Sunday Snippets

A few years ago when cars like the 9-3x concept and SportHatch concept were being shown, there was a lot of excitement around Saab and former Saab Sweden head honcho Peter Augustsson hoped that the increased interest would lead to sales of around 250,000 a year.

One could assume that that’s what they needed per year in order to break even, which shows the amount of spending that was going on at the time, prior to GM’s big cleanout.

GM Europe boss and insistent test driver of XWD vehicles, Carl-Peter Forster, has come out in a piece quoted by Reuters saying that Saab is now looking at a sales target of around 160,000 to 170,000 vehicles per year. And Jan-Ake Jonsson gives the impression that break-even is much closer than that:

Saab sold 133,167 cars worldwide last year and was not profitable, Jan-Ake Jonsson, Saab’s managing director, told Automotive News.

“There is still work to do to take out more cost,” Jonsson said. “But we are not that far away from break-even.”

To give y’all an imprecise idea, selling a 9-3 yields Saab a certain margin on the sale. Selling a 9-5 yields a margin that’s bigger by a double-digit factor and selling a 9-7x is somewhere in between.

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The august body and object of many of my objections, Consumer Reports, has finally admitted the truth in a piece about run-flat tyres:

Few readers/subscribers ever write to us about the positive aspects of a product…

That’s long been one of my contentions with regard to their reporting on Saab. People are much more willing to complain that they are to praise, especially in service-is-everything-land.

Digressing to the run-flat tyre issue, Saab doesn’t offer them and I’m pretty happy with that. What do you think?

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There’s what might be a good bit of BioPower news in Car Magazine.

Secretary for transport, Douglas Alexander, yesterday launched a consultation for the Government’s plan to encourage more motorists to use sustainable fuels, such as E85. And it plans to reward motorists who use them.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), introduced in 2005, is the commitment to green fuels. The Government wants to 5 percent of all fuel sold on UK forecourts to come from biofuels by 2010.

So the plan and intention to increase E85 use is definitely there. What needs to come next is the incentive for filling stations and motorists to take up the product. The article notes that some news on that should be coming in September, when the consultation launched by Mr Alexander finishes.

Fingers crossed.

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RIP another wrecked Saab.

This one was left parked near a river and I assume the handbrake wasn’t engaged properly. Whilst the owner was munching on a Hawaiian pizza, the Convertible (ouch!) started rolling…..rolling….rolling to he river.

A good Samaritan tried to help out and tow the car back up to safe ground, but the strap he was using broke, resulting in some brand new momentum and inevitably, a Saabmarine.

A dive company was called in to find, and then help retrieve the car. I don’t think there’s going to be much to salvage, though, as it was upside-down in 12 feet of water.

sunkSaab.jpg

The kicker? The owner only had third party insurance. Now her car’s gone and she needs to cover the costs of the recovery as well.

Take car of you cars, people. Please.

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Boxy and boring may be the next-big-thing in automotive design.

And Ovlov’s only recently gone curvy….

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4 Comments

  1. Just got my e-brake fixed actually.

    How did the car roll away? Does the GM900 not require you to put select reverse to remove the key?

  2. NG900, and no, it doesn’t. As long as it’s in park, the key will come out. Otherwise, it’s locked in.

    As far as boxy cars go, that’s a Japanese thing. People buy Scions because they’re cheap and because they obviously don’t care that they look like idiots driving them. The Japanese loved the Chevy Astro, and that’s where the design for the Scion xB (and this Nissan Cube thing) came from. Frankly, that designer guy is a bit of a tard if he thinks that EVERYONE is suddenly going to want cars that look like crap rather than cars that have nice flowing car lines. There will always be idiots to sell these things to because there will always be idiots that buy cars because they want to stand out.

  3. Until the run flat product improves greatly I am not a big fan. It did not stop us buying a 3 series but I think the car suffers as a result.

    However, I drive to Galway reasonably often and the drive is fast country roads with few areas to pull over – a dangerous place to change tyres. If I got a puncture there I might think run flats were the best idea ever.

    I would say with a bit more development I would approve. They are not much more expensive than a good tyre.

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