Mike Colleran, president and COO of Saab cars North America, was in Boston this week, a place he considers the company's "home market" in the United States.
(Bill Griffith for Boston.com)
"Imagine being able to buy a viable car company for $74 million," said Colleran. "I don't think you'll see that happen again. It came during the perfect storm of an economic downturn, but Spyker got a full-service company, from design to production to dealership network for the same price GM paid for its latest wind tunnel."
Now, 150-plus days into its ownership, Saab has a new product, the 9-5 luxury sedan, in showrooms with the 9-4X crossover coming in spring. In addition, Saab soon will have a 2.0-liter turbo version of the 9-5 that is projected to get 32 miles per gallon or better (highway). Next year, the SportCombi (wagon) version will be available.
"Our company and dealers survived 18 months with no new cars during the worst economy in decades," said Colleran. "Now we've got a string of new cars coming, an ownership that won't be denied, and a long-range plan to bring the company back to profitability while retaining our quirky heritage."
Colleran says the new 9-5 is a large car Saab needs. "It clearly is above the 9-3 [in size], boosts our premium segment ambitions, and represents a massive technological leap ahead. We want our niche back as the quirky offering in the luxury marketplace. Audi had taken it but now they're part of 'The Group.' " That's Colleran's term for the German troika of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
As for Boston being the home market: Charles River Saab sold the first 9-5 available to the public, at 6:01 a.m. the morning the model went on sale.
We will finally get our hands on a new 9-5 for a full road test late this month. Stay tuned. —Ed.
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About Boston Overdrive
|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
|John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
|Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
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|Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
|George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee