with a bunch of design/garment combinations. The blue shirt at the top of this entry is one such example.

Those products are all great, but the second shop is where the real fun is at. It’s our custom DIY shop, where you can pick and choose from ALL of Ivan’s designs, and ALL of Spreadshirt’s available garments. You can choose the colors, position and size of the print and you can even add in your own text if you want. You get complete control over the garment that you order.

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THE OFFER

This special Thanksgiving offer will give you 20% off when you order 2 products, or an even bigger 25% off when you order 3 products from the store.

To claim your discount, you just enter the appropriate code in the coupon field when you go through the checkout.

For the 20% offer (2 products) the code is BUYMORE8, or CADBUYMORE8 if purchasing from Canada

For the 25% offer (3 products) the code is BUYMORE9, or CADBUYMORE9 if purchasing from Canada

These shirts from Spreadshirt feature an outstanding quality of print. You’ll wear out long before the print does. The garments they’re printed on are great quality, too, and there’s a wide range available from T-Shirts to hoodies to track jackets – even shoes!

Note: this offer runs from November 25 to 28 and the discount does not include shipping.

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If you’ve got any ideas for new products, please let us know. It’s about time we added some new stuff there, so tell us what you’re after and we’ll do what we can to make it available.