My friend Gareth Rowson is now review editor for WideWorldMag.com (alongside his design practice). Here is his test of the waterproof Oregon Scientiﬁc ATC9K Action Camera, ﬁlmed while surﬁng at Vazon in Guernsey. I thought this was very nicely shot.
Less well shot, but signiﬁcant, is the ofﬁcial video from Saab USA about its new 9-4X crossover SUV, from the LA Auto Show. I spotted this on YouTube when I went to get Gareth’s video. So nice to see Saab conﬁdent and launching new models again—showing that it doesn’t always pay to be part of a larger corporation such as GM. Now part of the Netherlands’ Spyker, Saab seems to rediscovered some of its mojo—and despite the 9-4X not being built in Europe, the public seems to accept it more readily than the Subaru Impreza-based 9-2X and the GMT350-based 9-7X.
Part of that is down to the 9-4X looking like a Saab and not a facelifted Subaru or Oldsmobile, but there’s probably more than that.
The 9-4X is still based around a GM architecture—as is the large 9-5—so to call these signs of an Saab free from GM is not terribly fair. It’s even built at a GM plant in México—as the 9-7X was built at a GM plant in the US. You might even say that Saab’s products were beginning to come right under GM, even if it took them long enough—and “getting it right” was probably spurred on by crises, too.
Our more ready acceptance of the 9-4X probably stems from three things: (a) the loyalty shown by Saab owners around the world when the brand was on its last legs under GM—demonstrating that there was far more life in the brand than the general public was prepared to admit; (b) a company with its back to the wall that was more ready to embrace decent marketing operations; and (c) its readiness to speak to its audiences through web videos and other media, something that it did not do well when it was part of GM. Being free of the negativity of GM doesn’t do the brand any harm, either.