UPDATE – I’ve elevated this to the top of the site for all the Europeans that will be waking up in the next few hours. But five hours ago…..
And thanks to MarkoA for this link – a sneaky preview of the SportCombi Turbo X
It’s night time in Germany as I write this and Rayman has checked in before catching some Zzz’s and getting ready for the big Saab breakfast tomorrow – Turbo X time!
Tonight was all about Opel, and specifically the Flextreme concpet car. Flextreme is Opel’s take on the e-flex platform that was first showcased with the Chevy Volt early this year.
There’s a bunch of pictures after the jump. Now, over to Rayman:
The GM unveiling of the new Opel Flextreme is now done. We were busy getting our refreshments 🙂 and now its time to state the most interesting stuff from today.
As I wrote earlier GM is really pushing on the whole green issue. This years IAA will probably be the most environmentally minded of all time. You could even work on Fuel Cell powered workstations every where. The event took place right in the heart of Frankfurt/Main where GM rented a former Railroad station depot especially for this event.
There really were masses of people. It almost seemed like the whole GM-Family was out there. After an hour of “meet and greet” Bob Lutz took the stage and was really happy with the actual outcomes on GMs “green work”. He said that there might be lots of solutions out there in solving the CO2 and fossil problem but that GM is planning to become a part of the solution as well. He then explicitly came to E85 [BioPower/Ecoflex] and it was obvious that Saab made quite a good decision on starting up with E85 and that it is relevant to markets in the short term.
Afterwards it was interesting to hear and see what they think of being the future GM emphasis. Forget Fossils, welcome the electric propulsion. Their cars will all end up using batteries in the mid term, whilst using fossils only for empowering the battery! Take the Toyota Hybrid concept and turn it around. It will be interesting to see what kind of cars could be designed, when you actually have the freedom to use more and more space within the platform. Monocabing, butterfly doors – all this will be new to GM cars [even though they spoke of Opel / Vauxhaull as pack leader].
If so, that is what came to my Saab oriented mind, Saab could really use these technologies and then be as innovative on the platform structure as they like to be design wise. There are rumours of a really special next incarnation of the 9-3 convertible after 2010 but after seeing what GM is planning, I can now imagine what they mean. We have to stay tuned on this! The next Saabs could be more like Concept cars on the road and then they are even more desirable and can evolve into the brand we would like them to be. I left the unveiling with positive feelings!
A short note on the similarities between Saab and Cadillac [especially on the interior]:
We think its wasted money and could be spent more intelligently, and Bob Lutz gave a response on the issue that I do not like: The media might compare Saab and Cadillac but the customers rarely do. There are areas where differentiation gets you nothing and is very costly. There are areas where, if designed in a fairly neutral way, it can be suitable for a wide array of applications.
Instrument clusters and controls, door trim panels and seats are where you need to differentiate design language. Okay. Maybe won’t have to live with the same radio as the rest in the future. Didn’t some people say that the next 9-5 is going to have a thrilling interior??
Up next is the Saab Breakfast ? GM executives told me it will surely be better than the breakfast in the Hotel. By the way, the Steigenberger Airport Hotel in Frankfurt is extremely nice! I like the hotel rooms, as they have a Scandinavian look and feel to it! The accommodations granted by Saab and GM seem to be on a high standard where ever you go.
Here’s some pics that Rayman snapped off during the unveiling of the Flextreme:
If you’re wondering what these are, sticking out of the back of the car like that. There’s a storage space there for you enviro-conscious people to stick your Segway-type scooter thingy.
Isn’t it more enviresponsible to walk?
I think that rating the accommodation should become a standard part of the coverage from one of these events now. I’ve received two accommodation stints from Saab in the past – in Brisbane for the BioPower/Diesel release where I stayed at the Brisbane Hilton, and in Trollhattan as part of the Saab Festival.
Here’s some pics of Rayman’s digs in Frankfurt. Niiiiiice. Esp the bathroom.