Wednesday Snippets

Saffron Yellow it is!

I’ve just seen some internal GM bizzo that indicates the color Saffron Yellow will indeed be coming and I’d therefore take an educated guess and say that it’s the new Convertible color that’ll be announced later.

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There’s been a wildfire going around the automotoblogoshere in the last 24 hours. It’s called “Are BMW going to buy Volvo?”. I’m very interested in this, but not for the reasons you might think.

Are BMW interested? I have no idea. The official word is that there’s no talks going on and that Volvo’s not up or sale. Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen and the reasons why are all well documented here at The Car Connection.

What I’m more interested in is whether or not this is an example of the internet gone crazy. This isn’t a new story. It was covered around three or four weeks ago. The recent wildfire was kicked off when it was covered in a newspaper in Goteborg. I haven’t seen that report, but the Reuters coverage of it doesn’t include much (if anything) that’s different from the original report from three weeks ago.

Could it be that it’s the exact same report but it’s been given a new lease of life because a report from a Swedish newspaper about a Swedish company gives it that extra credibility?

Time will tell.

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It’s all about Biofuels today….

Portugal are looking to ramp up biofuel availability and Spain are in the somewhat strange position of exporting gasoline so they can import more diesel.

Methinks that 180hp diesel in the new 9-3 might be a hit in Spain, a growing market for Saab even prior to this new model coming.

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In addition to all that, GM put out a press release that once again spruiks the benefits of Ethanol and the plans to have cellulosic ethanol in large scale production sooner than what most people think.

…..cellulosic ethanol ā€“ combined with the billions of gallons of corn-based ethanol already produced today ā€“ could potentially replace up to 30 percent of this nationā€™s demand for energy by the year 2030, according to National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Based on projections from biomass researchers, including Bruce E. Dale, director of the Biomass Conversion Research Laboratory at Michigan State University, cellulosic ethanol could be produced for $1.30 a gallon in the near future and around $1 a gallon by 2020. Both grain-based ethanol and biomass ethanol reduce greenhouse gas emissions — 29 percent for ethanol and 86 percent for cellulosic ethanol, according to Argonne National Labs.

The enticing thing about that is the “$1.30 in the near future” reference. Even if you factor in the estimated 30% mileage hit, that’s still around $1.70 a gallon.

Then factor in Saab’s turbocharging and engine management technology, which gets much better performance from the higher-octane fuel and you’ve got a recipe for some fun.

Getting off the corn base for ethanol is going to be a key for it’s success. Here’s hoping this optimistic press release is also realistic. Here’s hoping, too, that Saab can get BioPower into the US market sooner rather than later in order to get established with the right E85 message about environmental care and right-sizing of engines.

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Happy Birthday to Andy Rupert!!

As you can see he’s recently enjoyed an incident-free homecoming in his new Jaguar, but is keeping his Saab roots intact with the T-shirt his wife got him – Ivan’s rather cheeky “GM Free” shirt from the Saab Design T-Shirt Shop:

AndyCar.jpg

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9 Comments

  1. Better not let your new Jag see that second picture, Andy, it might break down out of fear. That is, if it didn’t break down after you leaned on it in the first picture, that is.

    Just kidding :p I like Jags, I’d just never want to own one as a daily driver. I don’t like the vanity plate, though…branding a car with your name is just asking for bad luck, it’s like changing a ship’s name.

  2. …on the biofuel SAAB engines, have consumption figures been released yet?

    Also, will the biofuel engine require 98 octane min for petrol?

  3. Saab Sweden would be the best place to look for consumption figures. They have been discussed here previously too, by people with BioPower vehicles there, but I’d have to do some digging to find the link.

    Trionic engine mngt software should adjust all the timing etc for whatever grade of fuel you put in, so 98octane wouldn’t be necessary.

    Save for a few ethanol proof bits, it’s essentially the same engine as a non-BioPower engine. It’s the management software that makes it so good and the turbo that gets the better performance from the Hi-Oc fuel.

  4. Thanks swade,

    I think that the mods for eth mean a more durable engine regardless when e85 becomes more accessible.

    The apparent quality improvements are also what i am interested in. I’m little less interested in the look (which is ok) and more on the driving experience.

    I read in the wheels (and other mags like it) bagging the chassis tuning, steering etc. In my recent test drives i haven’t noticed any of this (apart from some minor quality issues-odd rattle).

    I’m inclined to take most of it with a grain of salt. What is the level of cust service like for SAAB Aust?

  5. Well, Wheels have a propensity for wanting to hang the arse out in any car they test. We’re a rear wheel drive country, traditionally. Anything involving the slightest amount of performance (i.e. turbo) is supposed to be like that. So I take their perspective on Saab with a grain of salt, too.

    In terms of quality, the little I’ve heard from people that have driven the 08 speaks of a much quieter car. I look forward to judging that for myself next month.

    And customer service here in Oz? I can’t comment as I take my Viggen to an independant. Maybe it’s worth posting about on the front page and inviting comment from visitors here in Oz who have made purchases new. I don’t know what sort of sample size we’ll get and remember, people are more prone to complaints than praise, but it could be a worthwhile and interesting exercise.

  6. I think the BMW/VOLVO thing is just a reflex of the media need for news.

    It would be a new Rover/BMW disaster: how could a FWD and a RWD car manufactures have significant synergies?

    And I remind you that in both cases the choice of the traction wheels is a vital part of the brand’s image.

  7. Thanks for the birthday greeting, Swade. I’ll be wearing the shirt to work today, with my SAAB cap, and … while driving the Jag.

    As to the reliability of the new car, it has done remarkably well on the first 500 miles averaging about 21 mpg. That’s not bad for an old car. I think it was the earlier style Jags that were problematic. (Here’s hoping.)

  8. “how could a FWD and a RWD car manufactures have significant synergies?”
    They are doing quite well with the Mini Cooper (fwd). But I don’t think they are interested in Volvo anyway.

  9. I just emailed Swade with an idea but it’s worth posting here too (and I’ll post it in some forums as well later on today)…

    Some of the t-shirt designs would be really good as window stickers or decals (much like the Saab aeroplane logo decals that Terry from Vintage Saab Parts sells on Ebay from the UK). Especially the ‘100 % GM Free’ one – would be a great sticker/decal if it was made about the same size as the ‘made in Trollhattan by Trolls’
    inside-glass stickers which are now extremely hard to get.

    What does everything think about that idea?

    Craig.

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