Archive for December, 2008

Saab History Wishes You A Happy New Year!

Posted on 31. Dec, 2008 by .

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2009 Saab History Wishes You A Happy New Year!

2009, is a new beginning for Saab Automobile and should serve as quite exciting year moving forward.

A special thanks goes to my site sponsors, contributors, Saab Automobile USA, Saab Automobile AB, and of course my visitors, you know who you are!

Saab History Wishes You A Happy New Year!

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Saab History Interviews Former Saab USA President Joel Manby

Posted on 31. Dec, 2008 by .

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manby group Saab History Interviews Former Saab USA President Joel Manby

Photo Credit: Manby (L-to-R Ralph Millet, Joel Manby, Bob Sinclair)

I have recently had the privilege of interviewing Joel Manby, the former Saab USA President from June of 1996 until April of 2000.

Below is his updated and candid account of our interview, it is a great read, so take the time and enjoy!

Thank you Joel for your time and contribution, we all appreciate it!

Saab History: How Did you end up joining Saab Cars USA in June of 1996?

Manby: I worked at Saturn as a Regional Vice President and was picked to lead Saab Cars USA in order to improve the dealership distribution network by making it more focused and more profitable.

I used to co own some retail dealerships so I knew how important the car buying experience was in the customer’s final decision on what brand to buy, especially since it was the 2nd most expensive purchase a family would make after a home. I also knew that our competitors like BMW, Audi and Volvo had a much more profitable and focused dealer network. I was determined to reinvigorate the dealership network to turn around the car buying experience to one that was enthusiastic for not only the customer, but the dealership’s sales team as well. We were asking dealers to invest in exclusive dealerships and sales people so in many cases we actually removed some dealers who were not committed or dueled with poor brands in order to get other dealers to invest heavily. Our basic goal was to go from selling 25,000 Saabs through 360 poorly focused stores (average = 70/year per store) to 40,000 sold Saabs through 240 stores (a more focused and profitable average of 170/year per store). Dealers need to know they can be profitable before they will invest.

Saab History: How did this strategy work?

Manby: The units sold per dealership increased to over 150/store as did the national sales figures which topped 40,000 during my time. We had more exclusive stores than any time in recent history and had the 2nd highest sales year in Saab history to that point….so I would say it worked well. We also gained huge share in Southern California where we were almost non existent.

Saab History: Consistent advertising was never something that Saab had, what did you do to turn this around?
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Saab 9000 Aero “Find Your Own Road” Ad – 1996

Posted on 31. Dec, 2008 by .

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Saab History has received yet another extremely rare Saab tv ad, this time from the “Find Your Own Road” advertising campaign of the mid-nineties. This particular ad features a Saab 9000 Aero titled “Turbo Rush”.
 
If you are interested in the find your own road series of tv ads, check the other 4 here, as well as the promotional film.

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Saab Enthusiast Illustrates Excitement With 2003 9-5 Aero

Posted on 31. Dec, 2008 by .

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9 5aero Saab Enthusiast Illustrates Excitement With 2003 9 5 Aero

Photo Credit: DT

A Saab Enthusiast has recently written about his excitement with his 2003 Saab 9-5 Aero and has given Saab History permission to share some of it!

Here’s his opening line wow!

“If you can’t take to the sky …
Take to the road, preferably in a machine that will allow you to move as quickly (and safely) as possible. I’m a huge believer in the power of transportation. It transforms our world and lets people reach beyond normal definitions of space and distance. “

To read the complete story, please visit his blog directly

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Saab 900 4-Door Notchback Turbo TV Ad – 1988

Posted on 31. Dec, 2008 by .

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Saab History has just received a super rare Saab 900 4-door Notchback TV ad from 1988 as part of the “most intelligent cars ever built” advertising campaign in the United States.
 
The Saab 900 notchback was introduced in 1983 and became the quintessential sedan version of the Saab 900, given that the hatchback model was only available for 2 years in the U.S., 1979 and 1980.
 
Interesting ad don’t you think? It makes #444 in the Saab Video archive!

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Saab Car Divisions Secret Saab-Scania V8 Project In 1989

Posted on 31. Dec, 2008 by .

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v8 Saab Car Divisions Secret Saab Scania V8 Project In 1989

Photo Credit: Raimo

According to a Saab History frequent visitor, Ivor M, the Saab Car Division worked with Saab-Scania to produce their first V-8 engine, effectively two combined 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engines in 1989.

He’s actually be in touch with one of the original design engineers responsible for the production of this engine! Great work Ivar! Although this is an interesting project, I believe it’s probably best that it was not given the green light because it would go against Saab’s philosophy of “rightsizing” anyways.

I have spoken with the test driver, design engineer and the person responsible for the production (all the same person) of totally 10 engines from SisuDiesel in Linnavouri.

Only 2 were assembled. 8 engines went back to SAAB Valmet factory and according to Valmet today, they have no parts or tools for casting left and they do not know what happened with the parts after the project was shut down by GM.

The engine had a specially made gear box and it will be very difficult to reproduce this engine again.

I will search more in Finland, if somebody assembled more engines from the parts of the remaining 8 engines.

Best Regards

Ivar M

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General Motors Launches Saab 9-3 Range “Surprised?” Ad

Posted on 31. Dec, 2008 by .

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General Motors Launches Saab 9-3 Range “Surprised” from a series of ads for the rest of their brands. The ad begins with the IIHS safety ratings about the Saab 9-3 range, then ends with a “surprised” question at the end, followed by a spliced in “red tag” event blurb which ends January 5th, 2009.
 
In General Motor’s attempt to sell their brand and make some cash in the process, they are working hard at eliminating inventory, but potentially at the expense of customers, who may be turned away by the association with GM. Remember the old saying “Guilty by Association”?
 
So, in answer to GM’s ad, I will answer their “surprised?” tagline. I am surprised how you bought a brand, then nearly 20 years later you decided to sell it because you finally had realized that you’ve exhausted it and now actually had to invest it. Furthermore, I am also surprised how you believe that today, after all of the ongoing negative press GM is associated with, you believe it is a good idea to associate a good brand like Saab with GM, and tell everyone about it too!
 
So yes, I am surprised of many things, but I should say I am no longer surprised by GM’s mismanagement of Saab as it’s par for the course. They have proven that they do not value investing in the Saab brand. Surprised? Not so much, if you spend the time and do your research.

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Swedish University Professor Says GM Mismanaged Saab

Posted on 31. Dec, 2008 by .

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Rolf Wolff, the dean of the school of business at Gothenburg University in Sweden, who previously called for Saab & Volvo to be nationalized has said this about Saab as quoted by the BBC recently.

It’ll be interesting to see who will actually dispute this statement by Wolff, especially since GM is now telling Saab to find a buyer in the next 90 days.

“The bottom has fallen out of the markets for Volvo cars (owned by Ford) and Saab (owned by General Motors).

The government has been forced to provide a £2bn helpline to the industry and there is visible anger at the plight of Volvo cars and Saab, amid claims they have been mismanaged by their American owners.

“They have been owned by American companies who have not invested in their development,” says Rolf Wolff, head of the school of business at Gothenburg University.

“Both are very strong brands and they make very good cars, particularly in comparison with American producers. They have simply been badly managed.

Finance minister Anders Borg says that when the world begins to buy again, Sweden will be in a strong position to sell.

“We have done a lot in terms of investment in research, education and infrastructure. We have also done very important structural reforms, so I believe the Swedish economy will come out of this recession in a very good fashion – eventually.”

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