One of our Saab Cars North America staffers, Stephanie Moore, attended the 2011 Saab Owners Convention in Parsippany, New Jersey. Steph shot a little film there, and we put together a few bits to commemorate the occasion.
Thanks to all who said hello and made Steph and the rest of the SCNA crew feel so welcome. We’ll see you next year at the SOC in Iowa.
Whilst the newspapers and web columnists have been talking us down, you’ve been hearing plenty from me about the reasons I believe Saab will survive it’s current difficult times – brand, factory, product and people. Perhaps it’s time to hear from someone else.
The following was written in comments to this website by Derek M, who attended the Saab Owners Convention in New Jersey last weekend. I’ll present it here without any further introduction or context as I think it speaks for itself. We have some of the best fans ever.
Just a quick (although not brief) note of appreciation. When SAAB was announced for sale by GM, I hungered for news and stumbled upon Saabsunited. It’s my wife who has always been enamored by the brand, but I’ve since come to develop a passion for the brand. I still receive a smile each day as I pilot my convertible to work. Your post of the 9-5 combi at SOC was all the incentive needed for Denise and I to take a day trip to New Jersey. It was nice to be surrounded in an environment that was all about product instead of the media’s constant barrage of finances.
It is the details of the 9-4x which are certain to create or reinforce the brand loyalty in the CUV segment. Ex: The collapsable u-rail system locks into place under the floor if not needed. (Gee, can you see what Jason and the design team can do about emulating that concept with the wind diffuser for the next generation of convertibles???)
Perrine SAAB brought a 9-5 turbo4 sedan for test drives. (Java with the cashmere leather, wood trim and cocoa brown dash is particularly luxurious looking.) I must confess to having scoffed at your praise of the turbo4. My bred-in-the-US mentality is that bigger is better – so while I appreciate the size of the new 9-5, after driving the turbo6 last year why would I even think about a test drive of the turbo4?
Was I mistaken in my assumption? Absolutely. The power band and torque for the turbo4 was smooth and readily available, no lag- no feeling under powered.
After drooling over the 9-5combi in person, who cares what is under the hood. it will sell on looks alone. I do think the turbo4 is the right choice for the US market as this trim distinguishes it from the 9-4x trim levels. (Although, it would be nice if aero trim included the Hirsch upgrade in horse power to distinguish trim levels, but I’m no product planner.)
The most enjoyable part of the day was the interactions. During our test drive of the 9-4x aero, we had the opportunity to converse with John (Libbos, from Saab Cars NA). What great tenure and expertise. Where I work, we refer to employees of twenty-five plus years of service as Legacy employees. If my memory and math skills are adequate, John will reach that milestone next year. They’ve helped define our brand and create our culture, leading to our legacy. It is that passion and determination that distinguishes companies from their competitive set. Passion is inherent, you are either impassioned by your work or you are not. As a Human Resources guy- Human Talent is my area of expertise. I truly believe that it is the power of the individual , the human asset, that makes an organization unique. The competition can’t copy synergy, mettle nor fortitude.
So regardless of one year of service or twenty-five years, my thanks to both you and John for the impact and passion you’ve ignited in me. I look forward to the day when conversations and media can focus on product. I have every confidence that similarly impassioned individuals are working towards the financial solutions needed for such a realization.
Top Gear Magazine in the Netherlands is very interested in current stories surrounding Saab. They’re keen to support the company in an hour of need and in a gesture of goodwill, are offering free subscriptions to the Dutch Top Gear magazine to anyone who picks up a new Saab in Holland.
Nice work, gents. A small token that’s much appreciated.
This week’s must-read, from my personal point of view:
A report in the local Trollhattan newspaper, TTELA, (in Swedish) takes a look at events and reports about Saab in the last few days. I thought it represented things pretty well and I personally can’t wait to welcome Anders Carlsson back to the fold when things work out. His reasoned and honest approach was a welcome one to read.
There’s also a good quote in there about parts, for those who are interested.
If you’re after some more images from the 2011 Saab Owners Convention, Bob M’s album is available here.
I’ve been enjoying bits and pieces from the Saabfans weblog recently, which gathers some entertaining videos and tidbits from around the web.
The Sonett dyno video from SOC was fun.
As was this image of a car I wish I’d kept from my childhood. Is it just me, or did everyone have one of these? I used to adore this little model car before I ever knew what a Saab was.
And seeing this matchbox car is seen around quite a bit, let’s add an impromptu poll:
Good reading for those who think Saab ought to be more like Apple (personally, I agree to some degree, but with the overriding belief that we have to redefine what makes Saab, Saab).
So if you really want to be like Apple, drop the fluff- filled vision statements and magical wishes. Pretend your company’s existence is at stake, coldly evaluate the environment, and make choices. Stop thinking of strategy as meaningless verbiage or financial goals and treat it as a serious design challenge.
The Saab 9-4x was on show in southern Sweden a few weeks ago and if you want an enthusiast’s eye view on how it looks, check out this Saab 9-4x gallery.
And our final story for today is the Saab-based custom car that’s currently for sale right here in Trollhattan.
The UNO-001 was the only example made from a sports car project back in the 1980s. The goal was to develop and produce a Swedish sports car but the project never got off the ground and UNO-001 passed through a few owners before current owner, Jörgen Scherdin, bought it in 2009 (for just 30,000SEK).
The UNO-001 used a tubeframe body with custom sheetmetal and a Saab engine mounted mid-vehicle for best balance. The car has now been restored and is being offered for sale for the cost of the restoration, around 155,000SEK.
More images have come through from our own Stephanie from SCNA, as well as from Greg Abbott, Meg H and Pierre T. You can see Meg’s full gallery of images here.
The feature shots today are the group shots, a tradition at SOC. With and without people….
The gallery is a megamix of images from the people noted above. It’s interesting to see the event from different people’s point of view so I’m very appreciative of all the people who are sending in images.
A slightly interesting ‘aside’ – It’s been interesting to compile these galleries to see what people are photographing. As a Saabologist, it’s been confirmed to me by a whole bunch of polls and discussions that classic Saab 900 is definitely the most revered Saab in the company’s history. And you when people gather at these big events, there seems to be a relatively small number of 900 photos, which older Saabs getting a huge amount of shutter time.
Today’s gallery includes some great shots of Luke Sorensen’s Saab 99 rally car, as well as some photos from the “Heritage Drive” – did you get to drive one of these heritage collection vehicles? – as well as a brilliant image of the yellow convertibles gathered together.
So…..here is today’s gallery. Again, my thanks to all those who’ve submitted images for use here in Inside Saab. You’ve succeeded in making me extremely jealous once again
The 2011 Saab owners Convention is well and truly underway and it’s been great to get some updates from people on the ground there.
Of course, our own girl-on-the-ground, Stephanie from SCNA is there and she’s been having a lot of fun, meeting a lot of attendees and getting a feel for what a Saab owners gathering is all about – great cars and great people.
She’s also been getting a good feel for life in the convertible lane…..
Following is a nice gallery of shots sent in by Stephanie, Steve C and Greg Abbott.
Steve C attended one of the tech sessions held earlier on Saturday. The session was held at Reinertsen Motos, a Saab dealer and one of the SOC sponsors.
Jack Lawrence of Motor Sports Service was the featured speaker talking about lessons learned from his illustrious racing career with building and maintaining race cars based on Saab Sonetts and 96s. These shots include Len Schrader’s vintage racing 96s. The red one is signed by Erik Carlsson. Len is Principal and co-owner of Reinertsen Motors, Denville NJ.
The photos from the tech session were taken by Paul Ostensen.
Greg Abbott has sent in some beautiful images, including some from the dyno session held at the SOC as well as the parts sale.
Stephanies shots include images from Tim Colbeck’s presentation on the opening night (which by all accounts, went very well) as well as some images of the cars being shown at the event. A personal favourite of mine is Ralph B’s white Saab Sonett II, which I was fortunate enough to take for a drive around this time last year. Another personal favourite is the Blue 1980 Saab 900, which I believe belongs to another friend of mine, though I haven’t driven that one (YET!)
Click an image to enlarge…. (order of appearance – Greg’s, Steph’s, Paul/Steve’s)
I’m not going to make it to the Saab Owners Convention in New Jersey this weekend. I’m sure all the attendees are going to have a fantastic time and it’s disappointing that I can’t be there to share in it. I’ve been doing this Saaby stuff for more than six years now and I still haven’t managed to get to SOC yet – very sad.
We still want to share some stories from the SOC, however, which is why Stephanie from the Saab Cars North America office will be attending the event.
Stephanie’s going to have a flipcam with her to capture all the good stuff from the gathering. We’ll put the footage together and show it on our various channels shortly thereafter.
So if you’re attending SOC this year, keep an eye out for Stephanie and make sure you say hello. She’d love to talk to you, check out your Saab or lead you around a quick tour of our new Saab 9-5 and 9-4x to get your thoughts. She’ll be doing photos and video at the event, so if you want your car (or yourself) featured, Steph’s the one to talk to.