Visiting the Saab instance in Kiel

Alone with the headline I catch resentment from some parts of the Saab scene again. But it is so. I'm in Kiel for a control visit, if you will. Finally, drop by Markus Lafrentz again. As a blogger you should be a lot. Influencer, as it says in Neuland-German. Influencer, which I don't like to hear. Observer is more appropriate because I have been accompanying the Saab community for years. Watching what happens, how workshops and brands develop after 2011.

Visiting Saab Lafrentz in Kiel
Visiting Saab Lafrentz in Kiel

Markus and I - we have known each other for a long time. The contact is continuous, and I hardly know anyone who has lived Saab as consistently as he has for years. With every new visit to Kiel I note the small changes, the details. For example, there are these iconic Saab cups at the coffee counter, which were somewhere in the pool and have now turned up again. Popular with visitors, which is why their population is melting in an almost incomprehensible way like the ice in summer. Yes, I would like one too. But not like this.

Kieler Erde, pure Saab feeling

The Lafrentz dealership is very Saab, very iconic. And it continues to develop on its own. The brand no longer exists, and with its demise there are also no authorities who could have prescribed further development. You use the freedoms. The Saab column in the corner bears the modern black and white lettering in NEVS style. Fantastic classics such as a 9000 CC Turbo, a Sonett and one of two Saab 9000 management cars in XXL format are parked in the exhibition. The car, says Markus to me, should never have left Sweden. It is a piece of Saab history, closely linked to Trollhättan.

Now it is here, now restored, because the museum in Trollhättan could not find a place for it. It is not for sale. Neither is the 900 II in new car condition. First hand, incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately, in the meantime also incredibly rare. The Saab community has not been good with the newer products from Trollhättan in recent years.

I stroll across the yard. Saab 9-5 NG, a sports suit from the pre-series, chrome glasses, 9-4x. Markus should make day visits to the car dealer offer as therapy for fans with moral sag. Not by prescription, but for a flat rate. Work in the workshop included. These few square meters of Kiel soil have been providing pure Saab feeling for years. Consistent, consistent. Markus - the Saab instance.

It really is like that! The Saab feeling does not let go of him and his crew. The clients register this and are grateful for it. The clientele comes from all over Europe, and the planning continues towards even more Saab. Pilots wanted 2020 is already a done deal. On a somewhat smaller scale, because the catering industry in Kiel cannot easily cope with so many fans and plus vehicles. A slightly crazy conversion project of a 9-5 NG is pending; I write about it when it should become a reality. In addition, the Lafrenz car dealership has been the German representative of for some time Maptun.

The Saab instance is on course

Is he happy with what he's doing? He says yes, I believe him. He could sell another car brand if he wanted to. Manufacturers are always presenting themselves, but Markus has no desire for new cars and a bond with a group. The loss of freedom, as he notes. Regulations, from tiles in the sales room to outdoor advertising and 1.000 other things. Not for him. He'd rather stay with Saab. The workshop is always full, there is no shortage of projects and restorations. In addition, the sale of well-kept vehicles from previous ownership comes into play, in addition he has to take care of 9-4x and the pre-series sports suits.

As for the 9-5 NG, he really is the authority, even if he might not like to hear that. The final instance in matters 9-5. Europe-wide, because he took care of it early on. Nobody else wanted it back then, he says. And anyway, he feels satisfied in the niche. He not only brings 9-5 NG and 9-4x from the USA. Other exotic species also find their way across the Atlantic to Kiel. He imported quite a few Fiat 500s, the electric version. They are popular, quickly find a new home and diversify their activities a bit.

Today, some car dealerships would be happy not to have unscrewed the Saab sign so quickly. The crisis in the auto industry is emerging, is becoming tangible. Saab is the small, firm, cyclical rock in the storm. I don't have to worry. Kiel is on course for Saab and its customers. I am looking forward to the next visit!

19 thoughts on "Visiting the Saab instance in Kiel"

  • Maptun & body shop

    In addition, the experience with individual acceptance and approval. Sounds like every possible and impossible Saab can be realized in Kiel ...

    @ Tom,
    Are there other modifications besides the 9000 SC and the current NG project in the hands of the customers? Real wolves in Saab fur (sleeper) or even strength athletes in a muscle shirt?

    Is there also a tiny tuning scene within the small German Saab scene or is there only something like that in Sweden? I think it's an exciting question ...

  • There is SAAB Schmitz in Emmerich on the Rhine! Very competent workshop with nice people!

  • I'll be there for the first time soon.
    My 93 should get a classic rear spoiler.

  • Markus Lafrentz embodies the Saab ideals of independence, individualism, down to earth, nonchalance perfectly. It's a good thing that there are professionals like him and enthusiastically keep Saab alive for us. Saab- more than a car!

  • The 9-5NG need a retreat, a dry dock and the right place for a pit stop. Here he is. Thank God!

  • Of course, that's where the china came from first. I had my eye on the cheap promotional mugs that come from the People's Republic and hardly meet the requirements of Saab in the 60s and 70s. That being said, China still produces high quality porcelain today. Just a few weeks ago (long story beyond Saab) I got an espresso cup set from a German car brand as a gift. Made in China - and made really good and valuable.

  • I have been an enthusiastic customer of this very special dealership for many years, full of SAAB passion and unique customer orientation.
    Similar to the SAABBLOG, the AH Lafrentz for me has become THE identification with the brand par excellence.
    For a few years I have taken extremely long journeys from Stuttgart to have my 9-5 NG serviced there and I am glad now - now living in Hamburg - not to have it that far.
    Otherwise I would definitely not want to be able to move such an exotic in everyday life.

    I would also be very interested in a new edition of this quirky beautiful SAAB mug !! Unfortunately, so far I have not been able to get one of them through a charm offensive or a utopian price offer.
    In the meantime, I am more than happy about every cup of good coffee that I offer there!

  • Unfortunately, unfortunately, it's the long way to Kiel for me too ... but M.Lafrentz has already been able to help me a few times even without personal contact. Unfortunately, the Saabigen AH are becoming increasingly rare, even in the Saxon area, only Zwickau occurs to me.

    When it came to the cups I would be there straight away (we only got umbrellas with our new cars :-). ) ... but why should china porcelain be cheap? Where did this stuff come from? 😉

  • 9-5 NG hatchback ???? Please please! 🙂 🙂 😉

  • Thank you, that was also my thought. Kahla has very nice designs and is valuable.

  • Idea, or possibly already known: Fa. Kahla / Thuringia. They also manufacture according to “advertising orders” 😉

  • The challenge will be to find the cup manufacturer. Since Saab always focused on quality, and because of its age it cannot be a China product, one of the renowned brands will be behind it. It is also questionable whether this design classic is still in production. It is definitely a nice idea, maybe something will come up.

  • No combination change. Another sophisticated solution that was unfortunately not available from the factory.

  • Nice, lively report. I was part of the pilot wanted in 2016 and was also impressed with how people live there in Kiel Saab!
    I would like to stop by again. What is stopping me? 900km, one way, is already a killer argument.
    I keep looking at Lafrenz's HP. Always has nice used ones on the net. I would like the red, 4-door 900 Talladega. But just, the 900km are between us.
    Greetings to Kiel from the south of the republic.

  • I would also like to have at least two ...

  • Thanks for this great report, at some point I have to look up to Kiel, best if I get a 9-5NG in the house. In the 9-5NG project, I assume that the Combi should be converted or not?
    9-4X and 9-5NG should also have a roof over their heads if there is a hailstorm.
    If asked, I would also know very committed Saab companies that you could write about ...

  • … I have to go back soon for some “forced repairs” (hope parts are there soon)…. I'll watch out for the “new” cups! 🙂

  • The cups are iconic - could the dealership be persuaded to have a batch made for the readers of the SAAB blog and then sell them (directly or via the blog) ...?
    I have a cup from 1992, which has now almost faded, from the Härtl dealership in Miesbach on the occasion of the delivery of my 2nd Saab (900 - 2,1 i - 16V). But it's not nearly as beautiful and the SAAB symbol is now almost invisible.


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