PA system: “Jay Spenchian, please report to the Fastlane weblog immediately. Bring a sharing attitude.”
Again, Fastlane continues to disappoint with a lack of Saab content. Saturn get a run in today’s post and I’d be so chuffed if Jay could get some thoughts tapped out on the keyboard. With the Frankfurt Motor Show just around the corner, I’m sure there’s plenty he could be writing about.
With Frankfurt coming up, it really is an exciting time for Saab enthusiasts. We have some great cars already in the stable and from what I can glean, there’s some fantastic ideas and models in various stages of their evolution.
Saab was in pretty much the same position (minus the 9-2x and 9-7x) around 4 or 5 years ago. Back then the 9-5 was fresh and fantastic, the 9-3 Sport Sedan was on its way, the 9x concept vehicle had filled everyone with visions of hope and progress, and there were plans on the table for all sorts of future models, enough to have you salivating in your cereal.
Then the plug got pulled. Big time. Cost cutting, lack of investment, latent design. Michael Mauer could smell what they were shovelling and took off for Porsche (better company vehicle, I guess). All of the above contributed to the fact that Saab are now around 5 years or so behind the curve and playing catchup to a market that didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for stragglers.
The main case in point (and reason for the headline of this post) is Audi.
Where Saab stalled, Audi developed. They released the one model so desired by all companies – the halo vehicle. For Audi it was the TT and this car opened a great many doors. It captured the imaginations of what have now become, I’m sure, the often-sought ‘conquest’ customers.
What’s followed has been a slew of well received sedans and wagons and an increasingly high profile, right up to and including direct comparisons with the acknowledged industry leader, BMW.
I’ve received the slightest hint, and I’m really hoping, that Saab will also have a pre-production 9-6x concept to unveil at the same show. Like I said, Saab are currently around 5 years behind the curve from where they could have been, had the ball not been dropped at the turn of the century. Audi seem to have kept composure and are now building, year by year, on a reputation forming around performance and quality.
There, but for the goofiness of ???, goes Saab.