Hasn’t the internet just gone completely bonkers with the apparent announcement from Saab that the 9-1 will show at the London Motor Show in July 2008?
I’ve been asleep for the last 7 hours or so, and in that time some of the major US motoring sites have all written it up as fact that we’ll be seeing a Saab 9-1 mid next year and even better, that it’ll be on sale some time in 2009.
Some of them are forgetting the fact that they’re blogs and reporting it as verified fact…..
Saab will unveil its Delta platform-based 9-1 at the 2008 London Motor Show and it will be available for purchase in late 2009. Nondefinitive descriptors provided by Saab assure us that the 9-1 will be dramatically styled with an iconic shape. There had been some attention paid to a high-roof small CUV idea, but Saab asserts the 9-1 will be sporty in that Saab way, though it will have the functionality younger buyers are looking for.
Saab has announced that it will unveil its Delta-based 9-1 this July at the 2008 London Motor Show.
I’ve added the bold in there. These two reports are claiming some sort of announcement or assurance by Saab that this stuff is happening and is fact. I haven’t seen any sort of announcement by Saab at all. Maybe I need to double-check my feeds. Their reports are based on the same article that I wrote about yesterday, an article from Autocar magazine out of the UK.
Thankfully, Jalopnik seem to be taking more of a blogger’s line…
Thus we hear they’ll be introducing a concept version of the 9-1 entry level vehicle at London that will be “sporty enough to fit the Saab character” with the “functionality to attract younger buyers.” Whatever that means.
I wrote about this whole episode yesterday with a very cautious tone.
Well, first of all, Saab have rarely released more than one vehicle in a year, either in real or concept form, ever. In 2008 we’re going to see the 9-4x and a 9-3x – a XWD and raised version of the 9-3 SportCombi. Given that the 9-5 is all-but-officially-confirmed for release later in 2009 (with the 9-4x earlier in 2009) I’d envisage Saab will also show that vehicle in 2008, though a Geneva showing in March 09 may also be a possibility. That’s three possible new vehicles to be seen in 2008 already, and now a proposal for a fourth?
The 9-5 really is a key in all of this.
Whilst the Aero-X is a signpost in future Saab design, the 9-5 will be the true indicator of how that design language is applied to the bulk of future Saab passenger vehicles. Word coming through to me is that the 9-5’s design has been rejected and reworked several times since 2005 and that includes very recent times.
Why is this important? Saab have only started talking openly about a 9-1 being in the future model pipeline for real in 2007. Car design, when it’s going to apply to real production models, takes considerable time. With the 9-1 only being confirmed as a model recently and the production design language still somewhat up in the air, I just find it very hard to believe that a reliable 9-1 design concept could be ready for show by July next year.
And finally, all previous reports about the 9-1 have it appearing ‘during’ 2010 or later, rather than the 2009 launch predicted here.
I’m quite open to all of this happening and I hope it does. If the 9-1 comes in 2009 then a performance version of that car could well be my first ever brand new Saab. But I’m skeptical and I think the web’s got a little carried away here.
I use the name Djup Strupe as a cover-all name for the various sources who provide me with information about Saab’s model development. Naturally I don’t divulge names and try to keep some of the info fuzzy so as not to give away the possible source. Sometimes the nature of the information itself can point to certain sources, so you’ve got to be very careful with this stuff.
If I’ve heard something from a Djup Strupe or have constructed something from several known sources then it’s reported as such until it’s confirmed, hence my cautious treatment of this 9-1 news from yesterday. I’ve already had brief comments from one Saab guy who’s 99% sure that the report is incorrect, which I tend to agree with.
But there’s several facts about the 9-1 that are worth getting excited about:
Hybrid possibilities – reported here with names from Saab attached. Names of people I’ve met in person from Saab in Sweden, so when they were quoted by the Swedish news sources I had confidence in those reports being true.
XWD appearing on the car – here’s a piece of confirmed news that’s just happened today. Saab History did an interview with Steve Shannon at the New England Auto Show and in that interview Steve Shannon said the following:
“we would certainly envisage having cross-wheel-drive”
Now that’s reportable fact. He goes on to say that he expects all Saab cars across the range to have an XWD application in the future.
With regard to the Saab 9-1 showing in London, I’ve written to Saab Sweden asking for comment on this story and will get back to you as soon as I know something.