NG 9-3, 14 months away…

October 20, 2011 in News

Despite the production standing still in Trollhättan, the engineers are hard at work. Even though many engineers have left the company the spirit is still very high and work has continued, perhaps not in the phase initially thought but still at a high rate on the next generation 9-3. We have heard from several sources that the car should be ready for production within about 14 months, which means it could be either aprox 14 months or even sooner.

The car has already undergone test-drives in different environments. Personally I thought it would be delayed a lot more due to the financial situation at Saab so I consider this as very good news!

One source told us that the car looks really cool, that even the base line model features a lot more than normal and looks incredibly good! Some more details that have leaked to us is that the distance between the front and rear wheels is greater than normal, giving more space within the cabin of the car. We’ll just have to wait and see! =)

Having discussed the next generation 9-3 launch with a lot of motor journalists from around the world, almost all of them state the same flaw with Saabs presentation strategy. They are done too early!

It’s not good to present the car in a motorshow 6-12 months before a customer actually can get the keys to the car at a dealership. One journalist expressed it like this:
– “They should do like Apple, shipments are starting TODAY!”

By launching a car too early it becomes “old” faster. If the car is presented in 2012 but the first customers don’t get the keys to the car before mid 2013 then the car is already “one year old”…

Regarding the launch it self Saab has been very patriotic and several times launched the car to the public at home first, which is exactly the way it should be done in the future as well. Saab is very unique about this way of presentation but it really works! Make the presentation into a folk-fest!

The launch of the New Saab 900 “Very Saab” was probably one of the most successful launches in Saab’s history, for anyone who attended, who can forget the beautiful car coming up from the lorry, and the tasty Saab ice-cream!

The launch of the 9-5 back in 1997 was almost just as good! And who can forget Jan-Åke on stage with all three versions of the new 9-3 facelift version during the Saab Festival in 2008.

35 responses to NG 9-3, 14 months away…

  1. Meanwhile get a near-new or NEW 9-5 that is a car that is so good it out-drives any previous Saab or present Audi 6, BMW 5. Especially the 9-5 models with Hi-per struts front and H-arms in the back.
    In Sweden You can find Your favorite among the approx. 160 cars sitting out at car dealers around the country or get a “Store-house” brand new 9-5 from Saab Sweden/GMAC. Guess there are about 40 of them. You can get quite good prices on these cars with not to many miles on them. Get a nice used 9-5 for the same price as a brand new car of another brand. The Saab will give so much more, so much more rewarding to both You as a driver and the safety and comfort of Your dearest.
    Same situation in the US and Canada there are brand new ones ready for sale.
    So do Yourself and Saab/dealers/garages a favor buy a NG 9-5 or 9-3. This is the ONLY way to help Saab up on the road again. If You still like Your old 99, 900 etc. keep it, pamper it, and use it as a historic vehicle.

    • I read that you sold your 93 Turbo X and bought a 95 Aero instead. I actually did the exact same thing (but a couple of weeks before you :)). Sold my 93 Aero and bought a 2011 95 Aero instead. I`ve got two kids but so far the trunk has proved big enough for us. It`s really deep.
      I saw your car on Norrtullsgatan some time ago. Very nice! Keep your eyes open for my Oak brown 95!

      • turbokalle,
        To my great satisfaction I have been seeing more NG 9-5´s in the exclusive Stockholm inner city quarters of Vasastan. This is a very good sign. What specification do You have on your Oak Metallic 9-5 AERO?
        I wish more people would take the same action You and I have done and start driving 9-5 NG.
        I started a Saab NG 9-5 Owners Group International at Facebook to easily communicate issues on NG 9-5.

        • Oh boy, it seems I need to get a Facebook account after all :)
          As my previous Aero, it`s a TTiD with Nav and black interior. It`s not as quick as my old 93, but it drives really really well.
          I never anticipated the attention the car would get before I bought it. More or less on a daily basis, people come up to me to praise the looks of the car, telling me they think it`s a shame with the situation Saab is in.
          Like you say, people really notice the car and more then often goes “WOW”, so more NG95:s on the roads please! Don`t let them stand at the dealers! Right now these cars are the best advertiseing Saab can get. And the best car money can buy!

          • turbokalle,
            I saw a black 9-5 AERO outside Vivo on Norrtullsgatan the other day was that one Yours? What color did You go for?
            Every day at work someone comments on the great looks of the car and how well equipped it is. My aerospace department colleagues have given thumbs up specially on the Head Up display. They just love it!
            Sat in the car parked outside my apartment doing some leather conditioner work behind the original Saab sunshades. Suddenly 3 suit dressed men stopped and had a long conversation outside complementing the car and they said that they could not see why this car was not selling.

    • The situation is a bit special, with no production, since there is a limited amount of cars at the dealers, or being bought used, by the dealers. This could very well change, quite quickly when production is up and running, but still an observation:

      If you for some reason are looking for an Aero, 9-5 or 9-3 Griffin, you will notice that they are all automatic or diesel, or both, automatic diesel (who would’ve thought that some decade ago). Nowadays, at least in the Swedish market and some other, the Aero model is a combination of exterior and interior packages with a choice of some of the engines at the top of the range; i.e. it has most of the options available. This means also that not all Aeros have, for example, full leather (Sport seats, yes, but not necessarily full leather). With the Aero package one gets a lot in one package, whether it’s sports chassis or folding mirrors etc. doesn’t matter, it’s quite a nice package. But the options can also be added to a 9-3 Griffin via for ex. the Sport package etc. So with the 9-3 there are only some small differences, only included on the Aero, but still very nice, such as the front spoiler, double exhaust and the dashboard trim to mention some; the engine is the same. So one could say that the lack of manual, bio/petrol, Aeros could be filled by “loaded” Griffins.

      Still it’s a bit odd to see only automatic or diesels as Aeros (though I know that we are rapidly, as many parts of Europe, becoming a country driving diesels); that said, and as mentioned initially, the number of cars is quite low.

      And above all, I agree with you Trued.

  2. Like you say, they shouldnt show the car for a while.
    But maybe just a little bit of it? Im so excited about the looks of this car! :) :) :)

    Hope everyhing works out in the end.

    Any source about how things going with NDRC? Riksgälden? EIB?

  3. If Saab should survive till then, and I doubt about it for various reasons, it would be the fooliest thing to get the car and car specs out too early. Saab has had important product innovations in the past three years, and the impact on sales has been …. zero. Not just, because production stopped in April 2011, but also because the product launches had been poorly prepared, albeit in difficult circumstances. Moreover, initial test reviews for the new cars by major car magazines have been mixed to negative, because the cars, particularly the 9-5 sedan, was simply not mature. There are broader coniderations:
    1) It is true, that launching pictures and model specs devalue the current 9-3 Griffin offering, which will be very important for sales for the next 18 months. If the new model shows a lot of new features, obviously even hard Saab-addicts will postpone to order a 9-3. The broader mass of potential clients will stay aside anyway, as for good reasons they will doubt about the longer term survival of the brand.
    2) A new 9-3 must be a champion productwise in any respect, as the tolerance from media towards Saab will be close to zero. The 9-5 initially in several specifications had a harsh ride, and the journalists correctly hit at it. The interior was not up to the point in several respect, too much plastics, no moonroof and cheap radio and just one engine in the US, what caused poor reviews as well.
    3) The worst would be recalls and things alike, as this would fix the image of cost savings due to shortage of funds. Noone would trust a brand well known for its safety features, if not sufficient money has been available.

    Whatever the outcome, Saab needs a marketing miracle anyway, even if the deal with PangDa and Youngman should assure the survival initially, given the catastrophy that happened, and the incredibly poor global economic outlook.

  4. Going to call BS on this one.If Muller hasn’t had enough money to pay for parts on the car he already has in production there is no way he has money to spend on type approval, winter testing, hot weather testing, crash testing, fuel testing, chassis testing etc.
    Anyway it doesn’t matter when the next 9-3 is due. In fact, it doesn’t matter if the next 9-3 is sub 6.0sec 4wd with full leather, sat nav, voice control, a computer system that steers the car for you, a teasmade and a cuddly toy. If the money doesn’t come in or if Youngman/Pangda suddenly get cold feet or if the NDO chuck Saab back out of re-organisation or if the NRDC say no, you might as well say the next 9-3 will double as rocket plane. Its all just wishful thinking.

    I expect we’ll all see a few more of these rumours getting ‘leaked’ from ‘factory sources’ as we get closer to the NDO making their decision at the end of the month.

    • As far as I understood it, there is money from the EIB that is supposed to be used for development purposes (essentially “green development, I think). That money is still available for development. But Saab cannot use it for production of current orders.

    • Tim has been very skeptical that the 9-3 would be coming out on schedule. For him to be posting this specific, concrete information is not because he’s shilling for any marketing or company people, it’s because he has deep connections to actual engineers and workers at Saab who are responsible for the NG 9-3’s development. For you to question that is beyond my comprehension.

      • Jeff
        Seeing how things are panning out I would certainly not bet my salary on the 9-3 being ready in 14 months. I think this is optimistic to say the least. Incidentally there is more news coming from Saab about financing from North Street Capital…

    • Don’t forget that most of the work is done in-house by Saab employees and that cost is included in the monthly salary costs.

  5. Haven’t seen it for myself, but from what I’ve heard you either love/hate it, and I think that’s the right way to go, it got to be bold and not bland. Great news about the 14 months, if there is any truth to that, it’s just in time when my dad is getting a new one, and he doesn’t want to buy anything besides a Saab, and the 9-3 is perfect for him.

    • Good to hear about the love/hate aspect, especially with the current A4 being conservative and the new 3-series being both conservative and, uh, controversial at the same time, there is the opportunity to make some waves.

      • I’m totally with you on that one, the only Audi that I think stands out is the A7, a very beautiful car, the rest is very conservative and grey. In my opinion the new 3-series looks like a facelift with new headlamps and new fresh interior. Conclusion: The NG 9-3 is going to make waves. :)

        • I haver been drooling over the A7 a superb car in its division. A car that stands out. But comparing it to my NG 9-5 AERO for half the Audi money and exterior design/looks at par. That makes the 9-5 an even better choice. When I tried out the A7 in the spring this year I sort of wished that this would have had been a Saab. But the design on the 9-5 grows everyday. Especially in darker colors. In Carbon fiber grey it is stunning. In white not so for some reason. Here I totally agree with ex. Saab design boss Björn Envall (who is NOT a fan of the 9-5 in white; he calls it the “color of death”)

          • I prefer the NG 9-5 in lighter colors and most of all not colors that makes the contrast between the body colors and the “brushed aluminum inserts” not to strong, I think it makes the car look a bit on the cheap side. If i bought a jet black metallic Aero I would definitely wrap the inserts in a darker shade. Love white cars though (Y)

        • A7 beautiful!! Sorry but from the rear it resembles a dog squatting to foul the pavement, the A5 is better executed. Audi is an example of lazy, identikit design with nothing remotely interesting since the A2.

  6. Regarding the engineers at Saab and those who left.

    Is Mats Fagerhag still at Saab as a technical director ??

  7. I only have one question. When do SAAB start making automobiles again. Until they start production SAAB is a concept, not an automobile manufacturer. It does not matter how many coccepts, designs, engineers, and good wishes they have.

    • Well right now nobody knows this… from the different rumors I’ve heard we’re looking at a minimum of two months to get parts again from the time of order… so if these rumors are true which I believe that they are, they are not just taken out of the blue. We will probably not see any cars being built this year…

    • As far as I know there are SAAB:s being produced right now. 9-4x you know? (Oh I forgot to make my whole post in bold)

      • Well, actually the 9-4x is not being produced at the moment. From what we’ve heard Saab needs to buy them from GM first which they can’t afford at the moment…

      • Production of the 9-4x also stopped.

        It first stopped because of the summer holiday in Mexico and after that they did not restart because Saab is in reorganization. Victor Muller said that they will see it they will restart production after the reorganization period.

        No new Saab’s are build at the moment.

        • BoeBoe, not 100% correct
          SaabsUnited Rally team´s production line has three cars on the production line.
          Anyone who could do with a nicely renovated/modified 99 model can place a bespoke order with us. Just take a look at the white 99 Rally car we built i record speed time 1 month to the OctoberFest in Trollhättan.
          Lets hope Saab can get their production ramped up as well….

  8. I would, amazingly, look to what Cadillac is doing with the upcoming ATS as a marketing approach, kind of very “Inside Saab”-like. They’ve put up videos and photos of prototype cars doing laps, interviews with engineers, etc that have given a very nice feel for the type of car they’re aiming for (a driver’s luxury compact). You can watch the car drive, hear its engine, etc, all on Facebook. Despite this detail, though, they’ve given away almost nothing about the interior or exterior look or the specs.

    Here is the Autoblog link to some photos and video.

    Very slick. I think it’s built some a good amount of anticipation while keeping the actual car practically under wraps…

  9. The sooner the better! Although I’m afraid that we won’t even see the MY ’12 9-3 here in the US and will skip straight to the MY ’13. I second the Saab keeping their powder dry until closer to the actual release. They really can’t afford to screw this up. That said, even if the car is ‘vapor-ware’ at this point, I can see why they’d leverage news of it to influence the Chinese authorities. Really, why not?

  10. I’d go with rumour mill spin up and sneak-peeks about a month to 6 weeks before then bang!! Launch and Sell on a particular day.

    You have to have some time to make the news, get the press talking, and get buying public curious otherwise its too sudden and maximum interest is NOT generated plus you pi$$ off a load of people who would have bought the new 9-3 had they known but have just felt they had to get an A4 because Saab was silent as they made their purchase.

    There is a balance to be struck here. especially for a company as “Low Profile” as Saab currently is…

  11. It is ridiculously amazing how much Saab accomplishes on SO LITTLE MONEY. For the price Hyundai spends to design an Excel wheel (or Elantra or whatever :)) Saab fields a full lineup of cars. With the future 9-3, Saab’s model lineup will an astonishing accomplishment under Victor Mueller. For almost no money, Saab competes with Audi and BMW?! It is a miracle.

  12. The 9-3’s replacement can’t come soon enough as Saab really needs to start making a lot of cars, and this model will be it’s main income source. However if you you look at the NG900, you can see what happens if a car is released a little too early. Many believe the NG900 needed another 6 to 12 months development, but (with GM pushing really hard for a new model) it arrived before it should have done. Lessons learned I hope?