That “Sonett” pic….

Saab Aero-X Sonett

I posted that pic purely because the Edmunds article mentioned a small Saab coming in the future. This much we all know.

This picture actually related to a different article, however. The article was in a French publication called Cardisiac that claims Saab engineers in Trollhattan would like to start working on a new Saab Sonett. I’m sure they would, but I don’t see it happening.

My web translation of the original article:

Saab has ‘vegetated’ for a long time now, placed on the back burner by its owner. However, there is no lack of motivation in Trollhättan. On the contrary, the engineers of the engineering and design department plan on many projects. Thus, they would like to start on the Sonett again…

It gives a run-down on the history of the Sonett, then proceeds thus:

It is the same conqueror state of mind that animated the team of Rolf Mellde with the Sonett I that engineers in Trollhättan would like to make reappear. And what could be more marvellous if it is with the creation of a new sports car?

But for that they will have to convince GM, that for Saab, the creation of a half-compartment is important. At Saab, one wants to really believe in it. ….. The Swedish engineers besides are well decided to take again this platform to create their small racing car. Their model, which with the difference of the Solstice, Sky and GT, will not be a roadster, but a half-compartment two places.

So, they’re forecasting a hardtop Saab two-seater based on the Kappa platform.

It’s not the first time it’s been mentioned but given Saab’s proirities I’d have a very hard time seeing this as anything more that a page-filler for this publication. Saab needs that 9-4x SUV and the 9-5 range-topper first. After that there will be a smaller car, but I’d find it very hard to believe it’d be a two-seater rather than a four-seat hatch.

And that’s all before we get into the facts about Kappa and it’s lack of suitability for XWD. Given that Saab would be highly unlikely to introduce a RWD small car, XWD would be the way it’d have to go and Tiago Di Vale summed that up pretty well in comments to the previous post covering this picture.

Shortly, I’ll put together a model forecast that’ll cover all the intel I’ve received in the last few months. There’s some conflicting information there, but hopefully we’ll be able to draw a picture that’ll give us a fair idea of things going forward.

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  1. GM keeps expanding the scope of their Kappa platform. This same platform is now offered as the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky in North America, the Opel GT in Europe, and just recently announced as a Daewoo for Asia-Pacific sales (maybe Korea only).

    I don’t want to see another Solstice/Sky clone wearing a Saab front clip, but this same platform could wind up as the under-pinnings of a true Saab Sonett. Would this be the Sonett IV or V?

    I also agree that Saab desperately needs to engineer a replacement for the 9-5. I read yesterday that all cars sold in the US will require side air bags effective September 1, 2009. Either we (Saab fans) will have a new 9-5 with the 2010 model year incorporating this now nearly standard safety feature, or the 9-5 will cease to exist.

  2. Another major problem with using Kappa (besides XWD packaging difficulty) is that it’s available in left-hand drive only. Saab wouldn’t ignore one of its largest markets (UK).

    Now Kappa 2 on the other hand….

  3. I thought RWD and Saab was a big no-no?

    If not, then I could see a Sonnet riding on Alpha. Its GM’s new “midsized” RWD architecture. It would underpin a Pontiac G6, the new BLS and a Holden (they originally came up with concept. I think it was the Torana or something, bright pink Holden Concept). I think we will see this platform show up before Kappa 2, seeing as Kappa is only two years old?

    Its all speculation, and I doubt we would see a Sonnet before the 9-4x and 9-5 show up in 09/10. Then a new 9-3 in 11, a 9-1 somewhere in there. Then after those are introduced could I see a Sonnet showing.

  4. I know what i found (my comment was ment ironically).
    I’ve seen it in the flesh. Moundwatering.
    The 9X-slogan ‘NOW YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL’ was promising. The only we really could order are some look-a-like alloys (ALU 52 ?) and the front looks which were imported later on the latest 9-5 facelift.
    The even never reused the slogan.
    I think i wuld already be satisfied if they put the 2,0 T 205 or 210 HP in there.

  5. The front of the 9X was a Michael Mauer masterpiece but I fail to see any resemblance to the facelifted 9-5. I wont go any further out of respect for the Saab name. 😉

  6. This reminds me of something interesting Peter Johansson (Engineering Specialist Driveline and AWD for GM Europe, and grandson of one of the 16 aircraft engineers who started SAAB) told our table over dinner at the House of Sweden last Monday night.

    He mentioned that so many of SAAB’s innovations started out as side projects of SAAB engineers. They wouldn’t ask SAAB if it was okay to design something because they knew the answer would be “no”. So they would develop it and then show it to the bosses who would scold them for going off and designing something on their own, but then would give the project the go-ahead to enter production. This is the “SAAB way”.

    I remember reading that’s how SAAB came up with heated seats (an engineer with a bad back used to put a heating pad on his seat and decided it a good idea to incorporate it into the seat) and how the Sonett program was started (in a barn by SAAB engineers on the side).

    I wonder if this is still “the SAAB way” and they might be developing something on the side they haven’t yet received permission from SAAB (or GM…) for yet.

    As for this specific possibility of a new hard-top two-seater Sonett based on the Kappa platform: I highly doubt it. First of all, Kappa is rear-wheel-drive only and Knut Simonsson (SAAB Global Brand and Marketing) just this week was quoted by Edmunds Auto Observer “[Saab] “will never skip front-wheel drive” as a base drivetrain layout.” Second of all, though SAAB has the Sonett tradition all signs point to SAAB trying to incorporate utility and functionality, something a two-seater hard top does not.

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