I know there’s a lot of people out there with Saab hatchbacks. A lot of readers here own the more recent sport sedans or sportcombis, but there’s a lot of hatch owners – past and present – here as well. I’m proud to say I’ve got three Saab hatches in the driveway at the moment, even if only one of them’s running properly *blushes*.
We’ve been campaigning here for a long time now on tow separate things that seem to now be converging. One is the fact that most journos just don’t seem to “get” Saabs and their utility and quality in design. Second is the “bring back the hatch” slogan – one that really does need a quality T-shirt.
Some recent news articles seem to be pointing toward a pair of emerging trends that show Saab probably had it right all along.
The first article appeared in the LA Times and covers the fact that more and more vehicles featuring turbocharging are slated for a introduction in the near future.
….last week at the L.A. Auto Show, Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally announced a major initiative to begin putting turbochargers and a related technology — direct fuel injection — on a large portion of its fleet in the near future, calling the move a “cornerstone of Ford’s near-term plan.”
Then there’s BMW’s recent move into turbocharging, all of the turbodiesels that will be coming to the US and a bunch of others.
Saab would have. In fact, they already did. They started turbocharging 30 years ago and their specialty is the 4-cylinder turbocharged concept that a lot of these manufacturers are talking about.
The second article is in Swedish and appears at Auto Motor and Sport. It’s not an entirely new idea but Daniel R, the guy who emailed it to me, tells me that it’s talking about BMW in terms of a new hatch type vehicle that they might be developing.
BMW recently unveiled their X6 coupe concept that they’re saying will likely make production in the near future in a form very close to the concept. What we have there is a more sporting SUV that does indeed have a lot of hatchback characteristics.
The recent rise of the sporting wagon is another pointer to this anti-SUV trend and the 9-3 Sport Combi was recently referred to in one particular review as THE anti-SUV.
Saab discontinued the hatchback in 2002, though sort-of resurrected it in 2005 with the 9-3 SportCombi. In all the time that it’s owned the company, it’s seemed that GM never quite knew what to do with it’s offbeat little Swedish subsidiary.
Could it be that Saab had the blueprint for key vehicles of the future all along and GM just didn’t recognise it? Would it be a stretch to include GM in with that group of journos and others that don’t quite “get” Saab?
BRING BACK THE HATCH!!!
Thanks to Gripen for the LA article.