Wednesday Snippets – incl UK sales 07/07

A belated report on UK sales data for July 2007. They release this stuff so far after everyone else that I end up forgetting about it.

Saab GB sold 1,601 vehicles on July 2007, which was an 8.5% drop on the 1,751 units sold in the same month last year. So far in 2007, Saab GB has sold 14,430 units, which is a fall of 13.2% (yikes!) from the 16,625 units sold Jan-July 2006.

Pre-2008 hold-offs?

Cadillac sales numbers aren’t recorded but they may be lumped in with “other imports” reported by SMMT. If so, then a handful at most made up part of the 246 “other imports” sold there during the month.


Gunnar Heinrich (now of 4drivers only) is reporting on the possibility of New York City getting a congestion charge zone similar to those found in London and Stockholm.

Will E85 vehicles be exempt if it happens? It sounds like it’s only in the investigative stages at the moment, but right now I’d doubt that E85 vehicles would benefit while there’s virtually nowhere to purchase E85 within the NYC environs. If they exempted E85 vehicles then everyone would start buying some of the huge E85 SUV’s available, run them on gasoline and make the problem worse.

Still, I guess it wouldn’t hurt for Saab to get Bloomberg on the phone.


Avis, the rental car company (is there any other Avis?) are claiming a 4% reduction in carbon emissions since 2005 through it’s inclusion of environmentally friendly vehicles in its rental fleets. 4% doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider the number of miles done in Avis cars worldwide each year, that’s a lotta smog.

Avis Scandinavia have 400 Saab 9-5 BioPower vehicles in their fleet and I’m sure they’ll add more in Europe as the fuel becomes more readily available, which it is at quite a rapid pace.

4% – that’s a genuine difference.


Whilst we’re on the subject of ethanol, I had my first experience filling up with E10 in out Saab 9000 the other day. Yes, we’re that far behind here.

I noticed little if any difference except at the register where the 95 octane E10 was a fair bit cheaper thn the usual 95 octane we use.


And still on ethanol, there’s some group that’s received funding to study how you can make ethanol from coal.

Yes, from coal.

Where can I get me some of that funding????

Somehow, I don’t think the flowery BioPower ads would look so good with a chunk of coal in the middle of them.


And finally, on Ethanol, GM are spouting the benefits on the FYI Blog today and making a play-down of the mileage hit you take running on E85.

I think it’s pretty much undisputed that you do take a hit and the choice to run on E85 is one that people make despite that mileage disadvantage. You make that choice for good reasons, like clean power and in Saab’s case, more power. If you sacrifice a little mileage, then that’s part of the decision.

I don’t see why you really need to soft-line it.

The good part is that they do speak quite plainly about the fact that ethanol is NOT the solution, which is a good thing. It’s part of a solution and it’s a part of the solution that’s available now.


There’s nowhere else I can do this, but I just wanted to acknowledge that Van Halen are getting back together, with David Lee Roth included and – boy, do I feel old – Eddie’s son Wolfgang playing bass.

This band was such a huge part of my teenage years. It won’t happen, but I really hope they tour Australia when this North American tour is done.

So I need a Saab tie-in to justify putting this on the blog? Well, there’s a fairly good chance that a certain silver 900 Aero will have some VH blaring from the speakers as it heads own the Hume this weekend.

There. Eddie Van Halen is not God, as some might suggest, but he does teach Him guitar twice a week.

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  1. Hello Steve and others. When I read about your 95 Octane fuel (E10 or not) I wondered why. I do not know what 900s and 9000s required (and it may have varied according to the engine choice), but it reminded me that 2.3 litre 9-5s (including the HOT) can run on any gasoline from 87 to 93 octane. This is already a flex-fuel capability. I do not know how long this flexibility has been available. Although higher octane might (GM Canada used this word “might” in replying to my request to them about this matter) give slightly faster acceleration, I’ve never seen a lab or road test of the actual difference, and I have read (I forget where, unfortunately) that using the lowest octane fuel a car will run well on provides an environmental advantage, both out the tailpipe and in the refining. Assuming that there is no fuel-consumption advantage to using premium fuel, I am also saving several dollars on every fill-up. I’d enjoy reading some expert input on this matter, and learning if anyone (including SAAB) has ever actually tested a 9-5 (or other models) with regular and premium and made these comparisons regarding fuel consumption, emissions, and the environmental impact of the additional refining.

  2. ok ok ok i have a fair bit to get through so here goes…

    I filled up, 57l of E10 the other day, yes I was 3 short of empty, and i’ve noticed 1. A definite loss of power (I’m running a BSR stage 1) and 2. Consumption has gone from 12’s to 15’s. OUCH! I’m going back on 98 next tank and I’ll swallow the extra 14c per litre.

    Go UK! yeah whateva!

    So, how you can make ethanol from coal? Barter.

    VH eh Swade??? Want a copy of 5150 for the trip? Does the silver streak have a CD player in it? If so consider yourself the proud owner of this mighty album from the boys from L.A

  3. On sales figures… Christer Nilson, Swade’s buddy at Saab Automobile in Trollhättan, was quoted yesterday in Swedish press saying stuff like “production is at max in Trollhättan now”, “people working overtime in the near future a strong possibility”, “look’s like we can equal last years sales record”, “orders looking really strong” and so on.

  4. Got 5150, Richo. Got most of their stuff but a few of them I only ever had on vinyl!! Will have to make sure I get what I’ve got onto iTunes tonight to do a few compilation CDs.

    Good to hear that from Christer. That 08 model’s going to be popular, I tell ya.

  5. I never liked Van Halen…and I’ll shut up so I don’t piss everyone off :p

    Bruce – I put cheap gas in my NG900 once and OH MY GOD. It ran like SHIT for 3 weeks! It took two tanks of the good stuff to get it back to normal. Also, I, personally, get much much better mileage out of the expensive gas. It’s true that higher octane means more crap out of the tailpipe, though, but using the lower octane stuff hurt my performance so much that it just wasn’t worth it. Plus, using the good stuff is just better for the engine.

  6. About Caddy and UK. For 2006 there is figure of 306 sold cars in UK labeled “Other GM”. I’ll bet that is Caddy. I don’t know what other brand in the GM portfolio that could be in there… Imported Holden’s maybe?

    306 cars in a market of over 2,700,000 passenger cars sold…

  7. With regards to the slump in UK sales I may be wrong but I believe it can be attributed to the following 1) A slowdown in the economy and therefore the car market, 2) Reliance on one range of cars ie the 9-3. The 9-5, good as it is just doesn’t sell like it used to, and the market is moving towards smaller cars, and 3) Dealers pre-registered a lot of cars last year, something they don’t want to do in the current market especially when you see that a lot of them are still in the system.

  8. In Namibia we 3 types of gasoline:

    1. 93 RON (leaded)
    2. 95 RON (unleaded)
    3. 106.2 RON (leaded but higher octane rating)

    Since 2005, 93 RON (leaded) has been replaced with some muck called 93 LRP (lead replacement petrol) as leaded gasoline has been faced out.

    Now, my MY01 9-5 Aero theoretically is primed to run anything from as low as 91 RON right thru to 98 RON, though for best optimal results in terms of mileage and wear on engine and emissions, 98 RON is the recommended choice.

    We do not have 98 RON in Namibia, though our neighbor South Africa does, but the norm here is 95 RON. I have run the Aero both on 95 RON (full tank) and the highter octane 106.2 leaded, and the power increase is spot on – there is this linear pull from any gear and the rush when on tap is phenomenal. Also, I get better mileage – I have travelled 500km at an indicated 160kph non-stop on 106.2 RON whereas with 95 RON, I have to stop at the halfway point to gas up (mine is th 70l tank capacity). Also, no adaptation was required switching from 95 RON to 106.2 RON (referred to as racing fuel in this part of the world – it is nigh expensive though).

    I am not an expert, but from a layman user point of view, the higher octane gas is expensive, but gives me better power delivery and better mileage. Incidentally, evo magazine had a comparative test of all the fuels available in the UK sometime in late 2005, early 2006 (can’t recall the issue number) and the higher octane fuels scored better in terms of power delivery, emissions and the like. Will dig a bit and come up with the issue number for those who are interested.

  9. Another Saab connection to Van Halen.

    Eddie’s wife (or is it ex-wife now?) Valerie Bertinelli is the daughter of a former production supervisor at the now closed GM-Southgate assembly plant in California. And we all know that GM owns Saab.

  10. Regarding the UK sales figures, it has been known for a long time that Saab GB have been ‘buying’ sales volume by deep discounting cars to daily rental companies such as Avis & Hertz etc. I know of at least one dealer who almost refuses to stock new cars and fills his showroom with nearly new cars that cost him approximately half price as against new stock. Saab = depreciation?

  11. Bruce,

    Higher octane will give you lower emissions, more power and better milleage. The reason for this is that your Saab can use higher boost pressures without misfiring. Here in Canada, the good gas tends to be priced much higher than regular gas (15% higher or so), so there may be an economic incentive to stick with regular gas. The last time I was in the States, premium was only about 5% more, definitely worth it.

  12. Love the 80s music, but can’t stand the hairmetal (Van Halen Included :p ) Once of my least favorite bands of all time awards goes to Guns N Roses.

    Was always more of a new wave / synth fan.

    I still ahve every record Depeche Mode ever released :p

  13. I got my car from a guy who used 85, occasionally 88. I immediately started using 91, and the mileage went from approximately 22/24 mpg to 26/28 mpg. That’s on the V6, sadly without a turbo.

  14. I use 98RON E10 in the 9000 and it goes like mad (for a low-blow turbo). The 98 E10 is about the same price as regular 91RON. Mileage isn’t too good but that’s mainly due to urban rev-the-guts out traffic light sprints. The Sportcombi runs on 98. Better mileage, even when thrashed. Very happy with both, wouldn’t change down to anything else.

  15. mattlach – yeah, I hate Guns n’ Roses too. Blech. For me, the 80s were all about hardcore punk and proto-alternative/grunge. And goofy speed metal, but that’s just for fun.

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