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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The SAAB Hawaii encounter

A tropical paradise with palm trees, bays, boats and boulevards.
A lot a lot of cars, the vast majority a mixture of american and japanese brands. And here and there a Saab. Not many, but at least 1-2 a day. That's Oahu, one of the islands of Hawaii.

In contrast to 7 flight hours far San Francisco, where are tons of Saabs, here's less. No chance to rent one and that will change. To run a dealership in these conditions isn't easy. But there is one - SAAB Hawaii, in Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii.

The advantage of to be connected to a community driven brand such as Saab is, that you can simply walk into a dealership on the other side of the world, say that you are a fan and have a good chance, that your step into space driven by enthusiasts. They talk to you differently as when you come to an anonymous dealership of a let's say Toyota.

Exactly this is what I did one sunny afternoon in Honolulu after googling, that there is a Saab dealership. Coming to the 3030 Waialae Avenue [STREETVIEW LINK], located at the edge of downtown and not far from the famous Diamond Head Crater I spot a house with the Saab logo. In the front are standing several Saabs for sale including the 9-5 NG and of course the 9-3 convertible can't be absent.

A young guy, Craig welcomes me and everything goes as at a Saab fan place. Of course, his 9-3 SportCombi Aero V6 XWD parks in front of the house. He shows me the surfboard with Saab logo, probably one of a kind in the world. A smooth talk goes on while taking a few photos.

He's absolutely on track with the latest informations. It's the day on which the new logo was unveiled, he knows about it of course. He speaks about the Saab drivers on Oahu. They are very loyal and loving their cars. Coming back for service. They love to be different and the kind of exclusivity of their cars.

There are mostly 9-3 around on the island. I've seen several 9-3 I convertibles, one 9-3 II convertible and several sedans and combis.

Craig shows me the backyard, I count 23 Saabs. This is not Sweden or Germany, but not small at all. We're trying to define, what's so cool on the black 9-3 I, which owner refuses to drive anything else. Words like "hatch" or "front mask" are coming, but we both know it's the thing that is so hard to define.

On Oahu there is no diesel at the petrol stations, which I like a lot. There is E85 to get, so consequently some of the Saabs are carrying the BioPower sign. Another small detail underlines the spirit here - the "My other SAAB is a JET" sign on the numberplate frames.

There is a hard thing to get a SAAB rental car when you travel somewhere nowadays. So is Honolulu but this is going to be different. They're planning to offer a rental service for Saabs only. So there will come chance to get a rental Saab including convertibles in the future. This is a great idea and quite a unique thing. So if you plan your holiday on Oahu, try to email them.

 My visit comes to the end. It's a strange feeling, back at home are tons of snow and ice, here you see the surfboard and convertibles. It's still a few days after Christmas, there is still the tree inside as on many places in Honolulu. It was a very nice visit, the feeling that there are people eleven timezones far away sharing the same hobby is just great.

Aloha !








7 comments:

  1. very nice read, is that an outdoor service center in the back of the dealership? That is very cool. I have heard of this dealer too. Very jealous of your trip, hope you enjoyed it.

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    1. yes, it's outdoor. while everything around is outdoor, it even doesn't seems strange. until one comes back home ... the trip is fine, planned a very long time ago and for a nothing comparable will happen anytime soon.

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  2. "Of course, his 9-5 SportCombi Aero V6 XWD parks in front of the house." Is that a typo or does he really have one of these? Either way, great article. You don't hear much about Saabs in Hawaii.

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    1. that is a typo of course. it's the last picture, a 9-3. thanks for pointing this out. corrected

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  3. Nice post. As a fellow Saab enthusiast I regret to say that the one and only dealership in the state is not all its cracked up to be. I've had to learned how to do a lot of basic work myself because the price for services are ridiculous. I've also looked into the possibility of purchasing a new 9-5 or new 9-3 (yes, they still have them) but despite the demise of Saab they are still not willing to let them go for little under orginal MSRP. It's crazy that they have had new cars on the lot for several years.

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    1. omg, that doesn't sounds good at all :(

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  4. Just saw your post, thanks for the story and the pics. Hope to visit one day...

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