Daily News Briefs: June 13, 2012

Saabrange2011

Bankrupt Swedish automaker Saab has found a new suitor; a Chinese-Japanese investment group wants to buy the brand and turn it into a builder of electric vehicles, according to sources who spoke with Reuters and Bloomberg News. The group formed a new company in Sweden, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, and has agreed to buy Saab's assets, according to reports. The companies that have invested to buy Saab's assets include Japanese-based Sun Investment and Hong Kong-based renewable-energy power plant builder National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., according to Automotive News. The first vehicle the new company plans to build will be an electric version of the Saab 9-3, which it expects to start selling in early 2014.

In other news:

By Colin Bird | June 13, 2012 | Comments (0)

Daily News Briefs: June 7, 2012

Dodge Durango

Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne has decided to keep the number of offerings at Dodge and Chrysler brands to no more than five models, according to Automobile Magazine. The Chrysler brand is already below that level at four models, but Dodge has seven models. Primed for the chopping block are the Dodge Avenger and, over time, the Dodge Durango SUV, the magazine reports. The Durango will be replaced by a seven-passenger Jeep model, says the magazine.

In other news:

By Colin Bird | June 7, 2012 | Comments (0)

Saved: The Last Saab 9-3

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Although loyalist group Saabs United wasn't able to save the brand, it was able to rescue the bankrupt Swedish automaker's last vehicle when it rolled off the production line.

Saabs United raised enough money to purchase the last 9-3 sedan ever built: a 9-3 Aero Griffin in Arctic White. The vehicle was taken off the production line in February, and the group raised enough funds through its website to purchase the 9-3 and donate it to the Saab museum in Trollhattan, Sweden.

According to the group, the cost of this specific model was $48,672, and the group's members raised extra funds to support the museum. The names of more than 450 people who chipped in for the 9-3 are listed on the group's site.

"We set out to do something that has never been done by any enthusiast group for any auto-brand in the world. We, the fans set out on a mission to buy a car, and not just any car, we set out to buy the last of a production series, the last Saab 9-3 Griffin," the group said on its website.

Related

What Saab's Liquidation Means to You
Saab Fans Rally Across the World
More Auto Industry News

Saving the last Saab 9-3: Mission Accomplished (Saabs United)

By Jennifer Geiger | May 10, 2012 | Comments (0)

Saab Fans Rally Across the World

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The Saab brand has historically cultivated a cult-like following, and in its troubled times, supporters are rallying. Though not much has been heard from Saab since the automaker filed for bankruptcy late last December, brand loyalists haven’t been as quiet. As the company begins to wind down and negotiate the restructuring process, enthusiasts are ramping up efforts to promote the ill-fated marque. 

Fan site SaabsUnited.com has launched a campaign called "We are Many, We are Saab" and has organized caravans and rallies across the U.S. and the world in a final show of support for the troubled company and its vehicles. It's reporting that 39 countries hosted or plan to host more than 100 events this January, many in the U.S. 

By Jennifer Geiger | January 19, 2012 | Comments (4)

2012 Chevrolet Sonic, Volkswagen Passat Earn Five-Star NHTSA Ratings

2012 Chevrolet Sonic
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released another batch of 2012 model-year crash-test ratings today. Under the stricter guidelines, the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic compact and the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat sedan earned five-star composite scores.

NHTSA’s composite scores are composed of five-star ratings for frontal, rollover and a combined side pole and barrier tests. The side pole test, which is new, simulates a 20-mph side-impact crash into a 10-inch-diameter pole or tree at a 75-degree angle just behind the A-pillar on the driver’s side.

By Colin Bird | December 30, 2011 | Comments (8)

Saab Stops Covering Warranties

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As it falls into liquidation, Saab confirmed today that will no longer honor warranties on any models. This includes not only cars still on dealer lots, but all 2010 and 2011 models already sold. If you bought a Saab while the automaker was still part of the GM stable, warranty work will be covered, GM told Kicking Tires this afternoon. The sale was completed in February 2010.

The bankrupt Swedish automaker told dealers yesterday it would stop covering its policies, according to Automotive News. Warranty booklets were to be removed from cars on lots, and all cars should be sold "as is," according to Automotive News.

All warranties have been suspended, regardless of model year, Saab spokeswoman Michele Tinson said, but "Saab owners should be advised to keep receipts of all related warranty work done or services performed until further notice." A service representative at True Saab, a dealership in suburban Chicago, confirmed the news, saying the dealership was charging customers for all Saab repairs and maintenance. The dealership had no immediate provision to offer its own replacement warranty, a sales representative told us.

By Kelsey Mays | December 20, 2011 | Comments (15)

What Saab's Liquidation Means to You

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As the automotive industry digests the news that embattled Swedish automaker Saab filed for bankruptcy liquidation this morning, current Saab owners and prospective buyers likely have serious questions.

Breaking: Saab Stops Covering Warranties

Saab is seeking a true liquidation, meaning there will be no future buyers, and Saab will no longer make new cars. GM sold Saab in 2010 to an independent firm in Sweden. At the time, GM said it would honor any Saab warranty because the cars were still built with GM technology and parts.

A Saab representative told us there are no details at this time about future warranties and who will honor them.

By David Thomas | December 19, 2011 | Comments (33)

2011 Saab 9-4x Earns IIHS Top Safety Pick

Saab-9-4XThe 2011 Saab 9-4x received the Top Safety Pick designation in the midsize luxury SUV category from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

To earn the award, a vehicle must receive the top rating of Good in front, side, rear and rollover crash tests. To pass IIHS’ roof-strength test, a vehicle’s roof must be able to withstand the force of four times the vehicle’s weight. The 9-4x can withstand 4.14 times its own weight.

The Saab 9-4x and Cadillac SRX are structural twins, and the Cadillac is also a Top Safety Pick. Neither the 9-4x nor the SRX has been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The 9-4x is already on sale, with a starting price of $33,380, though it’s not widely available yet.

By Colin Bird | July 6, 2011 | Comments (1)

Saab Developing Three New Vehicles

Saabrange2011Saab is working on three new car models to be named the Saab 9-1, 9-6x and 9-7, according to the automaker.

While the car company didn’t announce specifics, the company said in a statement that the 9-1 would be an entry-level car aimed at urban customers. We translate that to mean it will be small, perhaps the size of a Mini Cooper or Audi A3.

The Saab 9-6x would be an SUV or crossover because of the “x” nomenclature. A seven-passenger car-based crossover had been planned at one time. The 9-6x and 9-7 were referred to as the "key to enhancing the prestige of the Saab brand." The above photo shows most of Saab's current lineup, including the 9-3, 9-5, 9-4x and the PhoeniX concept.

The announcement is a part of a new joint venture with Chinese carmaker and retail distributor Youngman and Pang Du. Under the agreement, Saab is in charge of designing, testing and developing the above vehicles, while Youngman is responsible for funding.

Saab has had some difficulties funding its operations since the car company spun off from GM last year. The company hasn’t been able to produce cars since early April, according to Reuters.  With new sources of funding, unrelated to this deal, the car company hopes to restart production sometime next week.

Related
Saab Confirms Next-Gen 9-3 for Fall 2012 Launch

By Colin Bird | July 5, 2011 | Comments (2)

2011 Saab 9-5, 2011-12 Volkswagen CC Earn IIHS Top Safety Pick

2011 Saab 9-5The 2011 Saab 9-5 and the 2011 and 2012 Volkswagen CC received the Top Safety Pick designation in the midsize luxury/near-luxury category from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

These cars had previously earned the title, which is awarded to vehicles that receive the agency’s top rating — Good — in front, side and rear crash tests, and have electronic stability control. But that was before IIHS implemented its tough roof-strength test, making it harder for new cars to be named Top Safety Picks. To pass the test, a vehicle’s roof must be able to withstand the force of four times the vehicle’s weight. The VW CC’s roof can withstand 4.4 times its own weight; the 9-5 can withstand 5.85 times its own weight.

The Top Safety Pick designation on the CC applies only to the front-wheel-drive model because the heavier all-wheel-drive model was rated Acceptable in the roof-strength test.

Neither vehicle has been fully tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, whose tests include more side impact test data.

Altogether, IIHS recently completed roof-strength tests for eight midsize/large family and luxury cars. The 2011 Lexus ES 350 earned a Good rating in roof strength, but it was rated Acceptable for rear crash protection. The 2011 BMW 3 Series, Chevrolet Impala, Infiniti G series, Lexus IS and Saab 9-3 all earned Acceptable ratings in the roof-strength test.

By Colin Bird | June 16, 2011 | Comments (4)

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