Archive for January, 2008
Posted on 31. Jan, 2008 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Saab-Scania of America, Inc. – Aspen, Colorado early eighties
The topic of “visibility” with the Saab Automobile brand is an ever increasing concern as well as an opportunity these days. There is one area of focus that Saab had at one point, been a significant player in, in terms of promoting the brand, the ski industry.
The ski industry and the resorts in particular gave Saab the right location in which to best promote their products especially in the United States, where they have been ubiquitous in regions known for great ski conditions such as New England as well as Colorado during the seventies, eighties and the early to mid nineties.
The recent premiere of the Saab 9-4x BioPower Concept in Detroit formulated what the Saab Turbo-X premiere in Boston started for me, which was how this area historically has been a great market for Saab which has significantly been overlooked recently, in terms of opportunities. When I saw that 9-4x Crossover appear on stage with that snow sprinkled from above as well as what I heard from the professional skier, Kaj Zackrisson that I interviewed earlier this month, I got this nostalgic reminder of when Saab capitalized on the ski market.
In discussing Saab’s history with ski resorts when Saab was actually a sponsor of their activities and their events as exhibited in the photograph above thanks to Arsey Miller, a former Saab-Scania employee, I have realized that they these resorts have always been supportive and have encouraged Saab’s presence. The most recent examples include Sunday River Ski resort in Maine that I visited back in January of 2007 as well as the city of Aspen as well as Vail’s Police Departments that have been utilizing Saab’s since the early 1970′s up until 2005, when GM decided to end the program with them. Also, keep in mind that the 50th Anniversary for Saab Celebration was held at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire in 1997, the 1999 Saab Owners Convention at Keystone Resort, Colorado and the 2005 Saab Owners Convention took place in Stratton Resort in Vermont.
These arrangements were, like I said, all over the place from the seventies until the nineties and now, I think that the last event or notable besides the ski industry inspiration that the 9-4x BioPower Concept communicated, were the Saab-Salomon Aero-X Skis `as well as the X Wing rally that took place last year in the Alps as well as the United States. Although this event was a collaborated event with Saab & Salomon, it did provide great exposure to the Saab brand in resorts that included resorts such as Copper Mountain in Colorado and Killington in Vermont.
Today, Saab has with them, a long awaited technology known as Cross-Wheel Drive, with the designation ‘XWD‘. This XWD technology is perfectly positioned today where Saab previously capitalized the environments that required this technology but was unavailable. With XWD now becoming available later this spring, Saab has under their wing a great opportunity to reconnect in cross-promoting the XWD with these ski resorts, which in my opinion, are perfect promotional venues in which to communicate their products.
While the advertising campaigns and slogans have changed over the years for Saab USA, the consistency in covering their markets should not. As I have said before and I will say again, the North East is where I grew up, and the SAAB 96 was the vehicle that safely brought me home from the hospital when I was born, it was also the same vehicle that saved my life once in 1998 in Vermont, and again in 2002 in New Hampshire. I am partial to this region and with it still holding approximately 40 percent of Saab’s market in the United States, there is some value in continuing relationships with these ski resorts with this new Cross-Wheel Drive technology, especially since SAAB basically started their operations in the Boston, Massachusetts in Hingham in 1956. Why not continue the great legacy that they have built for themselves just after the Great American Rally in 1957, that helped place SAAB as a significant contender in this market just after they were launched as an automobile manufacturer stateside 52 years ago?
I understand that the sponsorship with these ski resorts have changed over the years, but it is important to note that a great contingent of these resorts have GM brand’s sponsoring them today. So here’s the question, why can’t Saab Automobile USA “leverage” their involvement with GM and showcase their new XWD vehicles at these ski resorts as well? I think that a venue like a ski resort is only suiting and an “obligatory” venue in order to cover the basis when communicating the “visibility” of this long awaited and much anticipated Cross-Wheel Drive ‘XWD’ technology so well integrated in a great Saab product.
If you are a ski resort, I would love to hear your responses here:
Posted on 31. Jan, 2008 by Ryan.
I was sorting through the video collection today and uncovered a film on VHS titled “The 50th Annivesary Jumbileumdagen” or the Jubilee Day which took place in TrollhÃ¤ttan, Sweden on August 10th, 1987.
This 50th Anniversary is for the SAAB company since 1937 when they began as an aircraft manufacturer, but also represents the 40th Anniversary as an automobile manufacturer.
I enjoyed this documentary and hope you do too and I leave you to see the differences from the experience then, in comparison to the 60th Anniversary event I went to this past year again in TrollhÃ¤ttan, Sweden, now officially known as the “Saab Festival”.
Here is a summary of this documentary from the cover & refererse of this videocasette:
50th Anniversary Jumbileumdagen
A Video Documentary of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of SAAB Scania, held at its factory in Sweden, plus side trips of interest to all SAAB owners.
Comprehensive footage covering the whole event:
The Ultimate Concours, with every kind of SAAB from all over Europe and the States.
SAAB’s on parade: 92′s to 9000′s and more…
A Video stroll through the SAAB Museum
Parts, Parts, Parts: a look through a Swedish boneyard
Posted on 30. Jan, 2008 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Saab History
During my recent visit to Garry Small Saab of Portland, Oregon, site sponsor of Saab History, I got to see their super rare 1954 SAAB 92 which was originally located in California.
The SAAB 92, was the first production vehicle for Svenska Aeroplan AktieBolaget or SAAB and was initially only available in the color “Watermelon Green“. This changed a few years later of course due to demand.
This rust-free vehicle is very unique to North America, given that the SAAB 93 was actually the first production vehicle to be delivered in the United States back in 1956 which were first delivered on the port of Hingham, Massachusetts.
Sixten Sason, was the first SAAB designer responsible for this vehicle as were a handful of other engineers including Gunnar LjungstrÃ¶m, as well as the Grand Father Sigmund Johansson of Peter Johansson who is the current lead engineer on the new XWD system system as well as 14 others including two of whom, did not even have driver’s licenses.
Here is a summary written by Saab Automobile USA about their own 1952 92 which is part of the Saab USA Heritage Collection.
Here is the summary:
Often described as an airplane without wings, the 92 (earlier model designations belonged to Saab aircraft) was created in the aftermath of WWII as a rugged, low-cost and practical car to safely conquer the rough Scandinavian roads of the time.
Lead by Gunnar LjungstrÃ¶m, the original 92 was developed by a team of 16 Saab aircraft engineers â€“ only two of whom, according to the legend, had a driverâ€™s license. Responsible for the exterior design was Sixten Sason, a freelance industrial designer who also gathered fame with his contributions to Hasselblad cameras.
Reflecting its aircraft heritage, the Saab 92 used a monocoque one-piece body/frame structure, yielding light weight as well as great strength. Its front-wheel drive not only delivered good traction on snow, but also a flat floor and an amazingly roomy interior â€“ given the compact exterior dimensions.
For the first couple of years, Saab offered the 92 only in green paint, said to be left over from army supplies. The four-passenger car was powered by a two-cylinder, two-stroke engine with an output of 25 horsepower. It had a three-speed manual transmission with the shifter mounted on the steering column, saving interior space.
Produced from 1949 to 1956, the 92 exemplifies Saabâ€™s zest for innovation and design that have become known around the world as the key characteristics of the Swedish brand.
Because Saab did not officially start its automotive business in the United States until 1956, it is fortunate to have this 1952 model 92 (serial number 1837) as the â€œarch fatherâ€ of its Sterling Heights, Mich.-based Heritage Collection.
Posted on 29. Jan, 2008 by Ryan.
On January 15th, shortly after my visit to the GM Heritage Center, I was afforded the opportunity to visit the GM Media Archive where the “official” Saab Film collection is stored for Saab Automobile USA.
The GM Media Archive is located in Livonia, Michigan about 30 minutes from downtown Detroit and about 45 minutes from the GM Heritage Center.
Upon my arrival I was granted the ability on a per request basis per photo to take snapshots, but digital video was not an option at this high security facility. I began my visit by getting a nice introduction and primer as to how this facility was managed, how the media material is stored and safeguarded and what their backup/contingency plans are for keeping the material in the event of a disaster.
Photo Credits: Saab History
The first part of the actual tour started out with a walk through the various film libraries ranging from media in 8mm, 16mm, 35mm films to Digital Betacam. Of course, I was focused only on the the “Saab Film Collection” as I am calling it, which is a very small percentage of what this facility maintains covering all of GM’s brands. This Saab Film Collection consists of a number of films roughly totalling around 300 as I understand it, and are mostly converted over already to Digital Betacam format and in some instances, electronic format as well at this time.
I was told that these films that are housed in this collection arrived shortly after Saab Cars USA relocated to Detroit from their former headquarters in Norcross, Georgia in 2004. This material that was shipped from Norcross, was split up so that the videos would be stored here and the photos and paper material would be stored at the GM Heritage Center, for better maintainence and cataloging as I have depicted earlier.
I was then shown their computer cataloging system which gave me a good idea of what this collection consisted of, and for all intents and purposes, appears to date back to the late eighties, which is a lot later than I would have thought it did. It is great to hear that this collection exists, but I must wonder where all of the films from the late 1950′s, 1960′s, 1970′s and early to mid eighties have gone before this move? I even asked this question to some of the friendly staffers which indicate that these situations are all too common in this industry, believing that many of these collections have typically ended up in former employees hands over the years. I certainly concur, given that we have received a number of these films as donations dating back to these years from former employees for our enjoyment here on Saab History.
During my visit, I got the chance to see everything from their duplication room to their storage archive. I was initially hoping that I could walk down an aisle of Saab videos, films, etc. and just browse like I was able to in the Saab Archive back at the GM Heritage Center. This opportunity to browse, was not the case here at all. These films are all cataloged with bar codes and there were no distinctive visuals or writing cueing you into identifying them as a “Saab Video” in a browseable manner. These films are also cataloged in terms of quality, not by brand, which made browsing certainly not a realistic option. The method in which one looks up film is actually a bit easier than I thought and it is not surprisingly done by computer. Their computer system accesses a database and within that database you can narrow your search down by brand, so we of course immediately directed our efforts to everything labeled “Saab”, and not “SAAB” since the archive did not go back to 1969 or earlier. The films that showed up included a variety of areas, all classified by what was literally written on the films, so if the labeling on the film wasn’t accurate from whomever originally produced the video, neither was the description that ended up in the database. I took the opportunity at this stage to do a few hypothetical run-throughs requesting films to literally pull off of the shelf and view. The first film I viewed was a film produced in 1993 featuring Saab Cars, USA’s PR representative test driving a 1993 9000 CS model on a track (note the labeling as depicted on the photo above as “Saab 900″ being clearly incorrect here).
I was really impressed with this process where one could request a film, then they look it up in their computer database, then simply walk to where it would be located on the shelf and pull it from the bar code identification, then pop it in one of their expensive “VCRs” and play it in broadcast quality.
The ability to easily access this material in an intuitive format is great and it is nice that Saab Automobile USA has a tool like this available, but it certainly brings up again an incredibly important issue. Currently, this information is not available to the public to enjoy like I have on my website here in the Saab Video Archive. I believe, that we all need to enjoy every film in this collection in the same way we have already been enjoying the existing collection on Saab History. I owe it the myself and the Saab Community at large to see to it that we can enjoy this collection as well in a similiar method that so far, people really enjoy here on the this website. Please wish me well in this pursuit in the spirit of furthering our education on all things Saab moving ahead.
All in all, I was delighted that the schedules worked out so that I was able to get a tour of this facility shortly after visiting the GM Heritage Center earlier. This last day in the greater Detroit, Michigan area following the 2008 North American International Auto Show where the Saab 9-4x BioPower premiered was certainly a great way to end such an eventful and exciting trip.
A sincere and appreciative thank you goes to the staff at the GM Heritage Center, the staff at the GM Media Archive and Saab Automobile USA for making this happen in order to share this experience with the Saab Community.
Posted on 28. Jan, 2008 by Ryan.
I am even more excited that the Saab brand which originally began stateside in New England, is also making two appearances during this year’s Super Bowl XLII. The reach of having visibility in the Super Bowl is great, so this is a good start. I wonder if Saab Automobile USA will also be doing their own television ads as well? This would be a great opportunity to showcase the aforementioned 2008 Saab 9-3 Turbo-X. How would that be for visibility?
Take a look at this press summary below and please enjoy these latest two television ads by Bridgestone that feature the 2008 Saab 9-3 Aero. Enjoy!
Posted on 28. Jan, 2008 by Ryan.
I think this clarification really shows just how unique each of these high performance models are in comparison to one another.
I realize that the Saab Community acknowledges and appreciates this new limited-edition model launch, but in terms of “visibility” as mentioned at last week’s Washington, D.C. Auto Show, does everyone else globally know about the Turbo-X that should know?
There is no mistaking the 2008 Saab 9-3 Turbo-X as a great car, but how, where and with what frequency is this vehicle being advertised and promoted? That’s the question in order to not second guess the “visibility” of not only the Turbo-X, but the brand itself.
Here are the comparison charts thanks to Saab Automobile USA:
Posted on 28. Jan, 2008 by Ryan.
Film Credit: New Salem Saab
New Salem Saab of Albany, New York, my first dealership site sponsor for this year has recently created a new television advertisement that they were kind enough to share with us here.
This television ad does a good job repurposing that Saab 9-5 â€œHead to Headâ€ piece done by Lowe Worldwide back in 2006 as depicted in the Saab Video Archive.
I also think that the commitment to customer service really stands out over everything else. A great job to New Salem Saab and I look forward to your thoughts as well!
Posted on 28. Jan, 2008 by Ryan.
Thanks to some more recent catalog donations, the Saab Accessories Catalog Archive Expands without a hitch now spanning most decades including complete coverage from 1986 through 1998 in all Saab Accessories catalogs either in English or Swedish language.
I urge you to enjoy reading through some of these catalogs directly by downloading the catalogs directly on the Saab Accessories Catalog archive.
94 (Sonett I) (14)
Formula Junior (3)
Quantum IV (10)
97 (Sonett II & III) (47)
600 Lancia (4)
900 NG (33)
9-3 SS (182)
9-5 NG (131)
9-3 NG (8)
92001 (Ursaab) (5)
Quantum I (2)
Quantum II (3)
Quantum III (5)
Quantum V (3)
900 Cabriolet Prototype (1)
900 SPG Prototype (1)
900 Concept Coupe (2)
Bertone Novanta (1)
9-3 Sport-Hatch (5)
9-3 BioPower Hybrid (10)
9-7X Aero (1)
9-5 BioPower 100 (9)
9-4X BioPower (58)
9-X BioHybrid (50)
9-X Air (12)
210 Draken (1)
J 29 (Tunnan) (2)
J 32 (Lansen) (3)
J 35 (Draken) (8)
JA 37 (Viggen) (17)
JAS 39 (Gripen) (9)
Wind Turbines (2)
Saab Clubs (32)