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 for years as he does. With every new visit to Kiel I register the small changes, the details. For example, there are these iconic Saab cups on the coffee counter that were somewhere in the fund and have now reappeared. Popular with visitors, which is why their inventory melts in an almost inexplicable way like the ice in summer. Yes, I would also like to have one. But not like this.

Kieler Erde, pure Saab feeling

The car dealership Lafrentz is very Saab, very iconic. And it continues to develop on its own. The brand no longer exists and, with its demise, there are no authorities that could have prescribed further development. The freedoms are used. The Saab column in the corner bears the lettering modern black and white in NEVS style. Fantastic classics such as a 9000 CC Turbo, a sonnet and one of two Saab 9000 executive cars in XXL format are parked in the exhibition. The car, Markus says 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 thankful for it. The customers come 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 in Kiel with so many fans and plus vehicles is not so easy to deal with. A slightly crazy conversion project of a 9-5 NG is pending; I write about it if it should become a reality. In addition, the car dealership Lafrenz has been the German representative of 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, it really is the authority, even if it may not like to hear it. The last instance in matters 9-5. Europe-wide because he had taken care of early. Nobody wanted back then, he says. And anyway, he feels satisfied in the niche. He doesn't just get 9-5 NG and 9-4x from the USA. Other exotic species also find their way across the Atlantic to Kiel. He imported several Fiat 500, 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. Keel is on course for Saab and its customers. I am looking forward to the next visit!

19 thoughts too "Visiting the Saab instance in Kiel"

  • The cups are iconic - could you not persuade the car dealer to have a game made for the readers of the SAAB blog and then sell them (directly or via the blog) ...?
    I have a now faded cup from 1992, presented by Autohaus Härtl in Miesbach on the occasion of the delivery of my 2nd Saab (900 - 2,1 i - 16V). but it is not so nice for a long time and the SAAB symbol is now almost invisible.

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    • 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.

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  • … I will have to go back for some “forced repairs” soon (hope parts will be there soon)…. I'll pay attention to the “new” cups! 🙂

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  • 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 about which one could write…

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

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

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  • 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.

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  • Idea, or possibly already known: Kahla / Thuringia. They also manufacture after “advertising order” 😉

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

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  • Unfortunately, it is also the long way to Kiel for me ... but M.Lafrentz has helped me a few times even without personal contact. Unfortunately, the Saabigen AH are becoming less and less common in the Saxon area, too. I can only think of Zwickau.

    For the cups I would be there immediately (we only got umbrellas for our new cars :-). )… But why should China porcelain be cheap? Where does the stuff originally come from? 😉

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  • 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.
    I had to take extremely long journeys from Stuttgart for a few years to have my 9-5 NG waiting there and am now glad that I no longer have it so far - now living in Hamburg.
    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!

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  • Of course the porcelain came there first. I kept an eye on the cheap promotional cups that come from the People's Republic and hardly met Saab's standards in the 60s and 70s. Apart from that, China still produces high quality porcelain today. I only got an espresso cup set from a German car brand as a gift a few weeks ago (long story beyond Saab). Made in China - and made really good and valuable.

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

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  • 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!

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

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

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  • Maptun & body shop

    In addition, the experience with individual approvals and approval. Sounds like you can realize every possible and impossible Saab 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 a tiny tuning scene within the small German Saab scene or is there such a thing only in Sweden? Exciting question, I think ...

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