Tuesday Snippets

Greetings one and all, from Ulverstone in northwest Tassie. Thanks to people at the hotel I’m staying at – the Ulverstone Waterfront – for letting me use their own office computer to write tonight. My favourite place to stay in Northwest Tassie. Always has been.

It’s still travel time for me, so posting will be slow for another half day or so.

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Saab’s website – it doesn’t say which one – was recently recognised by Blast Radius in the UK (they do web design and online marketing) as one of the best consumer sites on the web. Not automotive sites. Best consumer sites.

Carmakers fared well, taking four of the top 10 spots. Jaguar’s website won overall, and Saab placed seventh. Not bad when you consider the millions of websites out there….

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Someone at Saab ought to be really, and I mean REALLY, pushing the 30 years of turbocharging angle. The time is now. Please.

Here’s about the fifith article I’ve seen in a few days on the demand for turbocharging in the future in order to meet increasing demands for fuel economy.

Turbocharging and safety. Turbocharging and safety. Turbocharging and safety. Turbocharged Safety…..

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For those of you wondering about Saab’s sales in the US compared to the rest of the carmakers there….

Well, it’s interesting. Brand by brand it’s a sea of red arrows. But when you look at the amalgamated figures only GM and Chysler were in the red in November.

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And whilst I’m linking to Autoblog (above), I should point out that they STILL haven’t run an article on the US debut of the Turbo-X and its pricing there.

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Saab should have patented the name Carlsson. It looks so wrong here.

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Volvo are saying that other carmakers are finally taking on Swedish values and TTAC are reporting that Ford plan to take Volvo way upmarket in the future.

I have a feeling, from whispers I’m hearing, that they won’t be the only Swedes heading that way.

I didn’t ask those V8-in-the-future-9-5 questions for nothing…….

I have some more confirmation work to do, but Djup Strupe has been busy.

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26 Comments

  1. Saab should have patented the name Carlsson.

    You can not patent a name.

    You can register a name as a trademark, but you can use a name as a trademark without having to register it.

  2. Sounds like everyones on the road tonight. I’m in melbourne, staying just down the road from the MCG. Went for a jog around there earlier on. Sounds better in Ulverston though.

    I thought Ford was looking to sell Volvo – or was that just Jag/Landrover. As CAR magazinie recently pointed out: with the growth in the top end of the market and the intensifying of competition at the bottom end ( + India & China still to come….) Ford should really be selling Ford.

    Saab going upmarket would be good although I think that they could kind of stay where they are and just expand a fair bit as a realistic, organic step. but for now who’s complaining, any investment is great!

  3. Saab and Volvo going upscale is not a good idea. Jag was supposed to be the upscale bit of Ford’s premium auto group, no? So why sell them and push Volvo up? It makes even less sense for GM when Caddy is in that spot.

  4. And, since Saab isn’t exactly blowing away the Acura and VW competition now, what makes GM think they’re going to take BMW and Audi by storm?

    I do not understand this thought process.

    Thanks to Swade for calling this out. I’ll be interested to know what the sources turn up.

  5. Carlsson Tuning is run by the brothers Rolf and Andreas Hertge (yes they also tune BMW’s!) and is named after the Swedish Rally and Racing driver Ingvar Carlsson (no relations to Erik and Pat).

    Here an excerpt from the Carlsson website:

    Exclusive tuning for Mercedes automobiles since 1989
    Elegant cars, powerful engines, a motor-racing atmosphere. The latest technology in every automobile that leaves our premises. You might expect to find Carlsson on a large technological or industrial estate. But you would be quite wrong. The Carlsson Autotechnik GmbH, which was founded by brothers Rolf and Andreas Hartge in 1989, is located at Gut Wiesenhof, a manor house near the town of Merzig in Southwest Germany. The company name honours Swedish rally driver Ingvar Carlsson, our technology partner who, together with Björn Waldegard and Walter Röhrl, made motor-racing history in the Mercedes Rally Team.

  6. Steve, just hope the new extension to the dining area at that place is still holding up, and hasn’t yet fallen into the river.

    Highly recommend a visit to Pedros seafood on the waterfront. They do wicked chicken nuggets.

    DB

  7. Regarding the name Carlsson (as a trademark), CARLSSON MOTORSPORT AUTO TECHNIK GMBH registered that name in the USA in 1987. I assume it was registered in Europe at least that early. Seems odd that Saab was able to have a Carlsson in the first place unless they had an agreement with CARLSSON MOTORSPORT.

  8. Saab should stay where they are, IMO. They sell too few cars as it is, how would jacking up the prices for some extra leather help?

  9. I remember a few years back that there was talk of an up market car ABOVE the 9-5. I do not see Volvo being more up market than it is. Same for SAAB. $43,000 for the convertible is stretching it a bit for me now, anything higher and I may not be able to buy a new SAAB. I like the fact that they are an alternative to the establishment. I just wish they could sell more cars. The 9-1 and a new 9-5 are just what SAAB needs, not a SAAB “Phaeton.”

  10. Turbocharging and safety: you know, it’s difficult for people to get excited about a car’s safety until it hits close to home. I was involved in a rear-end accident yesterday (don’t worry, it wasn’t in my Saab, but in my company-provided Dodge Stratus) and I found myself wishing I had been in the Saab. That might sound perverse, but maybe if that were the case I wouldn’t have suffered whiplash due to the SAHR system.

    But it seems like traffic accidents are common enough (this was my first, btw) that there should be a large portion of people for which safety is a main concern. Especially those who have had immediate family involved in accidents and/or their children.

    ovloV doesn’t sell their cars on horsepower/torque numbers and their sales seem to be pretty good…

  11. I know turbo critics say “there’s no replacement for displacement”, but why not?

    I was watching an older episode of Top Gear last night where Jeremy Clarkson was in a Lotus Exige equipped with a Toyota supercharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine racing against The Stig driving a 4.6-liter V8 Ford Mustang. Clarkson mentioned that the Mustang output 300 bhp.

    I thought to myself, “only 300 bhp? An inline-4 turbocharged 2.3-liter 9⁵ can be tuned to output that much even without BioPower!”

    But I suppose the turbo critics would knock the 4-cylinder as not being “refined”, whatever that means. Sort of like when a bunch of the Saabistas were asking why Saab really needs a V6 when they could get more bhp out of the inline-4. I mean, the Turbo-X puts-out 280 bhp with a V6 but the 2.3-liter I4 9⁵ can put out 300 bhp in its Hirsch-tuned version. But the answer was that the V6 is “just more refined”, whatever that means. If “refined” means sucking more gasoline, then yes, the V6 is more refined. 😛

  12. No, see, there’s no replacement for displacement when you’re in a stoplight challenge. Try beating that Mustang to the next light in any Saab.

    It’s not that a big honkin V8 gives you more power, it’s that it gives you power in a totally kickass way.

  13. Haha. Ever driven a big block? You’re legally required to wear a Nintendo Power Glove because you’re…wait for it…playing with power.

    *whamshot

    Nah, I just meant that in, say, a Saab, you step on the pedal, and it’s like “Hey, this is pretty quick, and efficient!” and in, say, a Corvette, you step on the OH MY GOD I’M GOING 45.

  14. Sorry to hear you got rear-ended, Gripen.

    You should have been in a Saab. For real. It’s no small matter- a neighbor of mine was rear-ended at highway speeds (he was doing 60mph, and was hit by a drunk driver doing 100mph), and he still hasn’t recovered more than a year later. He still gets migraines and nausea spells, and can’t work at his job any more because of it. How about an involuntary career change? It’s too bad, really.

    If only all cars were as functional and safe as Saabs are. Maybe you can use it to ask your company if they’ll get you a Saab, for safety sake! 😉

  15. RJ: thanks for the kind words. I was on my way to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico again for work (I live in Los Angeles, about a 6 hour drive away) so I was driving my company-issued lease car. For some reason a $30K+ near-luxury automobile wasn’t one of my choices of company car (I was allowed to choose one of: Ford Taurus, Dodge Stratus, or Dodge Caravan (minivan)).

    I would love to ask my company to get me a Saab but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to wait-out the inevitable fit of laughter which is sure to be the response. In the U.S. Saabs start at around USD29K. The Dodge Stratus went for around USD21K when new and I’m sure it was less than that to the fleet services company (called “Wheels, Inc.”) which the company I work for contracts with.

    Unfortunately the ’06 Stratus with the non-lumbar support seats I had ranked “Poor” overall in the IIHS rear crash protection rating. I’ll say. 🙁

  16. Aw man! You should have taken the Caravan! Those things are so fun to fling around to the brink of tipping!!!

    :p

    Your company can’t get a used Saab?

  17. Jeff: large multinational corporations (like the one I work for) typically “outsource” everything they can to save money. My company has outsourced fleet services to a company called Wheels, Inc. This company buys large numbers of cars (a “fleet”) which they then issue to employees. My company pays this company to administer this stuff.

    I was thinking of throwing around the fact that all the cars they’re offering have “marginal” to “poor” rear crash test ratings and that its unconscionable to only offer these vehicles, but I know it’d do no good and I’d just be seen as a disgruntled employee.

    I’m seriously thinking if they have to write-off my car rather than fixing it about opting-out of the company car program and leasing a few years’ old (2005) 9⁵ Aero wagon. The only problem with this is that my company will only reimburse me up to $280 a month for use of my personal car, insurance, and maintenance so I’d have to pay a lot more than the $100 a month out-of-pocket I do now for the company lease car. The company lease car plan also includes insurance, maintenance, and all gasoline costs.

  18. Ah, I didn’t know you worked for a huge company. I thought it was medium sized :p

    How much does it cost to lease an old Aero wagon?

  19. Jeff: I’m not sure. My dad tells me that dealers will often agree to lease a three-year-old car coming off a lease begrudgingly because they’d rather sell it than lease it again.

    I can only find the payment calculator for leasing a 2008 (they allegedly aren’t offering leases on unsold 2007 models) at the saabusa website.

    But I estimated payments to lease a 2008 9⁵ Aero Combi over 48 months (four years) just for fun and the monthly payment comes out to $571.31 a month plus $1,166.31 due at lease inception. Yowch! I know a lease on a three-year-old car would be considerably less, but I’m sure it would still cost many times the $100 a month I pay for the Dodge.

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