Two pieces of BioPower news have come my way, pertaining to both the 9-3 and 9-5.
9-3 BioPower to debut at Geneva
ctm has forwarded a story that appeared in Expressen, a Swedish newspaper, regarding a showing of the 9-3 BioPower range a few days prior to the Geneva Motor Show, which starts next month.
Now, I must preface this by saying that the latest word coming through to me prior to this is that the 9-3 BioPower would be placed on hold for some time. With a mid-cycle enhancement coming up the 9-3 is going to be quite popular anyway. BioPower sales are the main thing propping up 9-5 sales in Sweden so you could imagine them tanking quicker than the 2007 Boston Celtics if a 9-3 variant comes online.
That said, the article states:
Saab has invited a small number of journalists to a test drive of the new Saab 9-3 BioPower. The test drive will take place Sunday, 4 of March, two days before the world premiere at the Geneva Auto Show.
According to Expressen’s sources, Saab will premiere the 9-3 with 1.8t and 2.0t ethanol engines.
Saab will also invite the small group of journalists to the Saab Salomon Design Center in Annecy, where they will show another ethanol project. Most likely, it’s a new engine for pure ethanol – so called E100.
Up until now, only the 9-5 has been available with ethanol engines, but with the new 9-3 Saab will compete directly with Ford Focus and Volvo V50 FlexiFuel.
So I guess we wait for Geneva with some interest…..
The 9-3 will feature the 1.8 and 2.0 variants, so with the 9-5 featuring the 2.3 exclusively, I gather this will help it to retain its market for those looking for a bit more oomph.
9-5 range to go all BioPower?
A few weeks ago I attended the Australian ‘launch’ of BioPower in Brisbane.
During the question session, I asked Saab Oz Director, Parveen Batish, why they weren’t just going to bite the bullet and sell all 9-5s in Australia as BioPower models. The current line is that if enough people are interested, they may be able to order a BioPower 9-5 later in the year for a $1,500 premium on the price of a regular 9-5. The justification was that it was a user-choice issue.
My question was based on the theory that the conversion to BioPower involves a minimal cost, and if they truly wanted to end the chicken-and-egg argument here (you can’t get E85 here yet), making all the cars BioPower models was the best way to show some industry leadership.
News coming in to me today indicates that the should-we-or-shouldn’t-we question may be taken out of their hands.
With the potential for a BioPower 9-3 line, a new diesel and all the other engines they’re dealing with in Sweden, news is in that the entire 9-5 model range may feature BioPower as standard from later this year.
IMHO, this is a great idea. Personally, I’d love to see Saab be able to claim an all-Turbocharged lineup and where non-diesels are concerned, an all-BioPower lineup too. As noted above though, I’m uncertain whether the 9-5 in its current form could sustain this.