Tag Archives: House of Sweden

The "Save Saab" Event In Washington, D.C.

Posted on 24. Jan, 2010 by .

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Photo Credit: Daniel Purvis

The “SAVE SAAB” event in Washington, D.C. has just finished and here’s one of the first photos from the event. Great to see so many Saabs in front of the Capitol building and the coordinated gathering in front of the House of Sweden! There were apparently 35 Saabs and 40 people!

Please continue to send your comments, photos and videos if you attended this event.

For more photos, the organizer has provided two links for additional photographs from the event here:

Brian: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sugonaut/sets/72157623277642926/
Leigh: http://www.flickr.com/photos/minxx/sets/72157623151752279/

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Saab History’s Contributions To Saab In The United States

Posted on 02. Oct, 2009 by .

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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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Saab History Interviews Knut Simonsson, Saab Automobile’s Global Director Of Sales & Marketing

Posted on 17. Sep, 2009 by .

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At the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, thanks to Tynan’s Saab & JMK Saab, I had the great opportunity to have an interview with Knut Simonsson, Saab Automobile’s global director of sales & marketing and part of the Saab Management Board.

It was two years ago that I first met Mr. Simonsson while attending the 2008 Saab 9-3 Media event at the House of Sweden while living in Washington, D.C. as he was my co-pilot in a laser red Saab 9-3 Sedan.

During this interview, I asked the questions that needed to be asked about both the dealerships survival as well as the customers and I think the responses were quite good as indicated where Saab Automobile needs to establish trust with both, moving forward. I specifically liked his responses about supporting both dealerships and gainint the trust of customers in a localized/regional sense.

The best thing I received after interviewing with him is that Saab dealerships, specifically in the United States would be receiving their new agreement letters from Koenigsegg before December 31st, 2009 when their current GM “wind down agreements” expire. Truly great news and I’m happy to have been there to report on this!

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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 .

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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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House Of Sweden Marks 2nd Anniversary

Posted on 22. Oct, 2008 by .

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hos_2nd.jpg

Photo Credit: Saab History / August 30th, 2007

The House of Sweden marks its 2nd anniversary today, Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Having attended the 2008 Saab 9-3 Media Program here last August, the Cars & Transportation Program earlier that year, and the original launch back on October 22nd, 2006, I can tell you that in retrospect, It was a great time to be living in Washington, D.C. as one who appreciates Sweden as well as the Saab Automobile.

This was a time, I will never forget, and with that, I leave you a video I filmed of the Swedish band “The Ark”, who performed on stage during the House of Sweden Launch back on October 22nd, 2006

Enjoy, and when you get the chance, visit the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C.!

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