Tag Archives: Manager

Jan-Willem Vester (1958-2009)

Posted on 07. Dec, 2009 by .


Photo Credit: Saab Automobile USA

It is with great sadness that I share with you the news that Jan-Willem Vester, former Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications has passed away today at the age of 51 after a prolonged illness.

A colleague, friend and my first contact when I started Saab History, Jan-Willem Vester has been greatly missed ever since he departed the Saab community earlier this year, and will be forever remembered by family, friends and colleagues.

Jan-Willem’s life began as a young child growing up in the Netherlands with a family that worked in the automotive industry. His Father, worked as as a teacher at a local automotive school and owned a number of family vehicles such as the Peugeot 404 and 504. It was during this time, that Jan-Willem’s interest and curiosity continued in this industry where he began visiting a local auto museum in the area. It was after a number of visits to this museum, which ran numerous films that he first encountered a Saab 96 with legendary rally champion, Erik Carlsson at the Safari Rally.

As he got older, his interest and curiosity about the Saab continued even though his region was effectively split up into only two automotive enthusiasts’ camps, the BMW or the Alfa-Romeo. It made Jan-Willem wonder if there could be something like an even smarter go-between. In his travels around his neighborhood following that first taste of a Saab on film, he began noticing more Saabs in real life such as a bright white ’72 Saab 99 and an orange ’73 Combi Coupe, owned by a local architect. And so the fascination for Saab continued. […]

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Saab Automobile’s Response to The Reports On Koenigsegg

Posted on 11. Jun, 2009 by .


I have just received this from Joe Oliver at Saab Automobile AB at this time regarding SVT’s reports on Koenigsegg.

A thank you to Joe for this response, and here’s hoping an official response, press conference etc, comes soon about what’s happening with their buyer, “whomever” that may be, just as long that buyer ends up being Koenigsegg. 🙂

I am happy for you to quote me on this:

The SVT report is speculation.

There has been no GM or Saab Automobile announcement relating to any potential investors. We have already stated we will be presenting the preferred candidate in the near future and until then we will not comment on identities. Rest assured the process is on track and we expect to have the new ownership structure finalised in the early summer.


Joe Oliver
Manager, Global Media Initiatives
Saab Automobile AB

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Saab History Attempts To Get Question(s) Answered By CEO Fritz Henderson In GM Media Update Conference

Posted on 17. Apr, 2009 by .


Saab History called in to participate in the GM Media Update with CEO Fritz Henderson that answered a number of questions with the media this morning.

Surprisingly, none of the major news outlets that asked questions involved Saab Automobile whatsoever. In an effort to ask quite possibly, the only Saab related question, Saab History called in, but did not get a chance to get the question(s) asked and therefore not answered.

Here are the questions below that were to be asked of Fritz Henderson live:

Q #1As we know, Saab is going through a re-structuring process with the Swedish court. Saab Automobile AB is negotiating with investors to purchase Saab from General Motors. A deal is expected to be finalized by the end of June. If GM files for bankruptcy between now and then, how would this affect the potential deal with Saab and the potential investor?

Q #2If General Motors files for bankruptcy, will GM pay all dealer receivables (i.e. incentive money, warranty, holdback, floorplan assistance & misc receivables), or will this money follow the normal bankruptcy route.

Update: I have recently received a response from Saab Automobile USA’s Jan-Willem Vester this past Friday here it is:

Hi Ryan,

On behalf of my colleagues at GM Corporate Communications, our apologies that we have not been able to directly answer your question during the interview session with Fritz Henderson for apparent technical difficulties.

For now, let us state that it is still too early to speculate on the impact of what might happen if GM were to file for bankruptcy. However, if GM were to file for bankruptcy in the United States, the filing would be for the GM’s U.S. operations while the Corporation would seek to minimize the impact on operations outside the U.S. — including Saab Automobile.

Hope that helps. Thanks and have a great weekend,

Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications


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Saab History Interviews Mats Hilmersson, Director of Hybrid Engineering At Saab Automobile AB

Posted on 24. Mar, 2009 by .


I have recently interviewed Mats Hilmersson, Director of Hybrid Engineering at Saab Automobile AB with some quick questions about what he does and what’s going on within the hybrid engineering department.

His succinct response about the future of hybrid engineering at Saab Automobile helps us think about the future, following the previous information from the former director Mats Reimark.

A thank you to Mats Hilmersson for his time in sharing a bit about his role and the future of Hybrid Engineering at Saab Automobile AB.

Saab History: How and when did you start working at Saab Automobile AB?

Mats Hilmersson: January 1998. Engine development.

Saab History: What you currently do for Saab Automobile AB when it comes to Hybrid Development & Engineering?

Mats Hilmersson: I’m the department manager for Hybrid Engineering at GM Powertrain Sweden AB.

Saab History: What hybrid projects are you working on, what and when would we expect to see them?

Mats Hilmersson: We do Pre-Development engineering activities within GM Powertrain’s hybrid pre-development projects. We work with different variants of GM’s exisiting technology and the next generation of hybrid systems. Concerning expectations regarding projects to the market I have to refer to the GM Information department.

Saab History: What kind of inspiration and positive news can you provide my readers about the future of Saab Hybrid products?

Mats Hilmersson: Saab will meet customer expectations regarding the future hybrid roll out. Saab is dedicated to the Responsible Performance statement and that includes a clear step towards next generation powertrains where the hybrid variants are vital. I’m confident that Saab will convince, I know it, since I’m in the middle of the technology development.

Saab History: Anything else you would like to share with the readers on Saab History?

Mats Hilmersson:
It’s interesting to see the trends in the industry slowly turning towards the traditional Saab value down-sized engines with supercharging in order to reduce engine friction losses and thus reduce fuel consumption. It’s good to be able to stay on a winning path rather than having to change to it. The downsizing and hybridization works very well together, good for us!

I look forward to your response and thank you for your responses.



This mail has been sent from General Motors Powertrain – Sweden AB
Registered in Sweden, Registered Office c/o Saab Automobile AB, SE-461 80
Trollhättan, Sweden
Reg Num 556602-9038
VAT Number SE55660290 3801

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The Saab Automobile AB Management Board

Posted on 19. Feb, 2009 by .


The Saab Automobile AB Management board are deciding Saab’s future in their discussions with General Motors & the Swedish Government. I am interested in what became of the meeting because those results would presumably set the direction for Saab’s process towards financial as well as organizational independence from General Motors.

cph.jpgThe individuals that this board consist of their chairman, Carl-Peter Forster as well as the rest of the management board of Saab Automobile AB.

I am wondering if Percy Barnevik who resigned from GM’s Management board earlier this month, is a consultant to this board now or is he totally retired?

In the meantime, here is the Management Board for your reference.


Jan Ã…ke Jonsson Managing Director of Saab Automobile
Kjell Bergström Managing Director, CEO of General Motors Powertrain Sweden
Executive Director, Advanced Engineering, General Motors Powertrain Europe
Jürgen Burghardt Executive Director Manufacturing
Johan Formgren Director Saab Global Aftersales
Eric Geers Director Communications
Kristina Geers General Counsel, Saab Automobile AB
Lars Hägerborg Finance Director, Saab Automobile AB
Martin Larsson Director GME Global Purchasing & Supply Chain
Jörgen Nylén Vehicle Line Director
Simon Padian Director Design
Allan Rothlind Director Personnel
Steve Shannon General Manager of Saab USA
Jonathan Nash, Managing Director, Saab Great Britain Limited
Knut Simonsson Executive Director Global Brand & Sales Operations, Saab
HÃ¥kan Skarin CIO Information Systems & Services
Anders Svensson Vehicle Line Director

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Saab Sighting Of The Week “Saab Automobile USA Communications Director’s 9-5 SportWagon”

Posted on 10. Feb, 2009 by .



Photo Credit: Jan-Willem Vester/ Saab Automobile USA

Jan-Willem Vester, the Communications Director for Saab Automobile USA, since replacing Kevin Smith in 2004, has kindly provided Saab History a wonderful photo of his 2004 9-5 Wagon CPO for the Saab Sighting Of The Week.

He has also provided us a little insight into his background with Saab and how he acquired this beautiful 9-5!

Thank you Jan-Willem for your contribution!

First and foremost, my European background has provided us with many postive experiences with Stationwagons as they tend to offer plenty of useful extras – often including better looks — on the same “real estate” as a comperable sedan. Having started with a couple of C900 5-doors (’79 GLs and ’84 GLi), I’ve been looking forward to a true full-size Saab wagon for my growing family – so, when the 9-5 was announced with that beautifully extended body designed by Simon Padian, I sort of knew that over time, I had to have one.

This 2004 2.3T Arc was offered as a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle in early 2007 by Saab of Lakeside in Macomb, Michigan. The records showed that this very car had started its life as a display vehicle for Saab Cars USA prior to my assignment here, and may have been shown at the 2003 Owners Convention and other publicity events. True its calling, this car has almost every available option including the 17-inch sport wheel package, giving it a sporty and unique appearance. The Laser Red paint is also rather rare on a 9-5, I believe, and almost litterally puts the Sport in this Wagon. Plus, absolutely ideal of course when presenting it to my wife and three kids on the occasion of Valentine’s day — love on first sight!

On the practical side, the car is always very visible even in Michigan’s most dreary weather, attributing to its safety appeal as daily transportation for my most precious cargo. In the past two years of ownership, our 9-5 quickly became a valued family member and hasn’t missed a beat under any of the circumstances it has been exposed to. Regular service at Saab of Troy as the 30,000 mile mark passed by uneventfully last summer, wasn’t cheap but definitely worth it as the car got fresh fluids all over and immediately felt ready for the next 30,000 miles — and then some… Clearly, this 9-5 still has lots of life left in it, and we look forward keeping it in our family as long as we can imagine. So if you happen to toy with a similar idea, we can certainly recommend it!

Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

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Production Concept