BLS – Bastardised Little Saab

Supposedly what’s good for Cadillac is good for Saab too. Garbage!

Cadillac can go get stuffed.

I knew it was coming, but I still can’t help but think it’s bordering on criminal to do this to Saab’s modern icon.

CaddyBLSwagon_1_560px.jpg

The article’s here at Autoblog.

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43 Comments

  1. What a piece of shit that thing looks! BLLEEEEUUUUUUUUUURRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Funny, but only yesterday I said that it wouldn’t be long before Saab cars become purely rebadged GM shitboxes. I didn’t have to wait long!

    My initial reaction is an urge to spew, followed by the desire to sell my whole Saab fleet in protest!

  2. I just noted this from the “sales data” for Sweden in February. They have the data in all kinds of format, including this where the brands are grouped together. The data are:
    February 07 / February 06 / January-February 07 / January-February 06

    GM NORDEN
    CHEVROLET 178 / 185 / 382 / 273
    OPEL 738 / 547 / 1363 / 1146
    SAAB 1668 / 1722 / 3433 / 3483
    TOTALT GM NORDEN 2584 / 2454 / 5178 / 4902

    Now, where is Cadillac? There isn’t even one (1) Cadillac registered in Sweden so far this year?!?

  3. Swade, sorry. I found it now. There is a other list as well didn’t see before. There was 18 BLS registered in February. It’s in place 100 on the list. So far this year, the numer is 61. And that’s in Sweden were there has been so much in the papers about it…

    Still don’t know why it’s not included in “GM NORDEN”.

  4. Oh my God, this caddy thing is a crime against SAAB! I am glad the car is so ugly that it won’t sell in any numbers to be afraid of here in Europe. Driving Cadillac in Europe ain’t showing a very good taste. Most of us europeans just don’t like modern US-cars (even if they’re based on SAAB). Just look at the sales number for for the BLS (I call it Caddy BulLShit)…..

  5. Seen isolated it looks alright I think, and it seems like they didn’t have to compromise the roofline as much as on the 9-3 wagon, but then again it probably looks different in real life. Much more worringly is that GM is spending a fair amount of money on a brand that I think most people here in Europe would never consider, SAAB having a much stronger and premium perception. Why not spend the money on engineering quality SAAB products instead? GM can’t fool people. Why consider this over a well engineered and classy looking A4, 3-Series, C-Class, 159 or even a Passat or Mondeo? This strategy doesn’t bode well for SAAB does it?

  6. Are we sure those aren’t chops? The rear end look a bit strange and out of focus…

    I hope it’s only a bad dream.

  7. Two comments:
    1) I would have given it fins and chrome.
    2) I would much rather see Saab lending its design out to others (OK, so it’s an ugly, weedy little Cadillac) than taking the scraps (9-2X anyone??) from other marques and trying to make real cars out of them. This is akin to the Ford/Volvo model, wherein Volvo platforms are codeveloped or used for Ford products, and not vice versa (a la 9-7X, and I don’t care how successful the 9-7X is, it’s a Trailblazer with a hard to find ignition switch and MDX taillights.)

  8. I find it very difficult to comprehend that guys at the Caddy division actually advocated for this. I think this was a dumb decision by the higher ups at GME. That said, if Cadillac’s people are responsible, they deserve the poor sales that this car will get.

  9. The idea of sharing platforms doesn’t bother…. But the notion of pushing a car with a negative outlook over one that is neutral, swaying towards positive is almost as atrocious as the way the article speaks of this being a Caddilac “engineering.” They take all the high points of the 9-3 SC and place them as benefits of Caddy

    And then… the commenters blame the faults as a problem with Saab!! I especially love comment number 12:

    “GM can’t just concentrate on Saab since Saab has never been a luxury brand, and isn’t about to become one without totally changing what the brand is about.”

    The commentor does go on to post a link to his review of the 9-3 ( http://www.epinions.com/content_226092289668 )

  10. Talonderiel, did you see the picture on the eopinions, it for sure looks like a mix of the current 9-3 and the new 9-3

  11. Swade,

    Why do you even worry about Cadillacs in Europe? After all, sales for the entire continent are about what you would expect one big-city stateside dealer to move.
    Cadillacs are just as quirky and out-of-touch with the mainstream in Europe as Saabs are in the US. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a business case for selling them. Some people just don’t want to drive the same car as everyone else. It makes it easier to find your car in a parking lot, for one :).

  12. Bernard,

    The beef with Cadillac is legit:

    1) The Caddy in Europe thing isn’t as much about sales numbers as it is budget money. If GM had a couple extra billion to just throw away, it would be one thing. Since things are tight with them and Saab’s already getting starved, it’s all the more aggravating.

    And regarding your other point:

    2) Saabs aren’t “out of touch with the mainstream” in the US…they are steering clear OF the mainstream. That’s why it’s called a niche brand!

    Now, when Saab makes great cars that are innovative and positively unique (and uniquely positive), people will gravitate towards the cars, and sales will skyrocket.

    And that’s when the yuppie journos will declare that “They finally brought Saab into the mainstream.” You know they’d say that, too.

    See the difference? If Saab leads, people will follow. They will recognize a great vehicle. It’s the difference between following trends and creating them. A bad idea for a good niche brand is to make cars that follow the whims of the fickle general public.

  13. GM seems to love to spend money to conquest sales not from the competition, but from their own brands.

    As Rodney points out in Caddyshack…”Now I know why tigers eat their young”.

    Quit smokin crack Lutz!

  14. I really like this Caddy wagon. As an owner of both the CTS and 9-3 Sportcombi, it seems like the best of both (to my eyes). I don’t see the BLS wagon stealing sales from Saab, but instead increasing the overall sales for the plant that is buiding both. I could be wrong, of course. In any event, based on other posts, I may be in the minority, but I really like this.

  15. I really like this Caddy wagon. As an owner of both the CTS and 9-3 Sportcombi, it seems like the best of both (to my eyes). I don’t see the BLS wagon stealing sales from Saab, but instead increasing the overall sales for the plant that is building both. I could be wrong, of course. In any event, based on other posts, I may be in the minority, but I really like this.

  16. Maybe it’s my lack of aged wisdom… or a college naivete… But it makes absolutely no sense- – financially, managerially or whatever -ally you can create– to give birth, via c-section, to a “global brand” that most of the globe will not readily accept for almost a generation if not more. Caddy in Europe will be a still-birth and insuing cardio-pulmanary resuscitation that GM could have forgone.

    I would like to extend one more analogy, if I may…. I liken the GM Europe “Caddification” to the current war in Iraq… It’s a mindset and an ideology that GM is fighting. It doesn’t change over night; you must educate the following generations. The change will not be seen by those living now but by a third generation from now, at the earliest.

  17. Saab folks should be flattered that a top brand like Cadillac is interested in the 9-3 platform – proves its a great design. GM knows its has a great thing going here.

    And why all the fuss about Cadillacs in Europe, Saab has been in NA selling cars in the same market with Cadillac for 50+ years! I haven’t heard of any problems. Europeans will have more to chose from in the marketplace which is always a good thing. Competition makes cars better.

    As for the money – if Cadillac didn’t spend their money on this project then it would have be spent on another Cadillac project. Cadillac would never have given up their budget to another division like Saab. The divisions are very autonomous and manage their own budgets.

    As for the car, it looks OK, but not as nice as the Saab. It will be a more luxury oriented version of the 9-3 for those who want that kind of thing.

    If it becomes available here in NA I wouldn’t mind taking one for a test drive.

  18. [i]”Saab folks should be flattered that a top brand like Cadillac is interested in the 9-3 platform – proves its a great design. GM knows its has a great thing going here.”[/i]

    True enough.

    [i]And why all the fuss about Cadillacs in Europe, Saab has been in NA selling cars in the same market with Cadillac for 50+ years! I haven’t heard of any problems.[/i]

    But Cadillac has not been selling rebadged Saabs against Saab in the U.S. market.

    If all’s fair in love an war, why can’t Saab sell a rebadged SRX against Cadillac in North America? IIRC the rumor mill correctly, that idea was killed when Cadillac objected.

    [i]”As for the money – if Cadillac didn’t spend their money on this project then it would have be spent on another Cadillac project. Cadillac would never have given up their budget to another division like Saab. The divisions are very autonomous and manage their own budgets.”[/i]

    As measured by likely return on investment in the European car market, GM is wildly over-investing in Cadillac and under-investing in Saab. That’s a problem for GM as a whole.

    Last time I checked, Bob Lutz worked for the whole company, not just the Cadillac division.

    [i]”As for the car, it looks OK, but not as nice as the Saab. It will be a more luxury oriented version of the 9-3 for those who want that kind of thing.

    If it becomes available here in NA I wouldn’t mind taking one for a test drive.”[/i]

    Proving the point exactly. Saab will be losing sales to Cadillac from customers who know enough about Saab to visit a Saab blog.

    I have no problem with Cadillac trying to sell cars in Europe. I do have a problem with Cadillac trying to sell rebadged Saabs, at Saab’s expense.

    And then when GM justifies cutting Saab’s budget, the excuse that “Saab has never made money” gets used.

    Cadillac in Europe is a waste of money that has the (presumably) unintended effect of hurting one of GM’s most successful European brands.

    This is defensible, how?

  19. Beside the models of Saab and Volvo the Cadillac BLS saloon and this estate are only two more possibilities to decide in a car made by a carmaker located in Sweden and familiar with its Swedish heritage. Its a question of the personal taste of the European consumer to agree or disagree in one of the cars. In the long run GM has to accept the decisions of the European consumers and then to react either to increase its efforts in the European market or to give up the game.

  20. Beside the models of Saab and Volvo the Cadillac BLS saloon and this estate are only to more possibilities to decide in a car made by a carmaker located in Sweden and familiar with its Swedish heritage. Its a question of the personal taste of the European consumer to agree or disagree in one of all the models and to determine the financial result of GM. In the long run GM will have to accept the decions of the European consumers and to react either by increasing its efforts in the European market or to give up the game.

  21. My word, the BLS is as unpopular as Richard Hammonds “Man Love” pick up in the Florida to New Orleans episode of TG.

    Yes they could have spent the money on a new 9-5, an off roader, a 9-1 a new 9-3 interior and a revised exterior for the 9-3 but oh, thats right they are doing all of this anyway. Frankly I don’t care for Cadillac but it will attempt compete in the Luxury market with Merc and Jaguar, not the premium “sports saloon” market with SAAB BMW and Audi. I am not sure where it harms SAAB, apart from using spare plant capacity.

    Swade, finally, just to really get your goat it was designed by a Pom too. Still, you can always start Trollhattan Cadillac. (just joking – honest)

    P.S. Drew B, it’s a rebaged SAAB, making it a rebadged SAAB shit box when you think about it. Which you didn’t.

  22. God, if you exist, now is the time to save us and Saab.

    Oh and how come the Canadian version of the 9-3 on this site has non-frosted rear lamps -did I miss somehting here.

    As for that Caddy estate- chromed up crapiola.

    Oh lord, save Saab. someone, save Saab.
    Mr Lutz, over what, are you seeing?

  23. I wonder if PRODRIVE are looking for another brand as well as ASTON.
    And Drew can i get the 95 off you for my fudge deliveries please.
    Honestly GM stop flogging a dead horse,Europeans absolutely loathe everything American , and if the Yanks did build something great then the Euro’s would never give them credit for it or they would never hear the end of it.
    Eurodisney anyone??

  24. This is a bloody disgrace!

    Swade, lets get a petition up and running and send it to GM!

    I am so mad right now, what the hell does GM think its doing?

  25. Anyone actually sticking up for Cadillac here is going to be out-numbered. So jon consider you opinions although plausible; wrong. Your comment to Drew B is also wrong because the 9-3 as you are fully aware is a GM platform so it’s still a S*** box in your terms.

    The biggest problem with the BLS is that it isn’t a true Cadillac. Like the 9-7x isn’t a true Saab. They look a bit like one but it has fundimental faults. The biggest BLS fault is it isn’t RWD. And this is what frustrates us the consumer.
    People who visit hear often get annoyed with some of the worst things that GM seem to do to there own brands. You have Saabs that don’t look like them, and don’t live up to the expectations of the premium brand buyer and so sales lagg. You have Asian and russian built chevvys that don’t encapture the idiology of the great american cars that made the brand. And now we have a Cadillac that’s FWD and doesn’t have a cent of ‘bling’ factor to it.

    How many times do we the cunsumer have to say to GM. If your going to build a car do it right!
    The 9-2x built wrong.
    OPEL GT Built wrong, because Vauxhall; the original designers of the VX lighting concept can’t have the car as some idiot designed KAPPA as LHD only.
    And finaly the BLS built 3 Years too early.
    GM should have given Saab the budget to build the 9-1 on the current Astra platform that was launched 3 years ago. GM should have looked at launching the BLS on EpsilonII with AWD in 2008.
    But instead cadillac now have to overcome the poor image the current BLS has when production moves to Ruesselsheim.
    If GM really wants to know why they are struggling then they should look at some of the biggest mistakes that are not only GM specific, but some of the biggest mistakes that have been made in the auto industry in the past 10 years!

    And if you really want to know what’s pissing me off right now. It’s not the BLS.
    It’s the way that GM has wiped £7,000 off Saab used values in 3 Years.
    In 2003 the used car value of a 1 year old 9-3 Vector 1.8t Sport Saloon was £19,995. in 2007 the used value is £12,995. Yeah £7,000, SEVEN THOUSAND POUNDS… STERLING !. In the trade it’s called ‘over-cooked marketing’ Gordon Ramsay would say “YOU’VE F’ing BURT IT!”

  26. Greg A,

    Dont worry – I would only test drive the Caddy to see if they changed the ride dynamics of the car – I would guess that this is the case because they are probably after different buyers. Anyway as a 9-5 Aero owner going to a 9-3 isn’t in the cards.

    Also dont forget that Saab does sell redesigned SUV in NA known as the 9-7x which competes against various GM divisions.

    Remember, the more of these cars Caddy can sell means more production at the Saab factory.

  27. Drew B wrote: Funny, but only yesterday I said that it wouldn’t be long before Saab cars become purely rebadged GM shitboxes. I didn’t have to wait long!

    Jon wrote: Drew B, it’s a rebaged SAAB, making it a rebadged SAAB shit box when you think about it.

    Jon; as bad as your post reads it’s actually pretty good reply to Drew B’s comment and funny to boot. Having said that though I can see where you are coming from Drew B, even if your choice of words were not in fact that ‘choice’. The fact is that either could be true depending on your point of view. A Saab is a box full of GM parts, whether the good outweighs the ‘shit’ is a matter of opinion. My 9-3 Sportcombi is good on the whole but the shittest aspects are not the GM parts but are in fact the unique Saab components (door trims, smart-slot, rubber coated buttons, vinyl in place of leather where not a ‘seating surface’). These aspects can no longer be separated, Saab IS GM. It is often stated as fact that GM is doing the Saab brand a disservice. In fact Saab used to do the Saab brand a disservice. There are many aspects of pre GM Saabs that were not up to the level that we would like to think they were.

    As for the future of the Saabilacs, it is muddy now but becoming clearer. Here are a few points on the matter as well as GM’s strategy indicators as I see it from OZ.

    – Each new Saab model is receiving an increasing number of generic GM parts and not the best of them if Saabologist is to be believed. From blocks to switches, Saab is a recipient of many bits from the parts bin. Furthermore there are many Saab developed parts that are now in the parts bin for use on other models. Several models of Australian Holden had Saab cupholders for example. This dilutes Saab’s individuality when those special little touches can be found in other brands within the GM world.

    – The 2008 9-3 spyshots show that the Saab will be getting BLS doors. SO the original Caddy recipient car is now becoming a donor car. Or looking at it another way, they will be a little less different. This is the thin edge of the wedge. If GM is persistent in forcing Caddys onto Europe and the rest of the world, Australia will be getting them soon too, then they will be considered by at least some people as an alternative to the Saab product. If the numbers build to a high enough level then the cars are going to be engineered with Caddy as the primary goal and Saab as the spin-off.

    – It’s no secret that the production of the next gen 9-3 may likely be centred in Germany. This paves the way for even more dilution of Saab as a distinctly and separately developed brand.

    – If GM are serious about their Caddy drive into the whole world then they will have to lift quality. If a Caddy model is inextricably bound up with Saab then the Saab’s quality will be lifted as well. It is a fact that many Americans, whose quality bar is supposedly set very low, have issues with the quality of Saabs. If Caddys are to have a competitive quality in Europe then this maybe one of the only positives for Saab.

    – GM Holden in Australia up until recently sold 3 different re-badged models from Opel plus the Australian product. Now they have 1 model from Opel, 3 from Daewoo plus a reduced Australian product line. This means that the whole brand on average has been ‘dumbed’ down which leaves it ripe for Cadillac to be brought over and look positively stunning by comparison.

    – GM Holden’s Australian-built Commodore is about to be exported in serious quantities to the U.S. as the Pontiac G8. Big win for Holden Oz right? Well, if its sells as well as expected it has already been said publicly that the Pontiac G8 production will move to the U.S. When the quantities of Pontiac G8s made outweigh the Commodores then you can bet that Holden’s manufacturing will be shut down and the cars will be imported from the U.S. Furthermore it is a fact that the product will then be crafted to suit U.S. tastes and Australian customers will have to take the Americanised product. Holden already had a local product that was widely bastardised to suit U.S. tastes for export and the Oz market had to live with the result, which was in many areas positive but also roundly criticised in others. There are echoes of this in the 9-3/BLS situation.

  28. Could GM be getting revenge on SAAB for completely wasting their money and going against their strict orders during the development of the 9-3SS?

    People seem to forget that SAAB wasted ALL of their funding on the Sport Sedan and still didn’t get the car they wanted. They’re allegedly now finally getting that car with the influx of money from the BLS design.

    We can complain about Cadillac and GM all we want, but someone has to address the elephant in the room: SAAB was given a lot of money around 2000 and completely wasted it on a single model and body style. What did they get for it? A 2003 Sport Sedan wrought with problems that I’m assuming GM had to pay for in warranty repairs.

    SAAB needs to take some responsibility for some really dumb decisions themselves. They’re partially to blame for the boat they find themselves in.

    I’m shocked GM hasn’t just closed-down SAAB. They’re already moving manufacturing over to Opel. They’re keeping Trollhattan open to make their Cadillac.

    Sorry to sound so bitter, but the American-bashing is getting laid-on pretty thickly here and nobody’s playing “devil’s advocate”.

  29. Aw hell, let’s just get some more rebadged Impreza’s!

    (This was not intended to raise Swade’s blood pressure…)

  30. OK, perhaps I was a little blunt in expressing my opinion, but the fact remains that the 9-3 is a GM product anyway, it’s just that it isn’t PURELY a GM product; it still has unique Saab compenents that aren’t fitted to other GM models. Until now. Who’s saying that the next facelift of the sportcombi won’t be a rebadged BLS?

    Anyway, haven’t all cars made my Saab post-1993 been GM products….or have I missed something in the last 14 years?

    Drew

  31. I can’t say that the Cadillac bothers me… I just think the money could be better spent in SAAB, specially since GM isn’t swimming in cash.

    The Cadillac failure in Europe hasn’t got anything to with it being “half a Cadillac”.

    Cadillac hasn’t got an image in Europe to live up to (or, if it has, it’s the image of a large boat poorly constructed, which may be a cliché, but it’s how we see it), so it could be FWD, RWD or even an american Twingo… It would not make a difference. The market is saturated by good european proposition, so Cadillac would only be noticed if they made a really special car.

    The 9-3 is a proper SAAB, and it sells because of that: the BLS is just a car…

  32. Oh 🙂 And those pictures are really photoshops, which is so peculiar, since they were distributed by GM themselfs…

  33. Turbin, I promise I will never drink and post again. It seemed much better written when I was drunk…

    Drew B I hope I didn’t offend as it was meant to be humourous.

    I think James May might have been the design consultant for the BLS though.

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