Tag Archives: Designer

Former Saab Designer Anthony Lo, Leaves GM For Renault

Posted on 09. Mar, 2010 by .



Photo Credit: Saab History

Former Saab Designer, Anthony Lo, who I interviewed this past September in Frankfurt and previously in Detroit a year earlier, has left GM to take a new position with Renault according to Car Design News

Lo, led what people refer to as the “concept car era” for Saab under GM’s ownership, beginning with the 9-X in 2001, 9-3x, 9-3 Sport Hatch, Aero-X, 9-4x BioPower, 9-X BioHybrid and ending with the 9-X Air in 2008.

He brought a lot of design skills to the table with Saab and it was a pleasure to have him on board.

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Saab History Interviews Christian Von Koenigsegg, CEO Of Koenigsegg Group AB

Posted on 18. Sep, 2009 by .


Film Credit: Saab History

The final interview I had at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, was with none other than Christian Von Koenigsegg himself, exactly one week after visiting a Koenigsegg dealership in New York.

The opportunity to meet with him was extremely difficult as you could imagine, especially since I only managed to get to the motor show with a week’s notice, so I was not able to schedule interviews weeks in advance like many members of the press did. I am however, particularly thrilled that I did get the chance to meet with him and want to give thanks to former Saab designer who was present, Taras Czornyj, who helped facilitate this interview after his meeting with Mr. Koenigsegg.

The interview I had at nearly ten minutes in length was my first time meeting with Christian Von Koenigsegg, so I asked some initial questions on how he first took the initiative to purchase Saab in which he provided great responses, in my opinion. As the interview continued, I did have to ask about what kind of support he will offer to current Saab dealerships, in particularly those in the U.S. that have been very concerned about their ability to continue or be “chosen” by Koenigsegg, to which his response was that Saab Automobile’s management board actually makes those decisions, not himself nor Koenigsegg Group. One of the last questions I asked was about how they would earn back to the Saab Automobile customer base and I think his response should certainly satisfy you as a Saab owner, enthusiast or perspective buyer.

I want to give a sincere thank you to CvK for offering his time as his last interview of the day here with Saab History. It was terrific to meet with him, but even better to be able to ask some rather pointed questions upon our first meeting and conversely receive some specific answers too.

My thanks also goes to Tynan’s Saab & JMK Saab for allowing this final interview of the auto show possible for my visitors on Saab History to experience.

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Saab History Interviews Saab Designer, Anthony Lo

Posted on 18. Sep, 2009 by .


Audio Credit: Saab History

Anthony Lo who I interviewed last January in Detroit spoke with me about his time working with Saab since departing earlier this year to stay with Opel. After nearly 9 years as the advanced design director for Saab Automobile’s future products and concept cars, he decided to stay in Germany.

You may remember Lo led what people refer to as the “concept car era” beginning with the 9-X in 2001, and ending with the 9-X Air just last year.

It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to interview him, in an audio only format since he is no longer an employee of Saab. A sincere thank to to Anthony Lo, as well as Tynan’s Saab & JMK Saab for making it happen.

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Saab History Interviews Simon Padian, Saab Automobile Brand Design Chief At 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show

Posted on 18. Sep, 2009 by .


Film Credit: Saab History

Saab History had the great opportunity to interview Simon Padian, Saab Automobile’s Brand Design Chief at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show earlier this week.

Padian, this year entered his 20th anniversary with Saab as a designer and has seen just about every change in the Saab brand design program beginning with his first mentor, Bjorn Envall who co-designed the Saab 99 with SAAB’s first designer, Sixten Sason.

A thank to Tynan’s Saab & JMK Saab for making this happen as well as Simon Padian for sharing his time with Saab History.

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Saab History’s Suggested Strategy For Saab Automobile’s Ability To Target Their Post Modernist Audience

Posted on 13. Jul, 2009 by .


After hearing the Saab Automobile brand design chief, Simon Padian state that the target audience for the brand are “modern individualists” (defined in the video above) harkening back to Saab designer, Bryan Nesbitt’s words of “upper liberal” two years ago and my experience at Saab 60th event in San Diego at the modern Tower 13 hotel as well as the super modern House of Sweden in D.C, I thought it was an appropriate time to start asking ourselves, what is Saab Automobile’s target audience, is it truly a post modernist audience?

Living here in the North East region of the United States, I’ve seen a strong base of those who either live or want to live the modern lifestyle as typically depicted in “Dwell Magazine“, effectively falling into the targeted audience for the Saab Automobile brand, however those people are very far and few between. I also think that the same goes for those in the Pacific North West. Within this demographic, these individuals realize that there are a lot of choices these days when it comes to an automobile, far more than when Saab held onto the quirky capable car for those active yuppies in the late eighties and early nineties. Today’s post modernists not only drive Saabs, they drive audis, bmws, top of the line Subaru outbacks, Mini’s, Smart Cars, and then of course the Toyota Prius.

So, what is it going to take to get all of these customers out of these vehicles and into the Saab Automobile? Or better yet, what will it take to keep the existing customers with Saab Automobile? I thought that this would be a good opportunity to instead of focusing solely on the audience, looking at the product itself and seeing what it needs to have in order for Saab Automobile to continue to maintain this targeted audience of post modern/ individualist. There are a number of key areas that Saab Automobile will need to improve on in their new product lineup in order to do better within this target audience that I have provided below as five simplified points.

If this direction does not change soon, Saab Automobile’s targeted audience will completely move on, and if that happens, where will Saab be? Are there other demographics not as specific as this that also equally appreciate each and every factor of the current Saab product portfolio?

1) Rightsized Architectures

I believe the “rightsizing philosophy” needs to be applied to the car as a whole, not just the power train because let’s not forget, Saab Automobile is historically a small-car maker where they’ve succeeded. Saab Automobile is not a large luxury car maker, and doing otherwise will continue to be counter to their efforts. I could see advertisements here in the United States about Saab’s rightsizing philosophy in comparison to just about every other car on the market that’s not “right sized”. It’ll set them apart from the competition immediately.

2) Scandinavian Design Inside & Out

A continuation of the scandinavian design outside and inside, with much more attention paid to quality and choice of materials, which is just starting to show through. There is no other automobile manufacturers in the world that can hold this claim, so Saab Automobile must step up the message on a global scale.

3) Ecofriendly Powertrains

A real effort to get into the eco friendly market, because the BioPower program & the Turbocharger, particularly here in the United States is not going to cut it, it’s just not enough, even the TTid diesel would be a good start, if they can out advertise volkswagen’s new campaign here in the Unites States. It’s also the hybrid market that Saab Automobile can really hit the road running, it needs to happen because people aren’t buying the Prius because it’s a toyota, they are buying it because it’s a hybrid..and now Ford has a Hybrid. If Saab Automobile is an innovator, we need to see it because the power train is a big deal, and it’s going to drive the sales more than the pop-out cup holder, heated seats or the active head restraint system.

4) A Solid Statement of Saab Safety

A solid dialogue about Saab’s Safety through engineering exhibited in every car they make. Showcasing and visually illustrating what makes a Saab safe, the engineering work, the education behind the engineers research & development, the real-life safety, the active & passive safety systems included in every car they make.

5) Practicality & Active Lifestyle

A commitment to outwitting the competition in the practicality department through their legendary hatchback & other functionality through accessories and otherwise, assisting in the active lifestyles that make up the majority of their Saab demographic. This is where the branding exercises will be best illustrated through marketing and advertising of the practicality and other functionality.

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Saab Automobile’s Brand Design Chief Interviewed

Posted on 13. Jul, 2009 by .


Simon Padian, Saab Automobile AB’s brand design chief, has been recently interviewed by Michael Vaughn of the Toronto, Canada based Globe & Mail news source.

Padian began his career with Saab Automobile AB 18 years ago in May of 1989 as a designer this year, effectively marks his twenty-year anniversary with Saab.

In this interview, Padian responds to a number of questions. There was one question about the Vermont Professors, that I have to chime into here. Today, it is pretty much inaccurate these days with “Vermont” college professors driving Saabs, or even in New England for that matter. College professors rarely fall into the category of well to do “modern individualists” these days, which is the new target audience that Saab Automobile has been pursuing since the late nineties. This is a far cry from the targeted market from before when that reference was more accurate due to the quirky nature of the vehicles, so when the vehicles changed, so did the targeted marketing, and of course the customer base then followed suite.

In the meantime here are a few of the questions and answers, for more please visit the website for the rest.

Vaughan: I’m no designer, but when I see a Saab it seems like I’m looking at the Scandinavian school of minimalism on wheels. I’m sure you don’t take your design cues from an Ikea bookshelf, but what does inspire you when you design a Saab?

Padian: The biggest inspiration for Saab design is our unique heritage and identity.

Did you know that the first Saab vehicle was designed by aircraft engineers who had never built a car? The result was a vehicle that shared many design characteristics of an airplane, including the overall shape of a wing and a “cockpit” that envelops the driver.

Saab has continued to evolve the design language from our aircraft experience, including integrating elements such as wraparound windscreens, joystick air vents, and cockpit-inspired interiors, as well as the intuitive way information is submitted to the driver, night panels, and heated and vented seats that help keep drivers comfortable and focused on the road.

Add to this a Scandinavian design philosophy that emphasizes simplicity and purity in form, colour and function, and you’ve got a Saab.

Vaughan: Saab is one of the smallest auto makers in the world (126,000 cars sold last year), and thus by definition is a niche car. So who are you designing for? Is Saab still for university professors from Vermont?

Padian: Actually, Saabs have proven to be particularly popular with journalists

What’s interesting is that we’ve found that Saab drivers all around the world share a strikingly similar make-up: creative, active, confident, and often entrepreneurial.

These “modern individualists” are the same people designing Saabs, so in essence you can say we’re designing vehicles for ourselves — which makes our jobs very enjoyable.

As for the profs from Vermont, given the personality traits I just described and the climate and recreational activities found in the northeastern United States, I wouldn’t be surprised if they still drive Saabs, but they aren’t the only ones.

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Saab Designs Implemented Throughout Austria Hotel

Posted on 30. Jun, 2009 by .



Photo Credits: Saab Automobile Austria

Saab Automobile Austria have decided to work with the Rathauspark, to implement their “move your mind” advertising campaign throughout their hotel in Austria.

Saab will design in suite at the Austria Trend Hotel Rathauspark in Vienna.

The Swedish car manufacturer Saab, is known for its extraordinary design. Now, this also in the Saab suite at the Austria Trend Hotel Vienna City Hall Park in its application. At 45m2 Saab was now the slogan “Move your mind” in a creative and modern design language implemented.

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The Saab 900 NG : 1994 – 1998

Posted on 02. Dec, 2008 by .



Photo Credit: Saab Automobile

The new generation Saab 900 debuted in July of 1993 in Trollhattan and arrived in 1994 and marked a clear departure of the classic 900 era that lasted 15 years.

This new 900 also referred to as NG900 or in some circles “GM” 900, was the first model to be entirely developed by General Motors.

However, the NG 900 was designed by Saab designer, Einar Hareide of Norway and evolved from their first prototype, the EV-2.

The 900 came in both 3-door coupe as well as 5-door models and was built in Trollhattan, Sweden.

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Production Concept