Tag Archives: Toyota

Per Eklund Wins FIA RallyCross Championship In Finland

Posted on 22. Oct, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: RallyCross.com

Per Eklund Wins FIA RallyCross Championship In Finland in his Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan.

Here are the details below thanks to Mike Jager.

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Eklund wins in Finland!
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Saab History’s Suggested Strategy For Saab Automobile’s Ability To Target Their Post Modernist Audience

Posted on 13. Jul, 2009 by .

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After hearing the Saab Automobile brand design chief, Simon Padian state that the target audience for the brand are “modern individualists” (defined in the video above) harkening back to Saab designer, Bryan Nesbitt’s words of “upper liberal” two years ago and my experience at Saab 60th event in San Diego at the modern Tower 13 hotel as well as the super modern House of Sweden in D.C, I thought it was an appropriate time to start asking ourselves, what is Saab Automobile’s target audience, is it truly a post modernist audience?

Living here in the North East region of the United States, I’ve seen a strong base of those who either live or want to live the modern lifestyle as typically depicted in “Dwell Magazine“, effectively falling into the targeted audience for the Saab Automobile brand, however those people are very far and few between. I also think that the same goes for those in the Pacific North West. Within this demographic, these individuals realize that there are a lot of choices these days when it comes to an automobile, far more than when Saab held onto the quirky capable car for those active yuppies in the late eighties and early nineties. Today’s post modernists not only drive Saabs, they drive audis, bmws, top of the line Subaru outbacks, Mini’s, Smart Cars, and then of course the Toyota Prius.

So, what is it going to take to get all of these customers out of these vehicles and into the Saab Automobile? Or better yet, what will it take to keep the existing customers with Saab Automobile? I thought that this would be a good opportunity to instead of focusing solely on the audience, looking at the product itself and seeing what it needs to have in order for Saab Automobile to continue to maintain this targeted audience of post modern/ individualist. There are a number of key areas that Saab Automobile will need to improve on in their new product lineup in order to do better within this target audience that I have provided below as five simplified points.

If this direction does not change soon, Saab Automobile’s targeted audience will completely move on, and if that happens, where will Saab be? Are there other demographics not as specific as this that also equally appreciate each and every factor of the current Saab product portfolio?

1) Rightsized Architectures

I believe the “rightsizing philosophy” needs to be applied to the car as a whole, not just the power train because let’s not forget, Saab Automobile is historically a small-car maker where they’ve succeeded. Saab Automobile is not a large luxury car maker, and doing otherwise will continue to be counter to their efforts. I could see advertisements here in the United States about Saab’s rightsizing philosophy in comparison to just about every other car on the market that’s not “right sized”. It’ll set them apart from the competition immediately.

2) Scandinavian Design Inside & Out

A continuation of the scandinavian design outside and inside, with much more attention paid to quality and choice of materials, which is just starting to show through. There is no other automobile manufacturers in the world that can hold this claim, so Saab Automobile must step up the message on a global scale.

3) Ecofriendly Powertrains

A real effort to get into the eco friendly market, because the BioPower program & the Turbocharger, particularly here in the United States is not going to cut it, it’s just not enough, even the TTid diesel would be a good start, if they can out advertise volkswagen’s new campaign here in the Unites States. It’s also the hybrid market that Saab Automobile can really hit the road running, it needs to happen because people aren’t buying the Prius because it’s a toyota, they are buying it because it’s a hybrid..and now Ford has a Hybrid. If Saab Automobile is an innovator, we need to see it because the power train is a big deal, and it’s going to drive the sales more than the pop-out cup holder, heated seats or the active head restraint system.

4) A Solid Statement of Saab Safety

A solid dialogue about Saab’s Safety through engineering exhibited in every car they make. Showcasing and visually illustrating what makes a Saab safe, the engineering work, the education behind the engineers research & development, the real-life safety, the active & passive safety systems included in every car they make.

5) Practicality & Active Lifestyle

A commitment to outwitting the competition in the practicality department through their legendary hatchback & other functionality through accessories and otherwise, assisting in the active lifestyles that make up the majority of their Saab demographic. This is where the branding exercises will be best illustrated through marketing and advertising of the practicality and other functionality.

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Freeport, Maine Native Gives Up Saab 9000 For Toyota Prius In U.S. Goverment “Cash For Clunkers” Program

Posted on 28. Jun, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Joel Page / NY Times

As one who lives in the same state as the driver in this article, that also owns not just the same make, but the same model and color and year even (a 1997 Saab 9000 CS), I was very interested to read about this person’s experience in a recent New York Times article.

Jon Edwards, who lives in Freeport, Maine, the same town that L.L. Bean is headquartered, decided to recently look into the “cash for clunkers” program through the United States government and unfortunately, not buy another Saab, but a 2010 Toyota prius (a conquest sale).

Evidently, the qualifications of the program include that your vehicle must be no more than 25 years old and then get a combined city and highway rating of no more than 18 mpg, as calculated on the EPA fuel economy ratings program. To obtain the entire $4,500 credit, your new vehicle must be at least 10 miles per gallon higher if it is a passenger car and 5 miles per gallon higher if you are getting rid of a truck or SUV. So if the new car is only 4–9 MPG more, you will get about $3,500, but if it’s 10 MPG and more, you will get another $1,000 giving you the maximum credit of $4,500.

I think it’s quite sad that the Saab is going to meet a certain death through this program as I have always been on principle, more about giving every Saab a new chance at life opposed to automatically choosing to part or crush it for parts and/or scrap value based on a few blemishes.

Moreover, if Saab had a hybrid right now such as the 9-X BioHybrid Concept Car, I am willing to bet that this individual would have purchased the Saab instead, but I am guessing that by default, he’s going with the Prius because well, how many real hybrids are actually on the market?

This program is set to expire November 1st or sooner if the funds run out, so hypothetically, if you are in the market for a new car in the United states and qualify for this program, make sure you buy one before this deadline, because you could get this credit in addition to the entire sales tax deductible as well this year thanks to the IRS indicated earlier this spring. Furthermore, and for good measure, make sure you buy a Saab.

Although it’s quite sad seeing the Saab go in place of a Toyota from a fellow Saab owner nearby, I think this kind of situation should spell out another clear opportunity for Saab, which must work hard to meet, keeping existing owners in the brand with new products. At the very least, I hope the owner at least parted out the ski racks and some other items before it went to the crusher for others to enjoy! Does NHTSA thoroughly examine each car for completeness before it gets crushed?

I urge you to take a look at this article at the New York Times, it’s a very interesting read. I also suggest you visit the EPA’s “Cash Allowance Rebate System” (CARS) program, for all of the details.

While I don’t agree with Mr. Edwards going to Prius instead of a new Saab, I do think the New York Times covered this new CARS program well, however their focus on the cosmetic aspects of the Saab 9000 was not enough justification for a new car sale. If Mr. Edwards consulted with a good Saab mechanic, enthusiast or did some quick searches online, he could have simply replaced his bumper from a local salvage yard and a new hood emblem from Saab USA Parts and other items for just a few hundred dollars.

When my Wife and I picked up our 1997 Saab 9000 last June which was also heading to the crusher by the owner, it had a rusty hood, paint cracking on both front and rear bumpers, exhaust rusted away, faulty display computer,electrical ground issues, both headlights sandblasted & cracked, and both emblems flaked away, etc, etc., Did all of those “problems” stop us, no. Now our car is in great working order, after some necessary tender loving care, much like one would do on a fixer-upper home, so why is there a double standard for repairing and restoring cars when people have no problem restoring a home? Both the homes as well as automobiles rack up age over time and use, and both need repair.

I did enjoy this article, I just don’t think this particular car was the best candidate for the CARS program, Saab or not, it just had some cosmetic issues that could have been easily resolved.

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Saab History Regains Enthusiasm With Saab 900 Turbo

Posted on 28. May, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab History

This past weekend, I managed to get the classic 1992 Saab 900 Turbo out and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of driving it over the course of memorial day weekend with my wife. You should have seen the nods we got on the highway, and interestingly enough, the majority of them from not Saab owners, but Toyota Prius drivers and passengers!

Three days of driving this classic Saab, really brought back the enthusiasm for the 900 Turbo, in contrast to the daily driver 1997 Saab 9000 CS. The handling, the passing ability, the visibility and the turbo rush were all unique characteristics reuniting me with the thrill of driving.

Outside of the driving, I took advantage of the Thule bike rack adapter, thanks to Saab USA parts, to carry our gary fisher mountain bikes for use through some incredible trails in New Hampshire.

The pinnacle of the experience was a trip last taken 10 years ago in a similar Saab 900 to an old drive in movie theater located in Northfield, Massachusetts which has been open almost as long as Saab Automobile has been manufacturing cars. The best moment was just after we arrived where we parked in between a minivan and an SUV. While we finished popping the hatch, folding back the seats and laying down to watch the movie under the stars, my wife said, “Wow, the classic Saab 900 really is the best!” It literally made my weekend!

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Fiat Group’s President, Sergio Marchionne To Present Plan Of Large European Car Company With Chrysler, GM Europe

Posted on 03. May, 2009 by .

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The Financial Times Reports that Fiat is planning on presenting a plan to create a large european car company with Chrysler and General Motors Europe to transform the automotive landscape.

It finally looks like what I heard about a long time ago, may be going through with Fiat & General Motors Europe’s new group.

The question at this time is, what does that mean for Saab Automobile as well given that they are still currently part of General Motors Europe?

Here are some excerpts from the column.

Sergio Marchionne, Fiat chief executive, is on Monday due to outline plans to transform the global automotive landscape by spinning off Fiat’s core cars division, joining it with Chrysler and General Motors Europe, and creating a new publicly traded European car company.

Mr Marchionne wants Italy’s largest industrial group to separate Fiat Auto from its other divisions, join them with Opel / Vauxhall, Saab, and GM’s other European operations, and Fiat’s stake in Chrysler to create a company with about €80bn ($106bn) of revenues and sales of 6m-7m vehicles a year – second to Toyota, more than Renault / Nissan or Ford Motor, or GM itself, and roughly as many as Volkswagen.

Mr Marchionne had spoken of spinning off Fiat Auto from the group’s Iveco trucks, CNH farm and construction equipment, and Ferrari / Maserati luxury divisions as long ago as 2004.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Marchionne said: “From an engineering and industrial point of view, this is a marriage made in heaven”.

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White House’s Administration Favoring Saab Automobiles?

Posted on 31. Mar, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Arild

The Washington, D.C. Politico Magazine has recently indicated that the current administration at the White House favors Saab Automobiles as noted in their sightings of Saabs, from the climate czar Carol Browner that used to own a Saab 9-5 SE, to the White House Staffer parking lot sprinked with Saabs, amongst other vehicles.

As you know, the Washington, D.C. area as I reported in my Saab Sightings, has a lot of Saabs per capita, so this no real surprise, although it’s nice to see!

With President Barack Obama showing the ailing U.S. auto industry some tough love Monday, POLITICO wondered — what’s …

… in the driveways of White House aides? A lot of foreign cars, as it turns out.

A survey of West Executive Drive, where White House staffers park, revealed only five American cars out of 23 –a Dodge Grand Caravan, two Ford Escapes, a Jeep Cherokee and a Cadillac.

The lot was sprinkled with BMWs, Mercedes, Hondas, Toyotas, Saabs, Audis, Volkswagens and a Volvo.

Obama himself owns a Ford Escape Hybrid (apparently sitting in Chicago), according to his press secretary Robert Gibbs, who said he drives a gray Ford Escape.

As for Obama’s presidential task force on the auto industry, The Detroit News reported what many of them drive when the task force formed. The News said:

Timothy Geithner owns a 2008 Acura TSX and once owned a 1999 Honda Accord, as well as a 2002 Acura MDX.

Larry Summers owns a 1995 Mazda Protégé and previously owned a 1996 Ford Taurus GL.

Peter Orszag owns a 2008 Honda Odyssey and a 2004 Volvo S60, and he previously owned a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 1982 Datsun.

“Climate czar” Carol Browner has recently said she doesn’t own an automobile, although she used to own a 1999 Saab 9-5 SE.

Energy’s Steven Chu’s wife told the Free Press that he doesn’t own a car.

The vice president’s economist Jared Bernstein owns a 2005 Honda Odyssey.

Obama’s economic adviser Austan Goolsbee owns a 2004 Toyota Highlander.

Midwest recovery chief Ed Montgomery owns a 1991 Harley-Davidson and previously owned a 1990 Ford Taurus L station wagon.

Gene Sperling, counsel to the Treasury secretary, owns a 2003 Lincoln LS, and previously owned a 1993 Saturn SL2.

A search by POLITICO on Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood shows he owns a 1997 Buick Regal and a Ford Escape Hybrid. He previously owned a Cadillac Deville.

Records could not be found for Christina Romer and Gary Locke.

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What Chinese Auto Companies Are Interested in Saab?

Posted on 11. Mar, 2009 by .

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General Tso Meets Karl Gustav, Continued.

I want to take this opportunity to revisit the “what if” scenario that is to say, if Saab Automobile is considered by a Chinese Automobile company.

There has been some recent news about two of the six major players in the Chinese Auto Company, those being Dongfeng & Geely that relate to prospects other than Saab, so this could potentially reduce to candidates.

Right now, it appears that the Dongfeng Motor Company’s Chinese Defense Contractor is interested in acquiring GM’s Hummer Division and rightfully so. This defense contractor, is the same company that has been making Hummer knock-off’s for years, now they may have the opportunity to do it legitimately for once.

Geely Automotive on the other hand, also may have a chance with Ford’s Volvo car division, as they have expressed interest recently according to the Wall Street Journal and other sources.

This potentially leaves four of the six top companies that one could speculate, could put in bids for Saab Automobile AB.

These companies are Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) , Chery Automotive, Chang´an Automobile and FAW.

SAIC, who we heard about back in 2005, who have had close ties with GM partnerships over the years, interesting.

We also have Chery, who purchased rights to build Fiat Group cars back in 2007 and I could see a connection here given Saab used to work with Fiat on the 600 and 9000 models some years ago.

Then we have Chang´an Automobile who sell KIA, who was a mentioned as a potential candidate back in December.

Finally, we have FAW who has close ties with Volkswagen and Toyota, yet no connections can be made with this company at this point as it would be too much of a stretch.

While there are a number of other Chinese Automobile manufacturers in China, these are the top 4 out of 6 companies that would or could be capable of such an acquisition that I listed above, all else are small players in their home market and throughout the world.

So after visiting any of the remaining four companies websites here that I have hyperlinked here, which of these would be the best as Saab Automobile AB’s potential buyer and why?

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Saab Automobile For Sale On Ebay?

Posted on 10. Jan, 2009 by .

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This has got to be the funniest thing I have seen in a long, long time, someone trying to put in a realistic auction for Saab Automobile on Ebay. Obviously it is a joke, but by whom?

The great attention to detail here is simply astounding, surely Saab is worth more the current bid amount? Please take a look at this description and try get through it, although the urge to laugh hysterically is pretty hard to stop.

Here are the details before the auction ended today, coincidentally on January 9th, reinstating Saab’s affliction with its model nomenclature “Nines”.

I am wondering who wrote this, because the location is Warwick, New York, so perhaps it’s a dealer given the careful wording below?

Click here on the link while it still works, in the meantime I’ve captured the details below:

Lets help GM find a buyer for Saab.

Pre-qualified buyers must call before bidding. Actually we are not a broker for GM, only someone who is interested in presenting to GM potential buyers for the brand. If you don’t think I’m serious, please check my feedback. Please note that the auction is for one day of consulting services – not the company.

As many of you know Saab Automobiles are great products offering a unique combination of exceptional road abilities with comfort and style only found in the best of European road cars. Saabs are made in Sweden (most folks think Switzerland funny how people get this confused). The Swedes are great people, wonderful to work with and excellent business partners. Swedish engineers represent some of the best talents in the car industry, they have a passion for design, function and safety in a similar way Porsche strives for speed and power.

Saab is one of the first pioneers of the turbo engine; today Saab’s 2.0 Liter turbo can achieve over 30 MPG on regular gas, even though the silly window sticker says 27 MPG (one of the first things a new buyer should address). If you are currently thinking of buying the Volvo Car Company, you may want to test drive a Saab today… you will find excellent value with great potential – yes it’s under-achieving right now, but that’s only because its parents spend more time with their other children, if you have a family you can relate how these things happen.

Don’t get me wrong, GM folks are great people as well, however they need the money right now and its most likely best someone buys Saab so GM can focus on its core business.

Because GM stated today they couldn’t find a buyer for Saab, I thought this listing may help secure an interested party.

Standard Equipment:

A nice manufacturing plant in Sweden and a sub-assembly plant in Australia

A lot of parts and tools and office supplies.

A few thousand employees, managers and supervisors, all very nice people with many talents and skills.

A few cars in the pipeline (nothing that a little focus and attention can’t solve)

A design studio, computers, and other fixed assets (hint to potential buyers, use fixed assets as a negotiating leverage, Swedish office furnishings are top notch).
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