UPDATE: email sent to Saab USA reproduced at the end of this article.
First up, many have commented on the fact that this may be a photoshop picture. I’m quite sure it is. You may remember the 9-5 interior image that was leaked prior to the car being seen. It was quite crude and made this one look like a Rembrandt, but once we saw the official pictures there was no doubt that it was as accurate as it was crude.
The good thing about the 9-5 interior experience is that it looks much better when you see it in person than what it does in the photos. I’m taking this fact as a glimmer of hope that the interior we see in the 2007 9-3, in person, will be better that what I’m seeing in this image.
As it is, I’m pretty P’d off.
The current 9-3 interior is a fantastic environment IMHO. It’s an evolution of previous Saab interiors and it’s distinct from other manufacturers. Take away the central ignition and the badge on the wheel, and the only thing that suggests Saab to me in the photo above is the look of the door panels – and there’s nothing particular about them, it’s just that I’m familiar with them.
I’m fearing a real transition to blandness here. As a matter of fact, if I thought it would do any good whatsoever I’d start another Tell GM About It campaign and give everyone the chance to communicate their thoughts to the powers that be. Unfortunately the last TGAI campaign was met with a deafening silence and I’m not willing to bring you folks a false hope of being heard by starting another one.
The 9-3 interior needed just a few simple tweaks in a facelifted model. They could have just put a better quality audio system in, along with a better satnav system for those that want it. This is the last of the 9-3’s for Epsilon before switching up to Epsilon 2, so all they had to do was make the interior the best it could possibly be with the current infrastructure.
Instead, they’ve given us McSaab.
It’s not offensive and it’s probably quite functional. But that description would also apply perfectly to a Toyota Camry and it’s not what I expect from Saab.
I’ll be honest with you, if the future is more at this end of the scale rather than at the Aero-X end of the scale then my interests will be shifting elsewhere. I’ve got no time nor interest for a Scandinavian-flavoured Toyota. If there’s nothing to aspire to for the future then what’s the point?
Last night I went and picked up our 18 year old from work in my Viggen. As I sat there looking at the carbon fibre dash and it’s beautiful, functional layout, all I could think was “how the hell could they go from this to that?”
I’ll probably come around a little once I see it in the flesh. Right now it just stinks of someone thinking it’s OK to seek the lowest common denominator and apply it to a brand that was once revered for being so set on doing things right rather than doing things like everyone else did.
UPDATE: I’ve just sent the following off to Saab USA. I know the design stuff is done in Europe, but I lay this at the feet of Bob Lutz and Saab USA seemed to be the best conduit to (perhaps) get this through.
I’m not holding out a lot of hope for this, but can I suggest that you alert the powers that be (esp Lutz) to the overwhelmingly negative sentiment being expressed on the blog and at Saab Central over the leaked photo of the proposed 2007 9-3 interior.
This is pretty direct customer feedback and without actually counting comments at both sites I’d say the ratio is currently running at about 5:1 against. It’s not just old-timers like me either. The photo was posted in the 9-3SS forum on Saab Central. These are current 9-3SS owners – the ones that look to upgrade as new models come about.
I’d urge whoever’s in charge of decisions like these to resist dumbing down the interior of this car. Saab may have one of the most loyal customer bases out there, but I have a feeling that that base will erode steadily if the brand doesn’t remail loyal to itself.
Comments can be viewed at:
Trollhattan Saab: http://www.trollhattansaab.net/archives/2006/05/2007_93_interio.html#comments
Saab Central: http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=75911