Archive for February, 2009

A Message from Saab Corporate about the Future of the Brand

Friday, February 27th, 2009

An email sent out by Saab USA:

Dear Kurt,

You’ve always known us as somewhat of an unconventional company. From our very first days, when a group of unassuming jet engineers decided that driving should feel more like flying, we’ve had a natural affinity to seek the not-so-obvious path. Buoyed by a curious mix of ingenuity and optimism, we’ve always found our way.

Today, our sights are set on a new destination: independence.

Last week, General Motors submitted its viability plan to the U.S. Department of Treasury that outlined the corporation’s long-term restructuring goals. In that plan, GM stated that it would actively pursue measures that could result in Saab Automobile AB, including all of Saab’s global operations, becoming an independent company.

Saab has had several different types of ownership during its storied history. Recently, the first step toward re-establishing its independence was taken when Saab Automobile AB in Sweden filed for reorganization under a self-managed Swedish court process that will attempt to create a fully independent business entity. The reorganization in Sweden allows Saab to continue operating, while new ownership possibilities are being pursued. Current business is unaffected during this restructuring process. 

So, what exactly does all this mean? 

To current Saab owners and loyalists, be assured that all warranties on Saab vehicles remain valid. The warranty for both new and Certified Pre-Owned Saab vehicles are provided by GM and remain intact. GM will support continued availability of parts and service. Prepaid scheduled maintenance also remains in effect on all current product offerings.

To those who have recently expressed interest in buying a new Saab, we’ll be there for you as well. All of Saab’s current product offerings remain available. While these times may seem turbulent and uncertain, our cars are just as safe, just as fuel-efficient and just as fun-to-drive as ever. With the full backing of all warranties, you can drive with confidence knowing that your Saab will be covered under its warranty.

We are excited by the potential opportunities tomorrow will bring. And we’re eager to start anew. During the reorganization period, your Saab Dealer stands ready to assist you with all your sales and service needs. In addition, Saab Customer Assistance is available at (800) 955-9007. While it may not be the most conventional path to take, for those who know Saab, you’re well aware – we know no other way. With the spirit of Saab leading us, we hope you’ll join us for the ride. 

Sincerely,

Mark C. McNabb 

Vice President 

Premium Channel 

General Motors Corporation

Press Release: 2010 Saab 9-3X Premiere in Geneva

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

From Jan-Willem Vester

Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

For Release: February 11, 2009

New Saab 9-3X World Premiere at Geneva Motor Show

The Smart All-rounder for Outdoor Enthusiasts

DETROIT – At the Geneva motor show in March, Saab will introduce the 9-3X — a new addition to the 9-3 range, becoming available in the 2010 Model Year. The sporty 9-3X was designed for people with active lifestyles who don’t want a large Crossover or SUV.

The Saab 9-3X is a rugged all-round car designed to take active individualists to the start of their adventure. With distinctive looks, a versatile SportCombi body, higher stance and advanced all-wheel drive technology, the 9-3X offers fuel efficiency and functional storage without limiting the kinds of roads that need to be driven.

In the 9-3X, the acclaimed Saab Cross Wheel Drive (XWD) system – which made its debut in the Turbo X limited edition model last year – will be combined with the fuel-efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine. Overall, the 9-3X embodies Saab’s “EcoPower” technology philosophy, which aims at combining a dynamic driving experience with an efficient use of resources to achieve responsible performance.

Distinctive Appeal
Saab designers raised the chassis of the two-wheel drive 9-3 SportCombi 35 mm (1.4 inches) higher, so the 9-3X can handle a rugged driving terrain. It is specifically designed for those who frequently hit gravel or unpaved roads, without compromising the driving experience on asphalt.

The Saab 9-3X is a car in tune with the less-is-more needs of today’s customers. “The 9-3X is an efficient all-rounder for anyone who doesn’t want or need an SUV- type vehicle,” says Simon Padian, Saab Brand Design Chief. “Simply put, we are offering a trekking shoe that will do what’s required in more comfort and style than a heavier mountaineering boot.”

New front and rear bumpers feature a dark gray, grained finish that is also applied to the side sills and the edges of the wheel arches as a protective covering when the terrain becomes loose or muddy. This treatment is complemented by skid panels with a matt aluminum finish, curving up towards the door opening at the rear and adopting a wing form in the lip of the lower front bumper. These are matched by matte, aluminum-colored lower door decor strips. Roof rails and visible, twin round exhaust tailpipes are standard. Front fog lights ringed with a chrome finish add yet another bold accent.

With the addition of newly designed, multi-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, the 9-3X’s exterior character reflects its ability to handle mixed road conditions, whether rough or smooth, loose or paved. Inside, the 9-3X interior is based on top-of-the-line specification, adding a dark metallic finish to the door trims, glove box and gearshift surround.

Total Traction
At the heart of the 9-3X is Saab’s cutting-edge XWD system. It is an intelligent, active system that continuously distributes engine drive torque between the front and rear axles as required for optimum stability and grip in all conditions.

The hardware includes an electronically-controlled Torque Transfer Device (TTD), which varies power delivery between the axles. A valve increases or reduces hydraulic pressure on wet clutch plates inside the TTD to progressively engage or disengage the rear axle. The degree of ‘slip’ dictates how much drive is transmitted to the rear wheels. A standard rear limited slip differential (eLSD) operates on the same principle, splitting drive across the axle to whichever wheel has more grip.

As part of the Swedish-manufacturer’s rightsizing strategy, the 9-3X will come to the U.S. with Saab’s hallmark 2.0-liter gasoline turbocharged four-cylinder powertrain, offering 210 horsepower. Complementing the sporty exterior styling, the engine is mated with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Form meets function in luggage area
The 9-3X is also designed to make loading sports and leisure equipment easy, matching form with function. The rear cargo area, with a low floor, is surprisingly spacious and well-proportioned. The compact design of the rear suspension allows a deep box-like space, free from intrusions, offering a useful rear seat up/down volume of 29.7/72.3 cubic feet .

The 60/40 split rear seat-back incorporates a ski-hatch and folds down without any need to move the fixed seat cushion. The fold-down front passenger seat-back also makes it possible to carry items that are as long as 8 feet.

The fully carpeted rear load space is illuminated by two interior lights mounted on the inside of the D-pillars. It is accessed by a lightly-weighted tailgate that opens down to bumper level, its damper rods completely hidden in the roof to allow a clear, uncluttered opening. The flush-fitted, black molded floor plate has been designed to stay scratch-free even in heavy use.

The TwinFloor stowage facility, too, helps keep luggage and equipment safe and tidy. The middle section of the floor hinges upwards transversely when the handle is pulled so that the front edge fits into two retaining slots. There is also a 12-volt power socket in the main load area (for a hot or cool box) and a separate storage compartment at either side of the floor, one fitted with a molded holder for large bottles.
Saab is a division of General Motors Corp. Saab Automobile USA is the importer and/or distributor of the Saab 9-3, 9-5 and 9-7X for Saab Automobile AB, Sweden. For the 2009 model year, Saab offers 7 different models that deliver 27 mpg or better according to EPA Highway fuel economy standards. In addition to 4 years/50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper warranty, including roadside assistance and courtesy transportation, every new Saab comes with 3 years/36,000 miles no-charge scheduled maintenance plus standard OnStar and XM Satellite Radio. Visit www.saabusa.com for more information.

Saab 9-3 Aero Convertible in Burn Notice

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
From Jan-Willem Vester

Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

FYI, for your viewing fun…

Burn Notice, the number one new show on cable, returns for season 2.5 with all new episodes starting Tonight- January 22nd at 10PM EST on the USA network. The Saab 9-3 Aero Convertible will play the lead role as Fiona’s (Gabrielle Anwar) vehicle and will be featured in all 7 episodes.  In addition, Saab will have spots running during each of these episodes.  The 9-3 Aero Convertible will also play an integral part in Covert Ops 2, the online Alternate Reality Experience that puts the user in position of aiding Michael Westen in weekly missions.

BURN NOTICE

 

saab-9-3

Swedish Ministers Visit Saab Headquarters

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
From Jan-Willem Vester

Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications
FYI, the release below was just issued by Saab in Sweden.  For more
information, including the world premiere of the Saab 9-3X in Geneva next
week, please visit media.saab.com under the global tab.  Thanks,

Jan-Willem

For Immediate Release: February 23, 2009

Swedish Ministers Visit Saab Headquarters

·       Swedish Minister of Industry and Minister of Employment visit Trollhättan
·       Constructive talks with Saab about a ?New Independent Saab?
·       Saab operates as usual

Trollhättan -- The Swedish Minister of Industry, Maud Olofsson and Sven
Otto Littorin the Minister of Employment travelled to Saab?s headquarters
in Trollhättan today, to discuss plans for a ?New Independent Saab?.  A
variety of topics were on the agenda including Saab?s reorganization
plans, short term funding plus strategies for attracting outside
investment.

Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile?s Managing Director said, ?I can report
that the discussions were constructive, open and made in good spirit.
During the meeting we laid out some of our plans to move forwards as an
independent entity and also our intention to concentrate Saab design,
engineering and manufacturing in Sweden.?

?With an all new 9-5, 9-3X and 9-4X all ready for launch over the next
year and a half, Saab has an excellent plan for strong growth.?

Saab will continue to operate as usual and in accordance with the formal
reorganization process.

Saab Files for Protection from Creditors – Associated Press

Friday, February 20th, 2009

From Jan-Willem Vester

Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

Saab Files for Protection from Creditors – Associated Press

By Karl Ritter – February 20, 2009

General Motors Corp.’s Swedish-based subsidiary Saab went into bankruptcy protection Friday so the unit can be spun off or sold by its struggling U.S. parent, officials said.

The move comes after Sweden turned down GM’s request for government help for Saab.

An application to reorganize the brand was filed at a district court in Vanersborg, in southwestern Sweden, Saab spokeswoman Margareta Hogstrom said. It was approved later Friday.

The Swedish government on Wednesday rejected a request from loss-making GM to inject money into the carmaker. GM, which is seeking help from the U.S. government to avoid bankruptcy at home, has been looking for buyers for Saab but said it needs more funding to spin off or sell the division.

“We explored and will continue to explore all available options for funding and/or selling Saab and it was determined a formal restructuring would be the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment,” Saab’s managing director, Jan Ake Jonsson, said in a statement.

The move would give Saab protection from creditors while it restructures in a process similar to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S.

GM said in a statement that Saab would continue operating normally. Fearing that parts suppliers would stop shipping, Detroit-based GM said it would make sure they are paid.

“GM is fully committed to maintaining a viable and successful local and global supplier base during the Saab reorganization,” Bo Andersson, GM group vice president for purchasing, said in a statement.

Saab said that pending court approval, the reorganization would take place over three months and would require independent funding. The automaker said it would seek funding “from both public and private sources.”

However, government officials seemed to rule out financial assistance. “I’m not sure what they’re referring to, because support in the form of money is not on the agenda,” Industry Ministry spokesman Hakan Lind said.

Industry Minister Maud Olofsson told Swedish news agency TT it was “very hard to say what our role will be.”

On Wednesday, Olofsson rejected GM’s plea for state funding for Saab, saying it was up to the U.S. automaker to save the brand.

In its own restructuring plan, GM said Tuesday it would need up to $30 billion from the U.S. Treasury Department, up from a previous estimate of $18 billion and including $13.4 billion it has already received. It also said it would need to cut 47,000 jobs worldwide and close five more U.S. factories

GM said it needed about $6 billion in support from the governments of Canada, Germany, Britain, Sweden and Thailand to provide liquidity for its overseas operations in those countries.

The Detroit automaker said it had developed a proposal that would cap its financial support of Saab with the Trollhattan-based automaker’s operations “effectively becoming an independent business entity” by Jan. 1, 2010.

Saab has around 4,500 workers in more than 50 countries. Its main markets include the U.S. Britain, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Australia, France, the Netherlands, and Norway, with most of its production located in Sweden.

With three new models ready for launch in the next 18 months — the 9-5, 9-3X and 9-4X — managing director Jonsson said Saab has “an excellent foundation” to grow, assuming it can get funding for engineering, tooling and launch costs.

“Reorganization will give us time and means that help these products to market while minimizing the liquidity impact of Saab on GM,” Jonsson said.

But analysts questioned whether Saab could survive on its own since it is a small player in the battered global auto industry.

“It doesn’t have the economies of scale or the deep pockets,” said Stephen Pope, chief global markets strategist for Cantor Fitzgerald. “Perhaps they’re just trying dress it up for buyers.”

Originally an aircraft maker, Saab started manufacturing cars after World War II. General Motors bought a 50 percent stake and management control of Saab Automobile in 1989 and gained full ownership in 2000. The aircraft division remains a different company.

GM’s other European brands are Opel in Germany and Vauxhall in Britain. GM also markets its Chevrolet brand in Europe.

German officials have indicated that they are willing to help keep open Opel plants, but are insisting that the company outline a long-term plan for the division first.

Economy Ministry spokesman Steffen Moritz said in Berlin Friday that the automaker is expected to produce that concept “by the end of next week.”

Saab On The Road to Independence

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Issued this morning in Sweden…  As the reorganization of Saab Automobile’s activities around the globe is taking place, it will remain business as usual here at Saab U.S.A. and our dealer organization as far as the eye can see.  Thanks for bearing with us and have a great weekend,

Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications
100 Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48265 USA
(+1)313-667-6601 Office
jan-willem.vester@gm.com
media website: media.saab.com

February 20, 2009

Saab On The Road to Independence

· Swedish court process to reorganize Saab into a fully independent business

· Three new models ready to be launched over the next year and a half

· Saab aims to bring resources back to Sweden

· Funding sought for ‘new independent Saab’

Trollhättan — As a result of GM’s  strategic review of the global Saab business the Saab Board  announced today that it will file for reorganization under a self-managed Swedish court process to create a fully independent business entity that would be sustainable and suitable for investment.

The reorganization is a self-managed, Swedish legal process headed by an independent administrator appointed by the court who will work closely with the Saab management team.  As part of the process, Saab will formulate its proposal for reorganization, which will include the concentration of design, engineering and manufacturing in Sweden. This proposal will be presented to creditors within three weeks of the filing. Pending court approval, the reorganization will be executed over a three-month period and will require independent funding to succeed.

“We explored and will continue to explore all available options for funding and/or selling Saab and it was determined a formal reorganization would be the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment,” said Jan Åke Jonsson, Managing Director for  Saab Automobile. “With an all new 9-5, 9-3X and 9-4X all ready for launch over the next year and a half, Saab has an excellent foundation for strong growth, assuming we can get the funding to complete engineering, tooling and manage launch costs.  Reorganization will give us the time and means that help get these products to market while minimizing the liquidity impact of Saab on GM.”

Funding for the restructured company will need to be secured during the reorganization process and will be sought from both public and private sources.

Saab will continue to operate as usual and in accordance with the formal reorganization process, with the Government providing some support during this period. The reorganization should have no impact on other GM operations. Details of the progress will be provided as milestones are achieved.

2009 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD: All-Wheel Drive is Finally Here – Auto123.Com

Friday, February 20th, 2009

From Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

2009 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD: All-Wheel Drive is Finally Here – Auto123.Com

By Luc Gagne – February 17, 2009

Let’s make it clear: a Saab is not your Average Joe’s car. A bit like Ferraris, each model from this Scandinavian automaker has unique little quirks which require some getting used to. Brand faithful have no problem with that, while everybody else fumes.

Up until now, I would have never imagined that a Saab interior could be as quiet as a BMW 335i’s. Furthermore, when I first sat behind the wheel of the 2009 9-3 Aero XWD, I expected to feel overwhelming torque steer, especially when the turbo kicks in. My fears were quickly dispelled.

The once-plebian nameplate, which made an oddly upscale move that has yet to bear significant fruits, is now struggling for survival. Ineffective marketing and dilution of the brand’s core values have affected its popularity and resale value. That said, the 9-3 has undeniable potential.

Actually, I was made aware of my tester’s competent skills when I saw the three little letters — XWD — under the Aero badge. It’s something we hadn’t seen in a Saab yet but had been anticipating since the launch of the Volvo 850 AWD in the mid ’90s: all-wheel drive.

Well, to be exact, Saab’s technology is called “Cross Wheel Drive” and, sure enough, it elevates the 9-3 into the realm of luxury sedans. Despite jumping late on the bandwagon, the company is hoping to make its presence felt in this increasingly AWD-biased market segment. The junior Saab can now rival the Audi A4 and other similar machines that are known the world over for their sensational all-wheel drive systems.

As mentioned earlier, this new addition largely if not totally eliminates the most irritating aspect of the regular 9-3 ever since the introduction of the first Saab 99 Turbo in 1978: torque steer.

Four-wheel spirit
Saab’s Cross-Wheel Drive was developed by Haldex, a Swedish manufacturer that also supplies all-wheel drive systems to Volvo. Originally exclusive to the V6-powered 9-3 sedan and wagon with Performance Package, this fourth-generation system is finally available with the base 4-cylinder model.

The 2009 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD also benefits from a number of specific features, including an electronic limited-slip differential, self-leveling rear shock absorbers, 18-inch alloy wheels (instead of 17) and performance tires (summer only). Of course, winter tires are a must during the cold season.

XWD is fully automatic and permanently engaged. In normal driving conditions, on dry pavement, it transfers 5-10 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels just for the sake of improved stability under acceleration and greater fuel economy (premium gas is required, though). Here, it does not really neutralize the understeer propensity of the 9-3.

However, as soon as the car starts to lose grip, the XWD system can send 100 percent of the available torque to either the front or rear wheels, in just 80 milliseconds, depending on traction needs. The operation is completely seamless.

XWD is extremely sharp and effective, delaying the activation of traction control in accelerations and cornering maneuvers. As a result, the driver enjoys greater control over the car.

Plenty of power under the hood
The 9-3 Aero XWD I tested used a 2.8L turbocharged V6 that produces 280 horsepower, or 25 more than the front-wheel drive variant. This much-appreciated output gain translates into a real feeling of power under acceleration.

The transversally-mounted, all-aluminum engine features variable inlet valve timing and a dual-scroll turbocharger. Delivering gobs of torque (295 pounds-feet), it allows the 9-3 Aero XWD to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 7 seconds.

While strong, passing maneuvers suffer from a noticeable delay in the power delivery, likely attributable to all that computerized management of driving dynamics and torque distribution.

The 9-3 Aero XWD comes standard with a 6-speed manual gearbox, but my tester relied on the optional Sentronic autobox ($1,500). This unit offers 6 forward gears and manual shift capability through steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The latter proves quite pleasant and rewarding during aggressive driving on twisty byroads.

A typically Saab interior
The interior layout of this 9-3 is reminiscent of the 900. The massive, cockpit-style, all-black dashboard is literally wrapped around the driver. The ignition switch is still found between the front seats, behind the shifter. Also, Night Panel illumination comes back, allowing owners to turn off all but the most basic instruments, like the speedometer. This function makes nighttime driving easier.

The buckets offer a tall seatback and generous support, which makes them perfect for long trips. What’s more, there is no annoying armrest that gets in your way. Drivers who tend to keep both hands on the steering wheel will love it.

During my road test, I came across another Saab 9-3 Aero owner who, much to my surprise, claimed that he was disappointed. According to him, the car has one major shortcoming that ruins the entire experience. It’s a “design flaw” that reportedly makes you forget about the incredible handling, clever ergonomics, orthopedic front seats and great build quality: the trunk!

The man argued that four golf bags can’t fit in the back of the car. Hum… he must have been talking about some pretty big bags! While the Saab’s cargo area is indeed smaller than the trunk of a 3-Series or A4, it’s still larger than a C-Class’. Plus, it offers a perfectly-rectangular shape (due to low-profile suspension components that do not intrude on trunk space), a vast opening with a low loading step and 60/40 split-folding rear seats that accommodate larger items (unlike some rivals).

Should I have recommended this golfer to turn to another brand? Perhaps the one that used to have Tiger Woods as a spokesman…

Support Saab’s Return to Sweden

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

I’d like to share the following email that was sent out by SaabHistory.com. I invite you all to support this effort and would also like to hear your comments about this possible move for our beloved Saab brand:

International Saab Community,

Please help Saab Automobile AB obtain funding from Swedish Government by sending a
message to Sweden's Industry Minister, Maud Olofsson ASAP!

I have provided a post with an easy link directly to the Swedish website to post the
message with a pop-up window!

http://www.saabhistory.com/2009/02/18/saab-history-urges-international-saab-community-to-write-swedens-industry-minister-maud-olofsson/

* Send this e-mail to everyone you can and post on EVERY Saab forum on the internet! :)

Best,

Ryan Emge, Promoter

Saab History - Past, Present & Future

http://www.saabhistory.com

info@saabhistory.com

New England, USA

P.S. We've done this before with Car Magazine, so we can certainly do this again
with Saab Automobile's future!

Saab: We’re The Apple of Car Makers – AutoCar UK

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

From Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

Saab: We’re The Apple of Car Makers – AutoCar UK 

By Hilton Holloway – February 2, 2009 

Saab has made plans to use its upcoming independence from GM to become the ‘Apple of car brands’. 

Knut Simonsson, the Saab’s director of Global Brand and Sales, told a Dutch auto magazine that the Saab DNA underpinning future models will be represented by “innovation, aircraft history and Scandinavia”. This can be summed up by the idea of “independent thinking” he said. 

Saab could ape Apple by having a small market share but appearing to be much bigger, said Simonsson. It would be a “special brand for entrepreneurs, dentists, doctors and agency people”. Saab was “absolutely not” about being the same as other car makers. “We don’t want to be another Audi,” he said. 

Simonsson said the work on Saab’s future direction began “three or four years ago” and the dramatic Aero X concept was “a restart for the brand”. He also underlined that Saab wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past, deciding a strategy and then changing direction. 

The all-new 9-5 saloon is currently undergoing winter testing, Simonsson revealed, and is “99 per cent finished”. He said that it will go on sale in 2009, after being unveiled at the Frankfurt show in September. An estate 9-5 is scheduled for 2010. The new 9-5 is also likely to cost more than outgoing model. 

Simonsson did not, however, comment on the plans to make the 9-5 at Saab’s HQ in Trollhattan, rather than at Opel’s factory in Russelsheim. 

In the longer term, he said, Saab doesn’t have to be a very big company to be viable, claiming Saab can be profitable with production of 150,000 cars per year. Simonsson also claimed the company was “profitable in Europe for the last two or three years”. 

2009 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD — The GarageBlog.com

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

From Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

2009 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD – The Garage Blog

By Gary Grant — January 4, 2009 

I have to admit that I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for offbeat cars. Let’s face it, a car with a few design quirks just has more personality than your neighbour’s WonderBread minivan. The strange thing is that the more recent varieties of Saab just haven’t jumped out and grabbed my attention as much as the early 900 Turbo models did way back when. 

Even still, the cars have a loyal following and have maintained a certain amount of Swedishness under the direction of The General. I was pretty excited to know that I would have more than the usual 1 week with our 2009 Saab Aero XWD Sport Sedan over the Christmas holidays. 

Like many reviewers, I just couldn’t ignore the cool factor that comes with a car that shares its name and lineage with fighter jets. Unfortunately, there aren’t any Viggen fighters close by for a photo shoot so a cold war era F86 Sabre on a stick would have to do. The Saab’s subtly aggressive styling certainly looks the part sharing space with the American fighter jet. 

Thanks to a 280 horsepower, 2.8l V6 the 93 Aero launches hard just like a fighter while the turbo woosh above 5,000 rpm sounds just like a Navy catapult. If you are a little creative. All those ponies make it to all 4 wheels via a 6 speed manual tranny or an optional 6 speed automatic like our tester. The autobox helps keep things civilized in peace time, though I’m sure the manual would be much more fun. 

Our tester had been shod with a brand new set of Hankook winter tires which allowed the XWD to bite in even the worst snow December had to offer. With 4 inches of snow on the road, I was able to launch the car off the line with a minimum of intrusion from the traction control. In the slippy stuff, the 93 was sure footed through just about everything. Perhaps my only complaint would be that I couldn’t find an off switch for the electronic nannies. For most drivers this is probably a good thing. 

In the cabin is where the Saab quirkiness becomes more evident mixed in to a cleanly designed Eurostyle interior. Soft leather, high quality metal and plastics all go together to make a very quiet and comfortable cockpit that coddles the driver’s inner fighter pilot. Over designed bits abound. An articulated cupholder looks wonderful as it unfolds from the dash, until you try to use it or the audio aux in plug. Another cool cupholder is hiding in the front of the rear seat. Just don’t plan on putting one of the kids in the middle seat. Over two and a half weeks, I still haven’t gotten used to the ignition switch in the center console. 

Perhaps the only place on earth that is more hockey focused than Canada is Sweden, so I expected the 93 to ace our 3 hockey bag test. Not so. Now granted, our boys got bigger hockey bags this year, but to put 2 bags in the trunk along with our other flotsam we had to fold down the back seats. One nice feature is that those back seats do fold down to a flat surface, making organizing cargo much easier. 

Overall, the 09 Saab 93 Aero XWD is a comfortable, capable Euro sedan with the soul of fighter jet with just enough design details to keep the Saab purists interested. Like I said, quirky stuff adds personality.