Friday Snippets

After making a fair mess of the 9-3 re-skin entry yesterday, Jalopnik’s Spinelli indicated to me via email that he’d make it up to us somehow.

Rather than correcting the error from the previous day, he’s posted a question for jalopnik’s regulars. I guess you’ve got to take your Saab coverage where you can get it:

What Would Make Saab Relevant?

Head on over, though you have to register to comment.

Whilst not ideal, the email and this posting on Jalopnik are bucketloads more than I’ve heard from Fancy Pants Farago, which is absolutly zip. Considering he ran the most mouth in the audiopost I’d have hoped he’d front up too. Kudos to Spinelli for at least doing something to right the ship.

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Here’s a couple of E85 setbacks. One on either side of the pond.

1) Fuel pumps in the United States are certified for safety, the vast majority of them by a body called Underwriters Laboritories. The certification is required by many local and state safety codes and without it, pumps may be in violation of these codes.

Underwriters Laboratories have temprorarily withdrawn their approval of any fuel delivery apparatus that carries more than E15, meaning all of the 1,000 or so E85 stations in the US may be in violation.

UL’s decision applies only to pumps that sell fuels containing more than 15% ethanol. Stores that offer E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, are “allowed to sell it until they’re told not to,”

2) In Sweden, E85 prices have risen to the point where they’re now more expensive than gasoline. From The Local:

Mattias Goldmann, spokesman for the Swedish Association of Green Motorists, told The Local that the government had to act to encourage people to use cleaner fuels.

“The government should guarantee that it is cheaper to fill up on ethanol and biogas than on petrol and diesel,” he said.

“They should reduce the VAT on ethanol to 6 percent, the same as for tickets on public transport.”

The fledgeling E85 industry seems to be hitting a few hurdles. Here’s hoping they sort them out sooner rather than later.

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GM’s FYI blog has posted another Saab picture. I bet the Swedes never thought of the 95 as a surfwagon back in the 1950s….

surf_saab_101906.jpg

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The latest news that I’ve heard, from two different sources on two different continents, is that the idea of a smaller Saab vehicle, the one we’ve been calling the 9-1 around these parts, is no longer likely.

This might have something to do with why. From Edmunds:

General Motors has conceived plans for a compact entry-level Cadillac to help raise awareness of the brand and drive sales higher in Europe. Or at least it is if you believe the company’s product boss, Bob Lutz…..

….Lutz cites the success of the BMW 1 Series as the prime reason behind Cadillac’s plan to venture downmarket into Europe’s hotly contested premium-small-car market. He says he’s confident that GM’s upmarket division can broaden its appeal and increase sales by delivering a car designed expressly to meet the demands of European car buyers.

They just don’t learn, do they. This Saab vs Caddy glabal premium thing just gets messier and messier. And if you think GM don’t really regard Cadillac as a global brand, then get this from a press release just received in my inbox:

General Motors reported third-quarter global sales (July-September) of 2,296,000 vehicles, supported by the performances of its global brands Cadillac, Chevrolet, Saab and HUMMER.

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When our local Saab Car Club gets together for a drive,we usually end up at some sort of cafe or small-ish local attraction.

When the Spanish Saab Club gets together, they go and look at castles…..

PA010038sized.jpg P9300034sized.jpg

Click on either to enlarge. Thanks to EduSaab. The full gallery is here.

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7 Comments

  1. What’s the problem with GM? Why can’t get into their head that Europeans don’t car about the U.S. brands? A small Caddy in Germany is going to sell like… like… like the BLS… That is, not at all.

  2. Seems like a recurring theme in Jalopnik’s “What Would Make Saab Relevant?” is to let Saab do their own thing, using GM parts if necessary, or else let Saab go. I agree with the guy that said bring back the 2-cycle, but that ain’t going to happen.

  3. I completely aggree with ctm’s comment about Caddy in Europe. Cadillac is the epitomy of American tackiness – think: gold purses, puffer jackets, bright – loud makeup, and pink tennis shoes and you’ve got the American female equivalent of a Caddy. As an American living in Milan for a while, it sickend me everytime I returned to the states to see such tackiness and excess. Even the brand’s logo and grill scream busy-flashy-look-at-me, while the side profile (BLS) says understated Swede. If we removed the “L” from BLS, we’d have what most Europeans are calling the dreadful knock-off. Why not pour the millions being wasted on this brand’s pittiful push in Europe into Saab? Saab could be a BMW/Audi killer with these resources. Why does GM insist on brand engieering??? Becuase that’s all they know, and it will be their downfall. Swade, I’m not worried about Farago’s comments – he’s obviously missed the ship when it comes to the values of Saab: Safety, Sportiness, Simplicity, Scandinavian Sensibility – let’s just hope GM hasn’t miss these core values too as they begin to roll out the next generation of Saabs.

  4. Hey, maybe there is 2-cycle hope. This Colorado State paper
    (www.envirofit.org/files/publications/BAQ%202002%20Direct%20Injection%20as%20a%20Retrofit%20Strategy.pdf)
    talks about the direct injection system made by Oribital Engine in PERTH, AUSTRALIA, and retrofitting 2-cycle engines to use it–cool. I know Saab used to be a licensee of their technology, and they were running a 3 cylinder prototype that was as clean as 4-cycle engines.
    Then this in NEW ZEALAND:
    (www-dot-greencarcongress-dot-com/2006/03/pivotal_piston_-dot-html)
    They’re talking about going to 2-cycle engines running on hydrogen–more cool.

    Hey Swade, can you put in a good word for me with these people so I can get a deal on retrofitting my old strokers?

    …just kidding, but I sure would love to do that.

  5. Why,oh why would GM try to take on established small premium cars like the 1 series with a shrunken boulevade cruiser? When they already have a euro brand with a history of small sporty models. Do what BMW did with the new Mini as there are a whole mob of us baby boomers who fondly recall the Saab turbos of the 70’s and 80’s. A ready made market. Maybe a baby caddy works in the US but not elsewhere surely. Looks like my planned new Saab in a few years time will be a Mini.

  6. My thoughts exactly, Bill.

    They’ve got a recognised Euro brand that needs extra volume and would be perfect for making a Euro-style car.

    This is a multi-billion dollar decision and I just cannot believe that they’d go this way.

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