Niwrad Theory

That’s ‘Darwin’ theory reversed……

I’ve latched onto a thread commenced by Edusaab over at SaabCentral. Eduard is a passionate Saab fan from Spain and always makes his arguments with plenty of feeling. His point here, and I think it’s one that’s well worth making, is that the commonality between GM interiors is an unwelcome trend as far as Saab is concerned.

Distinctiveness has always been a hallmark of the Saab brand. The sharing of highly visible componentry between brands is more of a devolution than an evolution, hence the headline.

Let’s see some examples, shall we?

Here’s the Cadillac BLS interior:
caddy interior.jpg

Now, the interior of the recently released 9-3 SportCombi
interiorsml.jpg

Finally, the interior that will apparently grace the new Saab 9-5 (sorry about the small size).
interiorUK.jpg

What’s interesting to see is that the 9-5 appears to have the same steering wheel as the 9-3 and the same controls for ACC and audio as the Cadillac. There’s similar entertainment units available on the Buick Lucerne, Saturn Aura concept and the Pontiac Solstice (pictures here).

Call it snobbery if you like, but I cannot see how this helps the Saab brand.

What’s more, the controls look out of place in the Saab cockpit. That steering wheel might suit the sportier 9-3, but lacks the refinement I’d have wanted in a 9-5. Go take a look again at the 9-5 interior shot, above. It’s a real concern to me that the interior lacks a certain amount of symmetry within the design. The Nav panel, for instance, is way off-centre compared with the instruments around it. The grey panel it sits on bears little or no relationship, size-wise, to the air vents above it or the ACC controls below it. In short, it looks like it was put together by a 5th grade meccano class.

Have a look at the 9-3 interior above it. See how the Nav Panel and buttons relate to the other elements of the dashboard around them. Everything appears to be in proportion and balanced. Even the Caddy features a distinct centre section with balanced positioning of the various controls. The same can’t be said for the current picture of the 9-5.

Whilst there’s been much more acceptance of the exterior shots, a few people have commented on various pictures saying “oh well, it’s only for a few years”. I fear that I have to feel the same way about the interior if this photo is accurate.

I don’t mind some parts sharing with upper-eschelon models, and I don’t necessarily thing that the generic dashboard components are unattractive. My problem is that Saab’s DNA is rooted in a distinct order where form follows function and both are centred around the needs of the driver – not exclusively around the needs of a bean-counter that got a bulk deal from Radios-R-Us.

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7 Comments

  1. I think it’s safe to say the components the 9-5 and the BLS share (AC controls, radio) were designed for the BLS and trans-planted into the 9-5.

    I think this is what you’re getting at, but hey — let me restate it.

    While the BLS interior isn’t as nice as the 9-3s, everything looks in place — whereas the same components in the 9-5 look decidedly out of place.

    The next big questions are the instrument cluster and the SID.

    Will the new 9-5 have a 9-3 like cluster, or will it be BLS gauges backlit in green? What about the loss of the SID? It looks like messages will be able to be displayed in the speedometer, but that defeats the whole purpose of the SID doesn’t it.

    Some of this is probably being done to reduce assembly complexity — since the BLS will be built in Sweden I believe. What’s going to happen in 2008 when ALL Epsilon cars move to Germany? Are they all suddenly going to become the same car? I sure hope not.

  2. I would say that the BLS interior pic is a fake, I’ve seen the concept interior of the BLS and also 2 other cadilack models that perhaps is going to be produced at the saab plant in Trollhättan and these cars interior doesn’t look anything like the one in the picture…

    Look at the logo and the stereo, they look tamperd with, the pixels are wrong. When looking closely at the pixels of the steeringwheel it looks like someone pasted it onto the pic…

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