Wednesday Snippets: the future-Saab edition

There’s been a bit of a rush of small-car news from other makers in the last few weeks, which prompted me to ponder how much attention Saab might be paying to the competition as it develops the upcoming 9-2 9-1.  Some of these baby cars are looking pretty good and as this is the sector that our next purchase will come from (for the Mrs), I’m quite interested in what Saab might be able to do in order to meet, and beat, the competition.

In no specific order:

Jalopnik are reporting that Ovlov are considering a hot version of its upcoming C30, with up to 180 or 190 kW.  That’s some serious horses, people.  I’d never consider an Ovlov for the garage, I’d probably not even lower my trousers to assist if I saw one on fire.  But for those that are V-inclined, a package like that is going to win some hearts.

V-Dub may be bringing this in as a new Scirocco, according to Eurocarblog.  Not totally sure if this is the same niche as the proposed 9-1, but it’s close, and looking good.  Expected arrival time: 2008.

This is an artist’s impression of the proposed Alfa 147 replacement, dubbed as the 149.  It traces its lines from the Alfa 8c Competizione concept car, which incidentally, is a concept no longer.  Alfa have put their cajones where their advertising budget used to be and decided that 500 Competiziones on the world’s more influential streets would be better advertising that a bunch of……..advertisements.

If only Saab would do the same with the Aero-X.

I’ve covered the latest 149 developments at Alfablogger.

I hope Saab are listening and watching.  The competition is looking OK.  Here’s hoping that the competition says the same thing about the 9-1 when it comes out to the public.

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Before the 9-1 takes it’s bow, we’re expecting the 9-4x SUV to be enveiled.  In news relevant to that particular future-Saab, the first pictures of the new Opel/Vauxhall Antara have been spotted over at Carscoop.

Here’s hoping the 9-4x is a little more inspiring than it’s stablemate, which I’m quite sure it will be.

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Of course, all future Saab development depends partly on the largesse of the corporate parent in Detroit.  The future of that corporate parent took a big step towards being realised, one way or the other, when bankruptcy hearings for parts supplier Delphi began this week.

There is virtually no chance that GM can keep running during a shutdown at Delphi; the former GM unit was spun off in 1999 but is still the automaker’s largest supplier. A 54-day strike at just one Delphi plant in 1998 shut down production at GM and caused a $2 billion reduction in earnings at GM and Delphi.

And most industry observers believe a prolonged shutdown at GM would cause losses severe enough to force GM into bankruptcy.

The industry observer quoted thereafter is your mate and mine, Mr Robert Farago.  No surprises there.  But there’s no doubt that a prolonged strike will cripple GM’s American operations and when GM sneezes, Saab’s a very good chance of catching a cold.

The article states that it’s going to be a fine line that’s walked by all involved if a strike is to be avoided.  All parties want the situation to work out, but whether or not they can all give what’s required in order for it to work out, is another thing all together. 

GM spokesman Jerry Dubrowski said it’s important to realize that there is no imminent threat of a strike, and that the GM is committed to helping the unions and Delphi reach an agreement without one.

"We all understand the stakes," he said. "We understand what would happen if there is a lengthy strike. It would not be good for General Motors, it would not be good for Delphi, and it would certainly not be good for the UAW, its members or retirees."

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7 Comments

  1. The small car segment isn’t as relevant here in North America as it is in other parts of the world, but I believe that Saab could benefit from such an addition here if for no other reason than for volume. I would wish for a premium small car just like that Volvo — 180 kw = 240 bhp (!) if my memory of the conversion is correct. VW has done a very good job of reaching for the premium small car with the new GTi — perhaps Saab could tune the Astra GTC?

    However, something’s been in the back of my mind since the introduction of the Saab 9-2x: I believe that a collaborative effort with Subaru to develop a new car a la the 9000 would result in something really special. Think about it: the 9-2x is a very good car, and there was precious little Saab design input. Imagine a replacement that combines the talent of both manufacturers from the beginning of development! Home run!!

  2. That “ovlov” C30 is one hot car, its a car I would definitey consider buying when it hits North America in late 2007. I adore Opel’s 2-door Astra but you cannot buy that in North America so no chance there. Not that keen on VWs – the attitude at their dealers is atrocious.

    I can only wait so long to replace my 5 yar old car – hello Saab get building that 9-1 QUICKLY!!!!

  3. I think we are rapidily approaching a time (in the US) when small, efficent cars wil be more valuable then large ones in the same way we now appreciate small devices like mobile phones, cameras and music players.

    I like the Volvo C30. I’d love the Alfa 147 from last year. I hope Saab can manage something suitable.

  4. In some ways I agree with eggsngrits. I confess that sitting amongst my semi-retired Saabs is an ’06 Subaru (a Forester in Aus). I’m quite impressed with the AWD drivetrain layout, particularly when conditions get slippery. Would love to see something equally as good or better in a new Saab model. Subaru and Saab have some historical similarities. But, the reality is that something from the GM stable will underpin the future 9-1.

  5. I know Opel has been testing a new Vectra to be released at the end of 2007/early 2008. The roadster has too many Opel styling cues to be a Saab. Looks like the Opel Tigra to me, IMHO!

    What I want to know why do Saab keep their designs hidden almost up until the car fisrt hits the dealer? A peek at a 2007 “facelifted” 9-3 would help me to decide on whether I should lease an 06 just in case they ‘uglify’the car like they did to the 9-5.

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