The Saab Ultimatum

Bourne Ultimatum I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of the Bourne movies. Them and mafia movies – the perfect genres.

So I was pretty pleased when I got an email from Brian L, who’s just been to see the third episode of the Bourne series – The Bourne Ultimatum, telling me that there’s a small Saab cameo in there.

From what I’ve heard around the web, the main cars in the movies are apparently VWs and Audis. The Saab gets a look in through a couple of undercover CIA guys:

The SAAB 9-3 was driven by a pair under cover CIA agents in the movie. On screen time is less than 10 seconds, but I was excited to see my car on the big screen. The first shot is of the agents inside the 9-3. The second is of the agents pulling up in the 9-3 and stopping with the grill and hood filling up the whole screen.

I’ve actually had a couple of people, quite independent of one another, email me recently saying that Saab should be lobbying for some movie space.

There’s the obvious Bond connection with the Saab 900 Silver Beast of many years ago (books only, never made it into the movies) and the Aero-X would make a perfect Bondmobile. There must be another Bond movie in the works and now that they’ve reached out for a new, more realist style with Daniel Craig in the role, I think it’d be great for Saab to get involved.

I could imagine Bond having to get away or chase someone and getting into a silver 900 to start with….then commandeering the Aero-X from the Quartermaster later on for some hot driving scenes through the old part of Stockholm.

Sounds good to me.

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  1. There’s a VW commercial airing in the U.S. now as a Bourne Ultimatum tie-in. It shows Jason Bourne driving the new Tourag 2 in a big chase scene, crashing it in the process, and it ends with the VW “safe happens” slogan.

    VW must have paid for some serious product placement in this film as Bourne also drives an AUDI he jumps off a parking structure (backward!) to get-away from guys shooting at him. I guess they couldn’t have used a SAAB for this stunt anyway because Bourne would never have been able to hot-wire a SAAB. He’d have been shot whilst trying to locate the ignition switch! 😮

    For those of you Aussies, the Bourne Ultimatum premieres this Tuesday (the 7th) at the State Theatre in Sydney. Matt Damon is expected to be in attendance.

    It seems juvenile, but I really think that using a certain make of car in an action movie shows that car in a good light. Guys want to own that car that the hero drove and made look good. I know SAABs have featured in such movies as Sweet Home Alabama (a romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, which brought in only $180M worldwide its entire run versus say, the Bourne Ultimatum which brought in $70.2M in its opening weekend in the U.S. alone) and Sideways in which the owner of the C900 ‘vert had so little regard for his classic car that he crashed it into a tree intentionally.

    I could see someone leaving a Bourne movie and wanting an AUDI or a Bond movie and wanting a Bimmer, but I can’t see someone leaving Sweet Home Alabama and wanting a SAAB…

  2. “but I can’t see someone leaving Sweet Home Alabama and wanting a SAAB…”

    …Unless you’re a girl and you want the same car as Reese Witherspoon. Unless that girl has seen Legally Blonde and wants a boxster. Ooops, I shouldn’t know this stuff.


    BOND>>>>NEW 9-5

  3. I think the Aero-X would make for an awesome Autobot in the 2nd Transformers movie…. Definitely would have been an awesome JAZZ, but I guess the Solstice needed more of a plug.

  4. turbin: if that’s the case (marketing SAABs to women through movies) then sales should have shot through-the-roof after The Sweetest Thing (which coincidentally, or not, came out the same year as Sweet Home Alabama, 5 years ago. SAAB Marketing must have been busy in Hollywood that year), where Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate drive across the U.S. in a 9⁵ wagon. Okay, now I shouldn’t know that… 😉

  5. Talonderiel: I’m sure you probably read Swade’s post here last month (I think) where he reported that the producers of the Transformers movie wanted the Aero-X, but would have required several more copies of it in addition to the single one already in existence. According to what I’ve read, the concept model SAAB built for the auto show circuit cost the equivalent of USD1M. I don’t know why the film’s producers couldn’t just CGI copies like they did with everything else in that film…

    As for a Bond car, I couldn’t see him driving a SAAB as his “gadget” car in the film. He should stick with tradition (Aston-Martin), IMHO. However, if they were to show Bond in his own personal car (rather than the “Company’s” Aston) off-duty perhaps that’s where the new 9⁵ could make a cameo. I think SAAB would befit a government employee at his pay scale and taste.

    In the Gardner 007 books Bond’s 900 Turbo was his own personal car, purchased with his own money and he sent it to a specialty shop (Communications Control Systems – CCS), rather than Q-Branch, to have it loaded with real-world gadgets.

    Though I have to admit, I find it hard to believe one could mod a 1980 SAAB 900 Turbo (pre-APC) with water injection and supposedly get 240 bhp and sub-7-seconds 0 to 60 mph times…(the stock ’80 900T output 135 bhp and I don’t see how water injection buys one 105 additional hp)

  6. I think seeing Astons film after film gets boring, personally, because I’ve never cared a bit for Aston Martin. I kinda want to see him drive a Lotus again.

  7. In the series brothers and sisters, one of the main charachters drives around in a MY07 9-3 convertible. it was nice to see that it got a leading role in something. It gets a few good camera shots when it’s on screen.

  8. Saabologist, I am sure you know it is contractual obligation for him sing the theme to the shows he is in…

    Ian Fleming had Bond driving an Aston and as much as I love Saabs it is Astons for me.

    I said in previous post Saab needs to get a 900 into the follow up to Life on Mars – Ashes to Ashes. At the minute they are planning to use a Quattro. Audi do the product placement thing so well – the A8 in Ronin was magic.

  9. 1985 Gripen: The one in novel its a 1980. But the reallife ‘Silver beast’ was done in 1981 by Saab, the APC was introduced in 1982, it might some preproduction engine inside them 😉

  10. Brian L

    OK excited to see the Saab in this movie.
    This is an action packed film and this is what made you excited! Hmmm…

  11. I mentioned this in an earlier post but there are a series of films from Sweden featuring the detective Kurt Wallander who drives a silver 9-3 SS Aero. The regular police drive 9-5 SC. The movies are good for reasons other than the presence of SAABs but as a fan it’s great to spot them on the screen.

    Also, The Family Stone featured a 9-5 driven by the character played by Dermot Mulroney.

  12. saabologist – you’re scraping the Saab / movie(?) reference barrel there arent you?

    I can top it with Dev Alahan drives a new 93 vert in Coronation Street!

    Either of thoise dont do much for Saabs street cred though.

  13. jwlanky: no, wait. Michael Douglas’s character’s wife in the film Traffic drove a 9⁵. The French police inspector in The Transporter drove a beat-up C900. 😉

    As for the Bond film thing, I think now would be the time to get-in on it (before AUDI does). The producers previously had a product placement arrangement with Aston-Martin, which was owned by Ford at the time. If you watch Casino Royale you’ll notice that every car in the film is a Ford-owned marque, including the Ford Mondeo rental car Bond drives in Jamaica. Ford reportedly paid USD14M for this product placement, but considering the worldwide audience, this seems like good marketing to me.

    Now that Aston has been sold by Ford I wonder if the producers are still obligated to use Fords. Maybe SAAB can get in on this. If not as Bond’s “official” car (requires something really upscale, exclusive, and flashy, IMHO, and the Bimmers, except for the Z8, were a joke), at least as a secondary marque. However, I suspect GM would never allow SAAB to take the limelight and would push Bond into a Cadillac before a SAAB…

    Ian Fleming might have written Bond into an Aston-Martin, but remember Fleming passed away decades ago. Time goes on. What if he had written Bond into an MG or Rover or something? As for Lotus, I think they’re sporty enough, I just don’t think they’re luxury enough. The Elise and Exige are made for serious track use and wouldn’t befit a guy who wears a tuxedo almost exclusively, though it would be fun to try and see how Daniel Craig figures out how to get into and out-of it elegantly (they’re notoriously difficult to enter and exit).

  14. Jeff: there’s a new Esprit coming out?!?! I don’t believe it. The Esprit was my favorite car in my youth (due to Bond driving it in The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only).

    But talk about a car past its prime… I mean we talk about how SAAB takes forever to replace its models. The Esprit was introduced in 1976 and ceased production in 2004. 28 years!!!

    After your comment I just read about the replacement at Wikipedia. It says it was originally slated to come out in 2008 but now looks like 2009.

  15. Past its prime? Bah. Why replace the Esprit when the Esprit was perfect? You wouldn’t replace the 911 with something different just because it’s old, would you? Oh, wait, Porsche already did that. Lousy new 911, man that thing is ugly…but fast.

    At an expected $125k, the new Esprit had better be great. I can’t wait for it. The shop next door to the one where I get my car worked on is all Lotus and Triumph. There are a ton of special edition Esprits and fully track prepared Esprits, also. Plus there are a ton of the newer Esprits. I love it.

  16. Grip, the Aston is every bit as much Bond heritage as the hatch is Saab heritage. As for Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious, I love the cars and the heritage and for my age group Roger Moore and the Esprit were Bond but as I grew up I came to realise that Connery and Aston were the only combination.

    Daniel Craig and an Aston is working well for me though.

  17. I’ve never heard that acronym for Lotus, but it makes sense considering how many Esprits came in and out of that shop I mentioned while I was there.

    Speaking of acronyms, here is a list of humorous and mostly derogatory acronyms related to cars.

    My favorite: SAAB: Shape Appears Ass Backwards. Funny because it’s true :p

  18. I caught that as well! There were a TON of VW’s in the movie and then I saw the SAAB pull up larger than life – cool.

    For fun – keep your eye on the Chevrolet Impala police car in the New York chase scene – talk about taking a licking and keeping ticking.

    Great movie – possilby the best of the series.

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