Future notes

Go Auto, the authors of perhaps the best and most comprehensive 2008 Saab 9-3 review so far, have written another article about Saab. It’s a very curious and interesting piece.

There’s a lot of articles going around at the moment quoting Jan-Ake Jonsson and Carl-Peter Forster with regards to Saab’s future sales targets and coming models. This article features a lot of those, and more, as well as some model news that differs a little from the news we’ve heard previously. Just a little, but enough to make me curious.

I’ve previously mentioned timelines for future models as well. Timelines that I’m very confident in as the sources are quoting the highest ranks of Saab. Those timelines are related to US releases though, and I’m now left wondering if the differences relate to geography or one of us speculating on less than optimal information. If it’s the former I can understand. If it’s the latter then I maintain my confidence in the information I’ve received.

Enough talk about the information – let’s have a look at it.

I’ve most recently quoted the following timelines, which were all confirmed recently to me by the Djup Strupe conglomerate:

Saab 5 year product plan

2008 – New Aero diesel with twin sequential turbo chargers with similar performance to V6 petrol.

2009 – New 9-5 Saloon similar size to A6 with 4 wheel drive.

2009 – 9-4X SUV a similar size to BMW X5 but lower.

2010 – New 9-5 Estate

2011 – New 9-3 Saloon

2012 – New 9-3 Sportwagon & Convertible, will be neither a conventional soft-top or a retractable hard top, something new.

2012 – New 9-1 a smaller model to create a style icon for the Saab brand.

In slight contrast, Byron from Go Auto touts the following as being what’s coming from Saab:

Nov 2007 – MY2008 9-3

March 2008 – 9-3 with XWD

2008/09 – New 9-5

2009 – 9-4x SUV/crossover

2009/10 – 9-1 compact

2010 – New 9-3

2011 – 9-3 coupe

I’ll be quite happy to be wrong if that’s the real time frame as it means we get a full complement of Saabs much sooner than we all think.

However, I’ve seen my timeline and other features of it confirmed by enough people in positions to know that I retain my confidence in it (though I really hope hope I’m wrong when it comes to the 9-1, which can’t come soon enough).

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This shouldn’t all be about questions over future cars, though. The article is an excellent one and well worth your reading.

A few snippets:

The MkII 9-5, due out next year, will be based on a completely revamped version of the current European Vectra’s platform, which will also form the basis of the fourth-generation Opel Vectra.

Reportedly, this ‘Epsilon II’ architecture is modular in design, so expect a longer and wider wheelbase to accompany a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension set-up.

Speculation also points to air springs, sophisticated electronic software controlling navigation, media, entertainment and safety items, V6 turbo-diesel power and a ramping up of BioPower options across the range.

Exciting stuff indeed!!

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Whilst we’re talking 9-5, you Swedish types can go and purchase the latest issue of Auto Motor and Sport, which has some CGI renderings of what they believe the next 9-5 will look like, as well as the coming 9-4x and 9-1 models.

There are some people in Sweden that have seen the real deal when it comes to the 9-5 and they’ve mentioned that the AM&S renderings are actually pretty accurate. The 9-4x is also pretty close to the Teknikens Varld image that has been published and spoken of in positive terms (for accuracy) as well. The 9-1 image? Well, I can only hope that it doesn’t come to pass.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see a PDF of the Saab articles in the magazine but can’t publish images as they’re copyright and not on the web as yet. There’s a thumbnail here (it says Nu Eller Aldrig Saab)

But I think it’s fair to say that the 9-5 renderings bear some resemblance to this, this, and in a cartoonish way, even this – all images that we have seen before on the web.

If it does come out like that, I think it’s going to be a really good thing. Looks great to my eyes.

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10 Comments

  1. As you mentioned in the first (I think) video from Stockholm… Introducing a new Saab and NOT have a wagon line of it (as was the case with the 9-3 MkII), is incredible stupid. I see no reason why the sedan should come one year ahead of the wagon, so I really hope the Go Auto’s timeline is correct.

  2. The two lists are incorrect as it relates to the 9-4 & 9-5. The 9-4X will be out before the 9-5. That you can take to the bank.

  3. As simple as it is, the delay may be dictated by limited product development resources and/or finance.

    In the generation change between 9-3 gens 2 to 3, though, there will be the option to continue the old gen wagon in Trollhattan an extra year (and possibly the convertible in Graz ?) as the platform changes to Epsilon 2 and production moves to Russelsheim.

    Who knows ?

  4. Just a few thoughts. We know that both the 9-5 and 9-3 will move to russelheim.

    We know that the 9-4 will be produced in Mexico.

    We know that saab (and GM) wants to have some saab production in sweden.

    Would the option be to move 9-5 and 9-3 to germany and replace it with astras while waiting for the 9-1? Or could it be that the 9-1 is earlier than that. The loss of the 9-5 volume could be replaced my the 9-3 convertible + more CC versions of the 9-3.

    Where is the 9-3 to take up competition with the XC70? I am sorry, but this is a no brainer! Also, this would increase the volume + be good for “responible performance” for everyone who does not want to by a suv!

    To bring the convirtible back to sweden and increase the lineup with a XC9-3 would give another 20K volume, almost replacing the 9-5.

    I read that haldex is opening a new plant in mexico in 2008 (i think it was in their annual report). Could this be do deliver to the 9-4 as well as to other GM wheicles? Would fit what patric said that the 9-4 will come before the 9-5?

    My bet, the 9-4 will go on sale spring2008, and the 9-5 6 months behind that.

  5. Air springs? Dear God no!
    No company has ever been able to make air springs work reliably, and all of the majors have tried.
    At the very least, Saab needs to make these optional, and to design them so that they can be cheaply swapped-back to real springs when you get that $8,000 estimate for fixing your five year old car.
    Better yet, don’t offer air springs at all. It would do wonders for resale value and reliability ratings.

  6. One note about the “sophisticated electronic software controlling navigation, media, entertainment and safety items.”
    This is one area I hope Saab doesn’t play catch-up on. That damned BMW I-Drive is a major nuisance, according to everyone I know who has to use it.

  7. Exciting times for Saabists. I’m looking forward to more choice for my next new Saab in 2010.

    What Swade didn’t mention about this Go-auto article is the assertion that the Saab 9-4x will be built along-side the Caddy equivalent in Trollhattan. Would love this to be the case but it doesn’t line up with the popoular consensus of Mexico.

    Speaking of which, the Haldex Mexico plant will be supplying the XWD components for the 9-3 so that doesn’t necessarily determine where the 9-4x will be built.

    What has been said is that the 9-4x will be more car-like than SUV. Does this mean it still could be 9-3 based?? Other sources also suggest that it is for the global market, including a European focus.

    It would definitely mean better utilization of Trollhattan…

  8. It does appear as a contradiction, but elsewhere on the site I’ve mentioned the 9-4x as being something we’ll see in 2008.

    I’ve left the 2009 reference in the timeline because that’s how the original timeline was sent to me. I tend to think of it as MY2009, seen in 2008, just as many will be able to go into a Saab dealer in a few weeks time and order a MY2008 9-3 (I know of one guy who already has!).

    And yep, I did neglect to mention the 9-4x building. This is the first time we’ve heard anything about the 9-4x being built anywhere but Mexico, so it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.

    One thing I need to look into somehow is whether both the 9-3 and 9-5 will be going to Russelsheim. I’m pretty sure the 9-3 is going and relatively soon, but the 9-5 may be a different matter as it’s still going to be a little while before it’s updated and moved onto an Epsilon platform.

  9. As long as all future Saab’s have the 08 9-3’s aggressive face I will be happy. At first I liked that CGI of the 9-5 from Car magazine but now I am not so sure as it looks a bit downmarket to me. I think its the blacked out A-pillars, those anonymous rear lights and the fact from the side-rear view you’d be hard pressed to convince me its actually a Saab.

    The finished product isnt out yet and we all know that 90% of the time (sorry guys, the 06+ 9-5 is, IMO, an abomination hence the 90% ‘score’) Saab hits the nail right on the head. I am probably most excited by the upcoming 9-1 but I am seriously thinking about leasing a Snow Silver 9-3 2.0T with black leather interior in 2009 after we settle into our new home.
    And when I do, you can bet that I will be shouting the fact from the rooftops! 🙂

    zippy

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