Saab unveils new Saab 9-5 to journalists

After many months of waiting, 250 foreign journalists visited Trollhättan on Monday to test Saab Automobile's new flagship vehicle, the new second-generation Saab 9-5.

Saab unveils new Saab 9-5 to journalists

The verdicts of the journalists will be a crucial test of Saab’s efforts to convince the world that it has a future. Since the 9-5 was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September, the company has been fighting for its survival.

During its darkest days in early January, it looked as if the fully developed car would never reach the market. It was only after the last minute success of Spyker Cars’ bid to buy the company from General Motors that the future of the model – and the brand as a whole – were secured.

The first cars are expected to reach dealers the week before Midsummer in mid-June. On Monday, Saab started the big launch, inviting 250 journalists from different countries to visit Trollhättan to test drive the car.

For Saab’s future, it is crucial that the car does not flop. The smaller Saab 9-3 model continues to sell the most units for the brand.

The price of the new 9-5 is deliberately set higher than its 13-year-old predecessor. Prices start at 311,000 kronor ($40,000) and rise up to about 600,000 kronor depending on engine and equipment.

“The price means that the sales volume is expected to be slightly lower,” said Peter Hallberg, CEO of Saab’s dealer network.

Saab’s turbulent times are not yet over. There are still companies that do not allow their employees to buy Saabs as company cars simply because of the lingering uncertainty surrounding the company.

Finance and leasing companies have set very low residual values, or how much the cars are estimated to be worth in three years, on Saab vehicles. However, Saab dealers have agreed to provide a guaranteed residual value for the vehicles.

“We guarantee a value on par with our competitors,” said Hallberg. “This means around 50 percent for volume models. We hope that will eliminate the worries of fleet car buyers.”

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Trollhättan remembers school attack victims

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Three people were killed in an attack that shocked Sweden as a masked, sword-wielding assailant entered the school, stabbing students and teachers who appeared to be of foreign origin. Several people were also injured. The attacker, 21-year-old Anton Lundin Pettersson, was then shot dead by police.

“It was an attack on all of Sweden,” Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said as the procession ended outside the school.

In the week running up to the one-year anniversary, students of the school had made thousands of postcards in memory of the teacher, pupil and teacher aide who were killed in the assault.

A police investigation has showed that Lundin had planned the attack, which lasted around 10 minutes, after being inspired by racist websites.

A teenage student told The Local at the time that many people at the school at first thought it was some kind of a prank.

“I was in a classroom with my class when one of my classmates’ sisters called her to warn her that there was a murderer at the school. So we locked the door to the classroom, but our teacher was still outside in the corridor.”

“We wanted to warn him, so a few of us went outside and then I saw the murderer, he was wearing a mask and had a sword. Our teacher got stabbed.”

“The murderer started chasing me, I ran into another classroom. If I had not run, I would have been murdered. I’m feeling really scared. Everyone’s scared here.”

Trollhättan is an industrial town with around 50,000 residents.