Tag Archives: Saab Automobile USA

A Behind The Scenes Look At The Saab On Burn Notice

Posted on 27. Oct, 2009 by .

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Film Credit: USA Networks

For the past few years, the former Saab Automobile USA organization partnered with USA Networks on the Miami, Florida based “Burn Notice” television series.

This series included a 2008 Saab 9-3 Convertible in black for Fiona, one of the leading characters in the film. This arrangement was managed by former Saab Automobile USA Advertising & Promotions Manager, Steven Haener.

The following film has been recently located that provides you a behind-the-scenes look at the Saab 9-3 Aero convertible being filmed in high-speed chase scenes in addition to some of the details as to why Saab partners with USA Networks in Burn Notice to begin with.

I quick look at the official Burn Notice website results in no current details as to the continued partnership with Saab in the United States now that they are a new organization with new leadership.

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The New Saab Cars North America Team Starts Today

Posted on 05. Oct, 2009 by .

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As we all learned a few weeks ago, the new Saab Cars North America team starts today . The team led by Chief Operating Officer, Mike Colleran, formerly the National Sales Director for Saab Automobile USA, is excited to get things underway.

This new sales, services and parts team will be working hard from here on out, with the most critical work transitioning the company to be a separate entity from GM over the next three months as January 1st, 2010 fast approaches.

The new products that the team will be introducing here in the short term within the United States include the 2010 9-3x, 2010 All New 9-5, 2011 9-4x and the 2011 All New 9-5 Wagon.

The 222 Saab retail channels (dealerships) in the United States will all need to obtain a number of key items in order to support the new team’s objectives. The items needed by the dealerships include new agreements, floor planning and leasing, among a host of other necessities in order to make these products available to current and prospective customers. It is my hope that this new team will do all that it can to develop new relationships with these retailers and get them what they need from here on out.

Of course to be able to get the word out that these new products exist, it’s critical that the new team launch a robust advertising and marketing plan that clearly communicates that they are starting to become an truly independent company from GM. That news should receive great results for both the customers and the dealerships.

I welcome this new team in starting the 4th era of Saab from 2009 onward.

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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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Where Do You Think The New Saab USA HQ Should Be?

Posted on 03. Sep, 2009 by .

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It was suggested by a peer on the phone tonight (a former Saab USA employee) that I post this poll to you about where you think the best location will be for where the new Saab Automobile USA organization should be located.

As you know quite well by now if you are a Saab History frequenter, that I still believe that this new headquarters should be in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, both the main office, including the heritage collection and historical archives. This location as I have said would be appropriate for just about every reason imaginable from that heritage collection, their reconnection with their roots starting in New England, where their largest demographic is located, to all of the possible promotional advertising and press opportunities right near the mountains and the coast. It’s cost efficient for business tax reasons, it’s ideal for all of the scenic locations for pr and advertising needs, and logical much like what Sweden is doing by bringing all activities “home”, and that being for Saab in the U.S. is New England, where it all started.

Evidently, according to what I have heard as of late, this process of reconstructing the staff for the new Saab Automobile USA will be done by October 1st, so the question I ask you in a poll is, where should that new location be once they realize that they need to leave their leased space in GM’s world headquarters in Detroit?

When answering, please also post a comment about why you chose what you did.

Where Do You Suggest The New Saab USA HQ Should Be?

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While Saab Will Continue in the United States, The Term “Saab USA” Effectively No Longer Exists Under GM.

Posted on 22. May, 2009 by .

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Saab USA has been a term loosely used since Saab began operations in the United States back in 1956 as I mentioned in the history of the Saab HQ.

Since then the term has had many iterations, Saab Motors, Inc., Saab-Scania of America, Inc, Saab Cars USA, Inc. and Saab Automobile USA.

It’s important to indicate that the term “Saab USA” in a separate business entity sense, no longer represents a group of people solely responsible for taking care of Saab operations in the United States.

Gradually, under the GM umbrella, it has been moving into the GM fold since 1992, again in 2004, and finally in the spring of 2009 where it effectively disappeared into the abyss of “GM Premium brands”.

However, Saab will continue in the United States and with the new Saab just around the corner, I am hoping for a relaunch in the United States of a separate entity something to the effect of Saab Automobile North America, Inc.

Here is a piece from a Mr. Klaus Peter at GM, who is temporarily filling in for Jan-Willem Vester’s rather large shoes describing what “Saab USA” is today under existing GM ownership.

The Saab headquarters is in Sweden, the US branch is basically a marketing unit.

When it comes to engineering, purchasing, etc., in most cases there are no employees assigned to specific brands. Teams work on small, mid-size, full size etc. vehicles.

There are many people in GM working on Saab-related tasks in Marketing, Engineering, Design, Purchasing and so on. Most of these employees also handle responsibilties related to other GM brands. On the highest corporate level there is of course Fritz Henderson and his senior leadership team.

So basically, “Saab USA” is just a marketing unit and the only person in that unit is Steve Shannon, and even he doesn’t do it full-time as he works with Cadillac & Hummer as well. Hence, there are no longer any full-time employees working specifically on Saab related tasks and responsibilities.

Saab USA is for all intents and purposes just now a name, a third of one person’s responsibilities (ie. Steve Shannon) , a website front-end (www.saabusa.com), and 225 incredible dealerships continuing to fight the good fight.

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History Of The Saab USA HQ In The United States

Posted on 29. Apr, 2009 by .

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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 Interviews Steve Shannon At 2009 NYIAS

Posted on 12. Apr, 2009 by .

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Film Credit: Saab History

At the North American debut of the Saab 9-3x Cross-Combi at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), I had the opportunity once again with the help of colleague Todd Agostini, to interview Steve Shannon, Executive Director of GM Premium Brands (Saab/Cadillac/ Hummer).

Last year, I interviewed Steve Shannon with Jan-Ake Jonsson, Managing Director for Saab Automobile USA at the NYIAS, this year, I worked with Todd of Cherry Hill Saab in New Jersey on this interview, which I must saw was quite nice in terms of the questions we asked and the answers we received.

This month of April marks the two-year anniversary of Steve Shannon’s tenure managing Saab Automobile since he replaced Jay-Spenchian back on April of 2007. I was delighted to hear his response when we reminded him of this.

A thank you to Todd of Cherry Hill Saab as well as Steve Shannon & Jan-Willem Vester of Saab Automobile USA for making the necessary arrangements for this interview to take place.

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2010 SAAB 9-3x Cross Combi Debuts At New York Auto Show

Posted on 06. Apr, 2009 by .

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2010_saab_9-3x_auto_show.jpg

Photo Credit: Saab Automobile USA

Saab Automobile USA’s Jan-Willem Vester has provided Saab History with a recent press release about the Saab 9-3x Cross-Combi debuting at the New York Auto Show this Thursday.

Here is the press release below:

NEW 2010 SAAB 9-3X: FROM TROLLHÄTTAN TO MANHATTAN

Latest in 9-3 Family Combines Advanced Cross-Wheel Drive With Fuel Efficiency

DETROIT – Saab will introduce the 2010 9-3X at the 2009 New York International Auto Show on April 8, a rugged all-rounder aimed at active individualists seeking an alternative to a large crossover or SUV. It is the vehicle’s North American debut, following its world premiere last month at the Geneva Auto Show.

Developed and manufactured at Saab’s headquarters in Trollhättan, Sweden, the 9-3X is designed to stylishly transport outdoor enthusiasts to their adventures. It features distinctive looks; a versatile SportCombi body; higher stance; and advanced all-wheel-drive technology. On top of that, the 9-3X also offers fuel efficiency and functional storage without limits on the kinds of roads it can travel.

In the 9-3X, the acclaimed Saab Cross Wheel Drive (XWD) system – which made its debut in the Turbo X limited edition model last year – will be combined with the fuel-efficient 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine. The 9-3X embodies Saab’s “EcoPower” technology philosophy, which aims at combining a dynamic driving experience with an efficient use of resources to achieve responsible performance.

Distinctive appeal

Saab designers raised the chassis of the two-wheel-drive 9-3 SportCombi 1.4 inches (35 mm) and added automatic body-leveling so the 9-3X can handle a rugged driving terrain regardless of the load on the rear axle. It is designed for those who frequently travel gravel or unpaved roads, without compromising the driving experience on asphalt.
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