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Saab parent company Spyker held talks with parts suppliers Thursday, in a bid to restart production that has been halted over a dispute regarding unpaid bills.
The scandal has been a blight on Saab’s efforts to re-structure after a tumultuous year of teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. “We’re expecting that we could resume normal production early next week,” Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told Automotive News. “A lot of work is going into strengthening the financial position of the company.”
The head of Sweden’s parts suppliers organization could not put an exact figure on the debt but said it was in the “millions” of Swedish kronor. In the mean time, Saab’s plant remained deserted as workers expressed hope that they could return to their jobs starting next week.
[Source: Automotive News]
Saab has halted production yet again amid another dispute with suppliers. Saab representatives declined to say how long the production stoppage would last, but said that they were in discussions with their suppliers to resolve the matter. Saab’s parent company Spyker said that last week’s production stoppage was related to unpaid bills.
In an interview with Reuters, the head of Sweden’s suppliers organization said that Saab cannot pay its suppliers. Meanwhile, Saab CEO Victor Muller defended his company, stating that they were not on the verge of collapse, but that more stoppages were inevitable. “This is an ongoing thing,” he said. “It will take some time to get everyone back in line properly. We will get it under control.”
[Source: Automotive News]
When most people think of Volvo, they think of boxy designs, however, that has not always been the case, and current Volvo’s are as sleek and curvy as cars get.
While Volvo has produced some attractive cars in its lifetime, perhaps the most loved and admired is the P1800. While first prototypes of this car hit the roads in 1960, eager buyers had to wait another year to get their hands on this beautiful 2+2 coupe. Interesting point to note, while the prototypes were built by the Italian coachbuilder Frua, initial production vehicles were built by Jensen Motors in U.K.
While officially Volvo offered two body styles, the original coupe followed by an estate version in 1971, a US-built convertible model was also briefly teased in 1966.
Perhaps the two most famous P1800′s belonged to Simon Templar (played by Roger Moore) from the TV-series “The Saint” and Irv Gordon, a teacher who has covered 2.8-million miles in 45-years of ownership.
Even after 50-years, the design looks well proportioned and beautiful, and it will be celebrated at the TecnoClassica show in Essen, Germany at the end of March.
Volvo is under Chinese ownership at the moment, so let’s hope they will consider doing a new sports coupe that will also stand the test of time like the P1800 has.
While Volvo was apparently set to discontinue North American sales of all station wagons – arguably the vehicle they built their reputation on – in favor of crossovers. But that looks like it will change starting in 2012, with the launch of their V60 plug-in hybrid.
Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, the V60 Plug-In uses a 215 horsepower 2.4L diesel 5-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels, with a 70 horsepower electric motor powering the rear axle. Three power modes are available (one pure electric, one for hybrid driving and one for an extra boost, appropriately named “Power”). All-wheel-drive can also be engaged, with both motors driving all 4 wheels when traction is limited.
In electric mode, the V60 can go as far as 30 miles without using any diesel, and can be charged in as little as 3 hours. 60 mph comes up in only 7 seconds. We can’t imagine this car not coming Stateside. With Volvo exces previously commenting on their customers affinity for eco-friendly products – and the lack of such offerings in Volvo’s lineup – this one looks like a no-brainer.
Gallery: Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid
Saab has announced it’s updated 2012 9-3, which will be available in sedan, SportWagon or convertible forms. Chief among the changes are a new front fascia which brings the 9-3 in line with bigger brother, the 9-5.
The most visible difference are new headlight assemblies, though other updates include standard front foglights and a rear deck spoiler on all models.
Under the hood, the 2012 9-3 also gets new engines, in the shape of a pair of new direct injection gasoline four-cylinders, with twin scroll turbochargers designed to reduce boost lag, as well as variable valve timing for better throttle response, balance shafts for less vibration at higher revs and a forged steel crankshaft for greater strength.
The turbo gas engines come in two different forms, rated at 163 or 220 hp. Saab says that equipped with these engines, fuel economy and emissions on the 9-3 are improved by around four percent.
In the United Kingdom, the 2012 9-3 will also be available with a 1.9-liter twin-turbo diesel engine, which is offered in three different variants, rated at 130, 160 and 180 hp respectively. It will also be offered in two trim levels, SE or Aero.
There’s no word yet on how North American models will be spec’d though expect the gas engines to make the cut but probably not the diesels.
Volvo fans can rejoice now that the famous station wagon variant, the V60, is back (in North America), but it couldn’t be further from the rugged, mechanically simple station wagons of the past.
The V60 Plug-In uses a 215 horsepower 2.4L diesel 5-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels, with a 70 horsepower electric motor powering the rear axle. Three power modes are available (one pure electric, one for hybrid driving and one for an extra boost, appropriately named “Power”). All-wheel-drive can also be engaged, with both motors driving all 4 wheels when traction is limited.
In electric mode, the V60 can go as far as 30 miles without using any diesel, and can be charged in as little as 3 hours. 60 mph comes up in only 7 seconds, but you’ll have to wait until 2012 to buy one for yourself.
Gallery: Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid
Saab has officially begun production of the 9-4x crossover at their Mexican assembly plant. While the 9-4x was due to hit the market some time ago, financial troubles at GM halted production.
The first 9-4x , an Ice Pearl metallic Aero model, was fitted with a 2.8L turbo V6, and will be used as a media car before being shipped off to Saab’s museum. Sales begin in May in the United States, with European sales following in the summer.
[Source: LeftLane News]
Volvo will reduce the number of models sold in the United States as part of their effort to bump up sales. While Volvo currently sells nine models in the United States, three of them are expected to be cut.
The first victim is expected to be the V50 wagon, a car well regarded by the automotive press but largely ignored by the buying public. Speaking to Automotive News, Volvo’s U.S. chief Doug Speck said that the S60 sedan and XC60 and XC90 crossovers will remain the focus of the brand. That leaves the C70 convertible, C30 small coupe, XC70 crossover, S40 compact sedan and S80 large sedan left as potential candidates for culling.
Volvo sells 50 percent fewer cars than it did at its peak in 2004. One dealer lamented the lack of green products as a major handicap, noting Volvo’s typical owner profile and their frequent association with environmental causes. “The very seriously lacking element in the United States is that we have exactly zero green products — no diesel, no hybrids, nothing,” said Kjell Bergh, a Minneapolis-area Volvo dealer.
[Source: Automotive News]
Unfortunately we have no photos of the Saab 9-5 SportCombi to show you, but considering how wild the 9-5 sedan looks, we’re very excited to see the wagon version debut at March’s Geneva Auto Show.
The last 9-5 wagon was never a runaway success, but within the niche of luxury wagons, it was a well regarded product. Many an enthusiast lusted after the 9-5 Aero wagon, but Saab is going to need more than a handful of quirky professionals to keep them in business this time around.
With a turbocharged V6 and all-wheel-drive, the SportCombi will have the “sport” part of the equation covered, but some interested features, like a sealed storage compartment under the floor (meant for wet items) sound interested, while the “adaptable multi-fold floor” and ”flexible U-rail load space configuration” will have to be seen in person before we can tell if its marketing spin or a feature that matters.
For years, Hirsch Performance out of Switzerland has been producing tuner parts for Saabs. The parts weren’t just for looks either as they also increased the performance of these cars.
This partnership has just gotten serious, as Saab has now announced that Hirsch Performance will be its official performance parts supplier, and these parts for the first time will also be available in America. So come spring-time, you can go to your local Saab dealer and order items to upgrade your 2007-2011 model 9-3 and 2010-2011 model 9-5.
Upgrades include new engine mapping, aero kits, spoilers, wheels, suspension tuning, exhaust upgrades and even interior trimmings. These upgrades will be performed by Saab dealers and will not affect the warranty in any way.
Pricing has not been announced yet, but that will follow in a few months time.
Volvo‘s CEO Stefan Jacoby is calling for a new focus for Volvo, and wants to see the Swedish automaker abandon its position as a premium brand meant to compete with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
“Let’s ditch this talk about premium,” said Jacoby while speaking to Autocar magazine. “It sounds like a pricing strategy and it’s got an expensive ring to it. We need to focus on elegant Scandinavian simplicity, our own unique identity, and not copy our competitors.”
For years, Volvo has enjoyed its own cachet, particularly in the United States, where it became synonymous with upper-middle-class suburbia, but sales have fallen to the point where Jacboy is alarmed.
“We have lost ground in the US,” explained the Volvo chief exec. “We are at the bottom, looking up.”
Saab will release 70 electric vehicles based on the 9-3 SportCombi station wagon as part of a test fleet for its upcoming electric vehicle program. The vehicles, dubbed the ePower, will be offered in Sweden starting in 2011, with a mass production EV hitting the market in 2011.
Using a 184 horsepower electric motor and a single speed gearbox, the ePower will hit 60 mph in 8.5 seconds and top out at 93 mph, with a range of 125 miles. “This program is designed to evaluate the potential for developing a high performance, zero emission electric vehicle and is an important next-step in the extension of our EcoPower propulsion strategy,” said Mats Fägerhag, Executive Director, Vehicle Engineering at Saab, in a statement released by Saab.
The initial testing will also show how EVs perform in frigid temperatures, something that any mass produced EV will have to cope with.
[Source: Left Lane News]
It’s going to be a busy few years for Saab, as the company readies its re-entry into the auto market with a wave of all-new product. First up is a refreshed 9-3, Saab’s bread and butter range that encompasses a sedan, station wagon and the infamous convertible. Minor cosmetic tweaks will be on hand, as will a revised 2.0L four-cylinder making 163 horsepower, or 220 horsepower when turbocharged. A diesel engine will be offered in Europe, and you can bet that it won’t be offered in North America.
Saab will also wade into the electric vehicle pool starting in 2011 as it rolls out a fleet of prototype EVs based on the 9-3. Set to roll out across the globe, the fleet will be part of Saab’s alternative fuel program, which will also include E85 capability on all future vehicles.
Finally, a Saab 92, reminiscent of Saabs of a bygone era, is expected to be produced in cooperation with BMW’s MINI division. Saab’s CEO, Victor Muller called it “”the missing link in our product portfolio.” While BMW hasn’t been named specifically as a potential partner, Muller said that the vehicle would be built in collaboration with another automaker. “We could build the 9-2 on our own, but that wouldn’t make sense,” he said. “Thanks to the crisis in the industry, everyone is willing to share everything.”
Geely has officially purchased Volvo, the iconic Swedish automaker, from Ford, in a rumored $1.8 billion transaction. As part of the deal, Ford will continue to supply powertrains and other components for an unspecified amount of time, while both companies have mutually agreed to safeguard each other’s intellectual property.
Stefan Jacoby, formerly head of Volkswagen North America, will take over as CEO,while Volvo will retain their Swedish headquarters. Volvo is set to launch their new S60 sedan later this year, perhaps the last product developed under the auspices of Ford. Geely has confirmed that a new Chinese assembly plant will be constructed for Volvo as well.
[Source: Top Speed]
Saab is hoping to entice English Professors loyal fans of the brand and Saab owners to return to the fold by providing them with an unspecified “loyalty bonus” for Saab owners who purchase an all-new 9-5.
Saab didn’t announce terms of the loyalty bonus, but the Swedish assembly plant is already cranking out 250 cars per day in an effort to ship the new vehicles rapidly. 9-5′s are expected to hit North American shores in a matter of weeks. Consumer financing for the new cars has also been secured through Ally Financial, formerly known as GMAC.
For many people, the term Euro and hot rod blend together like oil and water (insert BP joke here). But this great symbol of automotive Americana does have a sizable following across the pond and in perhaps the most unlikely of places. When we think of Sweden, images of snow, pine trees, good looking people and Saabs or Volvos often come to mind. But the land that brought us ABBA and Ace of Base is home to a thriving American hot rod car culture.
Sweden hosts one of the largest American car shows in the world – The Power Big Meet in Vasteras – and some of the nicest ’50s cruisers and hot rods you’ll find are based there. Vizualtech, a design company that specializes in creating technical illustrations, concepts and packaging design on everything from boats, to cars to forestry machines, for organizations as diverse as car companies and advertising/PR firms, has recently revealed this: a custom hot rod concept with some very ‘classic’ touches. Note the 34 style Ford grille, traditional Indy car wheel spinners and ’50s type greenhouse with wraparound front windshield.
But while it may look old school, this rod is conceived to be thoroughly modern in execution with a long wheelbase for greater stability and state-of-the-art suspension and steering. Power on this concept rod will come from a 6.2-liter 556-hp supercharged small block GM V8 as found in the Caddy CTS-V, allowing it to likely blow the doors off most things with wheels. You have to hand it to those Swedes for coming up with something like this – we’ll never look at a Volvo the same way again. For more information on this and other Vizualtech products, click on the link below.
GALLERY: Vizualtech Cadillac CTS-V Powered Hot Rod
After unceremoniously pulling out of the Canadian market, Saab is preparing a return to Canada for 2011, as it attempts to pull off an unprecedented resurrection of its entire brand. While Saab was under the auspicies of GM (and partnered with other perrenial losers like Saturn and Isuzu) in Canada, this time the now Dutch-owned auto maker will be backed by importer International Fleet Sales, which was responsbile for bringing the Saab 9-7x to Europe and the Middle East.
IFS is expected to roll out Saab starting with the 9-3, and hopefully the 9-3X crossover and the new 9-5.
Looks like Toyota might not be the only company having problems with “unintended acceleration.” At a recent demonstration of Volvo’s collision avoidance system, the Swedish automaker shot a Volvo S60 out of a specialized tunnel and aimed it directly at the back of a dump truck. Ostensibly, the collision avoidance system was supposed to bring the car to a stop without human intervention, but things didn’t work out as planned, with the car slamming into the truck in front of an assembled crowd of journalists.
Volvo claims that human error caused the crash, due to a lack of preparation on Volvo’s part, and that a human driver would have been able to notice that the system wasn’t working properly. We’re not safety experts and will withhold comment for now, but there’s no doubt that this was an embarrassing episode for a company renowned for their safe vehicles.
Where you one of those kids who would smash your toy cars together? If so, I bet your dream job lies in Sweden in Volvo’s crash test laboratory. More than 3,000 full-scale crashes have taken place, making this the most used and (still) most advanced crash research centre on the planet.
“We can replicate most of the accident scenarios that take place out on the roads. By analysing the results and then testing new safety technology, we can improve the safety level in our cars so that they become even safer in real-life traffic conditions,” said Thomas Broberg, senior safety advisor at Volvo Cars.
How advanced is this place? Well, they’ve just installed new cameras…that can take video at 200,000 frames per second.
“The degree of precision in a test in which two moving cars collide at 31 mph is 2.5 centimetres. This corresponds to two thousandths of a second. By way of comparison, a blink of the human eye takes about 60 thousandths of a second. This says a whole lot about the laboratory’s precision,” says Broberg.
Click through for some incredible facts about the safety center.
Let’s get this right out in the open: Why do the Swedes get all the fun? How awesome is this Volvo C30 “Performance Concept” prototype? It packs a 405 horsepower and 376 ft-lbs turbocharged 5-cylinder T5 motor (similar to the one used in the Ford Focus RS500), all-wheel-drive, front-and-rear limited slip differentials, Öhlins suspension components, Brembo brakes, and, yeah…you get the idea.
The body kit is similar to the one used on the — defending champion — Polestar Racing STCC (Swedish Touring Car Championship) C30 race car. Polestar Racing is the official partner of Volvo Cars in the STCC and is used to winning on the track. Polestar Performance Power Operations is an aftermarket line of upgrades sold through the Volvo dealer network — and it appears they’ve applied a bunch of their tricks here.
It’ll be unveiled in full at the Gothenburg Motorshow, held from April 22-25 2010.
Full specs (in slightly broken English) and a video of the heavenly-sounding Polestar Racing STCC Volvo C30 embedded after the jump!
Funding could be last step in sale of Saab to Koenigsegg Group
Saab has secured a $610 million loan from the European Investment Bank after the Swedish government said it would stand behind the loan.
This may just be the last step in finalizing the sale of Saab to a group of investors headed by Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg. The sale of Saab by General Motors to the Koenigsegg group was thought to be in jeopardy, as additional funding to invest in future Saab products was required.
Koenigsegg has said it is looking for additional investors in the company and recently announced that China’s Beijing Auto would become a partial investor.
Keonigsegg has said it hopes to finalize the sale wth General Motor by the end of October.
GALLERY: 2011 Saab 9-5
Deal contingent on additional investment, bank loans
General Motors has signed an agreement to sell off its Swedish Saab unit to the Koenigsegg Group. Led by supercar maker Koenigsegg, the group includes several additional investors. The deal will see the Koenigsegg Group take a 100 percent stake in Saab.
In a statement Koenigsegg Group CEO Christian von Koenigsegg said that the group plans to “transform Saab into a stand-alone vibrant entrepreneurial company and make it ‘sustainable’ by making it profitable.”
The deal is still contingent on additional funding, which Koenigsegg plans to raise through government loans and additional investors. According to a report in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri, a Koenigsegg Group executive said that the company requires $413.6 million in additional investments. Currently the Swedish government is reviewing a plan to secure a loan from the European Investment Bank.
Both Koenigsegg and General Motors seem to have differing opinions on how long it will take for the funding issue to be solved. Koenigsegg spokeswoman Halldora von Koenigsegg said she expects funding to be secured by in a month, while the less-optimistic GM is reported to have the end of 2009 pegged as a deadline to finalize the sale.
Additional specific terms of the agreement are not known, but it is expected that GM will supply the Koenigsegg Group with resources to assist in developing one additional model. Currently Saab is set to launch its latest model, the 2010 9-5 (pictured above) at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
[Source: Automotive News]
General Motors has officially announced it has reached a tentative deal to sell its Swedish Saab brand to a group of companies lead by Swedish supercar-maker Koenigsegg.
The deal will see the Koenigsegg group receive $600 million in funding from the European Investment Bank, which has been guaranteed by the Swedish government.
GM will provide Saab with platform and powertrain technology for an undisclosed period of time, while Saab is set to begin production of the next generation 9-5 in the near future at its plant in Trollhättan, Sweden.
“The proposed agreement will enable us to maximize the brand’s potential through an exciting new product line-up with a distinctly Swedish character. Today’s announcement is great news for Saab’s current and future customers, dealers, suppliers and employees around the globe, said Jan Ake Jonsson, Managing Director of Saab.
“This is yet another significant step in the reinvention of GM and its European operations,” said GM Europe President, Carl-Peter Forster. “Saab is a highly respected automotive brand with great potential. Closing this deal represents the best chance for Saab to emerge a stronger company. Koenigsegg Group’s unique combination of innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and financial strength, combined with Koenigsegg’s proven ability to create world-class Swedish performance cars in a highly efficient manner, made it the right choice for Saab as well as for General Motors.”
Koenigsegg’s acquisition of Saab is expected to be completed by the third-quarter of this year.
In a surprising move, a potential buyer for Saab has been found from the company’s home country. Nope… note Swedish automaker Volvo, but Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg.
The news comes from the newspaper Dagens Industri and is so surprising because of Koenigsegg’s mass-market obscurity.
Koenigsegg has, however, made a success out of its supercar business, selling machines like the CCX and 1,000 horsepower CCXR (pictured above), for over one million dollars.
It is expected that were Koenigsegg to be a contender in the bidding process it would likely need one or more partners, and with the supercar maker’s client list including some of the world’s wealthiest people, partners might not be all that hard to find.
Saab has yet to officially announce a list of buyers and did not comment on the Dagens Industri report.
[Photos Credit: CarStudio.it]