Archive for June, 2004

Saab 9-3 Convertible Receives Top EuroNCAP Safety Rating

Posted on 30. Jun, 2004 by .

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Photo Credits: EuroNCAP

2004-06-30

Saab 9-3 Convertible Receives Top EuroNCAP Safety Rating

Norcross, GA, June 30 – Saab’s continuing role in vehicle safety was again highlighted on June 24 when the 2004 Saab 9-3 Convertible received five stars, the highest rating possible in the European New Car Assessment Program’s (EuroNCAP) frontal and side-impact crash tests.

The Saab 9-3 Convertible joins the 2003 9-3 Sport Sedan and 2003 Saab 9-5 in achieving a maximum five-star rating under the EuroNCAP collision test program, Europe’s leading crash-test agency.

The 9-3 Convertible was developed alongside its sedan sibling and despite its soft-top design, Saab engineers adopted virtually the same crash safety performance targets for both products. To help meet these targets, the Saab 9-3 convertible incorporates pop-up roll bars along with substantial reinforcements to the A-pillars, lower B-pillars, side sills, and the chassis cross-members, including a completely new box structure behind the rear seat.

Although Saab welcomes EuroNCAP’s independent findings, its work in crash impact protection will continue to be based on a “Real-Life Safety” strategy, in which Saab’s goal is to develop vehicles that provide safety in real world crashes.

“EuroNCAP is an independent organization whose evaluations contain accessible and objective information which can be a useful guide for consumers,” explained Per Lenhoff, Head of Crash Safety Development at Saab Automobile.

EuroNCAP conducts tests on European model variants using three types of collisions: a 40-mph frontal impact against a deformable barrier (representing another vehicle) with a 40 percent overlap; a 30-mph side impact against a deformable barrier and an 18-mph side impact against a rigid pole. Dummies are used to assess the extent of potential injuries to the driver and, in the frontal impact, also the front passenger. The test results are then evaluated according to a large number of parameters relating to driver and passenger safety. There are minor differences in the seat belt reminder system and seat belt pre-tensioner system between some Saab model variants sold in Europe and those sold in the U.S. due to specific U.S. government requirements.

Lenhoff notes that a vehicle’s safety performance is the product of many factors, including driver and occupant behavior, personal judgment and other variables. Real Life Safety means that Saab’s goal is to develop cars that provide safety in real world crashes.

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Note to Editors:
The SAHR (Saab Active Head Restraint) has been standard equipment in both the Saab 9-3 and the 9-5 since 1998. In November 2001, The Journal of Trauma in the United States published a comparison study between SAHR-equipped Saabs and older Saabs with traditional head restraints. The survey was based on actual collisions and showed that SAHR reduces the risk of serious whiplash injuries as a result of rear-end impacts by 75 percent.

The American research institute IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) and the British insurance research center at Thatcham have also published reports stating that SAHR provides very effective protection.

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Saab Unveils Alcohol Lock-Out Key Fob Concept to Help Fight Drinking and Driving

Posted on 16. Jun, 2004 by .

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1158306 Saab Unveils Alcohol Lock Out Key Fob Concept to Help Fight Drinking and Driving

Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

2004-06-17

Saab Unveils Alcohol Lock-Out Key Fob Concept to Help Fight Drinking and Driving

Norcross, GA – Drunk driving is responsible for more traffic deaths than any other single factor. Last year, 40 percent of all traffic fatalities on U.S. roads involved alcohol-impaired drivers, while in Europe, 25 percent of drivers killed in car accidents can be attributed to drunk driving . To help alleviate this problem, Saab is developing a unique, miniature alcohol-sensing device designed to help prevent drivers from operating a car after drinking.

The Saab “Alcokey” concept includes a small mouthpiece in the car?s key fob. A transponder communicates with the car?s electronic control unit, preventing the engine from starting if a breath sample from the driver is found to contain alcohol above legal levels.

Such a device could be made available as an accessory through Saab dealers and is currently under evaluation and development in response to increasing concern about drunk driving, particularly among companies and public services in Sweden responsible for operating large fleets of cars.

Tests with a key-fob prototype for the Saab 9-5 model are designed to verify its reliability and accuracy. The concept is intended as a convenient and inexpensive means of measuring a driver?s alcohol level without the need to install more costly, fixed apparatus inside the car. In commercial production, the Alcokey concept would cost about $300, or a fraction of the cost of a fixed system installed inside the car. Saab plans to demonstrate the concept in conjunction with a safety seminar in Tylösand, Sweden, in August.

The Alcokey concept is an intelligent adaptation of existing anti-theft technology. When the driver presses the “unlock doors” button on the car?s remote-control key fob, the alcohol sensor is also switched on. The driver then blows into a small mouthpiece at the end of the fob to provide a breath sample which passes down a small internal tube containing a semi-conductor sensor the size of a pin-head. The sample is then analyzed and a small green or red light on the fob illuminates.

If the green light is shown, the key will transmit an “all clear” signal to the car?s electronic control unit. This is in addition to the usual signal the key normally transmits to switch off the anti-theft engine immobilizer. However, if a red light is shown, the “all clear” signal will not be sent and the engine will continue to be immobilized. The software instructing the engine immobilizer can be adjusted according to the blood-alcohol legal limits where the car is registered.

The current prototype Alcokey is a separate unit, about 4 inches long and 1.5 inches wide, in addition to a conventional Saab 9-5 combined key and remote control. In production, further miniaturization could allow both to be contained in a single, pocket-sized unit.

Mounting concern about drunk-driving in Sweden and many other countries has prompted Saab to develop the Alcokey concept. Companies operating large car fleets, with employees driving the vehicles for business, are interested in demonstrating their social responsibility by having an alcohol-monitoring device as standard equipment. And in some countries, such devices may even become mandatory.

Saab Automobile?s President and CEO, Peter Augustsson, has taken a personal interest in the Alcokey project. “Alcohol consumption is increasing in many countries and this often leads to a greater incidence of drunk driving,” he said. “As a car manufacturer, Saab is keen to do what it can to help prevent such behavior. We are an innovative brand and, in that tradition, the Alcokey concept is a very practical and efficient solution. It will help those who want to be sure they should only get behind the wheel when they are fit to drive.”

The Swedish National Road Administration is supporting Saab’s work and its director, Ingemar Skogö, says he is pleased to see Saab pioneering such a practical aid to safe driving. “We all have a duty to discourage drunk driving, and this is a valuable initiative that other car companies should consider following,” he said.

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