Why is GM still a factor with the current 9-3 and what about the next 9-3?

February 7, 2012 in Editorial

So why is GM still a factor within this game to again save Saab?

Well its pretty simple, the current 9-3 is to a large extent a GM product. GM might no longer own the licenses and technology behind it but they certainly own the right to the parts which the car is made of.

Issue number one, engines. The 2,0 engine’s that were available in the 9-3 Griffin are GM products and anyone who wants to produce the car needs to buy them from GM. To adapt a new engine for a car takes around 12-16 months depending on how many certificates needs to be obtained and if the engine needs to be turbo converted. Homologation process for a brand new engine is not something done quickly.

Electronics is another major part which mostly are GM product, the stereo, some onboard computers are also GM products that need a fair bit of engineering to be replaced.

There are lots and lots of other products that are GM based in the car, listing them all here would fill up the page…

Another major issue is distribution of parts. It’s not enough to just build them, people will probably need to replace them. First of all buying enough of the parts and distributing them out to the dealers who are still there is a big task as well that requires a lot of man-power and time to accomplish.

I’ve talked to some former engineers at Saab and they all said more or less the same thing, to find a way to work around the GM parts in the current 9-3 is simply not worth it. It will take a lot of time and cost a lot of money for a car that might only be produced in a very limited number until its replacement has arrived.

Regarding the replacement of the 9-3 I have learned through very trusted sources that there is a prototype built that is able to drive on its own, but the other versions, a coupé, convertible and sportscombi are still at the design stage. The so called pencils down has not been reached. This is the point where no more design changes are allowed to be made and the car goes into pure technical development. Saab have worked with this issue in parallel to save time. Some items that are designed to the point where the designers are happy with it have gone into technical development to save time, but the whole car is not yet ready.

What I find most interesting is that the platform is more or less done, some work on how to implement the car into production has already started. The whole car exists as a computer model in a program that can simulate the whole factory, every tool and part included. Some key production staff have already started the work on implementing the car into the production. A task that usually takes a bout a year and a half to complete.

104 responses to Why is GM still a factor with the current 9-3 and what about the next 9-3?

  1. That last paragraph sound a wee bit positive. Thank you. :-)

  2. i.e. Note to M&M, forget the current line up and focus on the new Saabs


    • I wouldn’t advise them to forget the current line-up: But I would advise them to not waste a whole lot of time with the horse’s asses at GM. If they get some reasonable feedback from GM, it’s worth pursuing. If not, plan for life without GM’s super-duper technology.

  3. GM again? Not please, it’s our cancer

  4. Why can’t we buy current 9-3s from BAIC/BAW? They could also supply with parts, or even if we need to procure parts from GM, can they deny it? Would be very interesting, the more so that there already loads of 9-3 on the road so parts are needed either way.

    • BAIC is a competitor for Youngman in China. Could imagine they don’twant to help them.

  5. So essentially the cost and time delay to re-engineer curren 9-3 would outwiegh any sales in teh run-up ot a new 900? Sounds very sensible, chuck the current 9-3, spend limited (or unlimited (M&M!) funds on NG900!!!!

    Losing track of bids/bidders – are we saying now:

    unknown European consortium/bidder
    Swedish bidder/consortium

    • The only thing is without the current 9-3, will there be any Saab dealers left by the time the new 9-3 could be ready? One could say, so what, Saab is losing dealers right now. This is true, but if there were a way for a new owner to resume production on the current 9-3 (assuming the parts could be obtained from GM….sounds like more of a business issue than IP issue), then the factory could still produce and sell a lot of 9-3 sportcombis in Europe, along with a lot of low CO2 other 9-3 models, plus some amount of 9-3s in the US and other markets. Certainly a better situation for the employees and the suppliers until the new 9-3 is ready.

  6. I’m curious about what you mean with the distribution of the parts out to dealers? Do you mean as spare parts? I thought the replacement parts should go to the production. What am I not reading in your text?

    About the source´s view on going around the GM parts in the OG9-3 as not worth the money.
    Why not replace the GM stuff and go pure electric on the OG9-3? That´s a take on thing that might make worth while.
    It is almost ready for production (I hope) as a four-seater as reported earlier.
    It will be viewed as a groundbreaking vehicle and stir up some real noise. And that while developing the NG9-3.

    But that´s only an amateurs view on things……… 😉

    • another amateur here that liked what you wrote

    • Stefan,
      Saab hasn’t even tested the cars, they don’t know how they behave on the long term.

      • So the test fleet didn’t get out on the road before the production stoppage? What a shame.

        • I did test the car (I sat on the right seat) during the Octoberfest, and the Engineer that was driving the car told me that it was planned that the fleet would be delivered to the test candidates in January.

          It was not an easy task, as they had to create an extra group of people that should be available 24/7 just in case something happens to those cars.

          • If Saab will ever need a test group in the future I suggest they let the good folks at SU know 😉

      • Ok, but that goes for a reenginered current 9-3 as well, doesn’t it?

        • It depends on what you mean with re-engineered.
          But yeas a GM-free griffin could take 12 moths till start of production.
          Slightly more than 15 weeks. 😉

          • Then I do not see the point why GM could not accept to deliver parts to Saab, they will only loose a customer… hmmm ahhh: Now i understand! logics and GM is like oil and water…

      • I know.
        But the efforts needed, to get them out would perhaps be worth while if you end up with a competitive pure electric vehicle in a slightly aged, but still beautiful, car body.

        • Not aged at all if you compare it to the Volt.

        • If you consider the price of an all electric car, its at least 30% more than that of a normal car. If people couldn’t afford to buy the biopower or eco-friendly diesels, how on earth would they afford to buy a 9-3 electric car that would cost about 65-70’000 Euro?

          • Maybe thanks to Saab cost efficient technology?
            As with the rear electric axle technology that was made modular = cheaper than competitors solutions that often are custom made for a specific car model.
            But I admit. I was dreaming.

            • But the electric rear axle gadget is only complementary to a main engine which runs on petrol. However advanced and Saab-improved, a car propelled solely by electrical energy doesn’t bring you any further than a couple of hundred km’s at best. I, for one, would never pay a 30 or 40% price premium for a car that is virtually useless for what people generally use cars for. I don’t know all that many people who use their cars only for trips to the supermarket and don’t mind getting stranded in a traffic jam every other day because their power plant stops working. Would you buy a petrol-engined car that needs filling up after every 2 hours driving at 100 km/h and requires 3 hours to fill the tank?

              In the winter, the battery-stored electricity is also needed for heating and ventilation. When it gets dark, it’s also needed for lighting. In Scandinavia, it’s needed for lighting all the time, day and night. The batteries also power various other ancillary systems of the car. You will be lucky if you average 150 km’s from one charge. Want to make a road trip from Stockholm to France? It will take you like 10 days to get to Paris if you don’t sleep underway. And if, despite all this, someone still wants to go electric because it’s so dam*ed chique to do, the price remains outrageously prohibitive for what you get.

              Come on, get real. It’s a fashionable idea but, given the impossibility to store an amount of energy sufficient for normal use with today’s-and tomorrow’s- storage technology, any EV car is doomed to fail commercially in today’s market.


        • Sorry, but “competitive” and “pure electric vehicle” don’t belong in the same sentence. The battery technology is just not there yet. I may change my mind when a pure electric car can travel 300 to 400 miles nonstop on the freeway at high speed with air conditioning, lights, and radio on without stopping to recharge; when charging time is measured in just a few minutes; and when the batteries will last decades and hundreds of thousands of miles before needing to be replaced (or will be inexpensive to replace).

          I don’t know what the answer is if GM is really so entrenched in their position that they will not even sell the parts needed to continue building the old 9-3. I do know that if the winning bid is from a company that intends to make Saab purely an electric car company the game is pretty much over, the brand will be relegated to a very, very tiny niche if it survives at all.

          • +1

            I mean seriously, what electric car is currently “competitive” in any market worldwide? Saab already had a big niche following, going down the electric car route doesn’t seem to be the best solution. GM, one of the biggest car companies on the planet couldn’t get it done, how on earth is a reborn Saab going to be able to do that?

            I mean look at the prices of the only electric cars available. The Volt and really any car from Tesla don’t really fit to any form of a broad market.

            • Wow. Didnt I stir things up with my comment? :C
              I dont know if this is a H C Andersson tale, but it pretty much goes like this.
              Once upon a time it was almost impossible to make a cost efficient and reliable Turbo suited for a commuter car in daily traffic.
              But one day, in a small village(?) in the kingdom of Sweden a tiny car manufacturer succeeded where much bigger car companies had failed. Much like the bumble bee which doesnt know of its non existing flying capabilities, they managed to develop a working Turbo for passanger cars.
              How about that? That´s what Saab´s all about. Going against all conventions.

              • And actually there IS a market for that car. it is not that you can sell millions of them, but you could sell some thousands worldwide.

                • Yes, golf courses everywhere need little vehicles to carry clubs and a few golfers from hole to hole.

              • That was only a turbo. Technology that actually existed before Saab used it. _Real_ Electrical cars (the Volt is not, it has a combustion engine, and I could bet that this will be used most of the time, like in the Prius) require knowledge that Saab simply does not have, in electrical chemistry (basic science required, read: billions of research funds), and manufacturing of galvanic cells; probably nanotechnology as well. And with no garantee for success. This is pure, and yet unknown, chemistry.

          • I recommend articles on what Electroengine have come up with. If I dont remember wrong they were talking about a range of 200-250 km thanks to their patented control of battery charging.

            • Sure they do. If you don’t use lights, heating, ventilation or airconditioning and don’t run into any traffic jams. It’s like with all those ‘standardized’ tests for fuel consumption. Under certain ideal circumstances, on a flat circuit without other traffic, with lightened cars, thin tyres and taped-off mirror and body seams, they can claim maybe 5 liters/100 km. In real life, it’s often almost twice that. The technology for electric energy storage just isn’t there yet and won’t be for quite a while, either.


              • No truly. They have made a break-through regarding how to control the charging.

                • The charging?

                  I thought the problem with the charging was the lack of three-phase power outlets? There aren’t many places where you have access to the Amps necessary to fast-charge a big battery…

  7. Things are dragging so much that a re-engineering excercise almost seems like wasted effort on an already old car-but consider what calibre vehicles the BRIC countries produce (I’d exclude Brightstar license building from that and Geely/Volvo and Jaguar Landrover as these are A- typical of the mass availability of poor quality stock) and what their demand might be, then consider the badge presence and the idea does not seem so strange.But yes it does need to be GM free if its not it’ll just get blocked by them. The question is how does Saab get a revenue stream without a car. It’ll be 2 years before a return to the market.if that is the case.

  8. Interesting…I feel bad for the current line up though…really like all the models, but to be honest, I wouldn’t vote for being chained to GM for more 2 years in order to keep producing the 9-3 Griffin. What about the dealership network ? What would happen in the meantime assuming SAAB is bought and we have to wait for about 1 and a half year minimum to see a new car being sold ? Has this happened before to some other brand ?

    • Start selling Ssangyong maybe? And then add Saab as the premium brand…

    • I was also thinking the same thing?

      • Not the Ssangyong thing! The “what will the dealers do in the mean time” thing

        • yeah, not crazy about Sssangyong “thing” either :)
          So there are very few exclusive SAAB dealers and if we forget about GM dealerships, I think this will probably be the hardest part of the equation to solve in a possible restart.

          • Wow—guys, please have more vision here. Let’s stand back and realize that we might be down to two choices: Shut down Saab and the brand forever—-buy used Saabs until the parts supply dries up, then move on to something else…or, option #2, realize that global platforms/rebranding is a reality and the only way to keep Saab alive long enough to ever see newly designed Saabs that are close to being “pure” Saabs is to allow for sales of other cars through what’s left of the Saab dealer network—-up to and including rebranding of another manufacturers car as a Saab. I know what everybody wants—-a perfect world. You can dream about it, but you can’t have it. We’re dealing with reality here—-big companies from China and India—-with enough money to actually keep Saab around. We might have to play by their rules and realize that they are in this to make money, not cater to our whims—-bringing back 2010-2011 Saab will only bring back bankruptcy. It’s time to move in a new direction.

            • +1
              Ssangyong Korando SUV looks quite good. Apparently, in colaboration with MB they have developed decent petrol/diesel engins and also are familiar with 4WD technology. I’d say furnish them with SAAB touches and get some sales going while working on true SAABs. Lets end Goverment Motors dependecy once for all!

  9. after 22 saab’s…looked and test drove a jag XF this morning…lovely car…..but nahhhhhhhh !

    • really ? It would me my second choice if I could afford it.

      • 16000 from a jag dealer…2.7d lux in metallic blue with 24000 miles, includes 2 years free servicing !!!!!

    • I am vacationing on the Florida east coast. Jags (as well as Mercs and BMWs) are a dime a dozen here. The entry and mid level models of these brand are so plentiful that we assume they are driven by the ever present yard men who work on the properties..

    • Placed myself in an XF recently. I felt very squeezed in between door and this huge mid-tunnel (don’t know the english term). On the back seats, I got the impression that it does not offer significantly more room than a 9-3, despite costing more than a 9-5.

      What was your impression in this regard?

      And have you driven it? It is RWD, after all.

  10. Don’t want to start an other flame war against VM, but how much trues and behaviors do we see in the next days. At the current state of knowledge it was the right decision from YM to stop investing. There wasn’t a true partnership of Saab Management to YM and maybe vice versa.
    I hate to say it but GM seems the key to go ahead. Or a new owner uses the production line in the time no Saab is manufactured. Maximum power to get 93-III on the road.
    Exclusive dealers have to decide to take an other product beside or if they can live with maintenance only.

  11. Everyone seems to want a GM-free future. OK, but what about the current dealership network. This is a 800 pound gorilla in the room. The individual Saab dealership bankruptcies and closures will eliminate any chance for a second life (or 9th).

    We need to have something to offer in the interim – for the next 15 months until the complete changeover can happen. So bringing over Ssangyong models is not a viable option since it would take 12 months (at a minimum) to complete the certification process to sell them in the U.S.

    I just cannot see a way forward (in the U.S.) without some sort of cooperation with GM, period!

    • The dealership network is an issue. But if GM grants license for a limited time it will hurt a new Saab again. There’s nothing to shop on budget in the GM shop. It’s a question of priorities and not easy to make decisions.

      • Well we’re living here in Germany-Town
        And they’re closing all the dealerships down
        Out on the road they’re killing time
        Filling out forms
        Saabs standing in line. (because no spare parts arrive…)
        (Kind of Billy Joel)

        Seriously. The dealerships ARE a major issue. How would you possibly survive 12 months or even more waiting for new products to come?

    • Yeah, I could agree to that. But isn’t the main problem that GM do not want to play ball. Any ball…

      • I just refuse to believe that to be true. GM is playing ball with companies all over the world. Just because they really didn’t want to play ball with the companies who have tried so far to buy Saab, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t if a right buyer came around. I think Mahindra might get GM to play ball but none of the other potential buyers that I know of. It is going to take someone with deep pockets and someone who can be a benefit to GM either in the US or elsewhere in the world.

        One thing that might make GM help is the 2.0 liter. I don’t know what GM’s plans for it are in the future but it looks like they have some pretty big plans for this engine. If so, other companies that would use it and develop it might be of interest to GM.

    • If a car company (M&M) is taking over Saab, there is no need to build Ssangyongs in Sweden if you only want to give the dealers something to sell. They can also sell Ssangyongs built in (where are they build currently??) somewhere else.

      • While I can see some dealers selling Ssangyongs along with Saab, they’re not going to survive if this is all they have for a year or so. The typical Saab buyer will have little interest in Ssangyongs. And the average buyer had likely never heard of them. The introduction of Ssangyongs to the market will require massive advertising and meanwhile the dealers are starving. I’m sorry folks, if we want Saab to survive in anything like the form that we know it, someone is going to have to make a deal with GM so that production of the 9-3 can be continued, and better yet that GM will continue producing 9-4s. Even if the new Saab makes little or nothing from 9-4s. the dealer could make their usual amount, but more importantly it will bring existing Saab buyers and new ones into Saab showrooms and keep the lights on a little longer. And it would seem that there is little downside for GM to continue producing 9-4s. It increases their gross sales from the Mexico plant and probably reduces the unit cost. The only downside is that it keeps Saab in business. Right now, how can that be a problem for GM. But who knows, maybe they look into the future four or five years from now and see a resurgent Saab with their own product lineup taking away sales from them all over the world.

  12. During earlier stages of the Youngman/PangDa negotiations, when many Saab fans were occupying the GM Facebook page, GM kept reiterating that it would no longer license IP to Saab or build the 9-4x if the deals went through, but it would be willing to sell power train and other components to Saab. That was deemed insufficient for the Chinese investors and Swedish Automobile at the time, probably considering the limited vehicle offerings that would allow and the amount of debt Saab was carrying. Things are drastically changed now, since Saab has declared bankruptcy. The new buyers were be taking on Saab without debt. But perhaps the right buyer could convince GM to renew that offer. Is it ideal? No. But, it could keep production and sales going until new models is ready for production. The question remains, is GM willing to negotiate at all? I hate to say that without GM it seems impossible to rescue Saab, but given the construction of the current 9-3 it looks tough to me.

    • Without GM it is indeed impossible. Hopefully these negotiators aren’t giving everyone false hope with thier statements.and press conferences. Talk about salt in the wounds…

  13. I happen to agree that without GM cooperation on at least IP licenses for a finite time to another entity to build product in the interim, the chance of Saab being sold as a whole enitity is slim to none.

    • I agree as well that some sort of agreement must be reached with GM, but it’s entirely up to them. If this is achieved, then SAAB could also continue the production of the 9-4X (adding a diesel engine), the NG9-5 and 9-5 SC. Meanwhile the development of future vehicles should be free of GM’s IP.

    • One would think there could be some kind of middle of the road deal to be reached.
      At least for the 9-3 for and 9-4X?
      I honestly think the NG 9-5 SC case should be tested in court. It was built during the SWAN era and I wonder if the judge would agree that GM is in a position to stop supplying parts for this model? Especially when the tech is not some top secret NASA stuff but something that has been on the road -and for anyone to explore- for almost two years now.
      The IT companies can’t settle anything without a court case these day. Maybe GM would start listening after getting sued by the new owner if nothing else works?

      • Who would pay the legal fees?

        • If you’re going to invest several hundred millions in a car company (billions over the next decade), it’s possible you can afford a legal case where you have nothing to lose expect what you pay the attorneys.
          The SC would create some serious revenue during the next few years.

  14. The official site of “The Haters”


    • Oh please, by posting the stupid link here, you’re actually doing that guy a favour so his web page gets more hits…that guy (whoever he is) a psycho looser!

      Note to the admin – please remove this link from here. thx.

      • +1. The guy is a joke.

        This “SAAB haters” site has only 13 subscribers, ridiculous to compare it with the number of subscribers to SU or any other SAAB enthusiast site.

        • Doesn’t sound that hateful to me :)
          Quote: “In reality Saab products were fair in reliability and as good, if not better, than Volvo.”

      • That …. guy claims to be a former VP at Volvo of America. I do understand the ‘former’ quite well but could people at Volvo have been stupid enough to appoint a …guy like that to a post like that in the first place? With friends like that, who needs enemies? Better even, with VP’s like that, one needs Geely.


      • Well, I mentioned this link last week and my comment WAS removed. Because we don’t like something we shouldn’t pretend it doesn’t exist. Let me repeat my reply after my original comment was removed:
        Btw, the above comment was a correction to an original comment which gave a link to another ‘Saab’ website that is very critical of VM _and_ SU. This comment never made it through the SU censor office! There was nothing in my comment that warranted censorship except the mentioning of this other web site. I must say that I’m pretty upset to see this comment being nixed. Not so much because I want to make propaganda for this other web site, but rather that only the mentioning of this web site apparently warrants censorship, exactly along the lines of what this other web site is accusing SU of.
        There is a whole discussion going on about freedom of speech and information on the internet. If my comment was removed because the SU authors don’t want to have this other web site mentioned then SU, as far as I’m concerned, falls on the wrong side of the moral internet divide. As a long time member I hope this is not the case!?

        • I do not know who removed your comment (but removed it was).

          Rather than discuss censorship, why do you expect this space to be used willy-nilly as advertising space for other sites?

          I’ve told a number of disturbed individuals to create their own blog for their rantings. Apparently this dude did just that. That is great news, but why do you expect the moderators to allow this trash to be brought back through the back door?

          FWIW: It is actually allowed to voice criticism against the former management of Saab. But “X sucks” is not criticism. It’s just trash talk. “If it was me, I would have done Y instead to get result Z” is valid and offers room for debate. That dude with his divided-blog seems to think that lowering prices or dumping the entire 9-5 product line would have magically repaired Saab — ultimately ignoring that these wheels were set in motion long before GM sold Saab. The only way out would have been to develop the Phoenix, which is also criticized on that same blog. Sigh. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That guy sure has nailed Victor both coming and going. Easy, yes. But constructive it is not.

          • The reason I mentioned this web site (which will remain unnamed again :) ) is because it was mentioned in a New York Times article about Saab.
            Unfortunately SU has to contemplate its censorship. This has nothing to do with advertising other sites, but simply with whether you want consenting adults dip their feet in this kind of muck or that you have to take that responsibility away from them for their own protection.
            In this particular case (web site) it is clear that we have to do with a seriously disgruntled person who, nonetheless, has a view that is orthogonal to the SU opinion. Rather than being accused of biased opinions, imho, it is better to let the natural flow in information take its course and have your readers make up their own mind.
            Censorship is a very tricky business and quickly can slide into the ‘muffling of dissent’ area. The best is to have no censorship at all except in cases where disrespectful behavior is apparent.

            • I agree with you up to a point.

              Last summer/fall this comments section filled up with Victor bashing commenters. Most of the time it was just empty allegations and conjecture (“JÅJ quit so that proves VM is a dictator” is one of my favorite comments — it just shows so much warpedness it is sort of funny in a disturbed way). At the end of the day, most of it was pure garbage without any value whatsoever.

              It was often off-topic as well.

              I spent rather a lot of time cleaning up that trash. Do you have any idea how fun it is to have to wear overalls while using a computer? Not much.

              Certain sites (e.g. ttac) have a tradition of putting inaccurate/false information out there. SU stopped refuting ttac a long time ago as I recall — at a certain point most people would stop trusting such a “source” by default anyway. If a news story starts spinning out of hand (such as the story confusing the heritage collection with a certain museum in Trollhättan), then the situation warrants some attention. Until then, it would be a waste of everyone’s time to draw even more attention to a false rumour.

          • Btw, the only reason why I’m elaborating on this censorship thing is because I love SU so much and like it to stay my main source of Saab info.

    • It is always easier criticising others rather than help create something of value. Sigh.

    • I won’t bother to click on it. Why give an imbecile traffic to his website?

      • Sorry all, I didn’t take it serious at all and just laughed at the site. Thought everybody would do that :-/

  15. I’ve talked to some former engineers at Saab and they all said more or less the same thing, to find a way to work around the GM parts in the current 9-3 is simply not worth it. It will take a lot of time and cost a lot of money for a car that might only be produced in a very limited number until its replacement has arrived

    This was my opinion before I read this nice article.

    To replace the engine and electronics is much more work than the 2008 facelift. It is major work for only 1-2 model years?

    Better to make peace with GM. GM supplies BMW with automatic transmissions and Fisker with the entire engine so that shows they can supply another car company. If the 9-3 parts are supplied, this will also help Cadillac BLS owners. Don’t make them mad, GM!

    • +1

      Imagine all the parts that have to be re-sourced if you get rid of all GM in the current 9-3 and you would see a monumental task. Not just engines but hoses, electronics, electrics, switches, relays, probably some structural elements. Then you have to get all the new parts to work together so that means testing and prototyping. Propose a 2 year deal with GM to be the supplier for current 9-3 parts they already supply, VM said GM was a very willing partner up until the Chinese wanted to buy 100% and the administrator started to do his own deals. Maybe, and it is probably a big maybe, there is room for some bridges to be mended in the interest of the bigger picture.

  16. My personal guess is that when GM is talking about licenses, they´re talking about the 9-5 and 9-4x, to the 9-3 I think GM is just like any other supplyer. They have only talked about the licenses, that´s why James Cain was unsure about the 9-3, but to me that means that the 9-3 will probably get a go ahead (with drivetrain) while the 9-5 and 9-4x will not. If that´s the case Saab will survive to rebuild a new lineup. I see most media here in Sweden have mixed this up a bit, but that´s no surprise.

    • It seems that this is the cost of restarting a leaner, nimbler Saab. If GM supplies what’s needed for the 9-3 for now, Saab could work on being the independent company it has aspired to be, free of the debt and GM-inherited structure that so hampered Spyker/Swan. I love the current 9-3 (though I really liked the looks of the classic hatchback, too), and I’m sure the 9-3 could be tweaked to meet a variety of needs until the new models are ready–upscale and less so, sportscombi, convertible. A major and phenomenal ad blitz will be absolutely necessary.

  17. It’s a strange situation we are facing; 1. the next owner of “SAAB”, will have to make a deal with GM and we will have “our” cars back on the road in a short (?) time, or : 2. there are no deals done with GM and we have to wait for at least 1,5 years to the next generation of SAAB. This last option is a difficult -, but a serious one, because this scenario is most realistic, assumed GM isn’t willing. I think this is where we have to be focused on.

    In the (1,5 years) meantime we’ll have to find ways to be felt alive, and that we are kicking. So the big question is:
    What’s is the fastest way to bring something “new” on the market, for instance using existing (not GM) platforms, engines and so on with only the SAAB outer and interior looks. We know examples from Jaguar on Ford platforms. Citroen, Renault and Peugeot, using one platform.


    • If there is a way to produce the 9-3 line within a few months—-bridging the gap to new models won’t be impossible. Without the 9-3 (if the stubborn asses at GM continue to try to bury Saab) it becomes extremely difficult. I guess one sceneario, if Mahindra wins, is to rush their already approved for the U.S. Mahindra trucks to market—-to be sold through Saab dealers. They can also try to rebrand cars as Saabs—-with on the fly design changes to the front fascia and interiors. But this is a real uphill climb.

      • Be careful Angelo, I saw in a Super Bowl ad that Dirty Harry has been hired to eliminate critics of the bailed out U.S. auto companies, Based on a post above, it appears that he has already infiltrated the SU site using the name “dezzer”. .

        • I saw that commercial. Poor old Clint—-they took advantage of him like they take advantage of seniors in nursing homes. So funny that the big “AMERICA’S HALFTIME” commercial was for Fiat controlled Chrysler! I would have loved the commercial to end with some redneck commenting on how nice Chrysler’s interiors are becoming because of “them artsy EYETALIANS.”

  18. SAAB would need to break off from GM to restart. I know that will cost money. But SAAB did not begin to fail until GM. The new 9-3 looks like the 9-5 which look like GM products. The rebadging HAS TO STOP. You cant take a cheap laptop and slap an APPLE logo on it and expect people to pay APPLE prices 1500 for a laptop that is worth 200 dollars. And taking Opals and calling them SAABs is stupid. SAAB in the minds of the buyers is about being different, so anything close to something else will not fit the bill. As evidenced by the 9-5 what is special about it or different ? The turbo? Audi Volvo BMW MB all use some form of turbo. All of them offer four doors. BMW used their brain and made the SAAB-ish X6 that looks more SAAB then the new 9-3 and 9-5

    • “BMW X6 looks more SAAB then the new 9-3 and 9-5″.
      Excuse me that’s not my cup a tea!

      • IMHO, that X6 is quite possibly the ugliest car ever built on the outside. Interior is of course stellar but the outside, forget it…

    • Therein lies the conundrum. What would sell in the North American market does not seem to sell in Europe and vice versa. Opels are not sold in the US so Saabs are not thought of as rebadged Opel’s here. Even though the 9-5 is on the same platform as the LaCrosse it is distinctive enough not to be confused with the Buick. And the LaCrosses have been selling like hotcakes in the US and I have no doubt the new Cadillac on the stretched Epsilon platform will probably also be a hot seller despite its looks. And I think the 9-5 is about the best looking sedan on the road. The 9-5 did not have the competition here that the 9-3 had. The 9-5 really is enough bigger than most midsized cars so as to not have competition from everybody.

      The 9-5 would have flown off US dealer lots had it come with a sunroof, front wheel drive, a four cylinder, a nav system, sold for 40 grand, and had good marketing. Saab had the best car ever for the US market and absolutely blew it because they become so Eurocentric under VM and so obsessed with not being a rebadged Opel that it lost sight of what the US market was about. If I could bring back any car to the US, the 9-5 would be the one I would want them to bring along with the SC. But in Europe the 9-5 is just out of sight price wise and apparently too big.

      In the US, the 9-3 has to compete with every car manufacturer there is. The 9-4s that got produced are not going anywhere. Why? Again every manufacturer has an SUV that size.

      If I were Mahindra and wanted a car to really move me upstream, (which is what they would need in the US and India) it would not be the 9-3 or even the 9-3 on a Phoenix platform. Either one will be considered to be to small. I’d want the 9-5. Especially if I wanted to compete with Tata and Jaguar. No 9-3 is ever going to compete with a Jag.

    • My point is that the X-6 has the hatch back , I really liked my old SAAB’s Hatch. You could put 3-4 of you friends in the car and Haul their suitcases, and then Some. The 900 and og 93 look modern even now , I mean the over all shape , heck even the UrSAAB looks modern. What I love and loved about SAAB was they were like affordable Haute Couture. So you didn’t have to spend over 100,000 for something that felt like you were the only one that had it. GM took that away from SAAB, I love my 9-3 convertible.

      The new 9-5 to me looks some what different but not a stand out, a car you look at and say “oh thats a nice car” and keep on walking. A 9-3 Viggen drove by me the other day and instantly caught my eye, I thought it even looks fast driving 25 mph…..
      The new 9-3 looks very infected with GM the rear looks like it cam from them.
      SAAB was never known or wanted for being bland. If people want a bland reliable, boring car they buy a Honda or Toyota,(no offense) not a SAAB four door, –Audi people would not change to a SAAB 9-3 because they have the Audi A4, turbo four doors etc,

      If SAAB had a 9-3 hatch like the og 9-3 they possibly could convince people to cross over because their is a reason to crossover, because of the SAAB being a hatchback and a stand out in the style department. But the new 9-3 is to dumbed down with GM and blandness I don’t think its going to make anyone want to switch. Because every other car company has a four door, turbo sedan, even KIA !

      To make SAAB a success they need things like the Hatch back, and to take cue’s from the older models, because the older models are what put SAAB on the world Stage. SAAB needs to go back to being QUIRKY–yes Quirky, odd ,different, stand out, shocking, its own trend setter.- Thats why people bought SAAB’s.

      SAAB always pushed the envelope, Hopefully they will continue to.

      • Well I would have loved to have Saab return to the hatchback — and I think a NG 9-5 hatch would have been awesome and the way to go — more so than the SC. It would have had zero competition here in the US and would have been truly unique. A hatch is almost as practical as an SC and way more practical than a four door, especially a four door with an undersized trunk lid. It is also a safer design than a four door (as is a wagon) although it does have a tendency for body twist, like a convertible, but that can be easily fixed.

        So after GM made the mistake to drop the hatch, why did VM repeat the mistake? Was he too conservative? Would it have cost too much extra? But the fact there are no new hatches in the post GM era is not GM’s fault, that is the fault of VM and Spyker/Swan.

        If Saab is going to be the niche player, the place to start, where there is zero competition, is the hatchback. That is also the place to regain Saab’s identity. Those of us who think Saab lost its identity, think much of it was lost when Saab dropped the hatchback. Dropping the hatchback made Saab lose its advantage in combined sportiness and practicality.

        • Agreed 100%.


        • I thought the Phoenix was going to be a hatchback — though I have not seen any official statement one way or another?

          The Phoenix is the only model where VM had a choice of going hatchback or not.

        • david,
          the phoenix based 9-3 was meant to be a 5D hatch. The NG 9-5 was production ready prior to the take over of Saab by Spyker. It was presented at the Frankfurt motor show on September 2009, at that time everybody thought K’segg would take over Saab. A 9-5 hatch would compete with the A7 and the 5GT. Well, the second one is butt ugly and I’ve heard that not that many want this car in the US, but I don’t know if the acceptance of the A7 in the US is so big that justifies a 5D fastback as the only body style in that segment.

      • I have bought a lot of cars in my life. My first car was a 1967 Mustang convertible that was sort of a green blue color. I got a lot of compliments on that car and how it looked from complete strangers. [It looked great, but was a dog of a car.]
        Since then, the only car I have owned that got the same type of remarks is my 2010 Saab 95 Aero. People stare at it, and often remark how pretty a car it is. I think it is a standout on the road due to it’s looks.
        IMHO, it is one of the nicest looking cars out there. I sure like the way it goes down the road.

        I have my fingers crossed for a good outcome.

  19. So it seems the 9-3 is first and foremost a GM product, particularly the newer models have more and more generic GM-stuff in it. No wonder I like the good old 9000 better….
    Hopefully in the future we will again see Saabs that do not make too much use of inferior parts. Why buy a Saab if it is infested with cheap Opel switches, GM radios etc…?
    However it still amazes me what the good engineers from Saab could achieve with these mediocre basics, one can only dream of the superior cars Saab might have been able to design if only….
    Well, it seems I’m gonna keep my 2.3 T 9000 for a long long time.
    Shouldn’t be a problem for a car whose badges proudly spell ‘Saab Scania’…

    • The good old 9000 was the worst of my 15 Saabs, hands down. While I liked the idea, it was outdated and its automatic transmission was simply awful. And it just seemed like it was always needing repairs. I have never had anything like the repair problems on any of the GM cars from 1999 on. Not even in the same league. The 9000 is a mechanics car. if you want to own one you better have a mechanic on retainer or be very good at automotive repairs.

      • Funny, that. My 9000 is the best and most reliable car I ever owned and hardly ever sees the inside of a garage. So maybe it was just YOUR 9000 that was a mechanic’s car?


      • A properly maintained 9000usualy doesn’t give you too much trouble, but if you maintain it poorly it will let you know… The automatic transmission was way better than the prehistoric Borg-warner 3-speed auto used in the classic 900 and if you don’t ‘abuse’ the ZF (and use the proper ATF oil) it will keep working fine; in my 1997 2.3T it still feels like new after 221000 kms, but than again, I operate the old lady with the same respect that I would an old airplane.. It actually has a lot in common with an old aircraft, and it ages much more ‘gracefully’ than the newer Saabs, the engine is almost bulletproof, and in day to day driving you just feel that this is still a Swedish high quality product.
        Also it has the best ‘cockpit’ Saab has ever designed (except for the place of the ignition key); aircraft-like pushbuttons, seperate electronic displays with more functions than newer Saabs, space for extra oil temp & press gauges etc. And best of all, it doesn’t feel like a typical GM product, simply because it isn’t… :-)
        However it’s getting increasingly difficult to fine one in (near-) mint condition; most are worn down and abused, unfortunately…