SU Hi-Po Challenge #4

It’s time for the fourth entry in the SU Hi-Po challenge.

This is one that’s sure to get you thinking. It’s different. It’s a little controversial. It’s probably the most comprehensive and organised effort so far.

Whilst it’s all of that, and quite interesting to me on a personal level, it also misses out on a number of key criteria that would be needed for the hi-po model I proposed in the challenge (minimum output, saleability in key markets, requisite features for a halo model).

It comes from Aruk, out of England.

——

Saabs United (SU) High Power (Hi-Po) Challenge, Request for Proposal (RFP):

  1. The car must have 350hp minimum.
  2. How you’ll achieve that sort of power, where you’ll source the engine from.
  3. Modifications you’ll do to the interior, exterior, suspension, etc.
  4. Timeframe for testing this car.
  5. Warrant the vehicle in all markets with confidence.
  6. Expected sale price, based on current pricing in your market.
  7. How many of these vehicles you think Saab could realistically sell.
  8. How you’re going to fund the engineering, development and testing of this project.
  9. You have to fit it in to the current program by telling us which current priority is less important than a performance car.
  10. To make the Saab buildable and marketable.
  11. Given the European Investment Bank (EIB) funds are for efficiency projects only, EIB money is out of the question.

Background:
Whilst this may be ‘just-for-fun’ I still wanted to follow in the spirit of the challenge and to remain as close to the ‘RFP guidelines’ as possible!

Abstract:
To create a high performance, spiritual successor to the Saab 90.

Mission:
To design, develop and test a “Hi-Performance” modern day Saab 90 based on the current 9-3 SS/SC in 90 days. This is to be achieved within the boundaries of existing European approvals and stipulations and with no compromise in safety. The business-model will be one of risk-reward, shared between various parties. It will be a fixed option model with a production run of 20,000 units at a retail price equivalent to 15,999 USD. It is to be sold in key European markets only.

Executive Response for Proposal (RFP) Summary:

1. The car must have 350hp minimum.

  • 180bhp, 400Nm TTiD. Aftermarket and approved tuning also available.

2. How you’ll achieve that sort of power, where you’ll source the engine from.

  • Use of an existing engine.

3. Modifications you’ll do to the interior, exterior, suspension, etc.

General:

  • A thoroughly basic, current model Saab 9-3 SS/SC with interior design, development and manufacturing by BAIC China under the guidance of Saab.
  • No compromise on safety.
  • The exterior body, engine, safety systems and other critical (approval and legislation driven parts) and final assembly to be done by Saab, Sweden.
  • Fixed price and fixed equipment with no options.
  • No new tooling or movement of existing tooling.
  • Unless otherwise stated all parts and sub-assemblies to be made and where possible pre-assembled by BAIC China (who probably by now are producing an equivalent china-only model, the C60).
  • Single shipment (from China), low season, batch production.

Engine

  • Existing 180 TTiD including ancillaries and control; Sweden.

Electrical

  • Very basic and only in accordance with fixed options i.e. minimal to no pre-wiring.
  • Front speakers only.
  • No Radio/ICE.
  • USB port for charging and basic connection of MP3/devices.
  • No electric windows/central locking/side mirrors/heated seats/sunroof.
  • Single interior light.
  • No cigarette lighter socket or ashtray.
  • Speedometer and fuel gauges only.
  • Minimal dashboard warning/information lights
  • Safety systems –Airbags, sensors, ABS, EBD, ESC, EBA, TCS, etc.. Sweden.

Transmission

  • Existing 6 speed manual only. Sweden.

Brakes

  • As per approval and legislation for sale in Europe for parts made in China
  • Brake pads. Sweden

Steering

  • Basic steering wheel with blanked-off switches.
  • Single stalk.
  • All other sub assemblies; China.

Suspension System

  • Simple, existing Saab-design 16 inch black steel wheels only. No plastic covers.
  • Tyres –all weather/season Nokians for utility and appeal. Finland.
  • All other sub assemblies and components; China.

Car Body External

  • Steel, pressing, construction, painting, assembly; Sweden
  • Fixtures and fittings. Simple bumper skin with no indents for fog lights.

Car Body Internal

  • Simple pressed plastic door cards with cloth pull handles.
  • No carpets, just appropriate rubber floor mats, otherwise bare metal.
  • Robust plastics to cover any exposed cavity areas.
  • Seats with minimal, dense, contour foam padding. Structural reductions (not SAHR/safety related) especially with rear bench.
  • No spare wheel/tyre.
  • Cloth only seat covers.
  • Seat belts, isofix and associated safety components; Sweden.

Heating & Ventilation

  • Basic heating/ventilation and associate controls.
  • No air-conditioning.

Accessories

  • Use of existing catalogue where appropriate and necessary e.g. Tow bar.

Final Assembly

  • Sweden.

4. Timeframe for testing this car.

  • Design, Development and Testing -90 days; Sweden and China.

5. Warrant the vehicle in all markets with confidence.

  • Strictly European markets only.
  • As per existing product warranties.

6. Expected sale price, based on current pricing in your market.

  • Equivalent to 15,999 USD, 11,999 Euros or 9,999 GBP. Retail price with average 15-20% tax.

7. How many of these vehicles you think Saab could realistically sell.

  • 20,000 units.

8. How you’re going to fund the engineering, development and testing of this project.

  • Risk-reward model with BAIC China providing initial capital.

9. You have to fit it in to the current program by telling us which current priority is less important than a performance car.

  • Design, Development and initial testing by BAIC China with guidance from Saab.
  • Single shipment, low season, winter 2011, batch production.

10. To make the Saab buildable and marketable.

  • Existing tools and processes with a severe reduction in components and features.
  • Very basic ‘Assembled in Sweden’ Saab model with traditional Saab safety, utility and very high performance (and tuneable) 180bhp/ 400 Nm diesel engine offering exceptional, no-nonsense, recession-friendly value!
  • Transparency with regards to the component origins of this near end-of-model car with all key/safety aspects and assembly in Sweden.
  • Available spring 2012.

11. Given the European Investment Bank (EIB) funds are for efficiency projects only, EIB money is out of the question.

  • N/A, unless the resultant reduced emission and fuel consumption figures qualify for it.

——

References:
http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2011/01/the-su-hi-po-challenge.html
http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2010/04/more-on-beijing-automotives-saab-based-show-cars.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_90

Patrik B
Guest
Patrik B
5 years 7 months ago

It would surely sell extremely well for 11 900 Euros!

But isn’t most of the profit in the options? So cleaning out all the options wouldn’t necessary reduce the price with 50 %. But still, making a no nonsense car would be extremely refreshing compared to the competitors extremely annoying instrumentation light and extremely complicated electrics…

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 7 months ago

Sorry, sounds more like an anti-halo car to me.
Saab Jetta?

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 7 months ago
OK, let me moderate myself a little bit. I’d love to see Saab make an inexpensive, stripped down version of any of its existing or future cars, as long as power and handling don’t suffer. There definitely will be a market for such a car and it will pull in younger drivers which then get a chance to be bitten by the Saab bug. What I don’t like about this idea. It’s getting build in China, which means it not only will be inexpensive, but also cheap. I’m afraid that the remaining quality (after stripping it down) will also suffer,… Read more »
psmisc
Guest
psmisc
5 years 7 months ago

I’m not worried about Chinese build quality when it comes to high-end products. Heck, Airbus A320 and Eurocopter EC120 are built in China. Chinese Volkswagens also have better reputation than North American ones. It’s the low-end products that I don’t trust. You get what you pay for.

Besides, BAIC already builds Mercedes C and E-class for the Chinese market. From what I read the quality is very much up to par.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 7 months ago
If you’re just looking for a cheap but fun Saab, why not just buy a 2-3 year old Saab? I cringed at several moments while reading this proposal 🙁 For the sheer hustpah of it, I applaud the effort on the idea and execution. It’s really well thought out and makes sense at some level. But at some point you have to throw out core values that I think a Saab needs, safety and a sense of premiumness being two very critical areas. Again, if you want a cheap Saab, there are plenty of great used ones ready to go.… Read more »
RS
Guest
RS
5 years 7 months ago

Aruk, I think you just created the ultimate hooligan car right there. It would be a real value destroyer imo. Who’d ever pay $35k for a 210 hp 9-3 with 5 more speakers after that one?

I had a 90. With 200+ hp it would have killed young men (and their friends in the backseat) like flies around here (let the 3-series own that sad statistics). Sorry, but no!

Tom
Guest
Tom
5 years 7 months ago

My initial thought was a flat out “no”. I didn’t see premium, & I didn’t like the idea of BAIC involvement.

Then I reflected a little – what if you were coincide this launch with a Saab WRC entry, could you not create your own unique halo effect? It could be a very effective way to restate brand DNA.

The halo effect is different to a halo car. Do something exceptionally well and it will influence judgements in other areas.

Saab 9* Rallye, anyone?

North Toronto Punter
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

Nearly everything you’ve been posting these days, RS, I find myself in perfect agreement with and have nothing to add but thumbs up.

Good thing, as my previous comment (at time of writing doesn’t appear) is ‘awaiting moderation’ (does referring to something as ‘half-xxxed’ render one non grata?)

74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 7 months ago

Kudos for having put so much effort into this project..

For some people, Saab guidance or not, would simply not buy a Saab desinged with many parts made in China..critical parts or not…
Notice I said some not all…. people would not buy…

Majority of Saab Sweden parts or not… some people simply can’t look past it.

Why such a low cost/ stripped vehicle? Is this in order to NOT take away from any existing projects yet harken back to “the good old days”?

again, you sure put some thought into this and I commend your efforts.

Jon C
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

As you would expect I applaud your “less is more” ethos. An interesting idea about manufacturing in China, I suspect that those who have an issue with that are the people who compained that Indian ownership would ruin Jaguar. And by ruin they meant increase sales by 30%. Don’t you hate it when your precoceptions are wrong?
I do think with a price of 10k Sterling you would sell more than 20k in the UK alone but possibly bankrupt the company in the process 🙂

MrY
Guest
MrY
5 years 7 months ago
To create any profit worth talking about at all, this car would have to sell in the mid x00 000 range, and at the same time kill all chances of being viewed as a quality brand. Saab is neither suited for this kind of experiment .If any kind of “Rallye/CSL/RSL” version should be created it would have to be “great cost” not “low cost”. A version stripped of all the “un-necessary items” would have to be a “Rallye/Track Day” (like the Subaru WRX) special with a tuned chassis and some additional “ponies” under the bonnet. The HFV6 is to heavy… Read more »
Magnus Olert
Guest
Magnus Olert
5 years 7 months ago

Something like a Ducati Monster Dark. The cheapest version with simplier brakes etc but painted matte black. So in one way it was also the coolest version.

Red J
Member
5 years 7 months ago

No way.
The Dark was only a cheap monster. The break system was worse, the front fork was worse, the rear swingarm was a steel one and not the aluminium one.

My yellow Monster was a 1000 times cooler than the dark.

Magnus Olert
Guest
Magnus Olert
5 years 7 months ago

I some way I agree. I had a red Monster so I do also prefer the normal Monster.

But the Dark does LOOK cool.

Hans H
Guest
Hans H
5 years 7 months ago

I am very curious to why you chose your concept to be a “Spritual successor to the Saab 90”.
Why Saab 90? A very short-lived bastard of 99 and 900. Does the 90 carry some reputation that I am unaware of?
Why did you not choose 99?

Jr.
Guest
Jr.
5 years 7 months ago

Maybe old news, don’t have the time to follow comments here…

Saab together with the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has a research project focusing on a new way to construct car roofs that make them 80% lighter.

Article in Ny Teknik: http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/fordon_motor/bilar/article3085863.ece

Tompa
Guest
Tompa
5 years 7 months ago

You really put some thought into this man!

Regarding:

“Heating & Ventilation

Basic heating/ventilation and associate controls.
No air-conditioning.”

Please make it the old 900 HVAC system.. OUTSTANDING system!!! And I love that “wosh” sound 🙂 And since not having a stereo one could use the same dials and everything!

Cheers/Tom

74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 7 months ago

Off topic, but for my fellow United States peeps… the new Saabusa.com is up.

74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 7 months ago

SU is listed there under “Enthusiast Sites”

The layout might not look new to our overseas friends, but when I checked Saabusa this morning, it was still the old website.

sorry for going OT…

Troels, Denmark
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

Nice to see! 🙂 Looks good.

Tompa
Guest
Tompa
5 years 7 months ago

Cool! And extremely important!

Tim
Guest
Tim
5 years 7 months ago

Much better compared to the previous one, but too bad they used the global flash site and didn’t take this opportunity to develop a completely new site..

BTW does anyone get javascript errors while opening the main page? (Win7/IE 8)

Phoenix
Guest
Phoenix
5 years 7 months ago

Yes, also had some java errors on Win7/IE

mums
Guest
mums
5 years 7 months ago

What I would like to have is a 9-3SC with the Aero TX package plus the following things:
* Modified LNF engine (the one in Saturn Sky/Opel GT) with 350bhp.
* 6 speed manual gearbox.
* XWD
* Sport exhaust + end pipes from the Turbo X
* Tougher anti-roll bars
* Öhlins sport suspension
* Drilled or slotted cast iron disc brakes
* Hirsch sport steering wheel.
* ….

Rob in Loudoun
Guest
Rob in Loudoun
5 years 7 months ago

Very well detailed proposal. Kudos to you Sir! Your minimalist proposal is intriguing. However, this type of proposal sounds much more suited to the wished-for mini SAAB (9-2?). A b*lls-to-wall track/rallye version of the smaller SAAB would be a real gem. Unfortunately, your proposal couldn’t be implemented until SAAB has the baby SAAB in place. I truly feel that your proposal, applied to a smaller vehicle could be a truly exciting vehicle.

AndersRO
Guest
AndersRO
5 years 7 months ago
For 12 000, where do I pay, I want it in 70-ties brown and blue and yellow rally stripes with SAAB on the front doors, I would leave my company car in the garage, (air con is wanted though as it is 40+ degrees in Romania during the summer) I do not see a problem with parts made in China, a lot of parts are made in South East Asia today, for many different brands. Do not know what it will do for the brand at that price point, what do I get extra for a regular SAAB 9-3, and… Read more »
Volvo D
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

You lost me at build it in china. Saab is Swedish. The 9-4X being built in Mexico is pushing it, but since its an SUV/Crossover that really doesnt hurt as much.

Toby
Guest
Toby
5 years 7 months ago
For me the Saab 90 was somewhat illegitimate after the 99>900 evolution, so from Saab’s modern history (after 2/ ) this is the worst and least Saaby model to venerate. However the idea not withstanding the “China problem” in an exclusively euro market (an odd decision but I defer to your economic reasoning there) does hold water. let me elabourate… I have intimated here that Saab may do well to sell there expertise but when you consider much of their G2 tooling is in China under the auspices of BAIC (for a pretty penny) and their XWD guys are now… Read more »
PT
Guest
PT
5 years 7 months ago
Interesting approach and while I agree with your lightweight/simplicity drive, I completely disagree with both the Chinese angle and also the positioning ( ie – price). Trollhattan is apparently one of the most efficient and modern factories in the world, the expertise is already there. Moreover, the best way for a company to make money is to maximise its existing assets, not dilute them. Factories are effective when they’re busy ( simplistic but essentially true) and including too many external suppliers is not part of the game in my view. The other side of the halo car is that it… Read more »
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