Bob Speaks

This is in no way Saab-specific, but it’s post-worthy nonetheless.

As long as his lutz-ness is in charge of global vehicle development or whatever it is he does whilst not swallowing his own foot, his job has the potential to impact Saab.

This interview was conducted at the New York Auto Show and it discusses, primarily, the Chevy Volt concept car. Lutz talks about the battery issue and later lets slip that there’ll be another E-Flex concept in Frankfurt later this year.

The interesting thing is that it’ll use another brand rather than Chevy. more specifically, it’ll use one of GM’s European brands and will feature a Biodiesel backup engine to recharge the batteries that drive the car. This is the “flex” part of the E-Flex system, the use of alternative fuels.

Will it be Saab? I don’t tend to think so. Neither does 1985 Gripen, who gave me the heads up on this.

I’m guessing Opel’s going to get this. The reason being is it appears GM is making Saturn out to be the “green” arm of GM in the U.S. with their “Green Line” series of hybrid automobiles. The first plug-in hybrid in the U.S. will be a Saturn. Saturn is becoming the American distribution arm of Opel. Already I think most Saturns are rebadged Opels. I think I read Vauxhalls are already basically rebadged Opels as well. Therefore I’m betting that Opel gets this diesel E-Flex concept in Europe.

Makes some sense to me.

Anyway, here’s the vid. Take it for what it is.

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  1. I’ve been stewing on it all day and figure: why WOULDN’T SAAB get it?

    I mean, it’d make sense as SAAB is the only GM Europe brand sold in both North America and Europe. Also, in Canada I understand the majority of SAAB dealerships share space with Saturn.

    I believe GM is positioning SAAB to be the luxury arm of Opel in Europe and Saturn (American Opel) in N.A., much like Lexus is Toyota’s luxury arm, Acura is Honda’s luxury arm, and Infiniti is Nissan’s. Therefore wouldn’t it make more sense for SAAB to get this vehicle, especially since they’re known for their biofuels expertise in the BioPower series of cars?

    Plus, with it being the 60th Anniversary of SAAB automobiles (70th Anniversary of SAAB aircraft) and the 30th Anniversary of the turbocharger in SAABs they might want to use this (I’m assuming it’ll be a turbodiesel since the Volt was a turbo flex-fuel gasoline/ethanol “range extender”) for some marketing exposure.

  2. I don’t know what to think anymore, is GM going to start acting like SAABs owner or not. This is just cruel.

    Gripen I totaly agree with you.

    Swade one tiny info not SAAB related. GM is in talks with “Zastava”, a factory that produced the infamous Yugo, and they are trying to make a deal to produce Opel Astra in Serbia. All that is left is for Serbian goverment to back it up and it’s all good to go.

    This Opel thing seems to go all over the place. Shame.

  3. i called my local Saab dealer yesterday to see if they could share any info on FlexFuel (E85) being added to any ’08 Saab models. the salesmen i spoke with (who later thanked me for “making him do his homework”) told me Biodiesel with electric backup is in fact the most likely direction Saab will be headed in the future.

    as for being the Euro brand to get it first? who knows.

  4. Some Vauxhall’s are also rebadged Holden’s e.g the Monaro, I think.
    It’s a shame about Vauxhall.
    I remember they used to make nice cars in the 60’s, like the Victor 101, Velox, VX490, Viva etc…those were the days…

  5. Vauxhall was absorbed by Opel in the early 1970s due to very poor product like the Viva etc. The cars were styled with different front ends (at the start) and were badged differently – the Vectra class was either a Vauxhall Cavalier or an Opel Ascona. As time went on the styling merged and the name badges were standardised too – Corsa (Opel) Astra (Vauxhall) and then Vectra (new name for both.) The Monaro is sold here under the VXR brand name as a cut price M5.

    One quirk of this set up was that here in Northern Ireland we had Vauxhall but in the South they had Opel. Opels were more popular as they were more reliable and built properly.

    The Aura is the only Saturn that I am aware of other than the Astra that is an Opel.

    You are likely right that the Flex car will be an Opel Gripen. The D (Vectra) segment is collapsing in Europe, down from 25% to 17% so they need a product to generate interest. The BMW 3 series now outsells the Mondeo and the Vectra. This is also the real reason for the move to Germany for 9-3 / 9-5 production. As sales collapse GM needs the ability to switch very quickly from mass market Vectra to Premium SAAB. Trollhattan will provide the same facility for the 9-1 / Astra. To do this they need to build both on the same line. This is also the reason for the push on Cadillac in Europe too. Ford are following the same path with Volvo / Jaguar.

    Ok who is first to shoot me down?

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