Identity (Part 2)

Part 1 of “Identity” looked at Saab’s own assessment of their clientele.

This entry is an honest look at how some Saab people see themselves.


From The Spirit of Saab, by Rolf Bleeker, page 93:

“A Saab is not simply a car. If the Saab was simply a car, it would not have survived the two-stroke era in the USA. So how did Saab manage to survive? The answer is the ‘lunatic factor’, difficult to define, but not to be underrated.

The Drivers of that time were just as lunatic as the cars. Two similar personalities sought for and found each other, human being and car. The lunatic Saab drivers could be recognized by the way they walked down the street: the absent-minded professors with their shoes unfastened, their shoe laces trailing behind, their thoughts in a different world, their minds floating above all things mundane.”


Thanks to Ted for the quote. I have another somewhere on this site, but at $5 for a half hour at this internet cafe I don’t have time to find it.

If you have some good quotes of a similar nature, please leave them in comments and I’ll add them to this post as time goes on.

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1 Comment

  1. Being that you asked, here are my favorite quotes from the same book that relate to what Saab is and has been.

    This one proves that any new Saab has a hard time being accepted as a real Saab.
    From The Spirit of Saab, Rolf Bleeker, page 99:
    During the introduction of the 99, 900 and 9000 in the USA, Saab had the same problem as with all Saabs right back to the Saab 96. Nobody believed the newest model was a true Saab. Above all there were complaints from the dealers. Just six months after the release of the 99, pleading letters with the following request were arriving at Saab’s US headquarters: “Please tell the Swedes to send us the 96 again! Our customers want the 96 and not the 99.” Saab drivers believed in faithfulness and monogamy. Their love of “their” car was strong, so strong in fact, that even the attractions of a new beauty could not persuade them otherwise. To this day the tradition still exists, and will no doubt carry forth with future Saabs to come.

    This is a pretty good one about how Saab should be perceived. The last sentence is a real killer though, made me laugh.
    From The Spirit of Saab, Rolf Bleeker, page 107
    “A Saab is exactly what you want.
    The question is: what exactly is a Saab?
    The question is still being put, and the answers are the same as they always were. A Saab is:
    · a large car
    · a fast car
    · a safe car
    · an economical car
    · a durable car
    · an estate car, or station wagon
    · a car for the future
    · a Saab is the most intelligent car ever built.”
    This whole-page advertisement was issued for the first time in the Wall Street Journal on 16 August 1979. It ended Saab’s era of uncertainty about their own identity in the States. It marked also the end of uncoordinated marketing strategies.

    And, lastly, this one proves that the more things change, the more they stay the same (and CR will never change).
    From The Spirit of Saab, Rolf Bleeker, page 50:
    Schizophrenic love
    When the first news of Saab’s new four-stroke engine shook the two-stroke world in 1967, even the editors of the magazine “Consumers’ Reports” were deeply shocked. Hearing that Saab was to produce a V4, they complained to Lennart Lonnegren. “How can you give up the marvellous two-stroke engine?” they said. “Are you mad?” Lonnegren could not believe his ears. “Consumers’ Reports” had been belittling Saab’s two-stroke engines for years, and now it was complaining when they were about to drop them. Schizophrenic?
    Two strokes, two viewpoints: the technical staff on the one hand recognized that the Saab two-stroke was a wonderful engine but on the other hand they felt it was completely unsuitable for the average consumer. At least that’s how “Consumers’ Reports” saw it.

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