The 9-7x – Coming REAL soon.

It looks like the 9-7x will be on the road very shortly, with dealership sightings starting to spring up around the place.  And then there’s this from Edmunds:

Saab dealers have been taking deposits for the company’s first SUV, the 9-7X, a phenomenon that hasn’t happened to the Swedish brand "in decades," according to Jay Spenchian, Saab USA general manager.

The 9-7X goes on sale later this spring.

In an April speech titled "The State of Saab," Spenchian said 5,000 people have signed up for a pre-sell offer on the 9-7X that includes three years of free XM Radio and the OnStar communications system.

"Through our Web site and dealer channels, we already received twice as many hand-raisers as for our previously best ever in that regard, our Saab icon, the 9-3 convertible," he said, referring to potential customers who have indicated an interest in the new SUV.

Spenchian said Saab will expand the 9-3 lineup with a new body style called the SportCombi. The SportCombi is based on the 2004 Sport Hatch concept car. The GM brand will also introduce a new 250-horsepower turbocharged V6 power plant across the entire 9-3 family, Spenchian confirmed.

Plans are also in the works for a "thoroughly revised 9-5," he said.

Like the concept or loathe it, it IS a natural progression (albeit in an unnatural way) and hopefully it’ll also bring some much needed cred for Saab within the boardroom at GM.

As I mentioned before, there are some sightings starting to spring up, and TSN local Mike Lynch, a Saab sales guy confirms the demand from the coalface:

I’ve been witness to a lot of new car intros over the years and pre-interest for the 9-7X is very, very strong. There are only a finite number of people interested in a new Saab, but the number goes up exponentially when Saab enters the SUV class ’cause there are so many people interested in SUVs.

PS – I’d love a copy of Jay Spenchian’s "State of Saab speech if anyone can find it.  Jay, if you’re reading this, can you please email it to me?  Readers would love know.

PPS – When you Google ‘Jay Spenchian’, guess which site comes up first?  Yeah, baby!! 

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9 Comments

  1. Lets just hope it inspires GM to give Saab money to develop real models, as opposed to inspiring GM to think that name-badge engineering works for Saab.

  2. Absolutely. I see this one as a test vehicle. The bottom line is the GM have to make some money with Saab – it’s a little like putting the cart before the horse, but they’re a company and just like Friedman said (I think it was him – my 1st year Economics class is deserting me), their primary reponsibility is to make money for their shareholders. If this goes well, there could be more development funds in store.

    Put simple, what’s good for GM is good for Saab in the long run (he says tentatively)

  3. What Saab needs to start very seriously considering is bringing its diesel engines stateside come 2007.

    Then, Euro-style ultra-low sulfur diesel will be mandatory in the US, and Europe’s cleaner-burning diesels will work on our fuel.

    If Saab wants to remain “quirky” and make some money doing it, it could do worse than to bring a TDi 9-3 and 9-3 SportCombi stateside, and tout its upper 30s – 40s MPG numbers and ask drivers why they’d want to sacrifice driving fun for high mileage, when they can have both with the new Saab diesels.

  4. from “insideline beta”:

    “What this means to you: Business Week may be urging GM to dump Saab, but things seem to be cooking at the Swedish brand.”

    __

    so that’s where the “gm-is-selling-saab” rumor
    probably came from.

  5. Buff, couldn’t agree more. I’ve always wondered why there wasn’t more popularity for diesels in the US, but from what you say it sounds like a fuel compatibility issue to some extent. I’ve posted a new article today on a deisel expo recently held in DC – maybe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

  6. Over the weekend, Saab was doing a photo shoot for the SportCombi here in San Francisco. The vehicle – in silver – had the original, euro frosted tail lights, which will presumably be filled in red for American ad spots and brochures.

    It is a GORGEOUS car. It photographs well, but in person it is very sharp. The side wedge profile is accentuated beautifully.

  7. That’s really encouraging to hear, Erik. I think they’re going to sell a lot of these babies, and someone will finally click to the fact that as fine a sedan as the 9-3 SS is, they should have had a hatch/wagon variant right from the start.

  8. Ken!! Where you been?

    I have no mail about that, though from what Erik said above things may be afoot. There is one dealer I can try. He links to here so I might squeeze him a little for some quid pro quo.

    As you’ve probably seen at Saab Central, there’s a few display models floating around UK dealerships now, though it seems they’re not drivers.

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