Tag Archives: Saab USA

The 4 Saab Promo Ads (Intro, Moose, Snow, XWD)

Posted on 24. Mar, 2010 by .


Saab History has recently learned about the four Saab promo spots “Intro”, “Moose”, “Snow”, “XWD” that were going to be launched a year ago. These ads (although unfinished) were apparently produced for the 2008/2009 season for the Saab USA website prior to ownership change of the company. According to an insider, the ads were going to be included as part of the website’s site design, but that all was canceled when GM went bankrupt.

These unfinished videos look very intriguing and it would have been nice to see these launched at some point, especially with the Saab 9-3x and the continuation of Cross Wheel Drive in the 9-3 lineup. I am certain all of the ads would have been very effective in the North East and other areas in the United States that see snow and ice. I know that the Moose ad would be very appealing to the people in Maine, that’s for sure.

These ads were done by McCann Erickson, the ad agency that Saab USA transitioned to in September of 2007. The ads we have seen since this ad agency became the “agency of record” for Saab USA, included three, “Recycle” featuring the 9-3 convertible, “Read The Road” featuring the 9-3 Sport Sedan with XWD and finally an ad with the 9-3 Sport Combi. These four ads would have been added to already impressive ad spot lineup.

What is interesting is that McCann Erickson hired MadSound for the audio as well as RTT for the animation. RTT has an office on Main Street in Royal Oak, the same town where Saab Cars North America, now have their new headquarters.

I wonder if Saab Cars North America as well as McCann (if they are still their agency) along with RTT & Mad Sound can finish these videos and get them launched. It would be such a waste of time if they never see the light of day especially since they appear near complete, don’t you think?

These videos look great and should be finished up and launched, it’s not too late.

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Saab History’s Contributions To Saab In The United States

Posted on 02. Oct, 2009 by .


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 Cars North America Sales & Service Team By Oct 5th

Posted on 21. Sep, 2009 by .


At the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, Jan Ã…ke Jonsson introduced Mike Colleran who has been designated as the the new COO and President of Saab Cars North America, Inc. Mike Colleran who has worked as the Sales Director for Saab USA for the past 5 years, spoke at the 2009 Saab Owners Convention back in late August that I covered. Following this speaking engagement, his announcement with this new position, succeeding Steve Shannon took place back on September 3rd, 2009.

This video indicates a few announcements for the newly established Saab Cars North America, beginning with the new appointment of John Anderson, the head of sales & service for United States and North America markets. Although there is no press release available for this new position, I would expect there to be one, once a new communications director has been announced since Jan-Willem Vester left Saab USA on April 20th, a month after I interviewed him about his career.

In addition to the announcement of the new staff member, it also indicates that the remainder of the Saab Cars North America sales & service team will be completed by October 5th, 2009. This new team, speculated to consist of 46-49 people, may be half former GM employees with the other half, former Saab USA employees and/or from the outside.

In terms of the new headquarters location for this new team, it has been rumored to be initially within the GM Renaissance center, then will move to some facility nearby again, still in Michigan.

I am guessing that within the next few weeks by this date, the details will come out soon as to what this team will consist of, where they will be located and what the new Saab Cars North America will look like.

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Saab Enthusiast Calls For Diesels & Hatchbacks In U.S.

Posted on 13. Sep, 2009 by .


A Saab History frequenter has contacted me recently to tell me that he recently attempted to write an e-mail to the folks at Saab Cars North America, Inc. about suggestions about future products that should be introduced into the United States. Unfortunately, his e-mail attempt failed when he hit submit and was redirected to some GM site about legal disclaimers. I told him that if the Saab USA website did not accept his submission, I would gladly offer a venue in which to submit it as his submission to Saab History came through without a problem.

His suggestions are to introduce diesels as well as hatchbacks to the United States. The former are already available in most other markets, the latter is something many including myself have been advocating since the last hatchback left the product portfolio of Saab in 2002 with the 9-3.

Many of us may all know about Fred in Chicago (DZLSABE) that personally imported a 2003 Saab 9-3 (the first year without the hatch) that had a 2.2 TiD diesel engine and has celebrated 50+ miles per gallon since and continues to enjoy this ride, just think what it would have been like if these were officially available for everyone complete with a hatchback?

The last thing the writer suggested was that I put a poll below about what you think Saab Cars North America needs in United States, those being 1) A Hatch?, 2) A Diesel?, 3) Both being equally most important or 4) Neither (please describe in comments what is needed). I of course took this initiative and responded by placing a poll here, so please cast your votes!

What Do you Think Saab's U.S. Market Needs Right Now?

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Hi–this is what I intended to send to SAAB USA:

My first SAAB, a 1969 96, was way ahead of its time in terms of safety, comfort, utility and performance. 10 years later I purchased a 1978 99, a car which remains great to drive, the combination of a hatch and removable back shelf and back seats which fold almost flat adding station wagon-like capacity to the features I enjoyed when I had the 96. SAAB should once again offer a true hatchback. I also think that given the performance, mileage and reliability of today’s diesels, a 9-3 turbo diesel would be most welcome in the U.S. And while I appreciate new design, given the cost of low-speed impacts a return to 5 mph damage-free bumpers should be another consideration.

Perhaps you could add a quick poll such as SAAB 9-3s

should be offered with: (a) Hatch ( b) Turbo diesel (c) Both (d)

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2009 SOC Saab History In Colorado Presentation

Posted on 04. Sep, 2009 by .


At the 2009 Saab Owners Convention, I moderated a seminar on Saturday morning that consisted of the Saab History in Colorado (1960-Present).

As part of the seminar, I had a number of former presenters from former Saab USA Employees to a representative from the Vail Police Department to discuss and present 4 distinct areas of this history.

I had a great time presenting and thank those that participated in the seminar as well as all those that attended it. I captured the seminar by creating a video above that showcases each powerpoint slide with an audio-only portion of the presentation for ease of listening. The seminar is one hour in length so as time permits, sit back listen and enjoy looking at the photographs and the stories behind then.

Here’s the summary of what was discussed.


Saab has had a very colorful history in Colorado. This history of Saab in Colorado began with one individual. Dick Catron, was the individual that opened the first Saab dealership in 1958 which triggered the growth of the dealership network in Colorado ever since. From 1966 through 1995, Saab had representation is as many as 11 markets in Colorado. Today, there are four Saab dealerships in the state, all attaining excellent market penetration.


In addition to having great dealer representation during this time, there were two significant product launches that helped Saab to become a leader in the Colorado market. At the start there was the addition of the turbo in the late seventies, which made the car a real performer in the high altitudes of Colorado. Next came the Saab convertible, which proved to be a huge success as an all season car. Then came all-wheel drive, and today there’s what’s called cross-wheel drive.


Over a period of 25 years, both Aspen and Vail police departments selected Saab as their official police car. This exposure yielded a long-standing and mutually beneficial marketing tool for both parties during that time. Driving through Aspen and Vail, seeing all the police cars was a truly unique experience. Rob McClung Chief of Police in Aspen quoted “The Aspen Police Department has found the Saab far superior to any other vehicle we have tested with respect to its performance under the demanding conditions we encounter in our police service “. Years later, it was a Hollywood film with Jim Carrey & Jeff Daniels, that reinforced the continued presence of Saab’s in Colorado on the big screen.

For ten straight years (1982-1991) a national peace officers ski race took place in Colorado, and Saab USA was the main sponsor. It was this event between the ski demographic and the Saab owner that reinforced the connection ever since. In the late nineties, Saab entered their new generation Saab 900 in the Pikes Peak, Colorado challenge on steep gravel roads, which proved to be faster than any other car in its class. This race continued in 2000 and again in 2002 with legendary rally driver, Per Eklund who helped set new historical milestones for Saab racing in Colorado. In the early 2000’s following the Pikes Peak event, Saab launched their first all-wheel drive vehicle at Crested Butte Ski Resort in Colorado.

While it was impossible to cover all the events of Saab’s history in Colorado here, I did the best job with my colleagues to cover all of the high points.

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Mike Colleran As COO For Saab Cars North America, Inc.

Posted on 03. Sep, 2009 by .


Film Credit: Saab History, thanks to Cherry Hill Saab of NJ & Tynan’s Saab of Fort Collins, CO

Saab History just received the following information from a number of Saab dealerships in the United States.

Mike Colleran has been named as President & Chief Operating Officer of the future Saab Cars North America organization. This is very good news, and having met him at the recent 2009 Saab Owners Convention, I am happy to hear how this process will unfold in the United States.

More details coming shortly.

Today, I would like to announce the next step forward in anticipation of a renewed Saab presence in North America with the appointment of Michael “Mike” Colleran as President and Chief Operating Officer of Saab Cars North America.

Mike has been a member of the Saab USA team since 2005 and most recently served as Sales Director for the General Motors Premium brands which include Saab, Cadillac, and HUMMER. Mike started his career with General Motors in 1989 after serving in the U.S. Military and has served in various sales, service and marketing roles during his twenty-year automotive career.

As we ready to finalize the sale to Koenigsegg group AB in the next months, Mike will be forming a new Saab team with the responsibility of preparing Saab and its partners for independent operations in North American markets. Those appointments will be announced at a later date.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for all for your unwavering support during the last months and I would ask you to remain focused as we move into the next exciting chapter of Saab Automobile’s history.

Best regards,
Jan Ã…ke Jonsson

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

Posted on 03. Sep, 2009 by .


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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Saab History Interviews Sten Helling, Former Director Sales & Marketing Of Saab-Scania Of America

Posted on 24. Aug, 2009 by .


At the 2009 Saab Owners Convention, I had the esteemed honor to interview Sten Helling, the former director of sales & marketing for Saab-Scania of America, Inc.

It was a pleasure to meet with him and I thank him for giving us the opportunity to learn about his work with Saab-Scania Of America in Orange, Connecticut from 1980 until 1991.

Below is the bio he has provided from when he worked with Saab-Scania of America.

“Sten Helling was born and educated in Gothenburg, Sweden.

He joined AB Volvo in Gothenburg in 1963, transferred to Volvo of America in 1965. He left Volvo in 1980, at that time National Sales Manager of Volvo of America, to join Saab Scania of America, as General Manager, Sales and Marketing.

Bob Sinclair, who became president of Saab-Scania of America in 1979, and Helling, had worked together as President and Manager, Sales and Marketing, respectively, developing Volvo’s business in the western half of the United States, from 1967 until 1979.

Helling progressed as Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Executive VP and President of Saab USA (formerly Saab-Scania of America).

When a GM/Saab board decision was made that Saab USA should relocate it’s head office from Orange, Connecticut to Norcross, Georgia, Helling did not agree with that decision and left Saab USA in 1991.”

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