9-5 delayed?

The last we heard a big story about the next Saab 9-5, it was due for production in MY2009. This was welcomed by all, as despite being basically unchanged since 1998 it is still regarded as an excellent ride but in need of genuine change to match the intended competition.

More recently, a Djup Strupe story pushed it back to the northern Spring of 2009.

Now we have an Autocar article saying similar, giving credit to the Opel Vectra replacement as the reason for the delay.

Tear up the launch schedule

The Saab 9-5 was due to be the first General Motors product to use the company’s new mid-size platform, known as Epsilon 2, but a 10 per cent slide in European sales of the bigger-selling Vectra has forced GM to knock the Saab back in the schedule and focus resources on the Vauxhall/Opel product. It is aiming to get the Vectra (probably renamed Insignia, a badge last used on an Opel concept in 2003) into showrooms by autumn 2008.

If true, that’s bad news in anyone’s language and quite possibly the second-most significant story in a week of significant stories (I’d place the continuance of production at Trollhattan as the most significant story of the week).

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7 Comments

  1. It does not sound good, but a few months delay might not be the end of the world.

    A few possitive thoughts thou:

    If Opel will speed up the vectra, it likely means that they will have done more testing on the shared platform resulting in higher quality on the saab.

    Its also hard to say how much the dealy will be. I see that if they will be produced in the same factory at the same time they will have to prioritize, as I doubt that they can start the production of to (not similar cars, I hope anyway) at the same time. However is not much of the development of that car made out of Trollhattan? I know that the design is made in Germany/Sweden, but my understanding was that it had already been finalized?

    Anyone know where the responsibility for developing the next generation astra is? Is that in germany too?

    Maybe one of you guys know what is still left in Trollhattan with regards to development. Engines are still in Sodertalje as far as I know, but there must be more than just small refinements of existing products….

  2. CJ,

    Sodertalje is either running at very limited capacity or no longer doing Saab Automobile engines since a decision was made in May of 2006.

    GM “will close Södertälje plant”

    http://www.thelocal.se/3868/20060522/

    2/3rds of the capacity will be transferred to Germany.

    I am unsure if there is still 1/3rd operating there at this time.

    SCANIA also took over this particular location recently as well, so perhaps Saab/GM is no longer part of the Sodertalje region.

    http://digital50.com/news/items/BW/2001/07/14/20070221005592/scania-invests-in-engine-production.html

  3. Really bad news since when the 9-5 debuts all the journos (at least here in europe) will compare it to the Vectra… “douh, it’s just a rebadged overpriced vectra” Yeah my faith in car journalists is ZERO….

  4. cj: if the article is right, I think the 9-5 is being delayed more than just a few months. It looks more like a full model-year. It was originally going to be out in Fall ’08 as a MY09, then it was rumored to be delayed to Spring ’09, and now it looks like it’s moved to Fall ’09 (as a MY2010).

    This means that the 9-5 would be released at the same time as the next-gen 9-3, I believe. It also means that dealers have to keep selling the current 9-5 which everyone says is “outdated” for another two years.

    During that two years SAAB will be selling a version of the 9-3 with a V6 engine, 300 bhp, and AWD optional. So the 9-5 will have to compete with its own less-expensive sibling!

    I hope SAAB uses this one year delay wisely in the development of the eventual offering.

  5. A delay of a few months would not be a problem but this seems to be a delay of a year. What I would like to know: is the delay due to the need to tool up for the Insignia and initial production or is it to take engineers from the 9-5 and put them to work on the Insignia? Will the delay lead to an improved 9-5?

    The Insigna is supposed to be a big leap forward for Opel/Vauxhall and encourage the public away from Passats, A4s and lets face it, SAABs so I can see why GM is giving it priority. The segment the Vectra and Mondeo compete in is dying on its arse and if this car fails, GM will most likely leave this segment to SAAB and Cadillac in Europe. The new Mondeo will kill Vectra sales hence the panic at GM. That is why they are doing it, not the case for the defence!

    Mats, I hear what you say and I agree to a point but the 9-5 survived for 10 years with a Vectra platform so I don’t think the GM chassis will not be too big of a drawback.

    One good thing is that the 9-5 competitors will be on the downside of the model cycle in 2009 so SAAB can make hay for 1 – 3 years until the A6 etc. are revamped / replaced.

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