Edmunds on the 9-1

I’ve added a new category here at Trollhattan, starting today.

Up until now I’ve been reluctant to refer to Saab’s planned new compact car as the 9-1, preferring to refer to it as the 9-2 in deference to the car it’s being designed to replace, the 9-2x. I think there’s enough out there now, though, for me to join the crowd and start referring to it as the 9-1.

It’s been interesting reading reports about this car over the last week or so. There was an initial Reuters report that quoted this car as being developed to take on the Audi A3 and the BMW 3-series. This has been reproduced over and over in various services without an editorial eye being passed over it in any of them.

Since when have the A3 and the 3-series been competitors? And since when has the Opel Astra, the supposed platform-doning car for the 9-1, been regarded as being near the same size and class as the 3-series?

Fact is, the Reuters report at the source of all these stories most likely contained a typo that was missed by an editor somewhere, and it’s spread like ‘the blob’ ever since.

Thankfully, Edmunds picked it up and have mentioned only the A3 in their story about it:

Forget the rumors you’ve heard about a neo-Sonett.

Saab planners are focusing on a much more down-to-earth product: a compact sport hatchback aimed at the Audi A3 and known internally as the Saab 9-1.

The bottom line on this is pretty much the same as it always was – drivers can look to 2009 for this new entry level Saab and here’s hoping it’s an absolute killer. Bloggers can look forward to new spyshots, hopefully starting around August or September this year.

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  1. Maybe they meant it was meant to compete with the AUDI A3 and the BMW 1-series (not 3-series). I’ve seen the 1-series in Mexico (they don’t sell them in the States) and it’s pretty small. That would make sense too if the SAAB is to be called the “9-1”.

  2. That’s the right call, Gripen. I should have passed my own editorial eye over my own work and realised that I hadn’t expressly stated what the typo was.

    Too busy with the speck in their eyes to notice the plank in my own.

  3. Given the 1 series’ excessive price (and lack of practicality) Saab could definitely make some movement in this space. That said, there’s no lack of players in the premium compact market (VW Golf, Citroen C4, Audi A3, Astra VXR and very soon the Ford Focus XR5 which will probably set the performance standard) so hopefully Saab won’t undercook it.

    Personally I’d love to see an AWD Aero version with only 3 doors, though I’m not very optimistic at this time, especially given how RWD killed the space in the 1-series.

  4. 2009 could be a good year for me to buy my first new Saab, worthy of sharing space with my 99’s. If it has 3 doors even better, and I’m assuming a high output aero version. I think it will need to be AWD to cut it with the opposition and Saab needs a credible practical sporty to bait new buyers.

  5. There is a difference between size and segment. And segments differ between markets.

    Some might say that Volvo V50 is in the same segment as Audi A4 and BMW 3.
    But sizewise it’s the same as Golf, not the Passat.
    So there is no problem to make a “3-series” Saab on the Astra platform.

    It’s all in our head and in the marketing 🙂

  6. It doesn’t make sense if the car is too similar in size to the existing 9-3. That was one of the problems with the 9-2X. In terms of price its biggest competitor was the 9-3. Unless SaabUSA were offering rebates it was a no brainer to get a 9-3 instead of a 9-2 as the price was too similar. On the otherhand, I’m not sure how many people realize that one of the reasons why SaabUSA supported the 9-2 was that it drove traffic to the showroom that they would otherwise not get. Once in, you could sell them a 9-3…

  7. I think the new 9-1 will something like the new Volvo C30. 3-door, sporty, useful for hauling a golfbag or some shopping bags but focused on active driving and made for young urban people with no kids that want something more sexy than Audi A3, VW Golf or Opel Astra. I also think that the new 9-3 (and the new 9-5) will grow in size to make room for the 9-1.

    I think Volvo C30 will be a hit. The BMW 1 is a strange car. Small, over-priced, and not getting that good reviews. The Audi A3 is much bigger, even bigger than VW Golf. I think Volvo (and Saab) can take some sales from Audi since the A3 is not exactly a small sporty car, and the Audi TT is way to small and expensive for most people.

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