Saab USA in 2008

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.

BioPower

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.

The 9-7x

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.

9-7xwheel2008.JPG

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 9-4x

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.

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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.

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6 Comments

  1. wait, so the production facility for the 9-4X has been confirmed as Mexico?

    Darn… I was hoping for Trollhattan.. (or at least somewhere else in Europe like Russelheim)

  2. Well, given the fact that it takes just about as much energy to make E85 as it puts out – most of us are not seeing a huge advantage in cost at the pump compared to regular unleaded. However given the fact that is a very high octane fuel, that might prove to be interesting in a forced induction engine.

    In the end E85 will only be impressive if costs significantly less than gasoline to the American driver. That and the ability to be able to find it would be great as well (I live in Northeast Ohio) – so far it is only sold at one or two stations that I know of.

    As for those big auto shows, lets not leave good old Cleveland, OH out of the picture. We have a pretty big show here.

    And l am hoping that the buzz surrounding the 2008’s will mean rebate time for the 2007 models. July is the perfect time to start the ‘Saab Summer Clearance’.

  3. Another Ted from NE Ohio posting on Trollhattansaab (and driving a Saab I hope). Life is good. It sure would be nice if they’d bring the Saab Performance Team to the Cleveland Air Show. At least they will have a presence there though. I might go just to see the display.

  4. Swade, are you not forgetting the cross over of the 9-3? Bring out the plastic and you have a “new” model that would sell plenty. Look at Olvov and their XC70 – at least in canada it appears as if they sell more of them than ordinary V70s.

    My bet is:
    XWD of the 9-3 – Showed in frankfurt this fall

    A cross over version of the 9-3 showed in New York (that is the one just before Detroit – right?

    A consept of the 9-4 showed in Detriot a month later.

    They might flip the turn on these to boost the intetest in the 9-3 cross over but I imagine that this will be the case. If they present the XWD in frankfurt and start selling it during the fall as an AERO, they can introduce it for the other models during early 2008. Remember that they need to do this asap given that the current 9-3 only has 3-4 years to go and waiting 2 years would only give 2 years to recover cost.

    Then we take a concept of the new 9-5 in geneva 2008, with introduction later that year, or early 2009.

  5. The 9-7X Aero will be out in October and will be the 6.0 V8 rated at 395HP. The 20” wheels will be standard and will be in one color – similar to the “Altitude” edition. And dont count on any pics on the 9-4X either

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