Archive for 'Company'

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

Posted on 16. Nov, 2009 by .

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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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TTELA Covers Saab Automobile’s Lawyer, Kristina Geers

Posted on 03. Nov, 2009 by .

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geers TTELA Covers Saab Automobiles Lawyer, Kristina Geers

TTELA covers Saab Automobile’s lawyer, Kristina Geers, Wife of Manager of Communications, Eric Geers.

Here is the piece beginning with some facts from TTELA, loosely translated by google translate:

Kristina Geers

Age: 39.

Family: Married to Eric (Information Manager at Saab). Two children.

Lives: Gothenburg, but to build houses in Ljungskile where Christina has grown up.

Occupation: General Counsel at Saab. Joined the company after university 1997th Became general counsel 2004th

Interests: Golf.
Kristina Geer on …
[...]

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History Of The Saab USA HQ In The United States

Posted on 29. Apr, 2009 by .

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timeline1 History Of The Saab USA HQ In The United States

The history of Saab business has taken many routes over the years, and I thought it would now be the best time to briefly discuss where it started and hopefully where it’s heading.

In 1956, SAAB Motors, Inc. was established by Ralph Millet headquartered in New York City with a port in Hingham, Massachusetts.

In 1961, SAAB Motors, Inc. merged and relocated their headquarters and port to one facility in New Haven, Connecticut. This facility would be used for a period of 10 years, the duration of the lease.

In 1971, the newly merged company, Saab-Scania of America, Inc., began operations in Orange, Connecticut creating a rather large campus spanning two areas North and South of Interstate 95. These facilities included 60 Marsh Hill Road, 35 Executive Boulevardin 1988, 15 Executive Boulevard, a SCANIA truck facility North of the interstate, a large parts facility nearby in Meriden in 1987, and a training facility in Wallingford in 1998.

In 1992, following the GM 50% merger, newly established Saab Cars USA, Inc. began operations in Norcross, Georgia while their parts depot was also relocated to Allentown, Pennsylvania.

In late 2004, a newly former Saab Automobile USA brand team moved to the Renaissance Center at GM headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. In the fall of 2008, this brand team became consolidated into what is known as GM Premium Brands.

I am hopeful that Saab will carry on in a new capacity stateside as ‘Saab Automobile North America’ with a head office situated back in New England, North of Boston on the seacoast.

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Saab History Says Good Bye To Jan-Willem Vester

Posted on 29. Apr, 2009 by .

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jwv Saab History Says Good Bye To Jan Willem Vester

Photo Credit: Saab History, February, 2007

I have recently heard that on April 20th, 2009, Jan-Willem Vester formerly of Saab Automobile USA Communications, is no longer working in this capacity.This also means that there is no longer any official voice for Saab Automobile USA, just the GM Premium brands channel.

It was just almost exactly one month ago since his departure that I managed to have an exclusive interview with him about his long career and continual interest in the Saab Automobile. It seemed like just yesterday that I met him for the first time during the picnic alongside Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson at the 2005 Saab Festival in Trollhattan, Sweden.

His responsibilities were numerous from communications to having inroads with the Saab USA Heritage Center, Video Archives and Heritage Collection, and more. I sometimes wondered how he managed to do it all so well, with a smile and humor.

In all of my communications with him, he has been incredibly professional and always followed up and certainly brought his passion for Saab to the table. It has been an honor to work with someone who is clearly a Saab enthusiast and a dedicated ambassador of the brand.

Jan-Willem, as you know started his career with Saab Automobile USA in August of 2004, when the brand team began their operations at the Renaissance Center within GM Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. In the September of 2008, Saab Automobile USA was no more, having been merged into what is known as “GM Premium brands”.

In the meantime, I wish Jan-Willem and his family well. If he’s reading this, I hope to hear from him soon and hope he attends the 2009 Saab Owners Convention with all of the other former Saab USA employees attending, now topping out over 100 strong!

All of us in the Saab community wish you nothing but the very best and thank you very much for your hard work all of these years.

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Saab History Interviews Lisa Aloisio, Formerly Lisa Uhl of Saab Cars USA 1996-2001

Posted on 22. Mar, 2009 by .

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Photo Credits: Saab Cars USA & Lisa Aloisio

I have recently had a great dialogue with Lisa Aloisio, formerly Lisa Uhl of Saab Cars USA where she worked as PR coordinator in charge of managing the annual Saab Owners Conventions from 1996 until 2001.

This interview involved me providing a summary of her work fully edited and reviewed by Lisa, and ultimately submitted back to me at Saab History for us to enjoy here below.

A thank you to Lisa for her input and her time working with Saab Cars USA all of these years, we sincerely appreciate it!

3/5/2009

Phone Interview with Lisa Aloisio

Lisa Aloisio worked as PR Coordinator for SCUSA from the March of 1997 until early 2000 and worked in Norcross, Georgia. She was hired by then Director of Corporate Communications, Elke Martin. Most of Lisa’s tenure was under the Joel Manby Era, but she also had short but memorable experiences with presidents Jim Crumlish and Dan Chasins.

I was hired as a newbie to PR and I had the great fortune of working alongside some of the “great ones”. Elke Martin, of course, was the torque that drove our entire department. If you look up “work ethic” in the dictionary, I’m sure Elke’s picture is there. Cool things happened whenever Elke was involved. And she showed me how much I could accomplish with good ideas and hard work! I inherited the PR Coordinator position from the beloved Marie Prezioso one of the original SCUSA employees from Connecticut. I loved working with and learned a great deal from Dan Prescott, the prolific and insightful writer behind all the wonderful Saab product information and news publications. Colin Price, and later Kevin Smith, were both wise and forgiving managers, letting me take on new responsibilities and learn from my most famous blunders. (the portachere at the resort in DelMar, CA will never be the same) I also worked with Steve Janisse and Eric Geers, who were simultaneously smart and fun to be around. (a lethal combo!) Also, had a brief stint with Barbie Whittemore, one of Saab’s first webmasters.

During her time with Saab Cars USA, she was responsible for spending a significant amount of time every year on probably one of the most exciting jobs on the planet, managing the annual Saab Owners Conventions!

She enjoyed coordinating with the clubs on each engagement beginning with the Kirkwood, California convention in ’96, the 50th Anniversary Celebration in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire in ’97, the Hilton Head convention in ’98 to her final event, the “Peak Nine Experience” in Keystone, Colorado in ’99.

Each year, she worked alongside 6-8 enthusiast club planners in making each event successful. She saw an opportunity to build a stronger connection to the clubs because she recalls when she came on board, “the previous conventions did not have a consistent stream of involvement from Saab Cars USA, and I was given the opportunity from SCUSA management to try to change that.”

Change is exactly what happened, in the best possible way. The Saab Owners Conventions from the 1996 until 1999 were some of the best and most notable conventions in the history of Saab Owners Conventions in the United States. Of course, Lisa is adamant she deserves little of the credit and that her colleagues within the clubs spent numerous hours volunteering their time and talents as well. (Shout out to Cathleen, Dan, Ian, Larry, Jerry, Tom, Bruce, etc.)

While it was a fun role, it was also challenging says Aloisio, “There were people who felt putting scarce marketing dollars toward hosting events for the loyal Saab enthusiast crowd was a bit like preaching to the choir.” But she says Joel Manby, coming from a successful stint at Saturn, saw the value of building a bridge between Saab’s heritage-rich enthusiasts and its new customers. “While I was at Saab, I had the great privilege to observe several Saab executives make a great effort to leverage Saab’s incredible past as a springboard to attract new buyers to the brand.”

Although admittedly not an advertising expert nor involved in advertising decision-making at SCUSA, she observed the development of both the “Find Your Own Road” advertising campaign and the ‘Saab Vs. campaign. “I appreciated the tremendous creativity and intelligence of both those campaigns, but at the time I recall thinking neither would hit the gut or the heart of the Saab die-hards who were the life-blood of the brand. I remember seeing a story board from the Martin Agency’s pitch for the Saab account – it was the photo of a Viggen fighter jet in flight carrying a bumper sticker that read “My other Saab is a car – and I said now that’s more like it!”

Now, with a few more years of marketing experience at various companies under her belt, she still feels for advertising to work, it can’t be all cerebral, it has to solicit an emotional reaction especially when it comes to automotive purchases.

Throughout her time with Saab Cars USA, she noticed Saab marketers struggled, particularly in the United States market, where the brand seemed to be trying to be “everything to everyone”. “There was an identity crisis that stemming from an attempt to highlight Saab’s many innovations while trying to distinguish the brand’s uniqueness from the quirkiness associated with past product.” She believes that Saab finally hit the nail on the head in 2005, many years after her departure, when the “Born From Jets” campaign was initiated by Jay Spenchian, Saab USA president at the time.

In early 2001, just after Joel Manby left as President, and Dan Chasins took over, Lisa was approached by GM R Works, a new agency relationship General Motors started specifically to handle regional promotional events. A colleague of hers, who has now since passed, Ron Updyke of GM, made a recommendation about her work at Saab and she chose to take the initiative and interview with them. Her boss, Kevin Smith was heading up Corp Comm at SCUSA at that point, and Kevin encouraged her to give the new opportunity a shot.

She indicates that while it was hard to leave, she didn’t see Saab Cars USA in the spring of 2001 as a place that would be able to give her the immediate professional growth she was looking for. “The integration with GM was taking hold and no one knew exactly what was going to happen. Everyone remained optimistic but I felt it was best for me personally to take the new position with GM R Works.” Unfortunately, her former peers had to wrap up shop at SCUSA’s Norcross location in 2002 a year after her departure, as the company planned on transitioning everyone up to Detroit, Michigan when Debra Kelly-Ennis arrived. Only a handful of people made the move, while an even smaller group took up residence on behalf of Saab at GM’s Southeast Regional office in Alpharetta, GA.

There were many highlights during her career with Saab Cars USA, Inc. including reunions with clubbers after year-long planning efforts came to fruition at the Saab Owners Conventions. She felt that she was very fortunate to have these one of a kind experiences including using the legendary Saab 900 “Sensonic” car as her daily driver, courtesy of her former husband, James Uhl, who owned and showcased the car during that time.

Another little known historical point associated with Lisa and Saab. Lisa was the first person to deploy an airbag in a new Saab 9-5 in a real life crash on US soil. In early 1999, she crashed a brand new pre-production 9-5 press car with less than 100 miles on the odometer. She got several calls from Trollhattan engineers asking about the car’s safety performance. “I told them, the car sacrificed itself flawlessly, and my son and I walked away without a scratch!”

Her legacy at Saab Cars, USA was continued by Tiffany Cook, whom she still maintains a good relationship with today.

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John Libbos Has Left Saab Automobile USA

Posted on 30. Dec, 2008 by .

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libbos John Libbos Has Left Saab Automobile USA

John Libbos who has been head of product development for the Saab 9-3 and 9-5, has apparently left Saab Automobile USA according to the recent Jan/Feb issue of Nines Magazine.

Libbos, who I first met a number of years ago, has fought the good fight where he was the last original employee literally since his tenure began back at Saab-Scania in Orange, Connecticut in the 1980’s, Saab USA at Norcross, Georgia in the 1990’s, with a 2-year stint at Saab Automobile AB in Sweden doing aftersales for the 9-5 (1996-1998), and finally at Saab Automobile USA at Detroit, Michigan in the 2000s.

Libbos has presented at the last few Saab Owners Conventions, both 2007 as well as 2008 and I have reluctantly found out about his departure through reading an article today. This is the first I have heard of his departure which must have taken place sometime between August and December, 2008.

The last time I had any real close one on one with John, was at the departure terminal at the Detroit International Airport returning to my former home in Washington, D.C. to attend the Saab 9-3 XWD Drive event, following the 2007 SOC. At the airport terminal waiting area, John showed up and sat down next to me, pulled out an old print ad from the 1960’s of a Saab 96, and then we began talking about it then proceeded to talk about Saab’s past, present and future. In talking with him as we both waited for our flight, I told him that I was soo impressed by his tenure over the years and wondered what would happen if left. Our dialog continued the following day after he and Jan-Willem Vester of Saab Automobile USA (Communications) arrived with me in the same plane at D.C.’s National Airport. I wished it had been a SAAB 340, but it was not. That evening the Saab 9-3 XWD event began at the House of Sweden, where I got to talk with Libbos again, overlooking the Potomac river. This time, he told me about how he had the opportunity to live in Sweden for a few years and his Swedish proved it! He said that he had a nice career with Saab and also that he never ever really thought about being the last employee of Saab USA that worked in Orange, CT “by default”.

At this time, I am not sure why he left and under what circumstances, but I won’t speculate. John, if you are reading this, thank you for all of your time and committment to the Saab brand here in the United States. I enjoyed meeting you and although I wished that I got to see what may have been your final presentation at this year’s Saab Convention, I wish you well in your future endeavors and hope that you can stay in touch with us!

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Saab Cars USA President Joel Manby : 1996 – 2000

Posted on 15. Dec, 2008 by .

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manby1 Saab Cars USA President Joel Manby : 1996   2000

Photo Credit: Saab Automobile USA

Joel Manby, took over as President of Saab Cars USA from June 1996 where he worked at the Norcross, Georgia headquarters.

Over his time with Saab, he saw a lot including the global launch of the Saab 9-5 which included the North American launch at the 1997 Saab Owners Convention 50th Jubillee in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.

His tenure with Saab Cars USA came to an end in April of 2000 when General Motors then took over a majority stake (100%) of Saab Automobile AB.

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Saab Automobile Talking to Investors About Potential Sale

Posted on 08. Dec, 2008 by .

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Automotive News Europe reports the following from Saab Automobile’s JA this past December 3rd.

While there are potential buyers as recently stated, Saab Automobile still apparently needs some investors as well to help them roll out their new product launches, etc.

Here is an exerpt below:

December 3, 2008 – 11:54 am ET

General Motors is talking to potential investors who could take partial ownership in Saab.

Jan-Ake Jonsson, managing director of the Swedish brand, said GM and Saab are talking to several investors about putting money into the Swedish company. He did not say who Saab is talking to, but sources at Saab owner GM say other automakers and large engineering houses are among the interested parties.

“We are looking for investors to get some external funding into some activities, such as accelerating product development,” Jonsson told Automotive News Europe today.

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