Thursday Snippets

There’s traffic flying all over the place. It’s been a crazy week, but starting to settle now.  Edmunds have reported that the Aero-X images we’ve seen this week are "incomplete renderings" as told to them by GM.

They also reported that it’s quite likely that there was nothing inadverdant about the inadverdant release (leak) of the pictures.  Which is an interesting note for them to finish on.  Especially in the light of what Bill Bartman’s written in comments:

As to the Aero-X’s mechanicals, I checked today with an acquaintance who has inside contact with SAAB Sweden (and Germany), and he said that 3.0 liter engine being mentioned for Aero-X is pure SAAB, i.e., not some GM retread. GM wants to kill the true SAAB engines like the 2.0 and 2.3 — in fact it’s said as much — and my contact said the use of biopower in the 2.3 and putting the 3.0 in the concept car is SAAB’s way of putting its continuing engine development in GM’s face. The relationship is an ever uncomfortable alliance, I’m told, and the contact said SAAB can be jerks about it. "They want GM’s money, but they don’t want GM’s interference," he laughed.

Without actually trying to be disrespectful towards GM, whose money has kept my favourite car company afloat, let me say I’m on the side of the Swedes.  Always will be.  If there really is some bad blood in all this, here’s hoping Saab can find a home where its innovation can be nurtured and grown.  And soon.  I still haven’t given up on Porsche (yes, call me stupid).


I do a fair bit of homework in preparing this stuff, but at the end of the day I’m just a guy with an opinion – just like you.  OK, I’ve invested a little in software so I can express it, but still it’s just my opinions and thoughts.  I therefore have a very healthy respect for all the comments posted here.

I just wanted to say that so I could say this….

If I hear another comment about the impracticality of the Aero-X because it doesn’t have a proper boot/trunk that opens at knee level (or whatever) then I think I’ll vomit all over my screen.  It’s a sports car, dammit.  The fact that it only has 2 seats should indicate that it’s not meant to be totally practical, it’s meant to be fun.  And it’s a concept (broken record alert).

The first mass produced Saab didn’t even have a boot/trunk lid.

I’ll reiterate: I do maintain a healthy respect for all opinions expressed.  I just don’t agree with all of them.



Porsche don’t have a company email address on the investor relations site.  More digging required.  I’d like to know what happened with regard to Section 5.1(2) of the agenda for their annual shareholders meeting back on January 27.

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  1. Okay, your comment was obviously directed at me since I’m the only one who dislikes the Aero-X and am the only one who’s criticized the trunk.

    The reason I’m criticizing the trunk is that SAAB can do so much better. With a slight modification they can make the back of the Aero-X more like a “real” SAAB and actually inject A LITTLE utility into the thing.

    From what I’ve read from Swade and others any criticism of SAAB is unwelcome. Well, if what you want is a bunch of gushing and “rah rah” you’re not going to get that from me. I just still don’t see the point of this thing or where the Aero-X fits in SAAB’s lineup. I keep being told that it’s just a design experiment, but why a sportscar? SAAB doesn’t specialize in sportscars, they specialize in safe, minimalist cars with great utility. Why didn’t they show us the new “design direction” in the form of a mockup of a next-gen 9-3 or 9-5?

  2. In regard to the Porsche thing, isn’t their acquisition of additional holdings in the VW/Audi Group (VAG) possibly the result of their request to seek futher interest in “other” brands? That’s just my take on the thing.

    (Some may call you a dreamer, but you’re not the only one. . . I’d love to Porsche team up with Saab too!)


  3. Gripen, We’ve exchanged emails and comments before, so you know I’m not down on you personally about this, it’s just that I don’t agree with your assessment of this car. Banning criticism is something practiced at other forums. Not here. You’ve posted several crits of the vehicle, please don’t get shirty if I address one of them. Besides, I thought I’d read some other comments regarding the lack of utility on other forums too, so it’s not just you.

    The point is, this is a sports car. pure and simple. Do Saab need a sports car? It’s just opinion, but I think if they can manufacture a model based on this concept, get the performance, handling, looks and price just right – then it’ll be of enormous benefit.

    a) the halo effect. Think Audi TT and what it started for Audi. They always had the ability to build what they do, what they got from the TT was the attention and the credibility. Again, think Mazda MX-5/Miata. Same thing.

    b) the market share. This isn’t a model aimed at the majority of current Saab owners with kids and load-lugging needs. Saab needs to expand market share. Not replace sales of one model with sales of another. Perhaps the biggest question about entering a segment like this would be whether there’s enough room for a Saab to enter it.

    c) diversity. They have sedans, they are working on a genuine Saab SUV and a smaller entry model. This is a concept for the other segment that’s left unexplored, yet remains a part of Saab’s history.

    Volvo were the safe, family choice for Swedes. Saab were the sporting choice. Developing a sporting model isn’t out of character or out of historical context.

    PG, the area of interest in the agenda refers to not only purchasing interests in other companies (i.e. Volkswagen) it also refers to being able to purchase an interest in companies in other countries, something that Porsche weren’t allowed to do previously (hence the amendment).

  4. An impractical concept car? Isn’t it somewhere in the definition of ‘concept car’ to be impractical! I love this Aero-X design. It’s just the thing Saab needs to do more of. Now where can I get a retrofit kit of that wild roof for my 9-5 Aero.

  5. I was disappointed when I saw the first picture, but after seeing the other ones I thought it looked OK. But, it’s still just OK. Designing a cool sports car is something every car company do all the time. It’s fun, it’s crowd pleasing, it’s an easy way to get the attention at a car show. But from Saab, I expect more. Much more. It’s easy to just “doing the wave” for everything that comes out of Trollhättan. We are starving for _something_, so I sometimes feel we are an easy crowd to please… 🙂

    What is this Aero-X? A sports car with a massive Biopowered engine and AWD. Biopower is old news now. It’s already here in other Saab cars, so what’s the big deal in having Biopower in a massive engine? It’s like going back to where you started. First, make i environmentally friendly. Then, make it really really big so it’s environmentally unfriendly. And AWD. Wow… Really old news. So old, it’s not even news any more. It’s kind of 80’s, isn’t it? What’s more? A strange way to open the doors.

    This is not what Saab should be. As a Saab fan, I expect much more of design, of clever things, of new technology. Stuff that has to do with core Saab values like:
    – safety
    – road handling
    – being very practical
    – safe and relaxing driver environment
    – small, fuel efficient and fun engines
    – having a nice and timeless design
    – just beeing a different family car

    That is why they have 10% market share in Sweden, despite only two models of which one is really old. And that is probably why the are selling so many cars in Great Britain. The market for sports cars is kinda crowded, and Saab doesn’t have _the_ reputation on that market. Looking again at the 9-3X and 9X concept cars, this Aero-X is not what I expect from Saab. And I don’t think it will do anything good for Saab. Nothing bad either, but not getting the attention and excitement they really need. And not the message the need in the current situation.

    What I want (it’s not over until the fat lady sings, right? 😉 from the Geneva show, is a clear message of what Saab is and what they will deliver in terms of the model line-up:
    – a sketch of the new 9-5
    – a sketch of the face-lifted 9-3
    – a new cross-over (a 9-4X) available within 2 years
    – a new smaller car (a 9-2) available within 1 years
    – clear news on development of hybrid

    If they have to badge-engineer a Opel Astra to get the 9-2? Fine, just get into that segment in Europe very soon. The 9-7X? It’ s OK, if it will sell and get the attention on the North American market. A new Sonett? Fine with me, as long as it is Saab and has Saab core value. But what the need now is more volume for normal buyers, not only a fancy looking sports car for a motor show….

    When it comes to a Porsche buy-out… I was against it before, but now… It makes more and more sense… They make the sports car, Saab the “normal” stuff.

    Just my 0.02 SKr… 🙂

  6. I don’t know what “shirty” is, but I definitely wasn’t being whatever it is! 😉

    I actually like the later pictures of the car and think that with some minor changes it’s a car even I would desire. I just don’t like the gimmicky top (which I’m assured would never make it to a production model anyway), the big intakes in the air dam in front, the grill, and I’d open up the trunk opening more and lower. I REALLY like the profile and the rear. I hope that these are the design cues the bridge over to future SAABs.

  7. “I hope that these are the design cues the bridge over to future SAABs.”

    That’s usually the purpose of concept cars, for an automaker to hint at future design directions while using the vehicle to do some “flaunting” at auto shows and stuff via the extravagant, exaggerated features of the concept. And to gauge public reactions so they can tweak their future options.

  8. SaabKen: I meant that I hoped that specifically the profile shape and rear end are the design elements that make it into the future SAAB lineup.

    And obviously in that statement I made that you quoted the second “the” should be a “that”. Sorry.

  9. Gripen, “shirty” is actually was I was being during my rant *blush*. We used to have a satirical children’s character here called “Shirty, the slightly aggressive bear” that used to smash the set of the show etc. the term isn’t based on him, but it’s Aussie slang (I guess) for upset.

    Now, back to the car business….

  10. Hey Gripen,

    I totally knew what you meant and I don’t disagree at all. Actually the fastback/hatchback wedge design of 99, C900, 9000, NG900, OG9-3 is my absolute favorite of all Saab features. That and a strong angular face with trapezoidal grille and sloping headlights !!

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