Tag Archives: Saab USA

Saab USA, Sweden And/or Koenigsegg To Be At 2009 SOC

Posted on 15. Jul, 2009 by .

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I have heard from the folks at the Rocky Mountain Saab Club that representatives from the newly reorganized Saab Automobile USA, Saab Automobile Sweden and/or Koenisegg are looking like they will possibly be present during the event at the Saturday Night awards banquet at the 2009 Saab Owners Convention.

Here’s the news below for your reference. This is good to hear, up until this point it was completely unclear.

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July 14, 2009

Great Breaking News!

Saab USA, Saab Sweden, or possibly Koenigsegg will be present at Copper Mountain for this year’s 2009 North American Saab Owners Convention. A remarkable announcement will be made at the Saturday night Awards Banquet.

Saab, or possibly Koenigsegg, will address the year’s biggest gathering of Saab enthusiasts to announce the Koenigsegg philosophy and the new direction of the “Road to Indpendence”, explaining future plans for Saab in the US. We are all anxiously awaiting the Good News!

In addition, Saab will deliver and display a series of already-built new Saab’s for us to admire at Copper Mountain.

A longstanding SOC tradition is the Sunday morning roundtable discussion during which Saab executives lead a Q&A session. We will invite Koenigsegg and Saab to participate in this event.

Plan to attend the festivities by registering for SOC09. You can register through the convention web site www.rockymtnsaabclub.com/SOC09. Accommodations are also listed.

Do not miss this grand event!

Please help spread the news! Pass this message along to all in the Saab Community. If you are part of a club, chat room, Facebook, Saabhistory, or any other form of media coverage, please forward this message so we can make this the biggest event and show our support for the new Saab

See you in Colorado!!!

Jerry Danner

SOC09 Chairman

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Joel Manby, Former Saab USA President Speaks About GM & Saab

Posted on 30. Jun, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab Cars USA. Inc.

Joel Manby, Former President of Saab Cars USA, Inc. that I interviewed in December, speaks about his previous experience working with General Motors & Saab on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Here are some of his best quotes directly from the transcript. I also highly suggest you read my interview with him as well.

“…what I saw at General Motors which was not very good. It was chaos. It wasn’t very well led. And at General Motors it was only about the bottom line. It was only about money and, you know, at the end of the day, I don’t think great people are really attracted to that…”

“…when I was in the GM culture, a lot of the discussion was about cutting costs and labor issues, union issues, and not enough about what’s going on with that customer.”

“…Well, Saab…I’ll answer that in two different segments…with Saab, we had a fantastic car, but we had no marketing strategy and no dealer network. So, I was a very young, I was 32 years old and actually by the time I got to Saab, I was 34, but I was one of the younger GM division presidents, because they wanted the Saturn guest experience applied to a great product.”

“…with Saab, we had a fantastic car, but we had no marketing strategy and no dealer network.”

“On Saab, the biggest thing I learned is how difficult it is to change a culture that is not customer focused and in Saab’s case, it was an engineering driven company. When you’d be in the meetings, it’d be all about having the absolute, best car, which actually, you can go too far, because you can put things into the car that customers aren’t willing to pay for. The engineers want it, but you’re not willing to pay for it as a customer,and that’s what I walked away with [from] Saab. You’ve got to only put in things that the customer is willing to reward you for…”

“At Saturn and Saab I saw a lot of mistakes there where, frankly, it became poor leadership. It really comes down to strong leadership and at Herschend, the owners just permeate the values.”

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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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Former Saab USA Employee Tom Letourneau Shares With Saab History His Restored & Modified 1979 Saab 99

Posted on 06. May, 2009 by .

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Photo Credits: Tom Letourneau

Tom Letourneau of Providence, Rhode Island, a former Saab-Scania of America employee worked for almost a decade as a district parts sales manager in Orange, Connecticut from 1980 to 1989, has kindly provided Saab History a nice account of his restored & heavily modified 1979 Saab 99 GL 2-door.

This Saab 99, had a color coordinated european air flow kit installed, then it was converted to a Saab 900S Twin Cam 16-Valve engine and 5-speed transmission in the mid nineties!

A sincere thank you to Tom Letourneau, your enthusiasm is evident and your kindness in providing this material is much appreciated.

Here is a writeup in the Providence Journal thanks again to Tom.

CUMBERLAND Tom Letourneau’s 1979 Saab 99 hardly looks its age.

In addition to its modest size and modernist design, the car is armed with a Euro AirFlow Kit that, with its lower body panels, front scoop and spoilers plus Shelby American Mag Wheels, gives it an updated tuner look.

But the AirFlow package dates back nearly 30 years when Letourneau, who worked for Saab at the time, said he and others convinced the company to import a show car.

However, Saab decided not to import the package and Letourneau acquired the car after it had done its turn as a demonstration and executive model.

Letourneau then took it a step further — after his son had blown out the engine — by installing a 16-valve twin-cam engine with a five-speed transmission that he picked up from a Saab dealer in Maine.

“George Siegmund of South County Motors helped me fabricate it,” he said in an interview at his house. “It’s the only one like it in the country.”
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Saab Automobile AB Transition Team To Temporarily Operate Saab USA HQ Out Of US Saab Dealerships?

Posted on 01. May, 2009 by .

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I have recently received yet another e-mail from an inside source lately stating that Saab Automobile is looking at sending a transition team to the United States to help get things running smoother again for the 225 Saab dealerships later this year.

Apparently, there have been numerous ideas on the table for a while, but this one continues to be brought up.

“Saab Automobile AB is thinking about having a transition team travel to the United States from Sweden to relaunch the stateside efforts with very little overhead operating out of a few offices from within a few Saab dealerships”

I have discussed this with others for some time and really wonder if a transition team working out of dealerships will really be the best even short-term solution to the current lack of direction in the United States for the Saab Automobile company. I am hesitant in this idea, but would like to know why this idea was proposed along with some additional details.

I still believe that the best solution will be to bridge gap and reconnect Saab Automobile with their historic roots in the United States and get some property leased in Portsmouth, New Hampshire by June, so that a new Saab Automobile North America or Saab Automobile of America, Inc. team will be able to become quickly assembled.

If you are a prospective buyer and/or investor or even someone at Saab Automobile AB in Sweden reading this, please consider this. There needs to be an effort shortly, in assembling that new “dream team” that will lead the United States operations and I am offering my assistance in doing so. As you should know, I am in touch with a number of individuals that should be brought to the team that span a wide range of backgrounds, some former Saab USA employees, some not, many with vast experiences that are literally waiting on the sidelines for the go ahead to return back to work at Saab USA, and some for the the first time.

I encourage you to contact me here at Saab History for more details as to my suggested plan and strategy in relaunching this renewed effort for a new Saab Automobile North America, Inc.

From the words of a former Saab USA employee, “We’re hear, we’re waiting and we’re excited!”

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Saab History Says Good Bye To Jan-Willem Vester

Posted on 29. Apr, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab History, February, 2007

I have recently heard that on April 20th, 2009, Jan-Willem Vester formerly of Saab Automobile USA Communications, is no longer working in this capacity.This also means that there is no longer any official voice for Saab Automobile USA, just the GM Premium brands channel.

It was just almost exactly one month ago since his departure that I managed to have an exclusive interview with him about his long career and continual interest in the Saab Automobile. It seemed like just yesterday that I met him for the first time during the picnic alongside Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson at the 2005 Saab Festival in Trollhattan, Sweden.

His responsibilities were numerous from communications to having inroads with the Saab USA Heritage Center, Video Archives and Heritage Collection, and more. I sometimes wondered how he managed to do it all so well, with a smile and humor.

In all of my communications with him, he has been incredibly professional and always followed up and certainly brought his passion for Saab to the table. It has been an honor to work with someone who is clearly a Saab enthusiast and a dedicated ambassador of the brand.

Jan-Willem, as you know started his career with Saab Automobile USA in August of 2004, when the brand team began their operations at the Renaissance Center within GM Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. In the September of 2008, Saab Automobile USA was no more, having been merged into what is known as “GM Premium brands”.

In the meantime, I wish Jan-Willem and his family well. If he’s reading this, I hope to hear from him soon and hope he attends the 2009 Saab Owners Convention with all of the other former Saab USA employees attending, now topping out over 100 strong!

All of us in the Saab community wish you nothing but the very best and thank you very much for your hard work all of these years.

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Saab USA Jet Into Spring Sale Ends 4.30.2009

Posted on 24. Apr, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab USA (left) / Saab History (right)

The Saab USA “Jet Into Spring” sales event ends on the last day of April.

The Jet Into Spring event offers 0% for up to 60 months for qualified buyers on the entire 2009 Saab 9-3 lineup (sport sedans, sport combis and convertibles.

If you are in the market for a new Saab, check out the prices on the Saab USA website directly.

I also encourage you to, if logistically possible, to go through the Saab History’s Saab dealerships sponsors directly as indicated on the banner ads on this website, as they will surely take care of you in your market!

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Saab USA Former Employee Reunion At 2009 SOC

Posted on 15. Apr, 2009 by .

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The 2009 Saab Owners Convention in Copper Mountain Colorado, hosted by the Rocky Mountain Saab Club and sponsored by Mile Hi Body Shop in Denver, is four months from now.

As part of this convention, it is important to celebrate those people that made the difference all of those years with Saab Automobile in the United States, the employees.

Here is the press release below:

Saab USA Former Employee Reunion 2009 at 2009 SOC August 13th-16th, 2009

socsmall.jpgIt is the work that many of you did that has contributed to Saab’s presence here over the years in the United States and that is why it’s important to celebrate each and every one of your accomplishments.

As a way for everyone to say thank you for your hard work, I am coordinating an effort for a Saab USA former employees reunion at the 2009 Saab Owners Convention in Copper Mountain, Colorado just one hour from Denver, Colorado this August 13th-16th.

This is a pivotal year for Saab Automobile in the United States and with your help; it’s important to have a great gathering to reflect on Saab in the United States, meet old friends, make new friends and have a good time is what this effort is all about.

If you remember the first one that took place in Connecticut in 2005, over 150 former employees attended, so this one should be great as well.

I am putting together a former Saab USA employees address book and would like to know if it is okay with you to include your name and address onto the updated list. If you also know anyone else that can be included on the list, please let me know.

If you worked at any of the following offices or eras, please feel free to contact me to be added to the list.

SAAB Motors, Inc. (1956-1961) 405 Park Avenue, New York, NY
SAAB Motors, Inc./Saab-Scania of America, Inc. (1961-1971) 100 Waterfront Street, New Haven, CT
Saab-Scania of America, Inc. (1972-1992) 60 Marsh Hill Road, Orange, CT/35 Executive Boulevard, Orange, CT. & other campuses
Saab Cars, USA, Inc. (1992-2004) Norcross, Georgia and other regional offices
Saab Automobile USA (2004-2009) Detroit, Michigan and other regional offices (ie. 15 Executive Boulevard)
I am hopeful a new Saab Automobile Of North America, Inc. will emerge in New England by the end of 2009 as part of the New Saab Automobile announced on February 20th, 2009. (2009- ?)

In the meantime, I urge you to register for the convention by clicking here directly for all of the details and for more information.

I look forward to your response and thank you for your time and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at your earliest convenience.

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Ryan

Editor, Historian & Promoter

Saab History – Past, Present & Future

http://www.saabhistory.com

info@saabhistory.com

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