Saab History’s Contributions To Saab In The United States

Posted on 02. Oct, 2009 by in 2000-2009

As the new Saab Cars North America team prepares for their official start date next Monday, October 5th, I want to use this opportunity to write about Saab History’s contributions to Saab in the United States over the years.

Having led the New England Saab Association from nothing to something (1997-2001), it was time for me to take some time off. Since that time, having lived in Sweden, I developed a somewhat new found interest in Saab from that perspective and continued it while then moving to Washington, D.C. during the whole House of Sweden launch.

It was upon arrival in D.C. in 2004, when we began learning that the Saab Cars USA team was moved to Detroit from Norcross, Georgia and that the team dynamics of the organization had permanently changed.

The motivation and re-association with Saab at a greater level began somewhere in the spring of 2005, when we also learned that many people were let go, retired and that a lot of information and historical data had been literally thrown in the trash. It was here where we began to ask ourselves, what was going on with Saab Cars USA at this time and why so much turmoil? I know many people thought that perhaps at a basic level, we should do something about this loss of institutional knowledge and information for the car company that we loved.

This idea of doing something, initially began by gathering all of the Saab material, particularly videos, and launching the website, Saab Videos, in an attempt to get the information back out to the world about what was done over the years in a somewhat chronological organized order. Upon launching this website, the traffic increased so much due to demand that it sent the site into it’s own turmoil. It was decided that something had to be done, and with the material that was received which involved more than just videos, Saab History was launched a good year and a half later in the fall of 2006.

Saab History then began to grow, attracting a much larger audience while also adding more content for the original videos project. The site based on a blog format, developed from a content resource to a news blog referencing the past, present and future of Saab.

In the spring of 2007, the Saab Automobile USA team at the time, initiated by my former colleague, Jan-Willem Vester, began the first of many ongoing invites to events with other members of the media to communicate Saab as a journalist. It is here where they saw the value of my site, my visitors and what I could do for them, in promoting their products.

The following year, Saab History managed to showcase where some of that material that was not thrown out, ended up, that being the Saab USA press releases and photos at the GM Heritage Center, the Videos at the GM Media Archive. In addition to those two information resources, we of course also covered the heritage collection cars, which was also illustrated here on Saab History. As the year continued, visitors continued to grow and even double year on year and the impressions for Saab in a global sense spanned over 2,000,000 impressions per month. That same year, Saab History was designated as a subject matter expert for Saab Automobile, globally.

As 2009 came around, the news separating fact from fiction became even more important as Saab Automobile entered a 6-month reconstruction phase. As a leading resource for Saab news, customers, dealerships and former employees followed Saab History to learn about where Saab was headed during this critical year, and that continues right to this very day.

By now, those visitors that have been following Saab History from the very beginning have certainly learned more than they probably ever thought they would about Saab’s history, and that was the point. Today, visitors even include current Saab employees that are rebuilding their own company here in the United States as first mentioned. These employees now have all of the information and free education at their fingertips due to a venture that has been building up for five years now. In promoting, encouraging, educating and informing the global Saab Community, it’s time to see this effort’s information “absorbed” by the new team.

While I am a Saab Historian, editor and promoter of Saab in a global sense, with particular regional attention here in the United States, the support received from the dealers, independents, community, and the motoring public has been critical to the continued existence of this resource. This resource reflects not just the work of one person, it reflects through my efforts, the work of generations of individuals in the global Saab community from former employees to the Sinclair family today.

As the team gets underway next Monday, they need to ensure that they do not repeat the mistakes of the past and begin a fresh and innovative approach for their future Saab Cars North America team, moving forward. The question we must ask ourselves today is, will the new Saab Cars North America, find their own road to the state of independence and success for the new era, or will they repeat the mistakes of the past? Stay Tuned.

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – Sir Winston Churchill*

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No Responses to “Saab History’s Contributions To Saab In The United States”

  1. Peter Fagen

    03. Oct, 2009

    I didn’t know they actually threw things away…(pricks)….but very true lets hope to god they dont make the same mistakes….

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