Saab Performance Driving Team Meets Blue Angels at Westfield, Mass. Air Show
Detroit, Mich. - Saab, the car company that’s “Born from Jets,” is a sponsor of the 2006 Westfield, Massachusetts International Air Show to be held June 24-25 at the Barnes Air National Guard Base. The partnership gives Saab a major presence at the show, including participation by the “Born from Jets” promotional tour. Special guests during the weekend will be the world famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels aviation demonstration team, plus Saab’s own Performance Team from Sweden, nicknamed the “Blue Angels on Four Wheels”.
The travelling “Born from Jets” tour links Saab’s aircraft heritage and jet-inspired designs with the excitement of air shows across the country. It features an eye-catching semi trailer that transforms into a small-scale hangar, complete with an attached control tower. When set up at an air show, this mobile hangar houses interactive displays of Saab product features and plasma screens showing Saab footage. A selection of Saab vehicles is on display in front of the exhibit.
Behind the wheel of the Saab Performance Driving team are four engineers from Saab Sweden. Supported by Continental Tires, the team will demonstrate the performance of the Saab 9-3 Aero V6 Turbo Sport Sedan several times each show day on the airfield taxiway.
The “Born from Jets” tour is a major element of Saab’s marketing and advertising strategy that recalls the Swedish automaker’s history as an aircraft manufacturer and the fact that Saab Automobile was started by 16 aircraft engineers. Saab’s advertising slogan is, “Once you’ve built jets, you don’t build just another car.”
“Saab has a great line of products and a unique, exciting aircraft heritage”, said Jay Spenchian, Saab USA general manager. “Our participation in air shows gives us a terrific opportunity to get exposure to millions of consumers in a way that only Saab can do.”
Saab introduced its “Born from Jets” campaign in the fall of 2005 with a series of dramatic television ads including “Delta Formation” featuring the 9-3, “Transformer” with the 9-7X SUV and recently, “Head to Head,” in which a new 9-5 races a Saab Gripen jet fighter. The next logical step was for Saab to take its aircraft heritage on the road.
The Saab “Born From Jets” tour will also visit air shows in Chicago, Ill. (August 19-20), Cleveland, OH (September 2-4) and San Francisco, Calif. (October 6-8). Other shows will be added later this year. Saab expects to reach over 2 million people with its message and products during the course of the tour.
Hosted by the 104th Fighter Wing, the 2006 Westfield International Air Show will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25 at Barnes Air National Guard Base. The Westfield International Air Show typically attracts around 250,000 visitors over the entire weekend. Admission is free. Directions and more information at www.2006WestfieldAirShow.org.
Saab: From Aircraft to Automobiles
Saab’s aviation roots go back almost 70 years to 1937, when Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (Swedish Aircraft Company Limited) was founded in the town of Trollhättan, 45 miles (70 km) north of Gothenburg, where Saab cars are still built today on the site of the original aircraft factory.
The company supplied military aircraft to the Swedish Air Force and began diversifying into civil aviation in 1944 and the automotive business in 1947, when its first car, the Saab 92, was unveiled (Saab 91 was a light aircraft used for pilot training). The 92’s streamlined, teardrop-shaped bodywork was clearly the work of aircraft engineers and radical for a small production car of the time, as was the use of wind tunnel testing during its development.
The adoption of front-wheel drive for sure-footed handling, excellent road holding and efficient use of space were also unconventional for the time -- more than a decade before the layout was to become popular in the rest of the auto industry.
Another innovative design from Saab’s newly-created car division was the Sonett 1, a lightweight sports car for competition use, unveiled exactly 50 years ago this year. Its “monocoque” chassis was made from aviation-specification aluminum panels, instead of the usual arrangement of steel beams and tubes. Although common in aircraft construction, Saab was using this design six years before it was introduced to Grand Prix racing.
Over the years, Saab cars have continued to incorporate aircraft-inspired design features, from wrap-around windshields and cockpit-like ergonomics to green instrument illumination and need-to-know information displays.
And the innovative spirit of those early aircraft engineers, including their pioneering attention to safety, continues to be reflected in Saab’s unconventional approach to car design.
Today, more than 4 million cars and 4,000 aircraft later, Saab is one name and two unaffiliated companies. Saab Automobile AB, headquartered in Trollhättan, Sweden manufactures cars and is a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation, the world’s largest automaker. Saab Automobile USA is the importer and distributor of Saab 9-2X, 9-3, 9-5 cars and the 9-7X SUV for Saab Automobile AB. For more information, visit www.saabusa.com.
Saab AB has its main operations in defense, aviation, space technology and civil security. Gripen, developed by Saab AB, is the first of the new generation, multi-role combat aircraft to enter service. For more information about Saab AB, please visit www.saabgroup.com
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