Saab news in brief

Convertible Recall:

Not sure if this is New Zealand only, but it’s only been reported in NZ papers so far:

Saab has recalled 2001 and 2002 Saab 9-3 convertibles after identifying a potential fault which could result in fuel leakage.

The company said that fuel pump retaining tabs in some cars may have been damaged during manufacture.

Over time this could cause the fuel lines to loosen, resulting in leaking fuel which could be a fire risk.

Owners of this particular model of car, with a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in the range 17000001 – 27018885 (last eight characters of the VIN) are asked to return the car to their nearest Saab dealer for a free fitting of a metal bracket to secure the lines.

GM and Ford hit ‘junk’ status.

The big bad news of the day is that GM’s debt rating has been lowered to ‘junk’ status, meaning the corporate giant is going to have to pay pay higher interest rates on future borrowings.  GM’s putting up the stable face, but you can bet your bottom dollar this is the last thing they wanted to hear.

Biopower in the UK

The Biopower 9-5 wagon will make its UK debut this week at the London Clean Energy Show…..

….which is being held at the Business Design Centre in Angel Islington. The BioPower runs on a mixture of 85% bioethanol and 15% petrol – known as E85 – and is carbon neutral in that the small amount of CO2 the car produces is about the same as that taken from the atmosphere while the plant material which eventually produces the bioethanol is being grown.

In many cases, clean cars are notably slower than their normal equivalents, but not the BioPower. It uses Saab’s two-litre turbo engine which, on petrol, produces a maximum of 150bhp, but which in this application churns out 180bhp.

The BioPower seems too good to be true, and right now that’s exactly what it is as far as UK customers are concerned. But it’s a different matter altogether in Sweden, where the BioPower accounts for nearly 90% of current 9-5 orders.

There are several good reasons for this. First, E85 is widely available in Sweden, where it costs about 25% less than petrol. The BioPower is also exempt from congestion charges in Stockholm, qualifies for free parking in other Swedish cities, and is subject to 20% lower company car tax.

Saab says it wants to bring BioPower technology to the UK "should market conditions support it". First and foremost, that means E85 will have to be reliably available at a majority of service stations.

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