Saab 9-3 re-skin coming in 2007

It’s been a huge week for news here.

The biggest news of all is that Saab will unveil a MY2008 vehicle in Sweden in June 2007. The US debut will be in August 2007.

The new model will be a re-skinned Saab 9-3 featuring design cues from the Aero-X, cues that will later be evident in the 9-4x and 9-5.

Despite still being on the same Epsilon I platform as the current 9-3, sources indicate that the new reskinned 9-3 will have AWD as an option, which will enable higher engine specs and outputs. When customers were asking about AWD several years ago the reponse, presumably from GM, was that Epsilon was not engineered in such a way as to be AWD capable. Obviously this situation has changed or technology has emerged that accommodates the setup.

Parts for tool and panel pressing etc for the reskinned 9-3 have been ordered for delivery in Trollhattan in “Week 10” of 2007, with work beginning in “Week 12 or 13”. I assume that means a March commencement date.

It’s understood that the current 9-3 will not receive a Biopower setup, however I’d consider it quite likely that the new 9-3 will receive it as a standard setup for gasoline engines.

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Initial speculation at this site focused on a new 9-5 being the model to be unveiled, but several sources in different markets have now confirmed that the reskinned 9-3 will come before the 9-4x and 9-5.

It’s also interesting to note that amidst all the reports that have been coming in over the last few days, there is absolutely no mention whatsoever of a smaller Saab, the so-called 9-1. It seems that any plans for this vehicle have dropped right off the radar all together.

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14 Comments

  1. This is all good news and ones that give solid hope for a bright future. Every time that a new model is released sales/interest are up. But unless a solid marketing plan/promotion with a consistent advertising campaign is in place the rest of the world won’t know about all these new options. I got the latest Saab Magazine the other day and I am blown away by the amount of PR, publicity/promotions and general activity to lift the profile of the brand led by Praveen Batish. And he has met with the motoring press too. Since his arrival we have not seen any more negative and vitriolic write ups in the press as in the past. This guy is really lifting the game Down Under as in the glory years of the early-mid 80s. The current sales results are showing the effect of all these activity.

  2. I dont get it, a brand new 9-3 is due in 2008 but they need to reskin the existing car in 2007, whats the point? Seems like a waste of resources to me. I am guessing that said rumour could be incorrect and we may be looking at the introduction of a 9-4X.

    Any reskin of any Saab to resemble the Aero-X is a bad thing IMHO!

  3. Correct Brendan,

    It’s not a “new 9-3” as in new platform etc. It’s a remodelling of the existing 9-3 with some new mechanicals as well.

    Which means, Zippy, that the Epsilon II 9-3, the real “new 9-3” will be coming later than 2008.

  4. Hum… I hope the re-skining of the 9-3 results better than the facelift of the 9-5: the new SAAB design cues work (and ask for) different proportions…

    Anyway: here are my 2 cents: The AWD capability of the re-skined 9-3 has been mentioned before many times, and the impossibility of the epsilon platform to receive it as well…

    So: do you think that when they are talking about AWD, they are in fact (in a marketing manouver?) secretly talking about the hibrid system unveiled before, in which the electric engines powered the rear wheels?

  5. Tiago, the same thing had crossed my mind too.

    Though another (and perhaps more plausible) scenario is that when they said AWD couldn’t be fitted to Epsilon they were just bullshi**ing to divert the questions.

  6. Hi, Swade.

    It could be, but in that case it’s strange that other epsilon based cars aren’t alredy using AWD technology (like the Opel Vectra OPC, for instance).

    On the other hand, it’s true that in the 9-3 case, the platform was heavily reengineered, especialy in the rear axle section…

    About the re-skining of the 9-3, I can’t stop thinking about how the Saab 9-3 Sport-Hatch concept’s front (and the rest) looks so sharp, and feeling sad that SAAB alredy moved ahead of it…

  7. I was thinking of the same, Tiago !

    Given that the 9-3 is Saab’s best seller all over the world, they have a higher stake in its continued increasingly high (relatively speaking) sales volumes. I bet Saab has a few cards up its sleeves it hasn’t fully told the public about. One thing is for sure, Saab always manages to pleasantly surprise the world with its new and innovative products (barring the 9-2X and 9-7X being mediocrely received).

    OK it’s late here and I’m tired and coming down with a cold so ignore my bad grammar above.

  8. It could be that they see a desperate need to finish the new 9-5, since that one is the oldest model. Therefore they concentrate on it (and hopefully the new “9-1”), and push forward the date for the new 9-3 and give the current one a face lift. But…

    They also need “something else” now that 9-2X and 9-7X is gone. Going back to just two “outdated” models for MY08 is not what they want when it comes to marketing and brand image.

    So my guess is that there will be a 9-4X introduced next year, and it will probably be a heavy modified 9-3 with AWD to make an early entry into the cross-over segment. Don’t know if it will be introduced at the event that Swade has information about. I don’t think so. I think that event could se an face-lifted 9-3, and that a 9-4X is presented at some of the big car shows in the spring.

    Also, I remember the info in various newspaper articles from a couple of months ago about design. Didn’t Saab say that the new Aero-X inspired design would be introduced with the 9-4…?

    So, my bet is:

    A “new” 9-4X in the spring that start to sell later that year.

    A face lifted 9-3 available for MY08 the same way the face lifted 9-5 was introduced.

  9. A lot stuff going on!

    I also think that it is the 9-4x that is coming. But it will be based on the current 9-3. Also the the 9-3 will get a heavier remodelling so it can sell for a longer timeframe. Because after this i think all the power will be directed to the 9-5 so it can be quick out from Russelsheim.

  10. Well: I just caught an article by a magazine of the “Auto Bild” group, and it has a few confusing informations about SAAB. But there’s a reason why it caught my eye: I’ll tell you later.

    The article says that there will be a 2+2 coupé and roadster to compete with the Audi TT in 2008 -based on the Aero X design- with the engines mounted transversaly over the front axle and using the Theta II platform.

    It also states that this platform will be used by the next 9-3 -also to come out in 2008- which alows 2wd and 4wd.

    The coupé and the roadster will only have gasoline engines (2.0 170cv; V6 2.8 250cv 4wd). Besides the usual 6 speed manual transmission, a DSG with double clutch -just like VW’s- will be available, with manual-sequential and automatic modes.

    It goes on saying the GM developd 3 platforms for the next OPELs and SAABs… and the 9-4x will come in 2009, based on the Epsilon II platform.

    The new 9-2 is expected for the middle of the next year and (THIS IS WHAT MAKES IT ALL CRAZY) for 2007, as ANTHONY LO(the designer) CONFIRMED to the magazine, there will be the sucessor of the 9-5…

    Can you make any sense of this? :s I have to admit I can’t…

  11. Tiago,

    Sounds a little like these from Auto Express, AM&S and Teknikens

    http://www.trollhattansaab.net/archives/2006/08/about_those_95.html

    The info I’ve received this week though is direct from people involved with Saab, the majority of which I’ve dealt with before.

    Definitely no 9-1 in the plan at the moment and a refreshed 9-3 before we see the new 9-5. That’s what I’m hearing. This info was out of a dealer conference in the US and backed up by another one here in Oz.

  12. Re: the AWD issue, I know that SAAB were testing a 300bhp AWD 9-3 vehicle quite some time ago, it was virtually ready for production, but GM pulled it. Probably due to cost reasons, perhaps they weren’t happy that Saab were messing with Epsilon 1 again.

    But now it is a need rather than a want in todays market. The high performance exec sector vehicles need AWD or RWD to be deemed competitive, pity it has taken GM so long to see this.

    Holden seem to have more of a pull with GM than Saab at the moment. The 9-4X is a need, the 9-3 with AWD is also a need.

    I currently have the 9-3 V6 Aero convertible, and it is a lovely machine, that engine is just soooo much fun. The noise through tunnels sends a little tingle down my spine every time :). BUT, it sooooo desperately needs more traction, looking forward to AWD……..finally.

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