Saab USA opportunity in Aspen

I can’t believe this hadn’t crossed my mind yet. Tompa, from Sweden, wrote to me this evening with the following thoughts:

…..for me and others the Aspen Police Department is known for two things… They are working in an amazing environment and close some pretty wealthy skiers 😉 But foremost, they drove Saabs from the 70´s up until just a while ago when they turned to XC90´s.

They state that they did so because of the larger room for equipment and the awd capability… What can Saab do to have them drive Saabs again??

Saab should get back into the Department. Showing off that new 2008 9-3 with a growling V6 and effective XWD would do Saab a lot of good. The car is really eye-catching and could make the wealthy Aspen “clientèle” think twice before buying yet another BMW for the misses or.. mistress.

Bloody good idea, that!

And it just so happens that there’s an article in the news about this very subject.

The deal with Volvo for the Aspen cop cars runs out in December and they’re currently looking for their next ride. High on the shopping list are Toyota Highlander Hybrids. Obviously they want to send out a green message and maybe even conserve a bit of fuel.

The Highlander’s no certainty, though, as there’s dependability issues in the cold climate as well as radar interference issues due to the electromagnetic whatsits emanating from the batteries. Believe it or not. They’re getting one Highlander later this year to run as a trial vehicle but other police are using them and experiencing those radar problems, which is a big issue for cops, naturally.

Aspen Cop SaabI know XWD isn’t supposed to be coming out until early 08, but surely there’d be capacity to put together a few of them for the Aspen plod. Saab need to have a win again.

SaabUSA – give the Aspen cops a call and see if you can’t supply them with a few advance units of the coming 9-3x – the SportCombi raised a little and running the XWD system.

There’s gotta be an opportunity in that, hasn’t there? And wouldn’t it feel good to reclaim some old ground?


The image is from the Aspen police website. They have their own ‘trading cards’. Seriously. I think this guy’s fishing for a spot in “the mounted section”.

Aspen cops

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  1. Yes it would be nice to get the Aspen cops back into a Saab, but the 9-3 is not large enough. The back seat of a cop car has to accomodate a divider between the front and rear occupants. Only the 9-5 or 9-7X would be big enough. Maybe 9-7X Aero police cruisers?

  2. Yeah, unfortunately this is another opportunity that Saab cannot exploit because they’re still waiting for product development.

    A hybrid mid-size Saab SUV would be brilliant, and would sell quite well, IMO. But by the time Saab actually gets around to it, “been there, done that” will be the response in the marketplace.

  3. “Currently, the department uses a fleet of 11 Volvo XC-90s. But APD’s contract with Volvo expires next December, when they plan to replace them with the fuel-efficient models.”

    1. small fleet, so there isn’t a huge unit loss;

    2. nevertheless, hopefully, gm will take notice, as the issue is bigger than just the aspen police force; and

    3. i raise the issue, with respect to limited resources, should saab use capital to forge into the +300hp arena or keep the current power range and develop hybrid? it doesn’t seem like it has money for both.

  4. With respect to conventional engines, Saab does not need a lot of engineering to forge into the 300-350 hp area. Indeed, until the arrival of XWD, it’s been more a question of keeping the horsepower down, than up. Other GM technology, like direct injection, will be helpful in this area.

    Hybrid, E85, biodiesel, these technologies fit the brand ethos so well – that’s where the future is for Saab, and that’s where the money should go.

  5. Actually APD saw and drove a diesel Saab a couple years ago now, were most enthusiastic, NOT inpressed with the hybrids they tested, didnt really reqr AWD cept for a few locales, a couple times a year. What a missed opportunity to get these engines(4cylturboDs) certified and into coppers and delivery vehicles everywhere.

  6. I fear the 9-3 might be too small a car to fit the bill. There’s a reason Aspen used to use 9000s and 9-5s. They’re bigger.

    A few years back the California Highway Patrol trialed using some ovloV sedans as patrol vehicles. The department got pretty frustrated with ovloV because they seemed unwilling to take measures to modify the cars to fit the application. Also, some requirements could not be met due to the size of the car. For example, CHP patrol vehicles have a shotgun mounted vertically between the driver’s and passenger’s seat. The shotgun would not fit in the ovloV as the distance between the floor and the ceiling was too short.

    Needless to say the trial ended with the CHP deciding not to buy ovloVs.

    Now, that being said because XWD will not be available in the 9-5 until the next-gen one comes out in 2010 (likely when other manufacturers will offer the same fourth-gen Haldex AWD system under a different trademarked name), I don’t see any Saabs fitting the bill in Aspen. Maybe the 9-4X when it comes out? Perhaps offer BioPower-equipped ones to fit the “green” bill?

    Or like Fred points out, if GM ever allows Saab to bring a 50-state emissions-compliant vehicle over that would work too. Let them run biodiesel in it, though with the cold temps in Colorado they’d likely have cold start issues.

    I’m not sure that one of the requirements is all-wheel-drive, is it? The Saabs they ran prior to buying the XC90s were not AWD. I understand one of the things that helped sell them on the XC90 was that ridiculous (IMHO) contention that the XC90 eats ozone, so it clears the air as it drives.

  7. Its really in GMs/or Saabs court. As long as theyre not selling the vehicle(ie leasing), EPA will let mfgs bring virtually anything here in an “attempt to certify”. Surely cold, snowy, high-altitude, constant-use would qualify to shut the pie-holes of diesel and bioD mavens.

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