Some real Crossover news

UPDATE: The Oakland Press has an article arguing that Saab may produce it’s new crossover vehicle, whatever it is, in the US. As the argument goes, they have this big plant in Michigan that needs some use, is set up for building seven-seat vehicles and building it there would be cheaper than the escalating costs of trans-Atlantic freight.

That seems to be a little bit of reverse logic to me. From what I’ve read, Saab engineers hold real safety concerns over seven-seat vehicles. Why design a car totally against a brand’s philosophy just to utilise excess capacity?

Another article, from The Car Connection, claims that a new Saab crossover could come from the Opel Antara concept platform (link to Jalopnik). I’d love to hear from you again, Mathias, about whether the vehicle that’s common knowledge around Trollhattan could be based on this.

opel-antarab-7709.jpg opel-antarac-6440.jpg opel-antarade-7715.jpg

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As opposed to the joke below, here’s some real Crossover news.

We’d received some indications in comments from a Trollhattan resident that there was another Saab crossover on the drawing board. This had been planned from several years ago and canned by GM. Mattias states:

Hopefully Saab will now be allowed to put into production the already finished 9-3sc based SUV that has been put on ice by GM a few years back……It’s a “wellknown secret” here in Trollhattan that there is a SUV based on the 9-3 sportcombi that was iced a some years back on the order from GM. It would have had Haldex 4wd. From what I’ve heard it was slightly more raised than an Audi Allroad but not as high as a Volvo X90 or BMW X5. From the beginning it was apparently planned for five cars in the 9-3 range, the sedan, the cab, the sportcombi, the suv and a coupé.

Well, in addition to Mattias’ insight, I have to say thanks to Jaap for providing this translation of a Dutch article appearing today in AutoTelegraaf. It provides some more news on what might actually be the same vehicle Mattias is referring to:

Saab will get a Crossover. The Swedish design department have worked for some time at this model, in which they have tried to make a car with Saab values from the beginning, so says an employee of the fabric to AutoTelegraaf.nl. The car, a cross between a hatchback, combi and an SUV, has been developed the last months, parallel with the Crossover based on the Subaru crossover (Tribeca). Saab will start sales late 2007, at the earliest.

“We will never join a running project again when developing a new Saab,” says the employee. The sevenperson Crossover based on the Subaru B9 Tribeca seemed to become a Subaru with a Saab badge. According to reports, it was very difficult to turn the car into a real Saab. “We mustn’t forget that we cannot fool our customers. The are highly educated and have high demands. They won’t accept a Saab that doesn’t reflect Saab values for the full 100%. For the new Crossover, we started with an empty piece of paper. That’s the only way we can make a real Saab, with the hockeystick shape of the rear windows and the ignition lock between the front seats. This Cross-over will be a real Saab.” It isn’t based on another model, however Saab will use components of her sister-companies. Furthermore will the by Saab developed techniques under the skin, be used by other makes in the GM-concern.

Limitations

Saab has got high expectations of this creation. “The Crossover based on the Subaru had it’s limitations. For example, in the original design, they hadn’t considered a diesel engine. In Europe the success of a car is set by the availability of diesel engines. The new type will be available with potent diesel engines from the start.” The car will be offered for sale all over the world. Where the production will be isn’t known. It is too early in the developement process to know that.

Needless to say it’ll be very interesting to watch this play out. Along with Mattias’s comments, this particular article is very encouraging. Let’s just hope there’s some substance to it.

UPDATE: Just saw this aswell, in an article on the possible sale of Saab (!) in MyWay Finance:

In an interview Wednesday from Sweden, Saab spokesman Jan-Willem Vester said the company is developing a premium crossover, smaller than the 9-6X and developed by a team within GM that’s developing a similar vehicle for other brands. He declined to provide a timetable for production of the new vehicle, but said Saab will sharpen its focus on developing products with its parent company.

About the sale of Saab, well, it’ll either happen or it won’t. They’ve been talking about it for years but it hasn’t happened yet. GM’s appeared committed to keeping it and in the absence of anything concrete that indicates otherwise, I think I’ll refrain from chasing my tail. The inbox is always open, however.

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4 Comments

  1. No offense to Mattias intended, but how could SAAB have had a crossover based on the 9-3 SportCombi shelved years ago when the SportCombi itself just finished its design phase and was released recently?

    I understand from other sources I’ve read on the web that there was indeed a SportCombi planned but not yet designed around the time of the SportSedan’s inception, but it couldn’t be designed because so much money was poured into the design and manufacture of the SportSedan that there was no money left over to design alternate body styles for the 9-3 until years later.

    Further, if this crossover Mattias speaks of would have had Haldex 4WD, doesn’t that mean that it couldn’t have been based on the 9-3, which is based on GM’s mid-size FWD-only Epsilon platform?

  2. Mathias will have to clear that up, but there’s a chance (I think) that the 9-3sc reference could perhaps be to either the Sporthatch concept or the 9-3x. Just a possibility.

    And as for fitting FWD. Well, I wouldn’t put anything past those Trolls. OK, Eps is not meant to take it, but every country has a different Eps going on, hence the global Eps II.

    I’m just thinking out loud.

  3. I think Mattias has gotten it all wrong… sorry to say. It is true that a Saab-model was shelved some years ago by GM, but that was the 9-3 SportCombi! It was developed and almost ready to go into production, but Saabs bad finances at the time meant that they just couldn’t afford to put the model into production and GM was not interested in pouring more money into Saab.

    There will never be a 4WD Saab, or any other brand for that matter, based on the current Epsilon-plattform as it is strictly for FWD cars. Attempts have been made to fit a 4WD system on the current 9-3, with some success, but the solutions used cannot be used in a production vehicle. The first true Saab with 4WD will be based on a different plattform than the ones currently used.

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