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Old 02-17-2008, 09:50 AM   #1
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Boston Globe Interview

There is a short interview in todays Boston Sunday Globe with Steve Shannon (General Manager of Saab USA).

The interview is located in the Auto section on page J27. For those that might not have a copy of the Globe, I have reproduced the interview below.

The interview is as follows:



Saab staying true to its utilitarian roots
Mass. native pushes for turnaround at marque

February 17, 2008

Steve Shannon is pushing to make 2008 a turnaround year for Saab, the GM-owned company with a loyal following in New England. Shannon, the general manager of Saab USA and a Pembroke native, expects to attend the annual Saab Owners Convention scheduled for late August in the Former Fort Devens in Ayer. He spoke to the Globe's Michael Saunders about Saab's plans to introduce several innovative models over the next few years, including the 9-4X crossover.


Q.Where will the 9-4X take Saab?

A.This kind of a vehicle as a Saab is a perfect fit. If you go back to Europe and years ago to the birthplace of Saab in Sweden, people typically had one car so they needed it to be functional. They would go off fishing or to their boat, so there was the notion of a fun-to-drive, flexible, functional vehicle. We have a nice following for our Sport Combi wagon, but the notion of a crossover today is a significantly preferred body style. It's less than two years away. We had a big dealer meeting in Sweden and they gave us a pretty good thumbs up.

Q.Any hurdles for introducing turbodiesels into the United States?

A.In one sense, we're well positioned in that area. Every Saab model around the world has a diesel. We have a terrific 1.9-liter twin turbo diesel that we're launching in the 9-3 in Europe. When the 9-4X comes, it will have a 2.9-liter diesel that will be available in Europe.

The issue really is to make a 50-state emissions-legal engine. There's a lot of engineering. Frankly, that's a lot of money. For the many thousands of dollars it would cost us, we would want to recapture that from the consumer. And when you add many thousands of dollars, and then you look at a gas station where diesel is 40 to 50 cents more expensive than gasoline, it starts to say that the economics may not quite work.

Q.Is the new 9-5, Saab's large sedan and wagon, still on target for the 2010 model year?

A.We haven't said a whole lot about that. The timing is fairly similar to the 9-4X timing, but we decided as a company to let a little word of the 9-4X get out and keep the 9-5 a little bit closer. But it will be all new. It's on all-new architecture that's purposely made for a prestige luxury car. As we look at the ideal for a new 9-5, it will be a little bigger overall, have a little bigger trunk and a little more rear seat room, but it will look every bit a Saab.

Q.What are some of the changes in the lineup between now and 2010?

A.We'll have a few special models. There's a special edition 9-3 convertible in a really neat yellow color for the spring. If you remember a couple of years ago, there were the 60th anniversary special packages. We'll look at doing those kinds of things. We have some interesting ideas for the 9-5, for its last year, as it heads off into the sunset to be replaced by an all-new one. We have some things to keep us fresh in the marketplace until the two new products debut.

Q.In the past few years, some Saab owners criticized the widespread sharing of interior parts from other GM models. Pictures of new models show a move away from that. Will that continue?

A.Yes it will. I think we're getting better at the basic idea of where the customer doesn't care, where it doesn't matter to them, they can't see, feel, touch, it just makes sense to share. We do it, Toyota does it, Lexus does it, BMW does it, etc. Come 18-20 months from now, that bugaboo will be largely be put to bed. People will accept that. If Saab was still an independent company from Trollhattan, Sweden and they did a crossover, that's just what it would look like and drive like and feel like. The fact that it happened to come from some GM shared architectures, and built in a plant that's shared, that's all to the good because the quality's better and so are the prices.

Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:18 AM   #2
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Nice!


Good questions Mike!
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Old 02-17-2008, 12:25 PM   #3
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Old 02-19-2008, 01:16 PM   #4
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I was just sent this article from the very same source. That one guy they quoted sounds like he knows his shit.
http://www.boston.com/cars/news/arti..._shifts_gears/
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Old 02-19-2008, 01:31 PM   #5
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^^ The Neumann guy? He sounds like a douche.
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Old 02-19-2008, 01:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codesplice View Post
^^ The Neumann guy? He sounds like a douche.
It was just as funny on AIM two minutes ago. :P
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Last edited by Jameson; 02-19-2008 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 02-19-2008, 01:41 PM   #7
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Saunders wrote this? wow!
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Old 02-19-2008, 01:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpenning623 View Post
Saunders wrote this? wow!
Yep yep. Good guy
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:51 PM   #9
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Shit, I wish I saw this sooner, I could have snagged a coppy at Wegmans...I'll see if they still have some.
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