Friday Snippets

I’d like to thank all the Brits who popped up in comments last night talking about why Saabs are pretty well appreciated in the UK. It seems a competition heritage and a penchant for intelligent design count for a lot – something that Saab would be well advised to keep in mind….

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More quotes from Saab GB’s grand poobah:

Jonathan Nash, managing director of Saab GB said: “It has taken longer than expected to get to grips with the brand, but to be fair GM finally started moving the company in the right direction about five years ago.”

That’s how long it takes to get the strategy and new models to market.

Speaking at the UK launch of the latest 9-3, Nash said: “People want to buy a Saab because it is Saab. It always has been a distinctive, high performance brand.”…..

…..Nash added: “GM has come to terms with what it now knows is a unique, individual brand with a lot of loyal customers. It was not just a question of making the brand more widely available, it was about investing in innovative technology such as cross-wheel-drive.

“If you are going to be late into the game with a technology you need something unique and as a centre for excellence in cross-wheel-drive, engine_management systems and turbo-charging I think you will start to see some of Saab’s technologies cascading out into other GM products.”….

He talks a little about rightsizing, and then this little gem:

“We should not have to apologise for enjoying driving. You pay a lot of money, hopefully to Saab for your car, then you pay a not insignificant amount in taxes to the government – I think you are entitled to enjoy the car that you drive.”

I do a lot of analysis on this site and not enough about the joy of driving a Saab. Thanks for the reminder, Mr Nash.

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Wulf links up a good article over at Saab Central.

The gist: with the American dollar shortly approaching parity with the peso, you might be well advised to get your Saab sooner rather than later if you’re in the US market.

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Again, a lack of Saab diesel for the US market is hurting. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet here, but I was writing about this over two years ago. They needed to bring diesel for several reasons. a) because there’d be a market for it, and b) because it would place them in a position of leadership. Who are the leaders now? Same as they’ve always been – the Germans.

Last week, I heard from a Saab owner in the US. His dealer had recently been to Sweden and whilst there, the dealer got a chance to drive the TTiD. That dealer’s remark – no doubt they could sell a bunch of ’em if they were able.

And now, you’ve got the blogosphere doing backflips about BMW – again. Why? Because they’re bringing diesel. That’s just one of many articles this week.

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Speaking of the TTiD, a little birdie told me this morning that Hirsch are producing a stainless steel dual exhaust for the TTiD. So even if you don’t get the Aero (on which you get a dual exhaust as standard) you can get the dual sounding rumble from Hirsch later on.

More than that, though, they’re also currently working on a software upgrade for the TTiD model, too. With 400 Nm of torque already, it’ll be very interesting to see what the Hirsch mod puts out.

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But back to the joy of driving a Saab. This car was the subject of a SOTW entry last week and I couldn’t resist posting this second picture that turned up. Seems the owner got a new wide angle lens…..

Saab 900

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8 Comments

  1. Lets be honest here, Saab people love Saab cars because they are – wait for it quirky. Yes, there are plenty of people who hate the use of the word but its a fact. I don’t need to tell the folks who read, and write, this great blog why they love their cars warts and all. In all honesty I have never owned a Saab and have been drooling over them for 25years now. Saab’s are not a car for the masses because a good percentage of the driving public don’t want to be “emotionally involved” when driving a car (thats why there are so many boring Japanese cars about!) I remember the first time I drove a Saab though – its not the kind of car you just get in and drive as you have to show it who the boss is.

    Here’s how I see it!

    My first experience in a Saab, a 1995 900 2.0t that I was asked to babysit for a long weekend. I didnt take much convincing!! A good knowledge of how a turbocharger works is vitally important to start with. Driving up into the mountains here around Vancouver was where this Saab excelled IMHO. Approach a corner with the revs to low, change down a gear and – ugh – the thing pulls like a ox and cart but approach the corner with the revs a little high shift down into that sweet spot at about 2100rpm then plant your foot on the gas when you are around the corner and whoa! Rally car, anyone? Brought a smile to my face every damned time. But I hear a lot of you saying what about the highway? I am getting there. Firstly the suspension sucked – majorly. I think the suspension was borrowed from that cart I was talking about before. Hard didn’t even begin to describe it in fact I dont think the car had any suspension but ya know what – I didnt care one bit! Why? T-U-R-B-O, its as simple as that. The ease at which this car passed boring cookie-cutter cars impressed the hell out of me and all the time I was in fifth gear. On a deserted freeway some smartassed twentysomething pulled up along me doing 70mph goading me to race him so, acting like some irresponsible kid I floored it. Before long I was up to 125mph and this car wanted more but I was shocked at its capability and didn’t fancy spending a night in jail. The twentysomething? Well he caught up with me about 10miles later and gave me a thumbs up mouthing the word “awesome” at me. Crummy ride. Did it matter? Uh, not one bit! The road noise? Didn’t care. Fuel mileage during my five hour burst on the highway including the “high-speed run” about 35mpg (thats real gallons not American ones)!!!

    I guess what I am trying to say is a Saab grabs you by the b*lls and dares you to test its limits. The 2003(ish) 9-3SS “smiley guy” ad said it all. And you know what, one of these days I will have a Saab and you will be the first people to know about it! πŸ™‚

    Maybe I should take back quirky and change that to involving?!

  2. I know you were only joking (indeed I was – SW), but the Mexican Peso has been sinking in value as fast or faster than the American dollar recently. It used to be closer to 10 Pesos to the dollar. Now it’s closer to 11 (10.9 today).

    A 500 ml (roughly equivalent to a 16 oz. bottle to us gringos) bottle of Coke is 7.1 pesos, which is like 65 cents! And like pre-1985 U.S. Coca Cola it is sweetened with sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup! I can’t get enough of The Real Thing down there! πŸ˜‰

    I’m an expert on this since I’ve been working in Mexico every week (except for the two when I went to S.O.C. and Washington D.C. on vacation) for the past seven weeks straight. I’m down there right now!

    The favorable exchange rate bodes well for the 9-4X and Haldex’s XWD (both of which are manufactured in Mexico).

  3. Here I was thinking that the reason the Turbo-X didn’t get 300+ horsepower because the transmission was already maxed-out with the 400Nm of torque. Now I read that Hirsch is working on boosting the TTiD (which is also “maxed-out” w/ 400Nm of torque)?

    I guess the issue isn’t blown trannies as was speculated (don’t even THINK about touching that “blown trannies” remark. I know what I wrote…) because all Hirsch mods are covered under Saab warranty. If there was risk of prematurely failing transmissions there’s no way Saab would allow Hirsch to release this.

    So now why again did the Turbo-X get “only” 280 bhp? πŸ˜‰

  4. I think they should have made it 301bhp as Saab marketing would have had a field day with the TurboX. BTW coke is CA$1.79 for 2000ml here in Canada or about US$1.7949 at todays rate so your 65c 500ml is a ripoff. πŸ˜‰

  5. zippy: I’m sure as you know the price is cheaper as the quantity increases (Costco/WalMart buying in bulk strategy). How much is a 500 ml bottle in Canada? Regardless, it’s sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, like the crap we have in the U.S., right? We can blame “New Coke” for distracting us from that major change to the Coca Cola formula back in ’85. Prior to “New Coke” Coca Cola was sweetened with sugar. When they “re-introduced” Coke “Classic” after New Coke flopped they sweetened it with corn syrup, figuring nobody will notice or throw a stink because they’d be so happy Coke Classic is “back”. Corn syrup is cheaper and the market for it is less volatile than sugar in the U.S. Sugar’s still cheap enough in Mexico that they still use it in Coke there. I don’t like Coke in the States, but I sure do like it in Mexico. It’s RC Cola for me at home! πŸ™‚

  6. I’ve heard of using the price of McDonalds Big Mac sandwiches worldwide as a way to compare economies, but I wonder if 500ml bottles of Coke could serve the same purpose. How much does a 500ml (or 16 oz) bottle of Coke cost in your locality?

    We’ve already determined it’s:
    MXP7.1 (USD0.65) at Calimax supermarkets in Mexico (and MXP5 for a can in a vending machine)
    and
    USD1.55 (USD1.39 plus sales tax for a 16 oz bottle from 7-Eleven) in San Diego

    Add your local price here (do me the favor of converting your local currency into USD, if you would as well)!

  7. Grip, I read in a CAR article from a few years ago (which was pretty spot on with confirmed 9-4x facts)that the 9-4x was going to get the 300+ engine. I think that maybe they thought the XWD was publicity enough and are holding the engine back until the 9-4 launch. But don’t quote me on that!

  8. Today I was visiting the saab caravan i Norway. Testing of all the different models of the 9-3 MY08. Also interesting that the guy from Saab Norway confirmed that the 9-3 TTID will be available with the xwd system from sept 08 togheter with the 9-3 “cross” version. He also assumed pretty sure that most likely the 9-4x also would be available from autumn 08. The new 9-5 mostly not before autumn 09 as MY10.

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