I got back from Australia in to Trollhattan on Saturday evening, just in time to take in Day 2 of the Saabs United Days event on the weekend.
Saabs United Days was a gathering organised by the Saabs United website, aimed at giving a chance for readers of the website to get together, share some Saab experiences and attend various presentations to give them a better understanding of the Saab company and brand.
Day 1 was conducted mostly at ANA, which is arguably the largest and most trafficked Saab dealership in the world, located right here in Trollhattan (the new Saab of North Olmstead showroom in the US might be the single point of argument about size).
There were plenty of new Saabs to test drive. All variations of the new Saab 9-5 were on offer so that people who’d previously not had a chance could get to sample the new Saab 9-5 Sedan range. Attendees also got an exclusive small-setting opportunity to spend some significant time with the new Saab 9-5 SportCombi and the new Saab 9-4x, neither of which are released to world markets just yet.
Reports say that a number of vehicles were sold at ANA on the weekend, which is a great outcome for both ANA and Saabs United.
I joined the group for Day 2 of the event, which was hosted at the Saab Museum in Trollhattan. Aside from the opportunity to check out the various historical Saabs in display (with free entry for SU Days attendees), there were also a couple of presentations made giving people an insight into how Saab operates as a company.
A team from the Saab Technical Development center presented on how Saab use modelling and simulation to enhance the model development process. Everything from design to supply and even safety is enhanced by Saab’s greater use of modelling techniques. In fact, where Saab used to build mules every six months to test a generational change in the development cycle of vehicle, they can now test significant changes to development vehicles every six weeks using computer simulations.
This presentation also included a segment about the Saab IQon vehicle entertainment and integration system. The IQon system drew a great amount of interest at the Geneva Salon when it was unveiled earlier this year and that interest level hasn’t dropped off at all, with plenty of questions in the group Q&A session that followed being about IQon in particular.
The second presenation addressed Saab’s production facility – how Saab actually goes about making cars. We had a photographic tour around the factory, as well as some detailed insights into how Saab use ‘Lean’ production methods to constantly improve their production process. It was a very intensive presentation and one for the real Saab die-hards, but an incredibly interesting perspective nonetheless.
I’ve been writing about the Saab company for over six years now, until recently that was on the Saabs United website. One of the great aspects about Saab is the community that surrounds it – a very dedicated and passionate group of people who want to know more about Saab and why we do the things we do.
It’s easy to think of this gathering as being just a group of car nuts, but the fact that people were willing to travel from England, Finland and Holland to attend something organised by other fans just like them is indicative of the passion people have for the company.
I’d have to rate the first Saabs United Days an outstanding success. The fact that people are willing to organise and attend such an event is something that we at Saab really appreciate. It’s also a feather in the cap of the organisers and attendees, the people who are always needed to make such an event a success.
If you’ve got an event like this happening in your local area, please do contact me so that I can add it to the Events page on this site. I might even be able to get along and say Hi if the schedule works!
Photos by Rune at Saabs United. Used by permission.