Big thanks to SaabKen for dropping this one off in comments. I have many different RSS feeds that keep me on top of the news but none of them picked up on this one as reported in Popular Mechanics – a full 6 days ago!!
Most of the future talk has been about the 9-4x SUV coming first and then the new 9-2 in around 4 or 5 years time. As mentioned first in mid-November, it seems Saab are indeed intent on popping a big one at the Geneva Auto Show next March:
About halfway through his presentation, Jay showed us some sketches of a radical sports car concept that Saab will be unveiling at theGeneva Auto Show in 2006. Saab had a funky little sports car in the 1970s called the Sonnet. It was a pretty neat car. This concept hints that an all-new Sonnet might be in the works for 2008 or ’09. We can’t show you the sketches now, because they’re under embargo for a while. But take it from us–this is a seriously cool concept. The front doors and the cockpit glass are connected and tilt forward in one big unit. Sorta like the scissors doors on aLamborghini.
The proportions are very sporty with short overhangs and crisp styling. This Saab sports car concept will be the “big” news from GM at the Geneva show. And we think it’s under serious consideration for production.
It’ll be interesting to watch this develop. It wasn’t so long ago (November 11) that Jay Spenchian told Edmunds that a Saab roadster based on the Pontiac Solstice’s Kappa platform "was not in the plans".
That turned out to be a bit of a smoke-n-mirrors trick as Saab Europe’s Svante Kinelle came out on November 15 (internal link) and gave the first sniff of the Sonett’s scent. Perhaps it’s not going to be built on a Kappa platform (as Jay said to Edmunds) but it appears that it will happen somehow:
A sports car is being considered as part of the Swedish carmaker’s "diversification strategy to offer a wider range of models," said Svante Kinell, Saab’s European product marketing business manager for the 9-3 and 9-5.
Saab will show a front-wheel-drive, 250hp V-6-powered concept for the potential new model at the Geneva auto show in March.
"We will show an interesting concept in Geneva that will have the DNA of our Sonett sports car that we sold in the mid-’60s," Kinell told Automotive News Europe at the launch of the face-lifted 9-5 medium-premium car in Spain.
Whether the concept is built will depend on public reaction when the vehicle is shown at auto shows.
That somehow is called Delta, as in the platform underpinning the new Opel Astra OPC. As reported in Edmunds around the same time as the story above:
….insiders say Saab now expects to tap German sibling Opel for a front-wheel-drive platform — specifically, the sporting chassis that underpins the new Astra OPC coupe that was revealed earlier this year at the Geneva show.
The Saab sportster, which reportedly was developed by former design boss Michael Mauer before he left to head Porsche’s design department, will likely be unveiled next spring at the 2006 Geneva show.
The Saab two-seater may share Opel’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which makes 240 horsepower, or it may accommodate one of the Swedish firm’s turbocharged V6 engines. A six-speed manual gearbox will be standard.
In case you’re wondering, the significant news here is in the Popular Mechanics story at the top. The news was out last month that there could be a new Sonett conept at Geneva next year. What’s significant now is that Jay Spenchian, instead of answering our Tell GM About It comments, is going around with pictures and showing these to journos in the US. It’s game on.
It’ll be interesting to see if and when the other major automotive news sources decide to pick this up and put it to print. It’d be wierd that PM would be attending a press function with such a significant announcement being made and none of the others were there as well.
I’d guess that the others are perhaps waiting for the embargo to lift and they’ll run the story with pictures at that time.
If there’s any pictures floating around, my inbox is always open……