Saab auto news

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Check out these cool jazz tracks inspired by great cars of the '70s

07/10/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Etc., Videos, Dodge, Lamborghini, Lotus, Saab

There's nothing like taking a drive with the perfect song playing that matches the mood and moment. When the rhythms sync up with the undulating road, the whole experience gets just a little bit better. Danish jazz-fusion band Elektrojazz understands the connection between music and driving, and it has a new album called Cars with each track inspired by a specific vehicle of the 1970s. The era might be known for some real clunkers, but you don't have to look too hard to find classics from the groovy decade, as well.

Instead of picking the cars themselves, the members of Elektrojazz put up a poll on the band's website allowing people to vote for their favorites. The most popular vehicle in each category made it onto the album. The final list definitely skews towards European sports cars of the era, with choices like the Lotus Esprit and Lamborghini Countach, but there are some definite outliers like the AMC Pacer and Saab 99 Turbo.

"Some of my favorites didn't make it," said Elektrojazz member Anders Larson to Autoblog via email. He would have liked the Porsche 928 and Jaguar XJS to make the cut, among several others. Although, he hinted that another car-inspired album could be on the way.

Each ride gets its own style of jazz to go along with it, too. The song about the 1970 Dodge Challenger sounds like you could drop it into Bullitt and no one would notice. However, the one about the Pacer uses some Latin-tinged blues. Scroll down to watch a video that previews all of the groovy tracks on the album. It's available for sale on the band's website and on iTunes.

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GM recalling 8.4M cars, 8.2M related to ignition problems

07/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sedans/Saloons, SUVs, Trucks/Pickups, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Crossovers/CUVs, Hatchbacks, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM, GMC, Pontiac, Saab

GM's Barra Says Not Planning Further Ignition Switch Dismissals

GM Recall ChartGeneral Motors today announced a truly massive recall covering some 8.4 million vehicles in North America. Most significantly, 8.2 million examples of the affected vehicles are being called back due to "unintended ignition key rotation," though GM spokesperson Alan Adler tells Autoblog that this issue is not like the infamous Chevy Cobalt ignition switch fiasco.

For the sake of perspective, translated to US population, this total recall figure would equal a car for each resident of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, the District of Columbia, Vermont and Wyoming. Combined. Here's how it all breaks down:

7,610,862 vehicles in North America being recalled for unintended ignition key rotation. 6,805,679 are in the United States.

  • 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu
  • 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue
  • 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero
  • 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am
  • 2000-2005 Chevrolet Impala
  • 2000-2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
  • 2004-2008 Pontiac Grand Prix
A second group of vehicles* are being recalled for a slightly different ignition key rotation issue (more details below). 616,179 of these vehicles are in North America, with 554,328 found in the United States.
  • 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX
  • 2013-2014 Cadillac CTS
Additionally 20,134 North American vehicles are being recalled because "insulation on the engine block heater power cord (if equipped) may become damaged during very cold conditions." 2,990 of these vehicles are in the United States.
  • 2011-2014 Chevrolet Cruze
  • 2012-2014 Chevrolet Sonic
  • 2013-2014 Chevrolet Trax
  • 2013-2014 Buick Encore
  • 2013-2014 Buick Verano
117 vehicles in North America "may not have had a 'Superhold' joint fastener torqued to specification at the assembly plant." 106 of these vehicles are in the US.
  • 2014 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 2014 Chevrolet Impala
  • 2014 Buick Regal
  • 2014 Cadillac XTS
12,002 vehicles in North America are being recalled because "an overload in the feed may cause the underhood fusible link to melt due to electrical overload, resulting in potential smoke or flames that could damage the electrical center cover and/or the nearby wiring harness conduit." 9,371 of the affected vehicles are in the US.
  • 2007-2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD (with auxiliary battery)
  • 2007-2011 GMC Sierra HD (with auxiliary battery)
Finally, 188,705 SUVs in North America are being recalled due to "a possible electrical short in the driver's door module that could disable the power door lock and window switches and, in rare cases, overheat the module." Here, 181,984 of these vehicles are in the US.
  • 2005-2007 Buick Ranier
  • 2005-2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer
  • 2005-2007 GMC Envoy
  • 2005-2007 Isuzu Ascender
  • 2005-2007 Saab 9-7X
  • 2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT
  • 2006 GMC Envoy XL
The Cadillac models in the second grouping* have been found to be subject to unintended key rotation because of accidental bumping of one's key fobs (a condition similar to the June 13 Camaro recall), whereas the other, larger group of older vehicles is not subject to bumping. In either case, this is not like the infamous Chevy Cobalt ignition switch issue - the switch in these vehicles meet GM specifications, the company says the problem is with the key design itself.

The solution won't be a new ignition switch at all, it will be sending additional detachable key rings to owners (allowing drivers to disconnect their car key from the rest of their key chain to reduce strain on the system) and/or inserts designed to fit within the ignition key head itself to alter the keyring attachment loop from a slot to a hole (because the slot can cause the weight of the keychain to hang asymmetrically, thereby increasing the amount of torque on the key and as a result, the switch.

Company spokesperson Alan Adler, tells Autoblog that GM "changed the [key] design in late December of 2010," so vehicles built after that time are not affected by the issue.

GM is aware of seven crashes, eight injuries and three fatalities related to these issues. "The fatal crashes occurred in older model fullsize sedans being recalled for inadvertent ignition key rotation. There is no conclusive evidence that the defect condition caused those crashes," GM said in a press release. Scroll down to read the automaker's full statement.

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Mahindra eying stake in Saab owner NEVS?

06/18/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Euro, Plants/Manufacturing, Saab, Earnings/Financials, India

2014 Saab 9-3

It's ironic that Saab's current vehicle architecture is called the Phoenix platform, because like the mythological bird, the company keeps returning from the ashes. That's right, the embattled Swedish automaker isn't completely dead yet. Again. Actually, it may be facing yet another buyout, and this time, the buyer may be from India.

Less than a month ago, the situation looked ominous for Saab. National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the carmaker's current owner, temporarily shut down 9-3 production at its Trollhättan factory not long after restarting it in the first place. According to Just Auto, it laid off about 100 consultants allegedly linked to problems making June payroll, as well. At the time, Saab claimed that the measures were temporary, and it was negotiating selling part ownership to another automaker.

Those assertions might have some truth behind them, it seems. Indian newspaper The Economic Times reports that Mahindra & Mahindra and an unnamed Asian automaker are negotiating with NEVS to purchase part of the company. It claims that the Indian automaker sees Saab as an opportunity to add a premium brand to its business.

Based on the past, the rumor certainly has an air of likelihood around it. Mahindra was rumored to be one of the bidders to buy Saab outright when it was previously for sale. Even after the purchase by NEVS, the Indian company was still mooted to be trying to develop cars with them. Clearly, it has had an interest in owning the Swedish carmaker for some time, but for the moment, it has refused to comment on the possibility of the deal to The Economic Times and Just Auto.

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National Electric Vehicle stops Saab 9-3 production amidst financing woes

05/21/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, China, Euro, Hirings/Firings, Plants/Manufacturing, Saab, Electric

Saab

It seems that quirky, Swedish automaker Saab might be on life support yet again. Its owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden, has announced that it's reducing its workforce and temporarily halting production of the 9-3 due to financial problems. NEVS was only building six cars a day, anyway.

The company put out a press release admitting its economic woes, but it still appeared hopeful. NEVS claims it's developing "a new platform on the Phoenix architecture," and it has a frame agreement with an international automotive OEM. It didn't give any specific details about either one of these assertions though. According to The Wall Street Journal, NEVS needs the partnership to lower development costs in order to stay afloat. Saab spokesperson Mikael Ostlund told Autoblog in an email that the stop in production of the 9-3 in Trollhättan would last four weeks.

NEVS says it's in negotiation to sell a portion of the company to an automotive company. Its current monetary woes are caused by shareholder Qingbo Investment Company not financing the company as agreed. "We plan to have the results of the discussions at latest during June," said Ostlund.

The path of Saab since the sale to NEVS has been full of bumps along the way. It was sold in 2012 to a joint venture between a Chinese company and a Japanese investment firm. Production restarted in Trollhätten last year, but it has taken a long time for its promised electric 9-3 to come along. Initially, Saab built a turbocharged, gasoline-fueled version of the sedan, but assembly of the EV finally began recently. However, the electric models are still prototypes, according to Ostlund.

For a relatively small automaker, Saab has weathered its rocky recent history well. We shouldn't count it out, yet. Autoblog reached out to the company to comment on when it planned to resume assembly. We'll update this story, if it replies. Scroll down to read the full press release from NEVS.

Continue reading National Electric Vehicle stops Saab 9-3 production amidst financing woes

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Saab to reintroduce 9-3 SportCombi as Phoenix development continues

04/27/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Wagons/Estates, Saab, Electric

Saab 9-3 SportCombi, Sedan and Convertible

The saga of Saab goes to show that you can't keep a good automaker down. Founded back in 1947 (the same year, incidentally, as Ferrari, TVR and Maserati defector OSCA), Saab split off from its aerospace division, merged with Scania trucks, was subsequently picked up by General Motors, then pawned off onto Spyker before its current Chinese owners brought it back out of bankruptcy. Now under the auspices of National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), Saab has official restarted production of the 9-3 sedan, but what are its plans for the future?

In correspondence with Autoblog, NEVS communications director Mikael Ostlund gave us an idea of what to expect. First of all, NEVS is living up to its name by launching an electric version of the 9-3. As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the 9-3 EV currently is undergoing a pilot launch in the Chinese city of Qingdao (which owns part of NEVS) before being rolled out in other markets around the world. But that's not all NEVS has planned for Saab.

The reborn Swedish automaker also plans to relaunch the 9-3 SportCombi to supplement the 9-3 sedan. The wagon version was part of the second-gen 9-3's rollout in the early 2000s, offering increased cargo space and versatility - particularly vital since GM had seen it fit to replace the previous hatchback bodystyle favored by the brand faithful with a more traditional trunked form to lure new buyers into the fold. Although Ostlund confirmed that NEVS has "the option of adding the convertible" back into the lineup, nut has yet to decide on if and when it will do so.

Meanwhile development continues on the Phoenix architecture which Saab was developing with GM money before going bankrupt. Previewed by the Jason Castriota-designed PhoeniX concept, the new platform was set to replace the current 9-3 and spawn a liftback coupe, convertible and even a crossover. "As the Phoenix platform is flexible," said Ostlund, "we are able to develop different models and bodystyles out of it, but we do not present the plans and specifications today."

At the moment NEVS is limiting Saab's reintroduction to its two home countries: Sweden and China. "As we have a global perspective we want to add markets when we can see a profitable business case," reports Ostlund. Just which those markets will be, however, and when they will be added to Saab's business plan, remain to be seen.

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Saab begins 9-3 EV pilot production

04/10/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, China, Plants/Manufacturing, Saab, Electric

2014 Saab 9-3

To say that Saab has had a tough time lately would be like saying that it's been a little colder than usual this winter. After General Motors finally gave up and sold it to Spyker in 2010, Saab declared bankruptcy the following year. GM successfully blocked Spyker from selling Saab to Chinese automaker Youngman the following year, but ultimately it ended up in the hands of another Chinese consortium called NEVS. Standing as it does for National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the new owners promised not only to restart production of the long-suffering 9-3, but also to turn it into an electric vehicle. And that's just what it's doing.

The latest news coming out of Sweden indicates that NEVS/Saab has started building the first examples of the 9-3 EV. These first 200 or so examples are set to be shipped off to Qingdao - the Chinese city that is home to the Tsingtao brewery, hosted the sailing components of the 2008 summer games on Beijing, was supposed to host an IndyCar race in 2012 before it was canceled, and also itself just happens to own 22 percent of NEVS.

These first EVs have their batteries mounted down low in the chassis for a low center of gravity and have a range of about 20 miles on a full charge. That's absolutely paltry compared to the other EVs on the market: a Nissan Leaf will travel more than four times that distance, and a Tesla Model S will go ten times farther on a charge.

Hopefully once production ramps up Saab and NEVS will have better battery tech on their hands. That, and maybe a newer car to install them in: the current Saab 9-3 (pictured in the updated image gallery above) has been on the market since 2003, outlasting any of its GM Epsilon platform-mates.

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Petrolicious keeps our love of the Saab Sonett aflame

03/20/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Coupes, Economy, Videos, Saab

Saab Sonett

German auto designs lean toward function and purpose. Italian designers deliver passion and beauty. The Brits, majesty. American cars, brashness and authority. If you want a funky design, though, you go to Sweden. The land of cheap, do-it-yourself furniture and delicious meatballs knows a thing or six about style and design, and while that character is only now reemerging thanks to a certain string of Volvo concepts, it use to be that Saab was the authority on penning some of the industry's more unique designs.

Take the beautiful Sonett for example - a small coupe whose appearance is a funky mishmash of a Porsche 911 and a Bugeyed Sprite with just a hint of a Citroën DS (it's that convex rear window). It's a positively striking car, made more unique by its two-stroke, three-cylinder powertrain and four-on-the-tree manual transmission. With just 70 horsepower hauling about 1,500 pounds of Swedish style, the Sonett strikes us as an ideal alternative to some of the English sports cars of its day, particularly for those that are looking for something beyond your average MG or Triumph.

For Glenn Roberts, the Sonett was a part of his childhood. His family owned example was originally a special-order item by his parents in 1967. He bought the car from them 13 years later and has never looked back, completing a restoration in 2004. With a story like that, it's not surprising that Roberts and his silver Sonett are the most recent pairing to get some attention from Petrolicious.

We have the full video available below. Scroll down and have a look.

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Official: 2014 Saab 9-3 officially relaunched, reborn

12/06/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, China, Euro, Plants/Manufacturing, Saab, Luxury

2014 Saab 9-3

Saab is officially building cars again. Production of the 9-3 Sedan has kicked back off in Trollhättan, Sweden, and the first example is reportedly earmarked for the company's museum. Initial sales are targeted for China, although Swedish customers will also be able to buy new Saabs built in their country right away, too. It isn't immediately clear if the model will be available in the rest of Europe, let alone in North America.

The initial run of 9-3s will be powered by a 220-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder before an electric model joins the range next year. There are no Biopower or XWD all-wheel-drive models presently in production. And while the lion's share of the 2014 9-3 is a carryover from the pre-bankruptcy car, there are some changes, including a new anti-whiplash seat system and a "greater number of non-GM parts," reports SaabsUnited.

"I am very proud of the dedication and the focus that NEVS management and employees have demonstrated over the year that has passed since we became owners of the plant in Trollhättan, and who have made this possible. Swedish expertise along with Japanese technology around batteries and new lightweight materials and our Chinese group's focus on green technology is our strength for the future," said Kai Johan Jiang, the founder of Saab's parent company, National Electric Vehicle Sweden.

Sales of the new 9-3 will start in Sweden via NEVS' website on December 10. Prices for the manual-trans model start 279,000 Swedish Krona ($42,842), while the automatic starts at 289,000 ($44,377). That pricing is said to be roughly 10 percent less expensive than a similarly spec'd Griffin model cost in 2012.

Scroll down for a full press release on the relaunch of Saab from NEVS, and check out our friends over at SaabsUnited, who have done an excellent job chronicling the rebirth of the 9-3, including live pictures from the plant.

Continue reading 2014 Saab 9-3 officially relaunched, reborn

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Report: Saab 9-3 production restarting

12/02/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Plants/Manufacturing, Saab

Saab 9-3 ePower assembly

If you're one of the small cadre of Saab drivers, first of all, kudos to you. Because as Top Gear pointed out, Saab drivers are among the most intellectual drivers out there. Secondly, we've got good news for you, because the 9-3 will officially resume production at the marque's Trollhättan plant in Sweden on Monday.

For those of you who may not have followed the story, a quick refresher: Founded in 1947, Saab Automobile AB was an independent automaker until 1989 when General Motors began the decade-long process acquiring it. Unable to make it profitable, GM sold Saab to Spyker in 2010, but that Dutch automaker proved unable to make a go of it, either, and finally shut it down a year later. Much of Saab's assets were acquired by National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which in turn is partially owned by the Chinese city of Qingdao, which pledged to get production back online by the end of the year.

NEVS has apparently made good on its promise, bringing 600 workers back to the factory to resume production of the 9-3 much as it was when a workforce of 3,500 labored on it and its stablemates prior to the bankruptcy. The reborn 9-3 will be sold in Sweden and in China, with an electric version to bring some other updates sometime next year.

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Report: Saab 9-3 production has restarted

12/02/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Plants/Manufacturing, Saab

Saab 9-3 ePower assembly

If you're one of the small cadre of Saab drivers, first of all, kudos to you. Because as Top Gear pointed out, Saab drivers are among the most intellectual drivers out there. Secondly, we've got good news for you, because the 9-3 has officially resumed production at the Trollhättan plant in Sweden.

For those of you who may not have followed the story, a quick refresher: Founded in 1947, Saab Automobile AB was an independent automaker until 1989 when General Motors began the decade-long process acquiring it. Unable to make it profitable, GM sold Saab to Spyker in 2010, but that Dutch automaker proved unable to make a go of it, either, and finally shut it down a year later. Much of Saab's assets were acquired by National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which in turn is partially owned by the Chinese city of Qingdao, which pledged to get production back online by the end of the year.

NEVS has apparently made good on its promise, bringing 600 workers back to the factory to resume production of the 9-3 much as it was when a workforce of 3,500 labored on it and its stablemates prior to the bankruptcy. The reborn 9-3 will be sold in Sweden and in China, with an electric version to bring some other updates sometime next year.

Read more..

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