Steven Rossi, Fmr. Saab USA PR Chief, Published in NY Times

Posted on 16. Nov, 2009 by in 2000-2009, Company, Orange, Connecticut

Steven Rossi, former Public Relations Director for Saab Cars USA, has recently written a great article about Saab’s History and the cars that people collect today in the New York Times..

Rossi who took over for Lennart Lonnegren in 1990 and continued this role as Public Relations Director up until the a few years after the move to Norcross Georgia in 1994, has a long history with Saab dating back to 1978 as young engineer.

In fact, one of his many humble accomplishments took place before this position. In the early eighties, he worked alongside former Saab-Scania of America President, Bob Sinclair to submit the engineering drawings for what became one of the most iconic products in Saab’s historical portfolio, the Saab Convertible.

As a proud member of the 60-consecutive months of sales led by Bob Sinclair and former national sales director, Sten Helling, Rossi saw not only the convertible but the launch of the Saab 9000 in which he participated in the press event at Talladega Speedway for the “Long Run” in 1986.

Throughout his time with Saab in the United States, he saw many aspects of the business inside and out from engineering to public relations.

Today, he continues to hold the torch as one of the original members of the team that worked in Orange, Connecticut. In fact, he has organized two Saab Reunions in the North East over the past five years for other former employees to gather and reminisce.

I highly suggest you read this piece by Steven Rossi beginning with his opening excerpt below.

SAAB is a relatively young and proudly offbeat automaker, and from the start it has appealed to those who appreciate the unconventional. For aficionados, “Find your own road” was more than a slogan.


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No Responses to “Steven Rossi, Fmr. Saab USA PR Chief, Published in NY Times”

  1. ASC

    16. Nov, 2009

    Mr. Rossi had to streamline his outline and generalize to meet the public’s ignorance regarding engine cycles and SAAB lineage.

    I grew up in the back seat of a series of 94s, 96s, 99s, and finally a 900 my dad had. The V-4 was incredible. Even as s a little kid then I knew you didn’t have to mix the gas and oil; there was a reservoir under the hood for the oil. Rossi pandered to those suburbanites troubled by the care and feeding of their Lawn Boy two strokes.

    A mad winter dash accompanying my dad in that 94, from St. Louis to Chicago to see my hospitalized grandfather, proved to my young mind the comparative ignorance of current domestic car engineering, the benefit of tall skinny studded snow tires and the freewheeling function of the transaxle via that third center lever. We flew like I could imagine only Santa Claus if he were ground bound on his annual trip.

    Rossi’s discourse on engines seems to have forgotten that SAAB, being small, required them to source the OHV four of the 99 from Triumph. Their slanting of its longitudinal mounting to lower cowl height perhaps inspiration for the supplier to do the same in the TR-7 (“shape of things to come”). I subsequently had a 1974 1/2 99EMS to 265K miles when I sold it to a MN-native rabbi in Arkansas.

    Neither did Rossi touch the later 9-3, the chassis twin of the Chevy Malibu under the bankrupt ownership and leadership of GM. They also being responsible for the 9-2 SAAB-aru and the 9-7 SAAB-olet Trailblazer.

    GM, in all of its budgets, engineering and capacity was so bereft of capability to bring an AWD of performance capability they had to buy into 20% of Subaru to imbue some modern features available in the competition.

    SAB’s current Haldex system mirrors the Triumph engine sourcing and is a tad short of the objective. See this short video of a Haldex Corrado and an AWD Impreza on YouTube:

    Mr. Rossi’s CV (not Citroen) is fine and noble for bringing the SAABista view to the maintream NY Times, but he is nearly revisionist in omission of these facts.

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  2. peter

    16. Nov, 2009

    What is a Saab 94 ?


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  3. Ryan

    16. Nov, 2009

    A SAAB 94 is the Sonett I, only 6 ever made.


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  4. peter

    16. Nov, 2009

    Oops, I’d forgotten that !


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  5. ASC

    16. Nov, 2009

    Should have been “96”, not “94”, was thinking V-4 to much.

    Another out of house acquisition by SAAB from the Ford Cologne plant, so Rossi’s niggling over the “mixing oil” thing is not some quirk SAAB invented. It is just what they bought and made more use of than Ford did.

    See Third generation Taunus 12M (P4) (1962–1966) and Capri Mk I models. The Capri had two engine sources (Cologne for continental market and Essex for UK market) for delivery ease. Notable for the Cologne V-4 being extended into the V-6 later shown in that model and ultimately being produced at Esssex.

    SAAB was really shopping at the market for that mill and added the freewheeling bit to answer handling dynamics under the on/off nature of the power from the little motor. Coasting under compression created upsetting front bias weight shift with the 2-stroke. While easy enough to press the clutch to achieve four wheel neutrality for a fast, no-brakes turn, the freewheeling idea was employed so the disruptive re-engagement of engine and driven plate didn’t occur each time the move was necessary.

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  6. peter

    17. Nov, 2009

    From memory …………

    The petroil mix two stroke engine was an evolution of a DKW engine and the freewheel was because there was little lubrication when coasting downhill leading to poor reliability.

    The V4 Ford engine was 4 stroke and versions of it appeared in UK and Europe over many years.

    The 96 moved from the short nose to the long nose to accommodate the V4 engine. There was some overlap, so there are some long nose two strokes about.


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  7. Steven Rossi

    18. Nov, 2009

    Yes, trying to do a concise piece for a small space in the NY TIMES is going to result in some generalizations. That’s why exists…to get into real detail!

    Didn’t touch on anything like the 9-3 because it’s too new for a “Collecting” piece. I wanted to stop with the 9000 because it’s now 23 years old (the Antique Automobile Club of America starts to recognize collectibles at 25 years old).


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