Here’s the Saab guys:
That’s a clickable pic and from left to right, we’ve got SaabUSA’s PR guru, Jan-Willem Vester. SaabUSA head honcho, Steve Shannon. And on the right is 1985Gripen himself. He went to great lengths to stress to me that at 5-feet-10 he’s not short, it’s just that the other two guys are quite tall 🙂
Gripen journeyed east from his native LA and attended the Saab Owners Convention in Michigan and then on to the 2008 Saab 9-3 launch event in Wasgington DC. He produced another formidable volume here to compliment his 60th Anniversary event coverage back in February.
This is a summary entry of his coverage from that time, but read on as there’s more below.
There’s also a whole bunch of photos from his trip at his Flickr account. That link includes a lot more than just the pics I’ve shown here. There’s been too many for me to show them all. For example, there’s a set there on his visit to a GM museum/storage facility, housing not only the Saab cars from GM’s heritage collection, but almost every concept car that GM have shown in North America over the years.
Gripen’s also been dropping various bits of information in comments in the week or so since he’s returned:
While we were eating lunch together a couple of weeks ago at SOC regarding the BioPower potential in the U.S. Steve Shannon said something along the lines of, “what Hollywood star wouldn’t rather pull-up to the red carpet in a SAAB convertible than a Prius?” He pointed-out that the SAAB convertible is so much more sexy than a Toyota Prius hybrid so if SAAB brings over BioPower and can convince left-leaning environmentally-minded (he did name examples like Ed Begley, Jr., Lindsay Lohan (who could use that SAAB safety since she apparently exclusively drives drunk. Maybe there’s an AlcoKey in her future…), Tom Hanks, Darryl Hannah, and more) to drive SAABs and give the brand a higher profile…..
….In addition, Mr. Shannon repeatedly brought up the fact that in an opinion piece in the L.A. Times a few weeks ago they ripped-into ethanol and Mr. Shannon also pointed-out the lack of E85 fueling stations “in L.A.”, which I thought odd that he brought up L.A. specifically, rather than California as a whole, but now looking at the “getting stars into SAAB cars” scenario I see now why it would be important to have E85 pumps in L.A…..
And on the US release of BioPower in response to my model timeline:
You can add to the timeline that the 200 bhp 9³ 2.0t BioPower is slated to hit the U.S. market sometime in model-year 2009. The date is not concrete but this info comes straight from the horse’s (Steve Shannon’s) mouth (and also from Andreas Andersson’s PowerPoint presentation).
There’s a bunch more and I’ll be trolling through them shortly to try and post as many answers as possible to the questions you all posted prior to Gripen’s trip.