Saab History Interviews Sten Wennlo

Posted on 27. Aug, 2008 by in 2000-2009, Linköping, Sweden, Nyköping, Sweden, Trollhättan, Sweden

On Sunday, August 24th, the final day of the 2008 Saab Owners Convention, I had the esteemed pleasure and opportunity to interview Mr. Sten Wennlo who presented two days earlier, Friday, August 22nd, 2008.

Sten Wennlo began his career as a journalist for both a newspaper and a radio station in Southern Sweden until he took a job writing with ANA in Nyköping, Sweden in 1957, about 1 hour South of Stockholm on the coast. By 1960, ANA was bought by Saab to become SAAB-ANA where he continued his work and shortly thereafter met with Tryggve Holm, SAAB’s President to be head of Public Relations & Promotions.

Sten Wennlo had numerous accomplishments under his belt, namely working out how he could sell the two-stroke SAAB, with the help of a young Erik Carlsson. Mr. Wennlo was convinced that Erik Carlsson would be better suited for a position in the newly established competition department instead of the test development department. This decision later helped with the production and development of the new SAAB engines, SAAB 96, selling more SAABs to an increasingly younger market and bringing a huge increase in global exposure for SAAB at the time.

Another significant accomplishement during Sten Wennlo’s career at the Saab Car Division of SAAB-SCANIA, was the work along with colleague, Per Gillbrand, and the folks at the SCANIA factory in Södertälje, Sweden to adapt a turbocharged engine for the new Saab 99 model by 1977 to be introduced as a production model in 1978.

In 1979, Sten Wennlo convinced Bob Sinclair to rejoin Saab, and as a result we now have a Saab Convertible.

In 1980, Sten Wennlo got Bjorn Borg & Stig Blomqvist together to create a public relations campaign called the “Super Swedes” which was an instant success.

Three years before his retirement in 1989, he saw global sales reach 144,000 vehicles, where last year (2007), we saw roughly 125,000.

Upon his retirement, he wrote a book “Mitt Live Med Saab” in Swedish to tell us about his story working with Saab.

I was very thankful for this opportunity to meet with Sten Wennlo, and thanked him for his time to give us an interview so that his story could be preserved for generations to come here on Saab History.

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