Addicted: Saab 99 Turbo

December 22nd, 2009

December I’m dedicating my efforts to helping one of our members get all of his Saab 99 Turbos added to the Registry. It’s taking quite an effort because he has more than 30 Saab 99 Turbos. I’m curious if this is the biggest car collection of a specific make and model.

He’s asked to remain anonymous so you will find the listing under the name ‘Saab 99 Turbo Heritage.’ Here is the latest addition to the Registry, a black 1981, right-hand-drive Saab 99 Turbo originally from the UK.

While I love the hatch on my 1978 99 Turbo, there’s definitely something cool about the sloped back of these models. His photos really capture the beauty of the red interiors. Stay tuned for our daily additions to the list.

In closing, I welcome any comments about other fanatical Saab collectors out there. I’ve heard of some brothers in either Oregon or Washington who I believe collect old 2-stroke Saabs. Please share your stories.

Saab Still in the Hot Seat

December 21st, 2009

Congratulations to Steve Wade of Saabs United. Great to see you on CNN.com. Click on that link for a great article by Steve giving a good snapshot of the current state of affairs of Saab and reflecting on the history of the company.

Something’s telling me that things are going to work out the way they are meant to be for Saab. It is certainly exciting to see all the energy around Saab and reading the posts and comments. Nothing like something dying to bring out all the previously missing appreciation.

Part of me feels I should be caught up in all the excitement. But maybe it’s my health, or the stress of my profession and family issues, but I find myself feeling my place is to continue where I’ve been – enjoying my Saabs and my own personal Saab experience where I can. If Saab ‘dies,’ none of that is going to change. I’ll still be driving one of my three Saabs through the mountains every week. Tinkering on them and finding repair parts when I can afford to. And working to keep improving this site.

This month I’m focusing on adding the Saabs of one of our members who has more than 30 Saab 99 Turbos. It’s going to take me the rest of the month if not into January. But it’s been a hell of a lot of fun along the way.

Cool Saab Article on Car

December 3rd, 2009

Well done, albeit sobering, article on CAR magazine website:

Saab: 1947-2009? Gavin Green pays tribute to Saab

Have your own thoughts on these strange times for Saab or the history of Saab? I welcome your input. Send me your stories/comments/etc. I’ll publish them here as a story or compilation of everyone’s input.

Saab Deal with with Koenigsegg Update

November 29th, 2009

Here’s the latest release as of 11/25/09 on status of the Saab/Koenigsegg

Read ‘Koenigsegg Group AB Terminate Agreement for Purchase of Saab.’

Saab’s Uncertain Future

November 28th, 2009

These are interesting times for us Saab lovers with the possibility that Saab could actually be shut down. Although, despite the current dire situation, I don’t see that happening. While Saab is not in a good place, there are too many people who absolutely love Saab. The tricky part about Saab is that, especially these days, the volume of people who are going to buy a Saab is not as large as some companies would need them to be. But within that group are people that are more dedicated than any other auto brand could claim. The Saab line will, hopefully, continue on for years to come, but if that’s the case, I’m sure you know the amazing feeling of sitting behind the wheel of one.

Personally, if Saab were to close tomorrow, I’d spend the rest of my days driving cars built before 2010. There just isn’t another brand that does anything for me. But when I get in one of my Saabs (1978 99 Turbo, 1988 SPG, 2001 9-3 Viggen) everything just feels right. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be. It’s the styling, the performance, the passion and thought that went into the car. It’s participating in something that is different. It’s part of a commitment to live life with a conscious commitment to doing things the right way, even when that’s going to require more effort and less immediate reward.

So my guess is that things will be uncertain for a while, but ultimately Saab is going to land in the right spot. I believe GM did a lot of good for Saab. I personally love my Viggen and there are a lot of other GM-produced Saabs that I would love to own. But admittedly there were drawbacks to Saab being run by GM. That’s why the possibility that Saab could be returned to Sweden is so exciting. That’s where the spirit of the car came from.

Great Article Comparing Turbo X to 99 Turbo

July 23rd, 2009

thanks, Swade at Trollhattan Saab,

This is a great article I hadn’t seen.

http://www.trollhattansaab.net/archives/2008/12/saab-turbo-x-vs-saab-99-turbo.html

Swedish Media Coverage: Will Saab be Allowed to Continue its Restructuring?

March 31st, 2009

Another release from Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

FYI, insightful media coverage from Sweden.  Monday, April 6 will mark the midway point in the Saab reorganization allowed under Swedish law after 6 weeks since the February 20 start — prompting media coverage such as below.  If all goes according to plan, the reorganization will run until the end of May and can be extended beyond that if need be.   Vänersborg is close to Trollhättan…  More to come.

Will Saab be allowed to continue its restructuring, or set to a halt? On Monday it will be decided by the district court in Vänersborg – Stockholm News

By David Jonasson — March 31, 2009

The restructuring of Saab Automobile, owned by General Motors, has lasted for almost six weeks. It has been a time of setbacks and negative headlines in media. Collapsing sales figures, job cuts, reduced operating time and no government loan guarantees.

One relief is that Saab has not needed to pay the wages, since the company has been permitted the governments wage guarantee. So far has the county administrative board paid out SEK 217 million including employee benefits to the 4000 employees. That is money tax payers will lose if Saab goes bankrupt.

If the restructuring succeeds will the money be paid back. Thus the Swedish state is one of all 1300 creditors who can question the viability of Saab when the creditors’ meetings are held on Monday.

The district court decides if the plan for restructuring holds. The creditors’ meeting will be held at the session chamber of the municipal council in Vänersborg, since the interest from media and employees is believed to be massive.

Up to three judges could participate. District court judge Cecilia Tisell is one of them.

– There has to be a viable business concept. The proposal has to be persistent and realistic. The creditors’ views are important, she says to news agency TT.

According to Swedish law shall the restructuring end if the official trustee or a creditor asks for it and “the objective with the restructuring is not considered to be reached”.

If the restructuring is stopped, then Saab is left with all the debts and there ought to be few other outs than a bankruptcy.

– That does not have to be decided the same day. The district court could announce that later, says Cecilia Tisell.

The task of restructuring has been carried out by the official trustee, lawyer Guy Lofalk, in cooperation with CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. They have had the assistance of two international experts, Stephen J Taylor and Martin Brindley.

It is since earlier known that in the new business plan will Saab bring home all its production to the auto plant in Trollhättan. Costs will be reduced by cutting 750 jobs. The question is if that is enough.

There is also hope for a new owner with much money.

Would-be Buyers Call Saab – Detroit FreePress

March 4th, 2009

Latest from Geneva…. 

Would-be Buyers Call Saab – Detroit FreePress 

Reorganization is to be done in spring; clearer picture expected within weeks 

By Mark Phelan – March 4, 2009 

GENEVA, Switzerland — Saab, the money-losing Swedish automaker General Motors has said it must sell or put into bankruptcy by the end of the year, has had contacts from several potential buyers, company Managing Director Jan Ake Jonsson said in an interview at the Geneva Auto Show Tuesday. 

Despite its troubles, Saab has value, said Rebecca Lindland of analyst IHS Global Insight. “They’ve got great, loyal customers. Unfortunately GM didn’t cultivate them or understand their value.” 

Jonsson is confident the Swedish government will provide the money Saab needs to reorganize and find a new owner. Under Swedish law, Saab’s reorganization must be completed by May 20. Jonsson said he expects to have a clear idea who the serious bidders are within a couple of weeks. 

“We have committed to carving out Saab from GM and finding a new owner,” he said. “We need to get this done as quickly as possible. We need to sort out our financing and future ownership.” 

About half the current potential buyers are involved in the auto industry. 

Saab’s small size will pose challenges for it to develop new vehicles and technologies alone. Jonsson expects to address that by working with a number of automakers. 

“In today’s auto industry, there are many more cooperative projects between manufacturers without ownership,” he said. “I trust that going forward, we’ll have a lot of different relationships with many different automakers.” 

Saab’s technology and global distribution network could make a good fit for an Indian, Chinese or Russian buyer, he said. A European automaker that does not already have a premium brand might also want Saab, he said. French automaker Peugeot-Citroen is the only company that seems to fit that description 

We could be looking at a Chinese automaker looking for a global dealer network” as Saab’s next owner, Lindland said. 

The company is going ahead with development and sales plans for its upcoming 9-5 sport sedan and 9-4X luxury crossover, Jonsson said, adding that GM will build the 9-4X at an assembly plant in Mexico. 

“The 9-5 and 9-4X are almost completely engineered,” he said. “We just have to put them into production.” 

The 9-5 is to go on sale late this year, the 9-4X in September 2010. GM had planned to build the 9-5 in Ruesselsheim, Germany. Production will now move to Saab’s plant in Trollhattan, Sweden. 

Saab introduced its new 9-3X crossover wagon at the Geneva show Tuesday. The car is to go on sale in the United States in September. 

Once Saab is separated from GM, the company will redefine its image with a sharper focus on traditional Saab characteristics like safety and small, efficient engines, he said. 

“There will be a lot of people cheering the day we become independent,” he said of Swedish sentiment for Saab.

Saab CEO Targets New Buyer Within 3 Months – Reuters

March 3rd, 2009

The latest from Geneva… 

Saab CEO Targets New Buyer Within 3 Months – Reuters 

By Christiaan Hetzner – March 3, 2009 

GENEVA – Swedish carmaker Saab is hoping to find a new investor within three months, promising profitability even with a volume of as little as 150,000 vehicles sold, its chief executive told Reuters in an interview. 

Thanks to reallocating production of its 9-5 model sedan to Trollhattan, its plant should be utilized much more efficiently and far from cutting jobs, Jan Ake Jonsson expects to add jobs in Sweden, where salary and wage costs are very competitive. 

“In the next few days we will go out more actively and present our case to the ones (potential investors) who have been showing an interest as well as looking for new alternatives, scan the market,” he said on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show. 

Jonsson said potential investors in Saab were from both inside and outside the car industry. He is working to find an ownership solution for Saab before the three-month reorganization deadline expires. 

He said this time period would not necessarily include time for due diligence, and that the deadline could be extended on a three-month basis for up to one year. 

“We need to accelerate this issue, and I have good hopes we will find interested investors,” Jonsson said. 

“If you are fully financed through the government and through GM, it’s a manageable size business so I think it’s easier probably to find a buyer for us than any of the bigger companies,” he said. 

With Saab slated for sale and asking for state aid to survive, Jonsson’s business plan will be key if the Swedish carmaker wants to secure a future in a rapidly shrinking market. 

“With the 9-5, 9-4x (model) vehicles almost done, we are in a very good shape to be profitable within that range” of 150,000 to 175,000 vehicles. “It’s still a relevant volume range.” 

GERMAN PLANS 

Jonsson said part of the problem has been the enormous manufacturing complexity of the current 9-5 sedan, which has been in the market for more than 10 years. 

He said next year’s relaunch could go a long way to improving margins and boosting Trollhattan’s extremely low utilization rate of less than 50 percent. 

“The 9-5 (model) and the future 9-3 (model) are engineered to be manufactured in a much more efficient way. If you take today’s 9-5, it goes back a couple of architectures from a GM point of view — back to probably the end of the 80s,” he said. 

“When you go to the next generation vehicles you will have a much more efficient way of building them.” 

Since Saab generates two-thirds of its sales in the U.S., UK and Swedish markets, he said it was “critical” to expand shares in European premium segment markets such as Germany, where he believes volumes could rise to 15,000 from a current 4,000. 

Jonsson said Saab’s ties to GM will not be entirely cut, though, since it will go ahead with plans to build the 9-4x crossover in a GM plant in Mexico. 

“We will be dependent on GM powertrains for a long period of time and when we then look at some of the architecture, some of the components will also be sourced from GM so we will have service agreements that will last some significant time.”

Saab CEO Targets New Buyer Within 3 Months – Reuters

March 3rd, 2009

The latest from Geneva… 

Saab CEO Targets New Buyer Within 3 Months – Reuters 

By Christiaan Hetzner – March 3, 2009 

GENEVA – Swedish carmaker Saab is hoping to find a new investor within three months, promising profitability even with a volume of as little as 150,000 vehicles sold, its chief executive told Reuters in an interview. 

Thanks to reallocating production of its 9-5 model sedan to Trollhattan, its plant should be utilized much more efficiently and far from cutting jobs, Jan Ake Jonsson expects to add jobs in Sweden, where salary and wage costs are very competitive. 

“In the next few days we will go out more actively and present our case to the ones (potential investors) who have been showing an interest as well as looking for new alternatives, scan the market,” he said on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show. 

Jonsson said potential investors in Saab were from both inside and outside the car industry. He is working to find an ownership solution for Saab before the three-month reorganization deadline expires. 

He said this time period would not necessarily include time for due diligence, and that the deadline could be extended on a three-month basis for up to one year. 

“We need to accelerate this issue, and I have good hopes we will find interested investors,” Jonsson said. 

“If you are fully financed through the government and through GM, it’s a manageable size business so I think it’s easier probably to find a buyer for us than any of the bigger companies,” he said. 

With Saab slated for sale and asking for state aid to survive, Jonsson’s business plan will be key if the Swedish carmaker wants to secure a future in a rapidly shrinking market. 

“With the 9-5, 9-4x (model) vehicles almost done, we are in a very good shape to be profitable within that range” of 150,000 to 175,000 vehicles. “It’s still a relevant volume range.” 

GERMAN PLANS 

Jonsson said part of the problem has been the enormous manufacturing complexity of the current 9-5 sedan, which has been in the market for more than 10 years. 

He said next year’s relaunch could go a long way to improving margins and boosting Trollhattan’s extremely low utilization rate of less than 50 percent. 

“The 9-5 (model) and the future 9-3 (model) are engineered to be manufactured in a much more efficient way. If you take today’s 9-5, it goes back a couple of architectures from a GM point of view — back to probably the end of the 80s,” he said. 

“When you go to the next generation vehicles you will have a much more efficient way of building them.” 

Since Saab generates two-thirds of its sales in the U.S., UK and Swedish markets, he said it was “critical” to expand shares in European premium segment markets such as Germany, where he believes volumes could rise to 15,000 from a current 4,000. 

Jonsson said Saab’s ties to GM will not be entirely cut, though, since it will go ahead with plans to build the 9-4x crossover in a GM plant in Mexico. 

“We will be dependent on GM powertrains for a long period of time and when we then look at some of the architecture, some of the components will also be sourced from GM so we will have service agreements that will last some significant time.”