Tag Archives: the heritage

Where Do You Think SCNA's New HQ Should Be?

Posted on 02. Mar, 2010 by .

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Saab History has recently learned that the current Saab Cars North America organization will be out of the GM Renn Cenn by next Friday, March 12th and into their new Headquarters. This is very good news as Saab continues to separate themselves from GM.

That being said, I have previously polled about this, last September prior to learning about the prospective Royal Oak, Michigan location. Today, I want to once again ask you, what location do you think they should relocate to at this time? The location may already be chosen by this time, however I think it’s important to see what you think.

We need to keep in mind that since Saab Automobile’s global headquarters have returned home, that being Trollhättan, Sweden, the same should be said for here in the United States, that in my opinion, being New England.

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.

We all came out in full force to help Save Saab, so our unified voice is once again very important in shaping the future success and direction of Saab.

The results of this poll will show where we believe a truly independent Saab operation should be, in the United States. The key is independent from GM, that being physically far away from the headquarters (ie. not in the same state, etc.)

Here’s the historical information below for your reference:

405 Park Avenue, New York (1956-1961)
100 Waterfront Street New Haven, CT (1961-1971)
60 Marsh Hill Road / 35 Executive Blvd Orange, CT (1972-1992)
Norcross, Georgia (1992-2004)
Renaissance Center, Detroit, Michigan (2004-2009)

Update: 3.3.2010 6:00PM EST – It’s great to see Orange, Connecticut & Portsmouth, NH neck & neck, with Royal Oak a close second.

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

  • Orange, CT (25%, 53 Votes)
  • Portsmouth, NH (24%, 49 Votes)
  • New York, NY (13%, 28 Votes)
  • Royal Oak, MI (12%, 25 Votes)
  • Atlanta, GA (11%, 22 Votes)
  • Los Angeles, CA (6%, 12 Votes)
  • Minneapolis, MN (4%, 9 Votes)
  • Miami, FL (3%, 6 Votes)
  • Washington, D.C. (2%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 208

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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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Saab Belgium Receives Another 2010 9-3x At Facility

Posted on 12. Aug, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Beherman European

Saab Automobile importer, Beherman in Belgium has provided Saab History with a nice photo of another 2010 MY Saab 9-3x that has been delivered to their facility for a customer. This photo visually illustrates the problem free ordering that Saab dealerships have in Belgium at this time.

On a side note, this photo was taken right outside of their facility, which appears to be an old aircraft hangar. This hangar, looks much like the one I identified as a great facility for Saab USA to relocate to at Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Wouldn’t it be suiting to get the big SAAB wordmark on this building too, and fit all of the Heritage Collection cars in it easily? Those cars will soon need a new home anyways. Here’s hoping the new Saab USA operations relocate to a facility like this and make it look like what Saab Belgium has done.

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Could GM Europe Still Separate To Form A New Group?

Posted on 20. Feb, 2009 by .

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There has been quite a bit of dialogue over the past week that I have initially been hesitant to showcase because it has not materialized very far with specifics.

However, I would like to see as a possible option, Carl-Peter Forster along with the Saab Automobile AB board, take Saab and split them from GM along with Opel & Vauxhaul and General Motors Europe to setup a separate business together ensuring that the european automotive business will work. As it is now, both Opel & Vauxhall are looking for partners as part of a GME restructuring plan. If this is what is needed for Saab Automobile AB to continue as a business, then I am all for it.

As I have said before and I will say again, this could also be a good option given that Saab & Opel have had a long standing dealer partnership in Sweden as well as in Europe, and the next generation Saab 9-5 could still will be built at the GME Opel factory in Rüsselsheim, Germany, why not? Did you also know in Russelheim, Opel also has next door to the factory, the GM Europe Design Center, they could take that with them too!

Furthermore, there is also a rather large Saab media archive, besides the Heritage Center in Detroit and the Saab Cars Museum as well, who would have thought? Furthermore, even Saab Automobile’s long time employee Kjell-Ã…ke Eriksson, who I interviewed in Detroit, is now the President of Saab Automobile Germany, go figure? Opel in Germany continues to sound like a logical partner in Saab’s success, and maybe even Vauxhall as part of GME Europe’s new group.

This ownership could ensure a critical new product launch and a continued dealership network in Europe and elsewhere. This way, once that transaction has taken place, GME if they wanted to, could Sell Saab in the future, but if GME is a separate business from GM, then maybe they would not need to?

Note to Carl-Peter: If you are a Saab Enthusiast like you said you were in your interview with me back in Detroit last year, I hope you are also pursuing this if you have not already.

Since the German Government is actually considering helping Opel at almost any cost, there may be a chance with this because the Swedish Government continues to hold their position firmly in not supporting Saab Automobile.

This may be wishful thinking, but if it is the option option at the end of the day, then why not?

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Saab History On Swedish Government’s Position On Saab

Posted on 17. Feb, 2009 by .

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This past December, I was delighted to see the Swedish Government come through with a financial support plan for Saab. This plan was offered, after the whole discussion on possibly nationalizing Saab which there were a number of media sources covering. We learned shortly after the presentation of the financial support plan that the Swedish Government did not want to “own” Saab, but would help if necessary.

The news over the past two weeks referencing the Swedish Government’s position, specifically Maud Oloffsson, Fredrik Reinfeldt’s & Göran Hägglund,( the leader of the Swedish Center Party’s) statements have really surprised me because they are almost an entire 180 from their position late last year.

However, it’s Sweden’s State Secretary Jöran Hägglund (not to be confused with Göran spelled with a G instead of a J, thank you JV), that still gives me some optimism about Saab Automobile’s future.

I am hoping that the Swedish government makes the right decision sooner than later, because there is a lot at stake for them if they make the wrong decision.

I mentioned earlier that although I am a proponent of nationalizing Saab, at this point, all I am looking for is for the Swedish Government to show their support and for Saab Automobile to succeed in their efforts to be independent. I believe it is the Swedish Government’s responsibility to their people to support Saab, much like it was when they began. Why do I say that it is the Swedish Government’s responsibility, well a precident was set when the company began.

Since 1947, Saab Automobile has been inextricably linked with its Swedish roots as an innovative and progressive automobile company. The heritage of Saab Automobile originally began in 1937 as an aircraft company. The formation of Saab was in response to the immediate requirements of the Swedish Government during the War, so it’s foundations began as a byproduct of the Government’s needs for economic and societal security (funded by the government).

While there is no question that Saab is a Swedish brand, the dire straights that the parent company (General Motors) is currently in, could mean the end of Saab. This could effectively end 60+ years of uniquely Swedish innovations, engineering and significant contributions to the automotive industry as a whole. Not only will there be an economic void of monumental proportions, there will also be a total loss of national pride and identity for the country of Sweden.

Across Sweden, industry, academia and Government will all be affected if Saab were to be no more. It is clear that reversing this trend is the best way for Saab to maintain its unique Swedish design, engineering, innovation and identity. I believe that Sweden supporting Saab Automobile, is the proper and most suitable method in order to continue economic security for the country.

If the Swedish government is truly serious about meeting their goals of economic and environmental security & sustainability, much like they were back in 1937, they will move quickly to support their Saab Automobile company.

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General Motors To Sell Saab USA Heritage Collection Cars

Posted on 19. Dec, 2008 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab History 2007 (L-to-R) Peter Backstrom Saab Car Museum Sweden / Dick Balsey GM Heritage Collection

Photo Credit: Saab Automobile USA

Jalopnik has reported that the 1995 Saab 900 Pikes Peak Car, will be going up for auction at the Barret Jackson auction house early next year in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The 1995 Saab 900 Pikes Peak Car is the first car in the Saab USA Heritage Collection to be auctioned off, and it may not be the last.

I have checked the Barret-Jackson website and have not seen it listed, so I’ve contacted them as well as Saab Automobile USA to confirm or deny these reports. They have confirmed this now.

I have also contacted Jan-Willem Vester at Saab Automobile USA and he has confirmed these reports as well.

In finding that these reports are true, and I am absolutely livid and floored that GM can be so short-sighted in this regard.

I have asked many people from Saab Automobile USA, to the GM Heritage Collection to the Saab Car Museum as to why this car can’t be offered to the Saab Car Museum in Trollhättan, Sweden! and here’s what I have understood at this time from the GM Heritage Collection as well as Saab Automobile USA, which seem to be conflicting statements:

The Saab Car Museum is not part GM, therefore we can’t send the cars to them – GM Heritage Collection

The Saab Car Museum does not have the budget in Sweden to acquire even a few cars at this time – Saab Automobile USA

No response as of the time of this posting from Peter Backstrom at the Saab Car Museum.
[…]

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1980 Saab 900 5dr Turbo – Saab USA Heritage Collection

Posted on 06. Apr, 2007 by .

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Photo Credits: Saab AUtomobile USA

I just received this from Saab Automobile USA. This is truly wonderful news and nice of them to rescue another Saab and add it to the heritage collection fleet! This 1980 900 5-Door Turbo complete with opera window is a wonderful addition to the heritage collection and I look forward to seeing it fully restored, maybe even by the Saab Owners Convention in August? Here is a writeup about this new addition.

We finally have a classic Saab 900 Turbo 5-door in the collection! It’s just that the car comes without the original engine, interior and TRX wheels, temporarily replaced by newer stuff… But the good news is that the body is largely rustfree and largely complete with the period periscope rearview mirrors, side vents, glass and lights.

Really, quite a find, almost right here on our doorstep! We got wind of this ’80 (recognizable by the double taillights) 900T through Jim Laman of the Great Lakes Saab Club, who had been notified that this car was gradually decaying in a less-than-upscale downtown Detroit neighborhood.

As you may know, the first generation 900 Turbo 5-door was only marketed as Saab’s top luxury model in the United States during the ’79 and ’80 model years, before giving way to the slightly less unconventional 4-door sedan. True highlight of the 5-door are of course the rather unusual “opera” side windows in the C-pillars, which – depending on whom you ask – look downright silly, or put it right up there with the Saabest of Saabs… Well, let’s say that there is at least no shortage of character here!

No matter how you look at it, the pros at the GM Heritage Center have a new object to sink their teeth in…. Most probably a project that we might give the attendees of the forthcoming Saab Owner’s Convention in August a live update on.

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