The Frankfurt Motor Show starts in just a few days time.
Trollhattan Saab has been fortunate enough to get press accreditation and Rayman will be travelling to the show and staying (at GM’s expense) for all the press events that mark the beginning of the show. He’s going to be among the first people to see the Turbo X in person – a claim I could only wish for.
Rayman’s a Saab guy at heart, but also has an interest in other marques too, as his family’s in the car business.
He shot through a few preliminary remarks via email and I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings back from the adventure.
GM steadily becoming greener!
One thing is for sure. GM is really trying to push their “Environmental Initiative” further. There is only a mere 24 hours until the curtain will be lifted off what they call “a dramatic new Opel concept”. Before this takes place, the IAA Blogger Guide and various magazines were a good read on what to expect throughout the GM-Family. So a question came to my mind – What is Saab up to and what is GMs real emphasis on Eco? Flipping the pages I read about HydroGen4 Fuel cells, electric propulsion, ecoFlex, Flexpower and downsizing displacements. They are indeed investing EUR 700 Mio over the next 5 years, trying to figure out what might suit the upcoming demands. Not bad at all, for Saab seems to have a leading role in it.
What about BioPower?
Should I like the road we are currently on, even though Saabs BioPower jump start is evolving into a “supplier status” for Opels or the Cadillac BLS? This might be a good news/bad news situation. The 2.0 Turbo E85 with 175HP is going to become a normal thing on GM pricelists on a wider scale. The only problem occurring now – if I take Germany for instance – we do not have enough gas stations for it. There are about 130 – I don’t even know where to go if I would like to fill in E85. And then there are the standard suppliers – such as Bosch in their Service Centres who insist on their opinion that Ethanol is no adequate alternative [up to 10% more fuel consumption and this is not never predictable, no government standing behind it, thousands litre of water for 1 litre Ethanol]. So it’s hard to believe that Ethanol will make an impact here in the near future.
What is planned in the short term?
That seems to be the issue and it could become Saabs problem while trying to sell the revamped 9³ until 2010. I could not see E85 in combination with electric propulsion being in the pipeline, any more. Instead GM takes on the small cars, lightweight concepts and the small 1.3 Diesel Engines with starter generator and start/stop automatic to gain efficiency [elongating axle-driver ratios, worked out aerodynamics] as Swade metioned. Saab could really need some of this technology by now – Audi is not doing something like this, at least not yet in the next Gen A4 – Mercedes only has its Bluetech Diesel versions [though working on a Diesel/Petrol combination]. BMW is already switching their Line-Up into being fuel efficient [via generators and new direct injections].
Another alternative that is coming strong in Europe could be downsizing displacements while using turbo charging for strong performances. Is Saab going to get something like this [what happened to the potential 1.0 BioPower with 150HP]? I did not hear a word about it – GM has a 1.6 Turbo engine running for months with 180HP, so why not implementing it or something similar into the Saab Range [they would tweak the specs anyway]? VW has 1.4 Turbo/Compressor kit with up to 170 HP – considered as the best new low displacement machines and real Diesel Competitor. So, it’s a lost opportunity on downsizing somehow. This could hurt Saab in some markets – but especially in markets like Germany where there is lots of room left if Saab wants to increase sales numbers. Hopefully GM and Saab have something more up their sleeves.
I do not exactly know about it, but with the feeling of an all new 9-5, the 9-4X being just around the corner, I still hope to see at least a tidbit :).
Getting to see the Turbo X in real life [and probably won’t see it again for quite a long time] will be really great, no matter what!! After all it’s a landmark presentation – spanning 30 years of Saab Turbo Power. I was not yet born in 1977 and still ended up with some warmth and passion for this brand [though my fathers company has been importing nearly every model for almost two decades now] – it should become a remarkable unveiling for me… and then there is the Saab Breakfast and the GM-provided accommodation… I begin to feel a rush of excitement!