Trust my second home to provide a comprehensive overview of the 9-7x and of Saab’s history and future. Jeremy Cato has managed to write up one of the best reads on the 9-7x, and there’s been a few lately as you know.
Go read the article in full for yourselves. Jeremy doesn’t pull any punches about the company or about the 9-7x, but ends up with a pretty honest and upbeat assessment. Here’s an excerpt:
“Some 40 per cent of existing Saab customers have SUVs in their garages and 30 per cent of our owners have left Saab to buy a four-door SUV,” Spenchian says. “Our dealers have told us they need this vehicle. The initial reaction has been great.”
Not bad for what in all honesty is a stop-gap measure before the more serious barrage of new Saab models arrives. It starts this fall with the 9-3 Combi, a wagon-like version of the 9-3 sedan. There’s also an important refresh coming for the 9-5 in the autumn.
Next year, the 9-6X will debut. It’s a crossover utility vehicle (CUV) based on the 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca platform that Saab engineers are working on with their Subaru partners. And toward the end of this decade, Saab will very likely add a smaller CUV to the lineup, a vehicle Saab insiders are calling the 9-4X. And Saab is also expected to replace the current 9-2X with a new version more uniquely Saab, but still based on the Subaru Impreza chassis.
“This is a pretty important time for Saab,” says Spenchian, a marketing whiz who recently took the top North American job at Saab after running marketing at Cadillac during its remarkable turnaround these past few years. “Years from now, we’ll probably be looking at this as the turning point.”
Perhaps so. If that does prove to be the case, Saab’s about-face will have come none too soon under GM ownership. Keep in mind that GM purchased a 50-per-cent interest in the Saab car business in 1989 and acquired the other half in 2000. But during all that time, Saab hasn’t put a penny into GM’s coffers as it has struggled to survive as a tiny brand selling no more than 130,000 cars a year. That happened last year, Saab’s best in history.