Saturday Snippets: The Lutz edition

Not too long ago, a whole bunch of you good people offered comments here on a post I called "Tell GM About It", which I printed and sent off to Detroit.  What have we heard so far? 

Zero.  Nada.  Nix.  Nothing.

They say change management, or even just effective management, has to come from the top-down. It’s a little hard to believe that Saab are an important part of GM’s future when Bob, the main product guy, hasn’t even paid us the courtesy of a thankyou letter for the effort and the time taken by all commenters.  And what’s more, in his latest "look how wonderful our products are" post at the Fastlane weblog, guess which member of GM’s Nortamericano product portfolio doesn’t get a mention……

Saab.

Bob, you gotta show us some love.  You keep saying we’re an important component in the GM global strategy, but you don’t show it.  I see you coming out to bat for every other make in the stable, but where’s your enthusiasm for Saab? 

We have the 9-7x that’s selling when it can be found at a dealership – you’re even starting to export them overseas.  We’ve got the apparently preordered-into-oblivion 9-3 SportCombi just released to an enthusiastic welcome.  We’ve got the 2.8l V6 engine coming out in the Aero 9-3.  So it’s not like there was nothing you could write about as a small addition to your post on Fastlane.

You gotta walk the walk, Bob.  People are watching. 

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On to other things…..if you ever visit Sweden and don’t undersand the locals, don’t worry about it.  Swedish is yet to be confirmed as the official language of Sweden, so it’s not like you’re asking them to do anything unpatriotic by asking them to converse in English. 

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Thanks to Jochen in comments, there’s this link to an article in Auto-Motor-Sport (in German) about the proposed sonett concept showing at Geneva in March.  Any of you German-speakers are welcome to leave a translation in comments, though it’s fairly short and I’d guess is just re-stating what we know already. 

Interestingly, they post this little picture with it, which to me looks like a Porsche 944 with 9x nose on the front.  Sonett with a retractable hardtop maybe???

Very interesting….. 

The latest Astra concept at Frankfurt earlier this year did include a retractble roof if I remember correctly, so this may not be so much of a stretch as it seems.
 

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10 Comments

  1. I see a lot of Sonett II in that sketch… look at the rear end, the way the rear window cuts in and how the fender arches bulge. That would be the greatest birthday present to see Saab bring that car to Geneva in March.

    Carl

  2. Hi, Swade.

    Even if german ain’t my mother language I’ll try to translate this Auto, Motor und Sport (AMS) article.

    “SAAB will participate with a two seat concept car at the March 06 Geneva Salon. The concept is meant as a sort of a tribute to the Sonett from the sixties.

    The showcar won’t be based on the RWD Kappa-plattform from GM (Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky, Opel GT) but on a special plattform with a V6 and front wheel drive.

    Productionplan for this two seater, which will be like a Coupé or Roadster, is not existing.
    If the public response will become positive the Sonett project might be built on a shortened plattform from the next generation Opel Vectra/Saab 9-3 series.”

    Well, Swade, AMS isn’t actually the most SAAB friendly magazine out there. I am frequently receiving the norwegian version of that magazine in my snail mail, and in their last issue they have a test of a VW Passat Wagon 1,9 TiD (140 HP) with automatic gear box (DSG), a BMW 320D Estate with manual gearbox (160+ HP), and finally a SAAB 9-3 Sport Combi with 1,9 TiD with 120 HP and a six speed manual gearbox.
    The magazine admits that it actually ain’t fair to compare the 120HP SAAB with the other two, stronger candidates, they should have had the 150 HP with automatic gearbox in the test, but they carry on as nothing happened. When I started reading that test it was obvious that AMS had made their decision for the VW Passat as a winner. The BMW came second and the SAAB third. I found AMS more or less laughing of the 9-3 Sport Combi with comments like: extremely lazy engine, noisy, very hard suspension with 17″ wheel on a little bit rough surface, too large steering wheel, not to good sport seats and medium driving capabilities to mention some. On a postive note they “praise” the SAAB for it’s practicality, braking capabilities (braking best of the three) and design. They also “laugh” about SAAB calling this for a Sport Wagon; AMS doesn’t find it sporty at all, rather a little bit old fashioned. In my point of view this test could not be taken seriously. A serious test should compare apples with apples, this test doesn’t do that. Ok, AMS has a short note in the end where they’re saying that 9-3 SC with one of the turbocharged petrol engines is a far better car than the tested 120 HP TiD. The VW won the test, BMW 320D second and SAAB as third.

    Other tests I have have read about the 9-3 SC here in Scandinavia have been more or less very positive indeed! Seems like people and journalists in general love the swedish newcomer.

    I don’t mind that the boring VW won this AMS test, but what’s bothering me is the lack of seriousness in this test. The cars should off course have been ‘equally’ configured.

    I hear the same comments from many of my friends and collegues with a car enthusiasm, so it ain’t only me who is critical to AMS’ way to perform their tests.

  3. The sketch does look OK, eh? I have no idea where they got this from, but Geneva’s sure going to be interesting if it’s even close to the real thing.

    Olav – nice to hear from you again. It’s been a while. Tests like that one annoy the daylights out of me too. I probably would have screwed up the magazine….

  4. IF its a real sketch, then it should have signature of known GM artist somewhere. Somehow I have feeling its mag’s impression or something, not the real deal.

  5. TuuSaR
    I’m sorry if I’m wrong about that. I guess we will have to wait for something official. Still I hope I’ll make it to Geneva to see the Sonett prototype in person 🙂

  6. Teddy, I mentioned (I think in Friday’s snippets) that I’d received several jpegs and links to jpegs that were people’s impressions of what the Sonett may look like. I received this picture around 2 weeks ago from the guy that did it.

    The reason I didn’t show it was that a) it’s everywhere around the web already, and b) those two bulges behind the seats in the roadster lead me to believe it’s a Kappa (Solstice) based illustration, which is not the way Saab are heading with this vehicle. I think it’s a great photoshop job and a lot of effort’s gone into it.

  7. Swade-sorry to hear about the lack of response from “tell GM” but I can’t say I’m surprised. I also have written, called, faxed, attempted email
    ….but if you write Saab Automobile AB SE-46180
    Trollhattan, Sweden there is a chance of a response or a nice form letter thanking you for your interest in Saab.

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