Notes from New York – Part 1

Greetings from The Big Apple!

We are here for the New York International Auto Show, which starts this Friday, April 22.

It’s my first time in New York City and all I can say is “Wow! What a place!” I’ve travelled to a few great locations for Saab events and Auto Shows but rarely has one city so completely exceeded my expectations – and I’ve barely scratched the surface here.

There is something new and fascinating to see with even just the slightest shift of your eyeballs. From the glamorous stores to the architecture, from the lights of Broadway to the people walking the manicured dogs owned by the well-to-do on 5th Avenue – there’s always something to see. And the food! This city can cook, believe me!

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It’s been heartwarming to see a decent number of Saabs on the streets here. I’ve seen more than I expected in such a large and busy city. For those of you keeping score the first Saab-spot was a black 9-5 SportCombi on Grand Central Parkway, around 15 minutes after I left JFK a few days ago.

The “wow” factor kicked in last night when I spotted a black classic 900 Convertible parked on the street. Unfortunately I was zooming by in a taxi and didn’t have time to get my camera out, but I might head back to the same district tonight and see what I can see…..

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Events so far in New York……

I had a small dinner meeting on Sunday with some readers from my Saabs United days. A few others tried to make it but were hampered by some unfortunate logistics. We had a great time, regardless.

Yesterday I headed down to the Javits Center to check out the setup of the Saab stand. It was mayhem down there as all the manufacturers had crates of equipment being hauled in, opened up, with staging areas being assembled, etc.

Last night was very special as the Saab PhoeniX Concept vehicle hit the streets of New York. I can’t say anything about where and I certainly can’t show you any photos from the night as it was all for a magazine shoot and we need to wait until the issue hits the streets. What I can tell you is that PhoeniX drew a LOT of attention from passers-by.

I think it’s fair to say that PhoeniX has been a vehicle that has forced people to have opinions. You can’t see the car and remain neutral about it.

Seeing it in a cityscape last night was a new revelation for me and from the quotes I collected from people passing by (everyone stopped to ask about it and you’ll probably see some cellphone photos out there on the web).

WHAT kind of car is THAT? (Nearly everyone)

It looks like a small batmobile! (20-something guy)

It’s a Saab? Get outta here! (Around 10 different people, some stopping their cars to check it out)

Is it a hybrid? (Again, a number of different people, showing how hybrids are gaining attention here)

Do you want me to pose in front of it? (Very nice lady, passing by with her husband – they hung around for about 10 minutes checking it out)

If that came into my workshop, I’d be having dreams about it for months. (Young mechanic in training)

Is that the Aero-X? (The same young mechanic, who obviously pays some attention to his Saab concepts)

Is that really from Saab? But they’re famous for making the ugliest cars in the world. (Something I’d clearly disagree with)

It’s so hot. It’s amazing. (Another 20-something guy).

That’s not a filtered list. It’s everyone that I got to speak to personally and as you can see, the reaction was uniformly positive on the streets last night. It really was great to see PhoeniX in a different environment.

Did I mention I got to hear it running, too? The 1.6 turbo sounded fantastic.

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Today I’ll be back down at the Javits Center, taking a look at the final stages of setup for the Saab stand.

Before that, however, we have a press event featuring Jason Castriota down at Chelsea Piers. There should be plenty of media there.

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15 Comments

  1. Oh I really hope the Phoenix makes some news headlines so that USA understands that Saab is alive!
    Sounds like you`re having a great time Swade!

  2. Swade, welcome to NYC! I am so happy to see you writing again (on a blog). While I should give SU a chance…it is very hard to get used to all the different styles.

    I look forward to your point of view, which I know will remain laser focused, unabashedly honest and infectiously enthusiastic!

    Cheers!

  3. Swade JKing here from NJ….You are right in my back yard mate! Good to see you reporting from NY…I am planning on coming up for a day. SAAB needs some more positive news these days with all the negative vibe with the shutdown and lack of funding which looks like its being taken care of but the factory still sits idle for the third week. Not good.

  4. One other thing….I just read on the SAAB-i report that the 9-4x isnt coming until the fall now….that is not good! It was supposed to be in dealers in May….that is bad news…they need that on the market now to bring in the operating cash they need. Hopefully that isnt the case. I know they have one at Rheinersteins in North Jersey. Enjoy the show!

    1. It’s my understanding ETA is June. I haven’t seen the SAAB-i newsletter myself to verify but could it be a different market (non-NA) that was referenced for a fall launch?

  5. Welcome to New York!

    You helped me with information before I ordered my NG9-5 last November. Took delivery in January and it’s been 4,000 miles of absolute joy. I love my 9-5! Averaging 28.1 miles per gallon over that 4,000 miles by the way in a 70/30 city/highway mix.

    Enjoy your stay here, I hope to meet you at the show! I would like to thank you in person for helping save Saab.

    Perian – (GM Inside News)

  6. Hi Swade! You’re absolutely right, NYC is like no other metropolis on earth. Enjoy it! A great place to introduce the PhoeniX. As the very proud owner of two mint classics: a 1991 900 conv. turbo in black with tan leather, and a gorgeous 1994 9000CSE in eucalyptus green metallic with taupe leather… I am concerned that non Saab enthusiasts are not understanding what makes a Saab different in a better driving experience way which could affect new car sales. I also think that we Saab fanatics love our classics so much that we may not jump out to buy a new one for a few years or more because our hearts are attached to our babies. You know. I think my gift to Saab would be the suggestion to capitalize on how long Saabs last and can therefore be enjoyed as proven by how many are still on the roads all over the world. The inherent value of Saab cars is already there, the challenge is to get people to experience the difference from the driver’s seat. Best of luck always, and one day I will own a PhoeniX or one of the new generation models…maybe a Hybrid!!

  7. >But they’re famous for making the ugliest cars in the world.
    No no, that’s Volvo! 😉

    (Not anymore though, they have improved the last couple of years. 🙂 )

  8. Sure seems like PhoeniX is better in the metal than photos to date? The metallic finish is not my favourite, probably would like to see a solid glossy colour, but good to hear it is performing its duties well in NYC!

  9. So great to see the PhoeniX here in the U.S. though I am sad not to be able to make it to New York and the show.

  10. Welcome to the “Bad Apple!” So much to see and do, but if the weather is nice, get over to Central Park and Rockefeller Plaza. Two beautiful places.

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