UPDATE at the end of this post.
There’s been a fair bit of news coming in over the last 36 hours or so. If you’re on the front page of the blog right now (as opposed to coming via a link or a search engine) then scroll down to read it all. Some of it is accompanied with reliable timeframes and some of it isn’t.
I thought it might be beneficial to dig into the archives, apply some new information and then try to sort it all out.
This much we can establish as fact: Saab will launch a MY2008 vehicle at the Saab Festival in Trollhattan, Sweden, in June 2007. The US debut for this product will be at the Saab Owners Convention in Michigan in August 2007.
The US-debut information came in the form of a press release from Saab USA in my inbox this morning. The follow-up information about the Swedish debut was a response to a question I asked about it all.
So that’s solid.
The remaining question is: Which vehicle will be making it’s debut at this time?
There’s three options on the table.
1) A new 9-5
2) The 9-4x
3) A reskinned and updated 9-3
So let’s look at each in turn…
A new 9-5
The Saab 9-5 was updated late in 2005. This re-skin hasn’t met with a wave on enthusiasm and the model is basically being propped up by Biopower sales in Sweden.
Saab know this and there has been recent talk of bringing the new model forward and even making it at the Trollhattan plant as GM’s Russelsheim plant wouldn’t be ready to handle the new model in time. Auto Motor and Sport and Auto Express both wrote articles earlier this year claiming a 2008 debut for the next 9-5.
The problem: We’re talking about the debut of a market-ready car here, a debut in mid 2007, just 8 months or so from now. It’s hard to believe that development on the next 9-5 could be so far along already.
The next 9-5 was scheduled for 2009 or 2010. Bringing it forward may mean late 2008 as a definite 2009 model, but a new 9-5 in 2007 maybe a little too optomistic.
The latest info we’ve had on the 9-4x indicated a debut in 2008 as a 2009 model. This was touted as being highly reliable information and based on further correspondence with the source I’m inclined to believe it.
The 9-4X will be on sale in the spring of 2008 as a 2009. Around march or april of 2008. This comes from an extremely reliable source. Some specs are as follows: the 2 engines – the 2.8v6 250hp and a new 300 hp turbo. The vehicle will be produced in Mexico for all markets.
Further, I’m also inclined to think that Saab will debut the 9-4x in the United States. I’ve heard nothing to suggest this, it’s just my own thinking. The 9-4x is squarely aimed at the US market, is reported to be produced in Mexico and let’s face it, GM wouldn’t mind establishing a little ownership in it’s own backyard.
A re-skinned 9-3
The 9-3 range has gone almost unchanged since it’s debut in MY2003, save for the addition of the SportCombi. It could well be time for a re-skin of Saab’s best-seller. Rumours on the iSaab forum, reported here yesterday indicated that this could be on the way.
– The 9-3 will get a face-lift and a crossover based on the 9-3!…… The aero-version will get 4 wheeldrive maybe other engine-options also will get it…
I also received this in comments earlier this year:
i have seen the facelift of the 9-3 due next year, the real facelift is very very beautifull, this photograph is horrible
…..about which I enquired further and received this reply:
I have seen the photograph in the factory in sweden. Its far more sportier en better looking then the current 9-3. it will come out in september 2007. I’ve seen it last year in November (i.e.2005), so its a little difficult to say how it looks like but they have done a great job with it.
Further to all this, I received the following in my inbox just today, from a Djup Strupe I’ve heard from previously. It’s totally contradictory to the 9-5 information above (and quite sadly so), but gives a fair bit of detail about a reskinned 9-3:
….someone had mentioned about a Special Edition 9-5 [and] they are correct, that will be later in the ’07 calendar year. However as it relates to 2008…..all we have to look forward to is the revised 9-3 front and back design and the late intro of AWD.
The worst news is for the 9-4X and 9-5 which have both been pushed back an entire year individually. Calendar year 09 for 9-4X and a year later for the new 9-5.
…..the info we were told today on a nice big power point chart sadly confims the truth (at least for now). And as both you and me know Saab usually does not bring out a new model on time anyway. Mr. S stated due to significant styling changes to the 9-5 as the main reason for the delay…… He was adamant about the info on the 9-3 combi in regards to the AWD. And we will have the 9-3 AWD before any new 9-5.
And to mention the restyle on the 9-3 is sweet. Aero X front end (smaller grill however) but lights and tailight treatment about 95% the same. The feeling is that hopefully there will be enough excitement with the design ethos of the 9-3 that when the 9-5 and 9-4x hit it will be a more cohesive “family look” – but at a more aggressive version than on the 9-3.
This raises the very important and as-yet unresolved issue of AWD on the 9-3 range. Both the iSaab comment and this story are both mentioning AWD for the 9-3, which was supposed to be incapable of AWD on it’s current platform. I’m awaiting some more information as to what this setup might entail.
I’ll throw this photo up again just for interest’s sake. Let me say in bold, capital letters: THIS IMAGE IS NOT REAL. IT’S A PHOTOSHOP IMAGE FROM A REGULAR COMMENTER HERE ON THIS SITE NAMED WOODZ. It’s just an interpretation – OK? WooDz’s idea of what a 9-3 might look like with some Aero-X front end mixed in.
The news above is pretty sad for any hopeful 9-5 buyers, but I have to add that it’s unconfirmed information at this point. This particular Djup Strupe has understandably used a pseudonym and a non-corporate email address. As there’s no photos I’m therefore unable to trace the validity of the information, but….
….the timing ties in with some other information I received and previous email correspondence with this person has been just as interesting and seemingly reliable.
If there’s one model I feel like we can reliably rule out, it’s the 9-4x. I think the timing of early 2008 is quite probable, as is an American launch.
The 9-5 is the one I want this launch to be, but I just don’t think the development phase has been long enough, especially for a flagship model that just has to be right. And wouldn’t a model of its importance debut at a big international motor show rather than a Saab-centric festival?
Therefore, my money is on a 9-3 re-skin. It’s significant enough to make an impression. It’s Saab’s sales leader and the various Festivals next year will be suitable occasions for its debut, followed by an appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September or thereabouts.
That’s the analysis from my perspective. Your thoughts, as always, are welcome in comments.
The 9-3 re-skin it is. Tools for pressing the bodyparts will arrive in March 2007 and production of these parts will commence 2-4 weeks later.
Bring it on!!