Saab 9-1 concept to bow in London, 2008?

Thanks to Kroum and Zippy we have a story, via Autocar, saying that Saab might be showing a concept version of the 9-1 compact car at the London Motor Show, which takes place in July 2008.

I haven’t heard this news anywhere else up until now, and I’ll treat it with a little caution until I do.

There’s very little specific information in there and the “US source” they’re quoting, well, I’m pretty sure it’s Steve Shannon from one of his recent public events. It may have been the Saab Owners Convention round table, even.

A lot of info is quite general. How’s this for covering all your bases?

Autocar understands that Saab has recently signed off the final form of the 9-1 and work is about to begin on the production car.

Although a pure utility vehicle has probably been ruled out the company’s classic 99 Combi Coupe – a two-door coupe with a tailgate – could be the inspiration for the 9-1.

Iconic styling in the mould of the Audi TT could also be on the menu. Both the Saab 9x and 9-3x concepts could give clues as to the final form of this vitally important model.


If it’s true, then 2008 is going to be one heck of a busy year for Saab. We know there’s going to be new product on show in January, in Detroit. That’ll most likely be the Saab 9-4x.

We also know that there will be a Saab 9-3x showing some time in 2008 as it’ll probably be released for sale some time in 2008.

We’re also hearing that the next Saab 9-5 will most likely be released for sale a short time after the Saab 9-4x, so one could be forgiven for believing that there might be a concept version of this vehicle on show in late 2008 as well.

Four new Saab vehicles shown in one year???

I’d welcome it, but it would be quite unprecedented. I’m expecting three of the vehicles listed above, but the 9-1?

I really do hope so, but I’m just not sure on that one. Let’s wait and see if some other sources confirm the story.

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  1. Almost too good to be true, I know… But if Saab is to really come on strong, they need a busy few years! Could it be 2008 is just the beginning of a Saab resurrection? As far as I am concerned – the more the merrier.

  2. The source was definitely not Steve Shannon from the S.O.C. Round Table. I was there and he said nothing of the sort, not even anything that would indicate he’s alluding to this. He mentioned nothing of the 9¹ at all that I can remember. The only thing he alluded to was the “Black Turbo” (which we now know as the Turbo-X) being presented at Frankfurt.

    I think that this sounds fishy. Saab traditionally has introduced vehicles at big auto shows and while London is a big city, I don’t think its auto show is considered one of the “premier” international auto shows, is it?

    The 99 Turbo premiered at Frankfurt (I think), the Turbo-X at Frankfurt, the Saab hybrid at Stockholm (which I thought weird at the time, as Stockholm isn’t really a premier auto show either, but it makes sense as it’s in Sweden), the C900 convertible at Frankfurt in ’83, and the 9⁴X looks to debut at Detroit (due to its North American manufacture, I guess).

    I don’t know where the other model Saabs debuted, but I’m guessing it was always Frankfurt. Frankfurt seems to be the major European international auto show. Why wouldn’t the 9¹ debut there as well?

  3. Gripen – The Aero-X premiered at Geneva…who knows. The UK is a big market for Saab, maybe they wanted to show them some thanks.

  4. Jeff: yeah, I learned that just after I posted that last comment. But Geneva is also a major auto show.

    I think the “majors” are Frankfurt, Geneva, Paris, and the North American International Auto Show (Detroit).

    Stockholm, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, and London would all be considered minor ones, despite there having been minor Saab concepts (Saab hybrid, BioPower Beast, etc.) debuted there in the past.

    But you’re right, anything can happen. Perhaps with all the debuts scheduled for ’08 they didn’t want to have 3 or 4 debuts at the same auto show so they’re spreading them out. Maybe North America will get the 9⁴X, London will get the 9¹, Geneva will get the 9³X, and Frankfurt will get the 9⁵.

    I looked at the Motor Trend auto show calendar and don’t even see London (or Stockholm, for that matter) listed.

  5. SaabKen: you might be right, but I think that the whole “Opel-based” thing is a thorn in Saab’s side. I know of at least one Saab USA employee who is irritated every time he reads an auto magazine article which erroneously claims the 9³ is “Vectra-based”.

    I doubt Saab would want to do anything to emphasize that the 9¹ and the Vauxhall/Opel/Saturn Astra are based on the same platform for fear of the 9¹ being labeled as “Astra-based”.

  6. Aha, finally the long expected 9-1.
    Can’t they throw a 9-1X in the game immediately ?
    Nevermind where they will presented first.
    The small cabrio callled Sonett IV like asumed in that wiki-link sounds even better.
    Would make up some nice comparison tests confronting that one with 1-series convertible from bmw – or the recently announced audi A3-series convertible (well hm, thats just in order to release some pressure from recent saab vs bmw-links … )

  7. wilfried: I have no doubt that there will be a future “sport” version of the 9¹ with XWD, but I think the immediate concern is to offer a less-expensive “entry” model to the Saab lineup as the 9³ and 9⁵ get larger and move upmarket.

    In order to offer a less-expensive car the 9¹ will likely debut as a FWD-only car, which truthfully is all I’d personally ever need, though a XWD-equipped version would be an obvious candidate for a Saab re-entry into professional rally motor sport.

  8. Give the 9-1 a more sporty (than xwd) all-wheel-drive a’la Impreza WRX and a DSG box and you just described my Saab.

  9. Autocar are usually quite accurate and tend to tell it how it is. They rarely publish something unless it has come from a concrete source, unlike Auto Express who tend to just print out almost every rumour out there, allegedly of course.

    The UK is one of Saabs biggest markets, and I can certainly see them making a debut for the 9-1 there.

  10. Impreza-concurrent sounds nice.
    Wait and see.

    At the moment all we can do is just hope saab sticks to their modern design language and resist to make some 95/96-retro-design, ‘iconic’ styling is fine, but saab needs no other mini-chrome or cinquencento-grappa in its range.

    Hope it will be very much different than its opel/vauxhall astra nephew.But here again a question: will GM put the opel OPC variant first in starting grid, before any 9-1X ?

  11. well, steve shannon said, in his recent interview with swade, that saab is waiting to see how well the volvo c30 sells before deciding on a 9-1 (or whatever its name would be). so, my guess is that summer, 2008, would be too soon to accommodate at least two major issues:

    1) evaluate the success, or lack thereof, of the c30; and

    2) define what a 9-1 would be–a hatch, a sonett, etc. if the c30 doesn’t sell well, then a 9-1 probably won’t be a hatch.

  12. I wouldn’t look for the production version of either the 9.4X or the all new 9.5 until late 2009 as a 2010 model. Sure the prototypes will be shown at the various auto shows but as far as these models being on sale at dealerships…2009 at best (well at least in the US). I’d love to see them earlier but I wouldn’t count on it.

    As far as the 9.1, my money says late 2010 as a 2011 model, then probably late 2011 as a 2012 model for the all new 9.3 models…..just my 2 cents.

  13. ^So far the C30 IS selling well, the only question mark is the C30 selling in the U.S. Unfortunately Volvo hasn’t put dollars into marketing the C30 in America and people do not know it exists.
    BMW proved with the Mini that a premium hatchback can sell. Audi proved with the A3 (which has little visual punch) that it better had stand out from the crowd, as it has been a sales dud in the US.

  14. A modern 99 combi coupe sounds great, if that’s true. I’m just wondering what trim levels it will have. How many engines? XWD? The C30 has more trim levels outside of the USA if I’m not mistaken.

  15. This is true…the C30 only comes in 2 flavors, and both have the same engine, however you can order almost any single line item, and there are a lot of interior/exterior combos. so there are literally over 5 million different ways you can order it.

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