Big Saab article in Dagens Industri

With the Geneva Motor Show opening, Saab is in the news with its BioPower vehicles and the news of a 2.9l diesel being developed by GM for the European market.

A week or so ago I mentioned a news tip I’d received about a new 9-5 in MY2009. Dagens Industri has a news article that gives us a little more information on this:

Thanks to CTM for the translation:

Saab Automobile is about to expand it’s model range in a huge way – starting off next year. General Motors will spend some 2 billion USD on new models the next 3-4 years – even though the company has lost some 3.5 billion USD already on Saab. This according to Jan-Åke Jonsson, CEO of Saab Automobile.

– “But one shall remember that we are now using platform that exists inside the GM-family. The money we are spending now is only to make the new models truly Saab.”

It therefore seems that Saab has a rather generous budget for the new models, and great opportunities to finally develop cars that can compete in the premium segment.

– “GM has understood that it takes models of all sizes to be able to stay in the game,” says Jan-Åke Jonsson.

This is what the expanded model range will look like.

Next autumn, or possible in 2009, there will be an all new 9-5. It will share technology with the coming Opel Vectra and Saab 9-3 (Epsilon II), and will be built in Rüsselsheim in Germany.

After that a cross-over, with a possible name of 9-4X. It will share platform with a Cadillac, and it will be built in Mexico but sold worldwide. With the current exchange rate of the dollar, this can have a very positive result for Saab. Expected sale are 30.000-40.000 vehicles a year.

Sometime in 2010, the new 9-3 will arrive. It will also be based on Epsilon II, which means it will be built in Rüsselsheim in Germany.

The smaller model 9-1 is after that, when the production of the 9-3 has moved from Trollhättan. The model share technology with the coming Opel Astra. The final decision has not yet been taken, but Saab are already testing prototypes of it in Trollhättan. Jan-Åke Jonsson seems sure that the car, if produced, will be built in Trollhättan.

– “We are projecting a sale of 40.000 vehicles of every year during it’s life cycle. That’s enough to make it profitable. But in using the Astra platform, we get a huge possibility to build other Opel models in Trollhättan. Today, Opel has a capacity of 800.000 vehicles in Europe, but the trend is towards more and more models and that’s were Trollhättan comes in to play. The biggest plants do not have that kind of flexibility.”

The old target of 250.000 vehicles for Saab is something Jan-Åke Jonsson has moved away from. – “We are happy if we can reach 175.000-200.000.”

Tomorrow, at the Geneva Auto Show, Saab will show the 9-5 concept that can be used with pure ethanol, E100. The engine is only a 2 liter, but has a massive 300 bhp.

– “It’s nothing we are planing to produce producing, but it shows what kind of effect we can deliver. In the future, we may end up with engines of about 1.4 to 1.6 liter but with effects of about 150-170 bhp,” says Kjell AC Bergström, CEO of Saab Powertrain. [I think they mean GM Powertrain]

Saab will also show the 9-3 1.8t BioPower with an ethanol engine at 175 bhp. The model can already be ordered in Sweden with prices starting at 236.000 SEK.

Later this year, the 9-3 will get a facelift and an optional AWD.

Great news all round, especially for aspiring 9-5 owners.

Tom – great stuff!!

————–

UPDATE for comment….

As mentioned earlier, we managed to break the 9-5 story a week or so ago right here and hinted that there may be something coming in the Swedish press about it. I’m pleased to see that that’s come to pass.

A new 9-5 built with the modern premium sector in mind is going to be something quite special, I’m sure.

I’d fully expect it to use the new 2,9 V6 diesel that GM are showing off at Geneva, too. This engine produces around 250hp and 550Nm of torque and is slated for the European market around the time the 9-5 is due. Seems like a fait accompli to me.

I’ve also just received some notice via email that we can expect to see a preview of the small engines that were mentioned in this article in th next 12-18 months. The engines are quite possibly HCCI engines of 1.4 or 1.6 litres, turbocharged by Saab.

HCCI stands for homogenous charge compression ignition and I don’t have a clue how it all works, but that’s why we’ve got Wikipedia. Through taming and applying HCCI technology and turbocharging, Saab will be able to realise higher power and torque outputs but with massive fuel efficiency gains and minimal emissions.

Should be interesting to say the least.

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13 Comments

  1. Great news.

    But, I don’t understand why they do not use the platform from the Holden Commodore for the next 9-5? Rear drive, is getting rave reviews, the VXR8 has been pimped in the UK press and it should be an AWESOME drive :).

    Would be a big move away from front wheel drive I know, but, if we want a flagship that is dynamic as well as keeping Saab values intact, why not? I think that platform would benefit the brand personally.

  2. Not so great news…
    UK sales are in, and they are down.
    691 feb 2007 vs 830 last year. Down 16%
    YTD: down 10.3%

  3. Problem with the UK customer is that buyers in this sector want dynamics and quality above all else.

    The problem the 9-3 and 9-5 both have, is that they are behind their competition in this regard. The 3 series handles better, the A4 is better built and the C Class rides better.

    Personally, I think the Saab Aero has a good balance between ride and handling, but the interior quality is dire in comparison to the likes of Audi/BMW/Mercedes.

    Better plastics and other materials are really needed inside, the A4 is fabulous inside, and isn’t a million miles away when it comes to price comparing like for like in the 9-3 range.

    The 9-5, although a wonderful car, is two generations behind technically. The 5 series, E Class and A6 all have its measure in dynamics, quality and performance if not price.

    I hope they improve the interior materials for the 9-3 ’08 model, and the drivetrain for the 2wd models as well as the new XWD models.

    I love my 2.8T V6 Aero, but freely admit that it is behind it’s marketted competitors. Hopefully XWD will bring it up to date with regard to high performance dynamics. The standard versions also need updates to the way the 9-3 handles and rides.

    This new money can’t get into the system fast enough. I have an Aero 2.8V6 T convertible on order in Cerulean blue, and can’t wait for it, as I love the brand and what it stands for, thing is, in todays market, it needs to stand for more.

    There will be those that decry this statement, but the truth is, if we want any Saab brand at all, we need to diversify. Look at Porsche, it wasn’t the Boxster that saved them, it was the Cayenne. A 4×4 from a sports car company.

    Sometimes stepping out of the comfort zone is what is needed. Saab need to do this. The Griffin will fly again, and hopefully this time with diamonds in it’s crown 🙂

  4. UK sales have probably tanked because the dealers cant sell their massive stocks of pre-reg cars.

    Check this link and have a look at this dealers pre-reg cars.
    http://www.concept-saab.com/default.asp?docId=21317
    There must be in excess of 100 cars with delivery mileage, and what made be laugh is that on the day the ’07 plates were released they have 50 ’07 plate cars pre reg’d! Usually they drip feed them back into the system.
    they’ll be doing 2 for 1 offer soon to get rid of them 🙂

  5. I knew the name of the CEO of SAAB (or GM) Powertrain sounded familiar. Kjell ac Bergstrom has been the designer of record of the BioPower SAABs:
    9-3 Hybrid BioPower Convertible
    9-5 BioPower E85
    9-5 BioPower E100

    See this link:
    http://www.saabhistory.com/2007/02/16/the-saab-designs-by-model/

    On another note, I still haven’t gotten over the shock that most (if not all) SAABs in the future will be German. I hadn’t heard anything about it for so long I was hoping plans had fallen-through. Personally, I really don’t want a SAAB that’s only Swedish “in name”. No design center cubicles will change the fact that these cars are now on global GM platforms and will be manufactured in Germany. I’d be interested to read DETAILS of how they’re planning to keep the Swedish spirit. Just having an office building with the SAAB name on it in Sweden isn’t enough to inject the Swedish spirit into cars that are manufactured in Germany or Mexico, IMHO. Sorry to sound so negative.

  6. Truly a shame that those over-rated POS Volkswagens(ie Audi) are closing in on 1MILLION worldwide sales while under the neglect of GM, Saab is barely closing in on 150K. Even Lutzs beloved Cadillax are shy of 200K. Quit smokin crack GM.

  7. – “”GM has understood that it takes models of all sizes to be able to stay in the game,” says Jan-Åke Jonsson.”

    Keeping fingers & toes x-ed that Jan means there are plans for a 250+hp turbo hatch AWD 9-3!!!!!!

  8. I’m a little confused, how can it be next autumn, or possible in 2009, [there will be an all new 9-5], when next autumn is in 2007, even in the northern hemisphere. Is something «lost in translation» ? (one the most boring oscar award-winning movie I ever saw BTW)

  9. No. 9:

    My misstake. The Swedish wording are “nästa höst” meaning “next autumn”. In Swedish that means “the autumn after the one that is coming”.

  10. No. 9:

    My mistake. The Swedish wording are “nästa höst” meaning “next autumn”. In Swedish that means “the autumn after the one that is coming”.

  11. Thanks ctm. So basically, this schedule is nothing new. I hate to rain on the parade, but I don’t see how Saab is going to make it till then. Sales are already declining, which is not a surprise, and a mildly facelifted 9-3 in 2008, with or without biofuel and AWD is not going to carry the brand till 2010.

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