Jan-Ake in Troy

Saab had big plans several yours ago with a slew of new models in development when the financial plug was pulled by the powers that be. From today’s story in the Detroit News you could imply that the finances are well and truly taken car of now and it’s all systems go for the future…..

Saab plans to expand its lineup by at least two more models, double its U.S. sales by decade’s end and raise awareness of the brand through advertising, top Saab officials said Thursday.

The aggressive strategy comes as GM takes a more active role in growing its long-neglected European luxury brand and tries to increase its presence in new vehicle categories and foreign markets amid slumping sales in North America.

“I have never ever seen so much enthusiasm and commitment from GM to make us successful,” said Jan-Ake Jonsson, managing director of Swedish-based Saab Automobile AB, who spoke at a Troy Saab dealership about the brand’s expansion plans.

For those of you still wondering about any rumours of a sale of Saab to Ranualt/Nissan, i’d say we can put that idea to bed right about now…..

Although GM is in the throes of a turnaround, Saab officials said the brand will be a priority and that none of its future vehicle programs will be in jeopardy as the automaker sheds costs.

Those future vehicle programs mentioned include an entry level SUV (shall we call it 9-4x?) and a seven-seat SUV (will it replace or accompany the 9-7x?) as well as a possible replacement model for the 9-2x after it says sayoonara in 2007.

I really hope they do a new 9-2 model as the various things that were rumoured about it seemed to echo various parts of Saab’s history. I’d love to see the model range expand, of course, but I’d hate to see it expand with SUV’s only. Some further development in the sedan and hatch areas would be welcome too (IMHO).

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4 Comments

  1. As the song goes:

    “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
    I can see all obstacles in my way
    Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
    It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
    Sun-Shiny day.
    It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
    Sun-Shiny day.”

    😀

  2. Agree with you, Swade. Can’t understand the fascination for SUVs. If it’s what it’s take to sell cars in US, then ok. Make one SUV that sell with saftey and bio-fuel, and that competes with Volvo, BMW, Lexus and Audi. But I rather see a smaller cross-over (9-4X?) with more sport in it. And I want a small sportscar (Sonett) that is just about saftey, sport and fun. An entry-level car for younger people that they can afford. Something like tha 9-X. Mmm…

  3. What I would like to see next year is a new product from Saab in September 2006
    It has to seat 5 what ever it is, and has to start with a sub £20,000(GBP) price tag. I say this because I have a suspicion that the 9-3 will be face-lifted next year.
    I work in a very unique retail environment and if the 9-3 gets a new face next year I need a new car to put my current customers into.
    A 9-4x for example built from the current 9-3 Epsilon platform with a start price of say £18,995 would carry many strengths.

    1. Retain Current 9-3 Owners if they would like a new car, but won’t buy a model that will be face-lifted in a few months.
    2. Offer the opportunity for Company car owners to change there 9-3SS/SC into a new vehicle with a better residual value
    3. Most importantly, If Saab were to offer a cash incentive for people to trade in their BMW X3 and 3 Series alike into this new Car. They will tap into a new type of customer who may stay with the brand for years to come.

    All three of these points carry a positive effect and without getting too carried away,
    I believe could return 20,000 units in Europe alone. Unfortunately it is fair to say we will not see a production car until 2007. This will not be a problem to me if the 9-3 is left alone for a further 12 months.
    My problems aside though and the time for a new product is now!

    But Just to get the imagination going.
    We should be getting ready for the 9-6x now, so we need a replacement fast.
    Given the right funding and a concept debut at the Geneva motor show?
    I wonder if it is possible to turn the 9-3SC into a 9-4x within 9 months?

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