Jan-Ake speaks! Drive writes!! You Comment!!!

A couple of items have just hit the local news sites here in Oz. Both have been written in the Fairfax Press’s automotive section called Drive.

The first article is one with lots of juicy Jan-Ake Jonsson quotes about the forthcoming 9-4x and 9-1, as well as a little about the age of the 9-5:

“The crossover will have more passenger car characteristics than SUV characteristics,” says Jonsson. “Of course it’s got to be raised [in height], it’s got to [look] a little rugged, and it’s got to have some of the [cargo] capacities that a sports utility also has, but not necessarily the extremes of the utility [in those areas].”….

….“All-wheel drive will be a critical part of every future Saab development,” says Jonsson. “The next-generation 9-5 will also have an enhanced version of XWD.”….

….“Cross Wheel Drive in the compact segment … is more a question of customer demand,” says Jonsson. “In the smaller segment, it could be too expensive from a customer point of view.”….

….“We are never, ever going to do a 9-2X again,” says Jonsson. “It’s as simple as that. It was a serious mistake.”….

….“The 9-5 by now should have been replaced, absolutely, if you look at the life cycle,” says Jonsson…..

It’s a good read and highly recommended.

After observing the work they’ve done on the 9-3, which really can’t be overstated enough, I’m really feeling quite bullish about what Saab might be able to achieve with these new vehicles in the next few years.

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The second piece is based on the first. It’s an article on the Drive blog by the same author as the news item.

What does the Saab brand mean to you? The quirky alternative to the more mainstream luxury offerings from Germany? A company whose engine strategy is focused almost entirely on turbocharging? A car maker trumpeting a world of ethanol-powered vehicles?

I ask because it’s not absolutely clear whether General Motors, which owns Saab, knows how to answer this question itself.

I personally think that GM is getting a better understanding of what it’s got at Saab now that it’s become more involved with it. Yes, they’ve owned it 100% since 2000 but they weren’t really involved with it until they saw the red ink caused by the development of the 9-3 SS.

The blog article deals with Saab’s need to get profitable and the question as to whether the 9-4x and 9-1 will help them to do that. Personally, i think that they definitely will. Some Saab insiders are now seeing pictures of the 9-4x and are talking about it in very positive terms, especially for the US market. As it’ll be made in Mexico it won’t suffer the exchange rate problems that imports from Europe are dealing with, either.

Feel free to lob on over to Drive and tell them what the Saab brand means to you in their comments section.

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8 Comments

  1. I think it’s important to adress the issue that E85 isn’t the solution to the worlds future energy needs. But right now when hybrids are scarce and energy cells something most people dont have a clue to what it is. E85 is a fuel that works and is available very soon after that the the ruling government makes up it’s mind.

  2. The 9-5 is the last vestige of the old school 90s Saabs – cars that actually felt like Saabs and not gussied up Opels.

    If Saab doesn’t replace the 9-5 with a strong successor, it will be sad to see the original go.

  3. I’ve driven both 9-2X versions and the only mistake about it was GM doing it on the cheap and not making a real Saab interior.

    And I have a disagreement with Swade on the GM involvement. GM is hamstrung financially, and they’re never going to see Saab as important enough to the bottom line to fully fund a really competitive product line.

    I work in R&D and I see it every day. The money goes into the development of the big, established product lines that are already a big part of the bottom line. It constantly is diverted from the smaller lines or new business pursuits.

    It is nice to see XWD and updates, however we have to remember that the competition is advancing as well and [I believe] Saab was behind to start.

  4. I’ve read, though, that GM will invest over 2 billion US in Saab over the next five years. Also Saab is codeveloping the platforms it needs – things seem to be going much better.

  5. The 9-2x was indeed a mistake…glad they are owning up to it.

    The 9-7x on the other hand was a pretty good move…it actually sells, and since its only an suv, who cares?
    saab cars should never comprimise character like the saabaru 9-2x did.

  6. ….“We are never, ever going to do a 9-2X again,” says Jonsson. “It’s as simple as that. It was a serious mistake.”….

    That just stings. (mutters under my breath: “Jackass”)

    I can feel the resale value of the 9-2x’s decrease another $2k as those words were published.

    I’m glad I’ve replaced mine with a 9-3 Combi — belive you me! However, there was some spirit in that 9-2x that will be missed, especially that of the AWD it had. Boy, I do miss that. Ok, so it wasn’t a REAL Saab, but it served its purpose, and it really was not a BAD car.

    Swade’s even said it may go down in history as the most reliable Saab! ‘Nuff said. Let’s stop bashing and give a little cred.

    I’ve got a soft spot for it, yes… I’m torn.

    The 9-2x was not a ‘brand fixture’, it did not encompass the history and distinction as the 900’s/9-3’s/9-5’s/etc. but it brought alot of newcomers into the fold. Can we agree that it was meant for that, and maybe that alone?

    So, why call it a mistake if it increased the bottom line and added more potential buyers? Becuase — and ONLY becuase of my time with the 9-2x, I now own a 9-5 and a 9-3.

  7. “We are never, ever going to do a 9-2X again,” sayeth Jan-Åke

    Good! The 9-2X was a great concept (small turbocharged AWD wagon) executed terribly (rebadge Superloo.. I mean Subaru).

    Hopefully an XWD TTiD SportCombi won’t be too far away in the future… and hopefully Saab will do the 9-1 with XWD if only for the Aero option. Obviously it is important to get the 9-1’s entry price low, which means FWD for the Linear model, but if the Aero model is FWD then it will go into a pretty crowed market (Focus XR5/ST, C30, Golf GTI, Mazda3 MPS, Civic TypeR, 147GTA, Megane RSs)… where as if it has AWD then its only competitors are the S3, Golf R32 and at a pinch, the 1-series.

    And finally, wouldn’t it be sweet if an AWD 9-1 formed the basis for Saab’s reentry into world rallying? 😉

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