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Posts Tagged ‘Saab’

Pet Peeves

February 27th, 2011 Comments off

What’s wrong with this picture?

2012 Saab 9-5 Sportwagon

If you’re thinking, “It’s a new Saab, but Saab went the way of coelacanth when GM went through its extreme makeover a couple years ago,” you’d only partially be right.  While GM did shed the Saab brand, Dutch company Spyker Cars NV picked up the reins (for a cool $74M), and the brand lives on.

No, the problem with this picture (and ALL of the pictures of Saab’s new 9-5 Sportwagon) is with the tires.  The directional tires.  The directional tires that are mounted in the wrong direction.

Michelin Pilot Sport Tread Pattern (mounted correctly)

The tread-pattern on a directional tire is designed such that, as the tire rolls forward, the channels in the tread evacuate the water from the center towards the outside, allowing the tire to more safely move over wet surfaces.  But to do so, the tires must be installed correctly.  When mounted in reverse, the tread acts in the opposite direction, pumping water directly under the center of the tire – and significantly reducing wet traction in the process.

I’m constantly surprised at the number of cars I see with directional tires that are mounted incorrectly.  I figure, either the owner (or their service department) doesn’t really understand how tires work, or the driver really enjoys hydroplaning.  It’s a pet-peeve of mine.  …But for a car company to release photos of a new model shod with the rubber reversed?

…Am I the only one bothered by this?

Categories: Tires Tags: , ,

Questions

September 9th, 2009 Comments off

A friend of mine recently asked me a few car-related questions via email.  I thought I’d answer them here.

Why can’t I get a Jetta turbo diesel sport wagon?  There are waiting lists for this car all over the country.  Seems crazy. Well, that’s easy.  It’s because the demand has exceeded supply.  Ah, but you knew that.  …It’s ironic: wagons haven’t been very popular in the U.S. in recent years, and neither have diesels (which I spoke about here).  But VW can’t seem to build enough Jetta TDI Sportwagens to satisfy the American market right now.  I chalk it up to the fact that folks are finally realizing the benefits of smaller vehicles, as well as modern diesel engines.  In concluding that a wagon is a perfect replacement for their SUV, they’re finding there’s really only one vehicle that fits the bill – the VW sportwagen really doesn’t have any competition out there right now.  I’m still not sure what it will take, though, for them to increase production (are they already at capacity?) or shift more of the allotment to the U.S.  (As a curious sidenote, I think I read somewhere that the vast majority of VW Jetta Sportwagens that are ordered are of the TDI variety.  I may be making that up.)

So which brands of car are we loosing due to the GM collapse?  Which cars will we never see again and good riddance and which one’s would it have been nice to keep around. We’re losing Pontiac – they’re vanishing completely.  And good riddance to them.  We’re losing Hummer – that brand is being sold to Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery.  It’s not clear to me if we’ll continue to see the brand in the U.S., but my guess is that we won’t.  And that won’t be a loss, either.  Saturn also gets the axe, although to a lesser degree – it is being sold to Penske Automotive Group.  GM will continue to supply Penske with the Aura, Vue, and Outlook for a couple of years, and other models will eventually be outsourced from other auto manufacturers.  (Unfortunately, the Saturn Sky didn’t make the cut.  This 2-seat, rear-wheel-drive roadster, sharing the Kappa platform with the Pontiac Solstice, is a completely irrational, impractical automobile – but it’s beautiful, sporty, and is a big loss in my mind.  The Outlook is a good vehicle, but might be a little too diluted, being virtually the same as the GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, and Chevy Traverse.)  The Penske deal is an interesting one to me, since it’s different than anything else I’ve seen in the auto industry.  Another interesting deal is the sale of Saab to Swedish supercar-maker Koenigsegg along with Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings.  My guess is Saab will remain, but its focus will shift to the Asian market, and they may vanish from the U.S. altogether.  Unfortunately, Saab never really caught on in the U.S. – and that’s our loss.  Finally, GM may be selling off its Opel unit, though it’s not clear at this point.  Doesn’t really affect us over here, though…

And lastly why do Americans hate the hatchback?? I don’t know.  Call it an extension of the anti-wagon sentiment.  Although, hatchbacks have been successful here in the past.  The original hot-hatches, the Honda CVCC and VW GTi, were hugely popular.  And the Ford Focus hatchback sold well here, I believe.  I’m excited for the 2011 Ford Fiesta (in hatchback form) to make its arrival.  What do you think?

2011 Ford Fiesta Hatchback

2011 Ford Fiesta Hatchback