On Saturday, October 1st, I attended the inaugural Octoberfest organised by Saab enthusiast website, Saabs United. The event was based at ANA, the Saab dealership here in Trollhattan.
Scheduled events in the daytime programme included a Saab 9-4x vehicle demonstration, a Saab 9-3 ePower demonstration, a spare parts sale for older Saabs, as well as presentations by Saab authorised tuners Hirsch Performance, and Saab aftermarket tuners, Maptun.
The Hirsch Saab 9-5, driven up especially for the event from Switzerland:
And the Maptun collection……
Peter Dörrich from Saab demonstrates the Saab 9-4x……
Personally speaking, it was wonderful to see something so vibrant happening at ANA. The health of our distribution network is something very prominent on our minds at Saab, and whilst this was an independent event, it was great to see so many people at a Saab dealership with smiles on their faces.
The happiest man in the room was Joachim Lind, the chief at ANA, who was also pleased to see so many people there:
A few personal reflections:
It was a strange feeling for me, attending this event as somewhat of an outsider. As many of you will know, I started writing about Saab nearly 7 years ago now and Saabs United was the site I founded back when GM were selling Saab. I sold Saabs United to the current owner earlier this year, prior to joining Saab Automobile to do the job I’m doing now.
I attended the event mostly as an enthusiast, but also as an employee of Saab and as a blogger, looking to provide coverage of the event here on Inside Saab. An event of this nature is something I could not have contemplated as the owner of Saabs United, as I lived halfway around the world, in Tasmania, Australia. I’m not sure I would have had the courage to organise it, either, as it can be a logistical nightmare to do this things.
What amazed me most about the day was the number of people who traveled quite long distances to be part of a single-day Saab event. There were several people from the United States and Canada there – that’s an ocean away! I met people from Iceland, Portugal, England, Wales, Holland, France, Belgium, Germany, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Finland and of course, from all parts of Sweden.
It just goes to show the incredible passion that people have for this car company. I received questions and well-wishes all day from people who were hoping and believing for the best, for Saab. People were very well educated about what’s going on with the company, the situation that we’re in the milestones ahead of us. And people were all wishing for a production re-start, a return to normality, as soon as possible.
I didn’t just stick my head in as an observer.
I took a 9-4x along for the occasion and spent the entire afternoon taking people for rides in the new Saab crossover. The feedback from the exercise was very affirming indeed. For many attendees, this was their first opportunity to see a 9-4x up close. A number had had a chance to sit in one at other events, but none had taken a ride in one before. It was great to hear their comments as we drove a circuit from ANA down to the Saab factory and then back ‘the long way’. People got a great feel for how stable and comfortable the car is at speed, how well finished and spacious it is on the inside.
I did 15 or so of these drives, introducing around 50 people to the Saab 9-4x from the inside, which was a whole lot of fun.
The day concluded with a dinner at the Nova restaurant, just next to the Saab Museum. Around 120 or so attended, had some wonderful food and conversation, as well being treated to some great stories from the Saabs United Historic Rally Team and special guests, former Saab rally drivers Simo Lampinen and Ola Strömberg.
My congratulations have to go to the entire Saabs United crew and their sponsors for a wonderful event. SU owner, Tim Rokka, was the driving force behind the event and the team that he led put on a wonderful gathering that people from all over Europe and beyond enjoyed. It was a true celebration of the Saab Spirit and a wonderful occasion for all who attended.
The visitors from other continents flew in, of course, but there were a lot who drove well over 1,000kms to attend the event. With several hundred people attending throughout the day, that means a lot of nice Saabs in the parking lot.
Below is a gallery showing just a portion of the Saabs in attendance at the show.