Now that Sweden’s done and dusted, it’s time to start speculating on what Saab USA might have in store for MY2008.
The Saab Owner’s Convention in Michigan will be a key date as far as all this is concerned. We know that the new 9-3 is going to be shown to the masses there as it’s a press release about SOC late last year that got the whole MY08 9-3 thing started on this site.
But will they have anything else up their sleeve?
The other key date, if SOC doesn’t prove to show anything other than the new 9-3, involves the big Auto Shows in November-March. That is, LA, Detroit and New York. Anything that doesn’t come out at SOC will likely get the big press treatment at these shows, but you knew that already.
So what are the potential news items??
The 2008 Saab 9-3 range.
As mentioned, this one’s a no-brainer and will be shown to the Saab faithful at SOC. But this isn’t likely to be the first showing. My mail has it that the 9-3’s US launch will a little earlier, from August 1. This will probably involve a big press event like the one underway in Sweden at the moment.
They’ve been saying it’s on its way for some time now. Could MY2008 finally be the time when Saab brings a BioPower presence to the United States? The infrastructure still isn’t there yet for it to be a big seller on the east and west coasts, where Saab’s primary markets are. Ironically, E85’s availability is most concentrated in the corn states where Saabs aren’t big sellers.
Can that change? And should it matter? With BioPower’s ability to run on E85 or gasoline (or any mix of the two) it should still be able to be sold anywhere. Picking up the environmental kudos for having responsible performance is the attractive item here.
MY2008 fits the timeline that Saab have mentioned since the first US BioPower concept car was shown last year, so let’s see if they’re good at their word.
2008 will see the end of 9-7x production, but it will still be a full model year. The 9-7x will be succeeded by the 9-4x to be built in Mexico, but all that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any news for Saab USA’s second-best seller.
I have some spec notes on the 2008 9-7x lineup. They mention a new color, Cocoa Metallic and some new 18″ wheels being available.
What the notes don’t mention is the new “Aero” version said to be coming sooner rather than later, with even bigger 20″ wheels and who-knows-what-else thrown into the package in a final year’s last hurrah for the vehicle.
Will the 9-7x Aero get a run at SOC? I doubt it, but it’ll be nice if it does. I hope it’s as close to the SEMA 9-7x as possible.
The big question on everyone’s lips is whether or not we’ll get to see the 9-4x in the near future. I’m being purely speculative here, but I think it might be a possibility that a prototype 9-4x could be shown at one of the major US shows Auto shows during the northern winter.
If my mail’s right on the 9-4x, then it’s a genuine likelihood that this car could be introduced in just over a year from now. Some exposure to the public eye in the preceeding model year wouldn’t be out of the question for GM, who have a habit of showing these types of vehicles well before they become available for sale to the US public.
Jay Spenchian showed a sketch of the 9-4x at last year’s SOC. Hopefully Steve Shannon might go on better and show a photo in August this year. If you’re going to be there, make sure you attend whatever presentation he makes.
I’ll be keeping my ear to the ground on all these potential issues and will let you know as soon as I do, when something comes up.