Thursday Quick Snippets

Mercedes, Audi, BMW and VW will be bringing it.

GM (i.e. Saab), Ford and Toyota won’t.

It seems the big Europeans have their head around diesel technology well enough to bring it to the US for all 50 states in the near future whereas the supposed big three have been too busy doing other things.

This post extends from an Autoblog story confirming that Ford won’t be bringing any diesel into the US market any time soon. One could use it to salve the wound over Saab missing out on this due to GM dropping the ball, but at the end of the day you have to acknowledge that the had plenty of time to plan for this and the simple fact is that they’re going to miss out on an important, growing market sector.

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GM are hunting down Proton, the little Malaysian carmaker with a gem in it’s vault.

Proton own Lotus, and one could only imagine how much better a Saab 9-1 could be with some Lotus tuned suspension.

Apparently the Malaysian government (Proton’s owners) are more partial to VW or Peugeot/Citroen buying it, but GM’s sheer size may give them an inside running (though it’s fair to say VW ain’t no mere mouse in the marketplace either).

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The European Union has set out a new energy policy and hopes to produce some binding targets for member states. One such target is getting 10% of all vehicle fuel to be a ‘biofuel’.

Saab have a good head start as they’re one of the first out of the gate with BioPower. I don’t think it’d be too hard for other companies to get E85 compliant though, so I guess the challenge for Saab is to leverage their head start and get themselves known in the market as the E85 car company of choice.

That’s going to mean a BioPower 9-3 and HEAPS of marketing dollars.

They should do the same thing with turbocharging IMHO. I think every Saab ad should have a reference to turbocharging somewhere, but that’s just me.

Thanks Jim

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I’m not quite sure what to make of this, but my first impression is “Noooooooooooooo”

It’s for sale in Sweden and from what I can gather (the ad’s in Swedish) it’s a 1980 Saab 99 with a ’72 or earlier front end grafted on, with 9-3 Aero wheels, Recaro seats and a T16 engine shoehorned in.

It’s quite obvious from the photo that there’s been a heck of a lot of work go into this, but something just doesn’t seem right about that combination to me.

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Thanks Tom

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10 Comments

  1. That 99 is unholy. Oddly, it’s the color and the wheels that bother me most. I imagine that there are several T16 99’s running around given that it should be an easy retrofit.

    Why do the Malay prefer Peugot/Citroen or VW? Isn’t GM’s money good enough?

  2. The chief chassis designer of Lotus in the mid 1980s actually said that the Saab 900 was the car with the best overall handling of any car so GM buying Proton would be a huge waste of money as the talent has been there all the time. The only problem I can see is Scandinavians no longer design Saabs – and it shows!

  3. The price on the 99 T16 translates, if I’m right, to about US$3100. Which I’d buy in a heartbeat if it were over here.

    My first Saab was a green 99.

  4. As exciting as the idea of a SAAB with Lotus-tuned suspension (I understand the Isuzu w/ suspension by Lotus handled excellently!) is, I would hope this would be how a GM-owned Lotus relationship would work.

    I also thought a SAAB with a boxer engine and AWD technology from Subaru would be a can’t miss proposition, but somehow it got screwed up.

    Would we have to deal with a SAAB-badged Lotus Elise or Exige? Oh wait, that wouldn’t be that bad actually! Though I’d rather see a SAAB-badged Tesla Roadster! Just make sure not to forget the SAHR!!! 🙂

  5. Lotus’s Elise/Exige are pretty glorious. I might go for an Elise over a brand-new 9-3 convertible… Tesla would be nice too :). Tesla/Lotus/Saab would be godly.

  6. Lotus do chassis work for lots of customers in secret so they could well have tuned SAABs before. They have worked with GM many times over the years -the Lotus Carlton springs to mind

  7. I know this is a little old of a string, but I just had this epiphany this morning leaving class….

    2010 may see an amalgamation of GM, Saab, Lotus, Haldex and Hirsch in the form of the 9-3/9-5 Griffin.. GM reliability base engine (V-6), Saab turbo/aerodynamics/safety intuitiveness, Lotus weight reduction/suspension, and Haldex and Hirsch to plant the power… Look out M3/M5 and S4!!

    Maybe I should sleep so much during college lectures 😛

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