Thanks to all the people who sent in a reference to the Autoblog coverage of the question “Would reviving the Viggen help or hurt Saab? Whilst Autoblog were doing the asking, their question was based on some hardcore photoshopping and pontificating over at TurboNines.
T9s consider what options might be available for Saab to jazz up the range a little and consider that a revival of the Viggen badge and the infusion of some Hirsch techonology might be the key to doing this in an inexpensive way.
Personally, I’m divided over a potential re-birth of the Viggen badge. I owned one. I loved it and still do today. But I also know that the press would fill their stories with references to negative vehicle attributes that are purely historical and would be irrelevant in a modern XWD-equipped Viggen. Simply put, I’d love to see the badge again if you could guarantee that it didn’t come with the baggage.
As for Hirsch, I’ve been lobbying for greater access to Hirsch parts in the USA and Australia for around three years now (here’s a biggie from earlier this year). Unfortunately, the arrangement with Hirsch doesn’t make it a fait accompli that it’s offered in all markets. The Saab organisation in each country needs to have Hirsch parts tested and approved prior to offering them in their jurisdiction because Hirsch equipped Saabs are still covered by the factory warranty.
Saab Australia have already done that homologation style work, around four years or so ago, yet they’ve delayed bringing Hirsch parts to Australia due to the small scale of our market. Earlier this year, we received intel to the effect that Hirsch would become available around mid 2009, however.
In the US, I’m sad to say that I’m not sure the top levels of SaabUSA are really aware of what Hirsch do. When I spoke with Steve Shannon about it last year he kept referring to “cold air induction kits”. To be fair, he had a general knowledge, but he also had a lot on his plate and getting across the finer details of a small scale tuner that might appeal to a minority of your already-small customer base wasn’t a task that was high on his list. Bottom line: Hirsch aren’t on SaabUSA’s radar, however right or wrong that might be.
The TS verdict: it’s an entertaining and very worthwhile read. If T9s position were possible then as a Viggen enthusiast I’d love it. I still tend to think, though, that Saab Performance by Hirsch might be the hi-po way of the future for Saab. If Saab could get to a point where Hirsch models could regularly be shown in Saab forecourts in all countries, I think that’d be a fantastic result not only for Saab, but for the guys at hirsch in Switzerland who do all the work, too.
Read the full story, with imagery, at TurboNines.