Tag Archives: Washington, D.C.

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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Saab History Interviews Andreas Andersson, Product Manager, New Saab 9-5

Posted on 18. Sep, 2009 by .

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Film Credits: Saab History

At the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, I had a good time to briefly chat with Andreas Andersson, Saab Automobile’s Product Manager for the all new Saab 9-5.

You may recall he previously worked as the product manager for the 9-3, of which he was part of a media event in Washington, D.C. two years ago, where I first met him as you can experience in an video I produced, test driving a cross-wheel drive prototype on an old airfield.

It was a pleasure to meet with him again and I hope to stay in touch, he’s a really nice guy and has a lot of interesting stories about the work that he does. A thank you to him for sharing some insight into the all new Saab 9-5 for us here on Saab History as well as Tynan’s Saab & JMK Saab for making it possible.

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Saab History Interviews Knut Simonsson, Saab Automobile’s Global Director Of Sales & Marketing

Posted on 17. Sep, 2009 by .

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At the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, thanks to Tynan’s Saab & JMK Saab, I had the great opportunity to have an interview with Knut Simonsson, Saab Automobile’s global director of sales & marketing and part of the Saab Management Board.

It was two years ago that I first met Mr. Simonsson while attending the 2008 Saab 9-3 Media event at the House of Sweden while living in Washington, D.C. as he was my co-pilot in a laser red Saab 9-3 Sedan.

During this interview, I asked the questions that needed to be asked about both the dealerships survival as well as the customers and I think the responses were quite good as indicated where Saab Automobile needs to establish trust with both, moving forward. I specifically liked his responses about supporting both dealerships and gainint the trust of customers in a localized/regional sense.

The best thing I received after interviewing with him is that Saab dealerships, specifically in the United States would be receiving their new agreement letters from Koenigsegg before December 31st, 2009 when their current GM “wind down agreements” expire. Truly great news and I’m happy to have been there to report on this!

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TTELA Exposes The People Behind The Koenigsegg Group

Posted on 16. Jul, 2009 by .

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Trollhattan, Sweden’s own TTELA has recently exposed the people behind the Koenisegg Group in a recent report.

The following people below are behind this Koenisegg group that have signed a memorandum of understanding with Saab Automobile AB back on June 16th, 2009. It looks like these folks will be working together with the Saab Automobile AB management board for some time.

Please take the time below to learn about the Russian & American financing that will evidently be taking place to get the Koenisegg Automotive group to become an official buyer for Saab Automobile AB.

Here are the bios I could find about them:

Christian Von Koenisegg

Christian Von Koenisegg started Koenisegg Automobile AB in 1994 at the age of 22, although his interest in building race cars started when he was much younger.

It was multiple innovations that were patented that allowed for Koenisegg Automobile AB to come together and today, continues to build some of the best top tier race cars in the world.

Source: Koenisegg Automobile AB History

BÃ¥rd Eker

Bård Eker’s, a graduate of Industrial Design, engineering and architecture from the Pratt Institute owns Eker Design Group, which Koenisegg Automobile AB is a part of.

Eker Design Group is a Norwegian based multidisciplinary design firm, with focuses on turnkey mechanical and industrial design services.

Source: Eker Design

Pranav L. Trivedi

Pranav L. Trivedi is a partner of Skadden, based in the London office, spends time between London and Moscow working on initial public offerings, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and private equity. Prior to his work today, he worked for several years in the Moscow, Russia offfice where he represented U.S. and Western European companies in corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions. The majority of his experience involves financial transactions in Russia.

Source: Skadden

Melissa Schwartz

Melissa J Schwartz is a partner in the law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP in Washington, D.C. based in Dupont Circle.

Her work focuses on transactions between companies in Russia and other states in the former Soviet Union. Ms. Schwartz represents Russian investors seeking to gain access to international capital markets as well as portfolio and strategic investors in structuring and implementing investments in Russia. She has also worked heavily in debt and equity financing and mergers and acquisitions.

Ms Schwartz received her B.A. with distinction in Russian and Soviet studies and economics from Cornell University in 1988 and her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1991. She is fluent in Russian.

Source: International Financing Law Review

Mark Bishop

Mark Bishop has 25 years of experience as a leader in the mortgage securites markets. Previously, Mr. Bishop was president of Impac Mortgage Acceptance Corporation in Irvine, California. At Impac, Mr. Bishop serviced investment banking sector clients with the purchase of bulk whole-loans, and the subsequent pooling and securitization of non-conforming mortgage debt, with volume in excess of $10 billion annually. Mr. Bishop began his real estate career as Vice President at Drexel Burnham Lambert, where he advised institutional clients in the national secondary market, and purchased and sold fixed income products, high yield bonds, and large pools of commercial and residential loans. He later co-founded Brentwood Financial Group, managing the bulk purchase, and subsequent pooling and sales of conforming and non-conforming residential mortgage loans on a national scale. He is a resident of Rancho Santa Fe, California and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Source: http://www.businessopportunities.com/opportunities/Real-Estate-Bonds-Opportunity

Augi K Fabel II

Augi K. Fabell II, is the Chairman of the Board and Co–Founder of Russian based Vimplecom. Vimpelcom, founded in 1992, was the first Russian company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1996. Fabela with colleagues Messrs. Zimin laid the foundation that has made VimpelCom the second largest telecommunications company in Russia, CIS, Central and Eastern Europe and one of the fastest growing telecommunications companies in the world now ranking in the Forbes Global Index. Today, the VimpelCom Group consists of telecommunications operators providing voice and data services through a range of mobile, fixed and broadband technologies. The Group includes companies operating in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia and Armeniaas well as Vietnam and Cambodia, in territories with a total population of about 340 million. The Group companies provide services under the “Beeline” brand.

Source: Vimple Com

Lynn N. Hiestand

Lynn N. Hiestand works with Pranav Trivedi at Skadden and co-leads Skadden’s corporate restructuring practice in Europe. Heistand focuses on troubled company M&A transactions and complex financial restructurings involving clients with global operations. These matters invariably involve reorganization proceedings in multiple jurisdictions around the world.

Here is a quote from your bio about her work on the Koenigsegg-Saab deal.

“Koenigsegg Group AB, a Swedish maker of high performance sports cars, and a consortium of investors in connection with its planned acquisition of Saab Automobile AB, which is in Swedish restructuring proceedings, from General Motors, currently in U.S. bankruptcy reorganization proceedings;”

Source: Skadden

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Sweden’s Maud Olofsson Indicates That Swedish Government Has a Responsibility To Ensure Saab’s Future

Posted on 15. May, 2009 by .

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Maud Olofsson who visited Washington, D.C. back in late March to meet with the U.S. Treasury, has just come out to tell us about the active role the Swedish Government has to convince the buyers that they are also committed to see the new owners invest and secure Saab’s future according to Reuters.

This is a welcoming piece to hear compared to all of the dialogue with Maud Olofsson and the Swedish Government back in December, don’t you think? The future continues to look promising, now on the Swedish Government side as well as indicated below.

HELSINKI, May 14 (Reuters) – Sweden’s enterprise minister said on Thursday she had not yet seen a clear business plan from Fiat (FIA.MI) or other potential buyers of struggling Saab Automobile, owned by U.S. carmaker General Motors (GM.N).

Maud Olofsson said was too early to say if the interested parties met all the criteria for becoming a new owner.

“We have an active role from the government side to try to convince potential buyers that we are committed to see new owners who have the muscle to invest and secure Saab’s future,” Olofsson said.

When asked whether Fiat was a suitable owner, she replied that it was one.

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Swedish Government Talked With Fiat About Saab

Posted on 05. May, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Regeringen

Reuters reports that the Swedish Government has had contact with Fiat on Saab Automobile.

I would be very interested in hearing more about the details on this dialogue with FIAT at this time, and if it affects the existing Saab Automobile reconstruction process.

I am also curious if any, Maud Olofsson’s remarks were as well. I still haven’t heard about what her dialogue with Rob Bloom at the U.S. Treasury was, when she made her visit to Washington, D.C. late March. I hope to hear back about that dialogue too! from those folks as well.

Here’s the piece from Reuters below.

Swedish govt says had contact with Fiat on Saab
Mon May 4, 2009 11:59am EDT

STOCKHOLM, May 4 (Reuters) – Sweden’s government confirmed on Monday it has had contact with Italy’s Fiat (FIA.MI) regarding General Motors’ (GM.N) struggling Swedish automaker Saab.

“We have had contact with Fiat,” said Hakan Lind, spokesman at the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications. “The meeting was about Saab.”

Lind said the government had been in contact with Fiat a couple of weeks ago, but said nothing concrete had been decided. He declined to provide any further details.

The carmaker won more time to restructure in early April when a Swedish court extended the period in which the company is protected from creditors. GM has said it plans to cut ties to Saab by the end of the year.

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Saab USA Advertising & Promotions Manager Leaves Post

Posted on 04. May, 2009 by .

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Saab History has just learned that GM Premium Brand’s, Saab USA Advertising & Sales Promotion Manager, Steven Haener, has just left his position for another position within GM at this time.

This means that there is no longer anyone managing Saab Automobile’s advertising, promotions, merchandising efforts in the United States at a national level. It’s effectively the dealerships fending for themselves with their own regional advertising, promotional and merchandising (parts) activities at this time.

Steven Haener managed national advertising, sales and promotional activities such as the Saab Performance Drive Team Appearance & Born From Jets Mobile tour, Saab-Mavic Bicycling Partnership and the Saab-Salomon XWD Ski promotional program in the United States.

We first met in 2005 at the Born From Jets tour at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. when the tour began, and he was kind enough to connect with me there at the event.

It is unfortunate to hear that he is now, no longer there with no replacement in sight, just a week after Jan-Willem Vester, former Saab Automobile USA communications manager departed. This news also continues the trend, three months ago, since the director of marketing, Roger McCormack departed, and before that, the product director, John Libbos in December. I think that this departure makes Steve Shannon who I just interviewed, the only remaining ‘Saab USA’ employee, albeit under the ‘GM Premium Brands’ umbrella at the Saab USA HQ at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan. I wonder if this is due to the fact that he is member of the Saab Automobile AB Management board?

It’s clear now more than ever before, that we need an aggressive relaunch of Saab Automobile in North America this year, because at this present time, it’s ‘effectively’ just the customers and the dealerships with some loose “support” from GM in Detroit.

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Swedish Motor Cars Selling 1994 900 CE Convertible

Posted on 01. Apr, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Swedish Motor Cars

Swedish Motor Cars in Washington, D.C., a proud sponsor of Saab History is selling a rare 1994 900 CE convertible with just 97,793 miles on the odometer!

It is certainly a clean car, especially it is only one of 500 ever produced and officially the last year of the classic 900 convertible and comes with all of the bells and whistles!

Click here for more information on this car to inquiry about it if you are in the market.

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