Archive for March, 2008

Saab History Meets With GWU Team On Saab Advertising

Posted on 31. Mar, 2008 by .

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gwu1 Saab History Meets With GWU Team On Saab Advertising

Photo Credit: Saab History

Today, after returning from my recent two-week visit up to the North East, I met with the folks at the Saab Team “Ad Ventures” at George Washington University conveniently located here in Washington, D.C.

What I gathered from this experience was that these bright graduate students are working hard to create the most effective advertising campaign for Saab.

I am gaining more confidence in this collaboration with Saab USA & George Washington University and look forward to more.

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Saab History Reviews Aero-X Skis At Vermont Ski Resort

Posted on 28. Mar, 2008 by .

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aeroxskis Saab History Reviews Aero X Skis At Vermont Ski Resort

Photo Credit: Saab History

This weekend, I will be reviewing the Saab-Salomon Aero-X Skis that debuted in December of 2007 at a ski resort in Vermont that has previously collaborated in promotional events and activities with Saab Automobile USA.

These unique skis were inspired by the Saab Aero-X concept car that was launched in the spring of 2006. The Aero-X is the halo vehicle for all of Saab’s future design language as exhibited in the recently updated production model 2008 Saab 9-3 as well as the 9-4x BioPower and 9-X BioHybrid concept cars.

Here is a copy of the original press release on the Saab-Salomon Aero-X Skis:

SLALOM WITH SAAB AND SALOMON

Independent thinking car brand Saab has teamed up with leading sports brand Salomon to launch an innovative new ski. Named the ‘Salomon Aero X’, the ski is inspired by the award winning Saab Aero X concept car and is an expression of Salomon’s very latest technology. The skis add a totally new dimension to the performance of carving as they deliver unrivalled control on demand.

Benoit Saint Venant, Head of Design at Salomon, “This collaboration is testament to the fact that Saab and Salomon complement each other perfectly and understand each other’s independent-minded target audiences. Both brands are celebrating their 60-year anniversary this year and together represent cutting edge design when it comes to sporty, activity-related products.”

The Aero X skis are the first to feature ‘hybrid’ technology – rather like car axles the front and back of the skis have very different functions. The front half of the ski is designed to enable the skier to maximise the turn and to continue to gain power through it, allowing the skier to choose and control the radius of their turn.

The two highly innovative companies, both known for their dynamic design and performance, first embarked on joint initiatives in early 2001. The Aero X ski is the latest collaboration and there are further projects in the pipeline for the outdoor sports sector.

The Salomon Aero X ski range offers maximum performance thrills with full assistance, so that every turn becomes intuitive and skiers can unleash the power while remaining totally in control. The Aero X ski is priced at around £500. For details visit www.saab.co.uk or www.salomon-sports.com

Notes to Editors
About Salomon Aero X skis

Construction: Fiberglass Monocoque Double Wall
Layout: Alutex Layout
Base: UHMW Graphite and designed base
Spaceframe
System: Protrak MG
Core: Full woodcore
Guarantee: 2 years

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The 1992 Saab 900 Turbo Project : Cockpit Restoration

Posted on 28. Mar, 2008 by .

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dscn7778bw 6 The 1992 Saab 900 Turbo Project : Cockpit Restoration

Photo Credit: Saab History

The cockpit of the 1992 Saab 900 Turbo has been removed and will be completely restored in due time. Please enjoy the progress photo above.

As of now the following interior items have either been replaced, reconditioned or are in queue to be redone.

* Entire Floor carpeting cleaned like new thanks to my fiancee’s hard work this past weekend.
* Entire leather seat backs and bottoms of both driver’s and passenger’s side to be restitched.
* Dash Replaced with brand new dashboard unit.
* Front & Rear Speakers Replaced.
* Original Saab Tape & CD player reconditioned, complete with Ipod connector, care of the maker of the Audio Troll
* Window Motors & Assembly Units completely reconditioned
* Headliner in queue to be replaced, just choosing the “right” shade of white/light grey to match original material.
* Side Door Panels in queue to be replaced, also choosing the “right” saddle color tone to match original material.
* Rear Seats are in mint condition and need no restitching, just leather cleaning and conditioning with UV protectant material.
* All console bits are in good shape, steering wheel & shifter are good as well. Still looking for a good “like new” leather shift boot.

To see the previous work on this project, please take a look at the project directly by visiting this link “Saab 900 Turbo Project

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The Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept North American Premiere

Posted on 27. Mar, 2008 by .

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dscn8123 600a The Saab 9 X BioHybrid Concept North American Premiere

Photo Credit: Saab History (Caption: L-to-R Saab Sweden & USA Presidents, Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson & Steve Shannon)

As a guest invited by Saab Automobile USA & General Motors, it was another great opportunity to be present for this North American premiere of the second introduction of this compact product segment for the Saab brand. I also realized that much like I did previously with the 9-4x BioPower Concept launch and Turbo-X Launch, it was important to once again provide good video coverage in addition to photography. With that in mind, I took the initiative to solicit sponsors and in that process, site sponsor Saab of Hunterdon in New Jersey. came in at the nick of time to sign up as a film sponsor. This support ultimately faciliated the ability to cover costs to rent a professional camcorder to film the event.

The Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept North American Premiere took place this past Tuesday in New York City, March 19th, 2008 almost three weeks following its global launch in Geneva on March 3rd, 2008.

I began this event by flying out early from National Airport in Washington, D.C. en-route to New York City on Tuesday morning. Shortly after my arrival, I made it a point to head directly to the former location of SAAB’s first office in New York City at 405 Park Avenue. With the rise and fall of buildings throughout the world, in particular on Manhattan island, I was incredibly surprised that this building still stands. Immediately after some photography taken here, I continued to pick up my camcorder equipment and then began preparing for the Saab Reflective event that evening that began on 9pm and concluded at 1am.

reflective small The Saab 9 X BioHybrid Concept North American PremiereThe Saab Reflective event that night began promptly and initially reminded me of the “GM Style Event” that took place back in January the night before the North American International Auto Show began. The GM Style Event was communicated as “an evening celebrating artistic convergence of vehicle design, fashion and music”, and in a similiar fashion, the Saab reflective event was an event that also focused on clothing and vehicles, but under “eco-friendly” auspises. dscn8094 300 The Saab 9 X BioHybrid Concept North American PremiereDuring this event, both the aforementioned Saab 9-4x BioPower Concept as well as the Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concepts were displayed as backdrops to this launch of an eco-clothing collection for Saab Automobile in partnership with a Swedish clothing design firm called Reflective Circle.

It was during this event that there was a number of media mingling amongst a number of select local New Yorkers who got to get their first glimpse of these concept cars and clothing. The concept cars themself, were re-revealed at this venue by a number of models all dressed in while carrying umbrellas in a carefully choreographed sequence that seemed to be a cross between something you would see at the rocketts at radio city music hall and a runway platform in Paris. During and after this introduction, there were some notable Saab executives present, but surprisingly, there were not any Saab designers on hand to speak or discuss the design intent, direction and future of the Saab Automobile brand and product development. 2 300 The Saab 9 X BioHybrid Concept North American PremiereThis particular omission was surprising, given that this venue was purposely planned in order to promote the Saab concept vehicles in a more unique and intimate way that Saab could only do in another one of their “key” North East markets in the United States. It was clear that while this event was certainly geared towards a certain New York audience, it was partially at the expense of the rest of the media and other individuals who were present, because it did not represent their specific demographic and psychographic or at least partially. What was not clear for me was the entertainment value of the event for the press and media, other than what I believe to be, in my opinion, a notable event that not only complimented the Geneva Motor Show, but the New York Auto Show the following day as well.

With the night coming to an end, Saab Automobile, the media, guests and other individuals managed to wrap it up after nearly four full hours of socializing, mingling and networking at this first ever eco-event that took place at the IAC Building in New York City.
3 300 The Saab 9 X BioHybrid Concept North American PremiereThe event showcasing an eco-friendly clothing line, subtly indicating the Saab concept cars while toasting to “BioPower Martinis” served on none other than an ice bar, harkened back to Saab’s scandinavian roots and ever-continuing “ice-block” design element theming most notably in the interiors of both concept cars present inside and out.

As I began to make my way out of the building with other colleagues and various other members of the press, we began discussing and were eventually all in agreement that while this event was fun at an individual level, we were left with less of a complete understanding as to the entire objective of the event, combined with the fact that the concept cars that were present, were out promoted by an eco-friendly clothing line.

logo1 The Saab 9 X BioHybrid Concept North American Premiere On Wednesday, March 20th, the New York International Auto Show opened their doors early to the media and press. I was looking forward to seeing the Saab stand as I had previously in Detroit, Michigan, and this time I noticed that the venue was certainly different in scale and design. 11 The Saab 9 X BioHybrid Concept North American PremiereWhile the Saab stand and display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit being large, adequately lit and more open, I found that the Saab stand in New York was challenging from a photographic, and video production perspective. I clearly had my work cut out for me.

As I began to make my way through the Saab stand, I was surprised to see that the Saab 9-X BioHybrid was not presented as prominent as I would have thought in the display, where the Saab 9-4x BioPower Concept appeared to be more front and center as you will see in the photograph. I also got to see on the stand, the Saab 9-3 Turbo-X that was suited with the proper three-spoke wheels that made its North American launch at the Boston Auto Show this past November. What was most surprising about the Saab stand was that outside the smaller scale, and 9-X BioHybrid set in the background, there was no single Saab 9-5 in either sedan or wagon (combi) configuration. This refined model for the Saab brand, now in its 10-year anniversary is still a great model, so I see no reason to exclude it as it is part of the lineup.

2 The Saab 9 X BioHybrid Concept North American PremiereNear the end of my experience at the Saab stand during the show, I did get the opportunity to have an interview with both Steve Shannon and Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson, the president of Saab Automobile USA & Global operations respectively. This experienced helped me formulate my in person opinions on my previous thoughts on the Saab 9-X BioHybrid as well as the the future of Saab Automobile.

The final program for the day involved a nice informal group meeting with Bryan Nesbitt, GM Vice President of GM North America Design located at the GM Design Center in Warren, Michigan. I really enjoyed his information, on the Saab 9-X BioHybrid design, as well as the driving as well as associated lifestyle differences in North America versus Western Europe. I am glad that this chance to talk about the 9-X BioHybrid with a designer, took place in addition to the GM Next chat some days later with Anthony Lo, online.

The take aways I had from my experience seeing the 9-X BioHybrid in person was that while I like the idea of this vehicle, I was not entirely convinced that every bit of theory that this vehicle was communicated to have, will see be one hundred percent applied to a production vehicle. I also think it is critical that this concept car, once it goes to market as a production model, includes everything indicated in this premiere as well as cross-wheel drive as an option. I believe that everything including the solar-powered roof as outlined in the specifications of this concept car, will need to see production, because Saab is always about innovative industry firsts, so it is about time that they maintain that position once again here in this vehicle segment for the brand.

3 The Saab 9 X BioHybrid Concept North American Premiere

This North American launch for the Saab 9-X BioHybrid was an important venue for Saab Automobile. I believe that the aforementioned reflection event combined with the New York Auto show complimented the Geneva Motor Show. As a member of the press invited to this event, I was fortunate to to get the chance to see the Saab 9-X BioHybrid in person and my thoughts on this concept car have remained unchanged, following this experience.

I appreciated this experience thanks Saab Automobile USA, General Motors as well as Saab of Hunterdon & JMK for making it all possible.

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Saab Designer Anthony Lo On the Saab 9-X BioHybrid

Posted on 27. Mar, 2008 by .

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anthony lo 600 Saab Designer Anthony Lo On the Saab 9 X BioHybrid

Photo Credit: Saab Automobile

I recently participated in another installment of the GM Next chat with Saab Designer, Anthony Lo. Anthony Lo joined Saab Automobile AB in October, 2000, as chief designer for Advanced Design. Lo has lead the design of the Saab 9-X, 9-3X, 9-3 Sport Hatch, and Aero-X, 9-4x, 9-X BioHybrid concept cars.

I was very interested to hear many of his responses to the questions posed: Please keep in mind that the order in which the questions posted did not necessarily sync up with all answers, so please use your own intuition.

Here is the full chat transcript below:

NoSpeaker: Anthony Lo, Director of Advanced Design, General Motors Europe
Region: North America
Date: 25 – March – 2008
Time: 10:30 –11:30 a.m. (EST)

SME: Anthony Lo, Director of Advanced Design, General Motors Europe
Date: 2008-March-25
Time: 10:30 –11:30 a.m. (EST)

A.Lo.Moderator:
Hello everyone, I’m Dave Roman, Director of GM Europe Technology & Design Communications, and I will be your moderator for this webchat session. Anthony has arrived and he is logging into the chat right now. We’ll get started in a moment.

SaabHistory.com:
What are your thoughts on the Saab 9-X BioHybrid?

Anthony.Lo:
Good morning! The 9-X BioHybrid is our vision on what a compact size Saab would look líke.

SaabHistory.com:
On model nomenclature: Why was the Saab 9-X reusing the 9-X again, instead of 9-1x?

Anthony.Lo:
As it remains as a concept, we would like to reuse the 9-X nomenclature.

SaabHistory.com:
On Technology: What will be making production (ie. Solar Panels, etc.) and do the solar panels on this car actually work this time or is it just theoretical?

Anthony.Lo:
The hybrid system is announced for production on future GM vehicles. On the solar panel, we are working on several studies on how to improve battery performance and solar is one of them. The panel itself does not work on the concept.
[…]

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Saab Designer Bryan Nesbitt On the Saab 9-X BioHybrid

Posted on 27. Mar, 2008 by .

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Film Credit: Saab History

Saab Designer, Bryan Nesbitt offered his time to speak to a number of members of the press at the New York International Auto Show during a group discussion.

I think that you will find his frank and to the point insight and information about the Saab 9-X BioHybrid as well as the driving styles in the United States versus Europe very interesting indeed.

A special thanks again goes to Saab Automobile USA, General Motors & Saab of Hunterdon / JMK Saab for making this interview possible.

jmk hunterdon logo Saab Designer Bryan Nesbitt On the Saab 9 X BioHybrid

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Saab History Interviews Saab Presidents At NYIAS

Posted on 27. Mar, 2008 by .

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Film Credit: Saab History

At the opening day of the New York International Auto Show following the Saab Reflective event, I got the great opportunity to interview both Steve Shannon, President of Saab Automobile USA as well as Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson, President of Saab Automobile AB.

Throughout this interview, there was a lot of information that I was happy to hear, especially when it came to details that both elaborated on with regards to the Saab 9-X BioHybrid, the Saab Advertising Campaigns as well as the Saab dealership network. Enjoy the interview above:

A special thanks again goes to Saab Automobile USA, General Motors & Saab of Hunterdon / JMK Saab for making this interview possible.

jmk hunterdon logo Saab History Interviews Saab Presidents At NYIAS

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The Saab Reflective Event Video Coverage

Posted on 24. Mar, 2008 by .

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Film Credits: Saab History

camcorder The Saab Reflective Event Video CoverageAt the Saab Reflective Event last Tuesday evening, I managed to capture some good video coverage thanks to Saab of Hunterdon & JMK Saab in New Jersey.

This event took place at the IAC Building in New York City and began at approximately 9 pm and ended around 1am.

In this video you will see both the Saab 9-4x BioPower Concept as well as the Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept on stage where Saab Automobile launches their new eco-friendly clothing line.

A special thanks again goes to Saab Automobile USA, General Motors & Saab of Hunterdon / JMK Saab for making this possible.

jmk hunterdon logo The Saab Reflective Event Video Coverage

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Production Concept