50 Years at the NY Auto Show

RE-POSTED (originally appeared 19th March)

Saab celebrate their 50th year at the New York Auto Show next month (ahem, this week). The Aero-X will feature in New York this year, and it’s quite fitting as it was inspired by the Sonett, the first generation of which was shown at that inaugural Saab appearance in 1956. Below is a fantastic shot from that 1956 show. Click to enlarge….

56 Sonett at NY show 1000px.jpg

Following is the official press release from Saab….

New York, N.Y. — The 2006 Saab Aero X concept car, which made a stellar world premiere at the Geneva Auto Show last month, is scheduled to make its American debut at the New York International Auto Show media days, starting on April 12. The arrival of the Aero X in Manhattan coincides with the 50-year anniversary of Saab’s automotive activities in the United States, which started at the 1956 New York Show.

“The way the Aero X was welcomed by the world’s press and the public in Geneva has exceeded our most optimistic expectations”, said Jay Spenchian, Saab Automobile USA general manager. “There’s no better way to celebrate 50 years and over 500,000 Saabs in the United States, than by introducing the futuristic Aero X in the city where our American business originally took off.”


The press release continues after the jump, but before you get to that, here’s a quick 12-second clip of a Sonett unveiling at an unknown auto show, but likely around the same time. Fantastic stuff, originally from saabvideos.com and posted on Google. Thanks Ryan!!

The Saab Aero X concept harnesses the power of Saab’s aviation and Scandinavian roots to make a unique statement in performance car design. Conceived as a study to explore future design directions, its innovative features preview the development of an enhanced design language that will inspire future Saab products.

As one would expect from Saab, this dynamic two-seater sports coupe breaks with automotive design convention both outside and inside.

First, there are no doors…or windshield pillars. That’s because the Saab Aero X adopts a cockpit canopy, just as you would see on a jet aircraft. It offers the Aero X pilot full 180 degree vision, and also facilitates entry and exit from its low-slung cabin.

Thrust for the all-wheel-drive Saab Aero X also comes from a powerplant with a difference. The 400 bhp, twin-turbo, BioPower V6 engine is fueled entirely by ethanol, a sustainable energy source that is kinder to the environment by cutting fossil CO2 emissions. The ‘green power’ of this advanced engine gives new meaning to the phrase ‘performance with responsibility’.

Inside, the Saab Aero X’s cockpit also adds a new dimension to clean Scandinavian interior design by completely eliminating conventional dials and buttons. Instead, Saab has applied techniques derived from Swedish glass and precision instrument making, displaying data on glass-like acrylic ‘clear zones’ in graphic 3-D images.

All exterior and interior lighting is by LED (light-emitting diode), which has given the design team new freedom to exploit the compact packaging benefits of a technology that will be featured increasingly in future Saab products.

With weight-saving carbon fiber bodywork, a lightweight powertrain, electronically controlled suspension and all-wheel drive, the Saab Aero X is an exciting driver’s car that promises a level of performance to match its looks. Computer simulations anticipate zero to 60mph/100 kph in just 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph/250 kph (limited).

Despite being so tightly driver-focused, the Aero X still offers surprising practicality, again, a quality you would expect to find in all Saab designs. That dramatically sculpted tail conceals a useful twin storage facility, with a conventional hatch opening and sliding drawer underneath.

“This study shows how the strength of the Saab brand heritage can inspire bold, innovative design,” says Bryan Nesbitt, Executive Director, GM Design Europe. “As we move forward with new Saab products, we will remain focused on carefully cultivating this brand equity in the context of Scandinavian design values.”

“This concept shows the exciting possibilities that are open to us as we evolve a more progressive design language for the brand,” says Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile’s Managing Director. “Our designers, engineers and marketers in Sweden are ideally placed to nurture and communicate the unique DNA of the Saab brand. Their work will ensure that future product proposals express core qualities, such as progressive design, sporty performance and emotional functionality, in a way that is specific to Saab.”

The Saab Aero X is the latest in a series of concepts from Saab, each accentuating different brand qualities. These include the ‘four-dimensional’ 9X (IAA Frankfurt 2001), the 9-3X Cross-over Coupe (Detroit 2002) and the 9-3 Sport Hatch (IAA Frankfurt 2003).

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