Brief notes from IntSaab 2011

The slow rate of entries from IntSaab was due to the vast amount of activity.

Right now I’m sitting on a ship, heading away from Turku, Finland, towards Stockholm. The Saab 9-4x is tucked away safely in the belly of this ship and will enjoy another run from Stockholm to Trollhattan tomorrow (It’s averaging 11L per 100km for those who are interested).

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Like the Saab Festival in Trollhattan, IntSaab is one of those significant activities that people should really try to be part of at least once if they can. The variety of cars and people and the depth of stories to be told is just amazing.

I’ve lost count of the number of people I met who bought their first Saab back in the 1960s or 70s. And some of the history on show was just magnificent. New cars, too, though lesser in number. We need to get some of those newer buyers a bit more engaged (which is a responsibility that lies with Saab as much as anyone else).

I’m sure that everyone who attended the event would join me in thanking the Saab Club of Finland for putting on a fantastic event. It can’t be easy to find a venue that can handle hundreds of cars as well as accommodating and feeding hundreds of people. The hotel at Ellivouri did both with aplomb and it made the event all the more enjoyable to have a real, central base for everything.

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Interest in the future of Saab was high amongst people at the event. Everyone wanted to know who the mysterious Americans were and how things were going back in Trollhattan. What was the future for Saab? Are we going to survive?

It was hard being unable to provide fuller answers, but the message I conveyed at IntSaab was the same as the message here and everywhere else when it comes to Saab matters.

The current issue is short-term. We still have to get through it (and we will) but when we do, the long-term future is very bright. And don’t believe everything you read in the papers.

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We brought along a Saab 9-4x for the event and the reception it received was outstanding. People were all over the vehicle from the first time we opened the doors.

The Saab 9-4x has been made primarily with the US market in mind, but it was really encouraging to hear a lot of people asking about when it would be available in Europe.

We stopped in at the few Saab dealerships on the way to IntSaab and they were really happy to see the 9-4x as well.

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Those dealer visits were all part of Saab’s wider contribution to the weekend. There wasn’t a whole lot that we could do with a small team, but I hope we managed to add something to the weekend.

In addition to bringing the Saab 9-4x, we also had Kenneth and Kent from the Saab Performance Team there. They put on a smaller, two-man show that kept the crowd entertained on Saturday afternoon. I’ll be putting together some video from this show (you can see the teaser here if you haven’t already done so).

We also had two Saab 9-5s for people to inspect, and Sauli Naski, who is one half of the in-country Saab Finland team, was on hand to take any questions about the local market.

It was great to be able to bring something from the company to add to the event. The organisers of IntSaab 2011 did such a fantastic job and of course, they do it so that people can share their enjoyment of the brand and the cars that we’ve made over the years. Coming along and adding a little bit of a presence/enjoyment from Trollhattan was a lot of fun, and the least that we could do.

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I’ll have more photos and stories from IntSaab when I get back to Trollhattan. Right now, my camera (and memory card) and safely locked inside the 9-4x, in the car deck of the ferry. That’s why you’re reading a lot of text right now and not seeing a lot of photos.

Again, thanks to all at IntSaab – both organisers and attendees. Have a great start to the new week and I’ll catch you all when I’m back in Trollhattan tomorrow.

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14 Comments

  1. Re; 11L per 100 km (9-4x).

    Astonishing.

    This = over 41 mpg (miles per gallon) here in the UK, which is close to 37 mpg (US gallon).

    I bet the BMW equivalent cannot = that…..

    1. Um. me thinks you accidentally converted to km/gal. It’s 21.38 mpg US, and 25.68 mpg UK. Still good for such a vehicle.

      1. Ooophs, forgot to convert the Km to Miles, your calculation are nearer… but still good for such a heavy lump….!!

  2. Thanks for the reporting, Swade!

    IMHO, alongside the beginning of production by the end of August, Saab will need a strong message about its future for the IAA in Frankfurt in September.

    Could you tell us something about the preparations for the IAA?

    1. We ended up averaging 11.6 for this trip.  Much of it was highway, of course, but a fair chunk of that highway driving was around 130km/h.  The 9-4x seems to have a sweet-spot around 100-110 where it’s quite efficient.

  3. I wonder whether this happens in Germany only, but the neverending “GM-Saab” bashing in some (German) Saab forums does not really encourage owners of new Saabs to join Saab events (where most Saabs are pre GM)…
    * just my 2 cents*

    1. That’s an interesting dilemma, actually.  The majority of cars at these events are older Saabs, but then the number of pre-GM models in Saabs history far outweighs the the number of GM-based cars, too.  The representation is pretty proportional.  

      9-3s and 9-5s were well represented at IntSaab and everyone there is a Saab owner.  There are a few who pride themselves on owning “GM-free” cars but that’s a mentality that isn’t noticeable except maybe at the person to person level.

      It is something worth tackling, though.  This company has a future and it needs its enthusiast community to continue embracing all parts of the company’s heritage, both historic and modern.  We, as a company, have a role to play in that, as does the community itself.

      Bottom line – these big events are absolutely fantastic and anyone with a Saaby bone in their body should try to get to one at some stage.

      1. Okay, this sounds more encouraging. Thanks.
        Maybe next year’s Saab Int in Spa, Belgium would be an idea. 🙂
        And maybe this tassie guy who used to run Saabsunited will be there – in an all new 9.3 ;-))

        1. Next year’s event in Belgium should be an absolute cracker.  The Belgians have done some great events in the last few years.

          And yes, I absolutely plan to be there.  I’ll hopefully be in my very own Sonett (if I can buy one by then – I’m a classics guy, as well) but I’ll also represent the company and I know that we will bring something along, too.

      2. Agree, I think it is easier for us who have new Saabs to go and see and admire old Saabs. The key would be have events in Saab dealer places where You could see both new and old ones. People liking and buying new Saabs compared to “old car people” are quite often different. But surely it is a nice challenge to get these people together. Good and innovative ideas are needed.

    2. While I understand that attitude (a bit), it seems kind of like fans of a legendary band that has been around for 25+ years and put out some early ground-breaking albums, then perhaps some albums where they experimented with a different style of music and alienated some of the old fans, but have recently come back with some strong albums that both old and new fans can agree on.  Just because some fans came to be fans during the “experimental” period should not mean that all the fans can’t also enjoy what the band is doing now.  🙂

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