What a fantastic week we have just had while taking part in the Saab International in Belgium. Biggest of thanks must go to Nicolas, Ellen and the rest of the team who worked so hard to put together a great show for Saabists everywhere.
This was the first time that I had taken part in the whole event which included the “Pre-Tours”. It was a great idea to have three tours taking place all at the same time and the start depended on where you joined the country. For Azzy and me it was in the west and we met up with Saab enthusiasts that we knew and many other we were going to get to know, just outside Nicolas and Ellens own town.
Tuesday night started by putting up our tent up in the garden then getting ready to go for a meal and bowling. A truly brilliant night followed where we had to cook our own dinner on a hot plate before trying two games of 10 pin bowling.
Today is the last day of the French dealer tour. The French, as well as the German tour, was divided into two groups, in order to visit the whole country in only two weeks. Today the cars made their last visits, one group in Bayonne and one in Toulouse. I don’t know who will stay in the south and who will go north, but the information we have received says that one group will be heading to Belgium and the other to spain.
According to SAABLOG-In the Saab 9-5 SC and the 9-4x will be at the first motor show of Waregem(Belgium), just between Gent(B) and Lille(F)
As you know Nicolas and Ellen from Belgium organised a road trip with invites to all Swedish Cars. They had a great time and here are a few words from nicolas.
On saturday the 30th of October we had the joy to welcome 110 participants for the SAAB vs VOLVO Tour. Not less than 55 Swedish cars were present, going from an old twostroke 96 to the last new 9-5. We had participants coming from all over Belgium, but also from France and Holland, and some of them had already done more than 350 km before starting for the tour ! The less we can say is that this event exceeded our expectations, and a big thank you goes to all those who were there ! have a look HERE for a few photo’s Nicolas & Ellen
For the Belgium people on SaabsUnited it’s time to buy a Griffin, especially now!
Griffin 9-3 DIAMOND standard Equipment Griffin, plus: • Diamond Silver metallic • Saab Infotainment 150W / 7 Speakers • Saab Parking Assistance • Handsfree preparation for mobile phone From € 24.990 ($ 35.361) net. Advantage to € 5.050 ($ 7.145) * DIAMOND series is not available in the 9-3 Convertible.
A couple of our mad Dutchies SU regulars, Jos and Stephan, took a trip down to Brussels a few days ago and checked out the Saab stand.
Jos discovered some new TX badging on the Saab 9-3 display car there.
The TX edition is a version of the Saab 9-3 that’s been available in selected markets at different times over the last couple of years. It’s currently an option for the Vector line of the Saab 9-3 in Belgium and offers:
Front bumper with gray insert
Front Grille – Titanium look
front fog light surrounds – Titanium look
Sports leather steering wheel
carbon fibre effect decor – center console and glove box
carpet floor mats with grey edge piping
Basically, what you’re looking at is a number of trim pieces from the Turbo X to dress up the 9-3 Vector in a cost-effective manner.
We saw the 9-4x, which looked quite nice. Not my type of car, but still a nice car.
There was quite some interest in the 9-4x, we saw lots of people getting in and out the car, going straight to the private rooms, I guess for making price quotes. Funny thing, there were a lot of elderly (like 60+, retired) people looking at the 9-4x. Maybe there’s a market there for this car in Europe after all, one that no-one even though of: These retired baby boomers that don’t do the miles to be needing Diesels. They do however have cash to spend, and want a practial car, which is easy to get into and out of. The 9-4x fits that gap perfectly.
Well, it might just be my optimism, but there was a lot of action arount the car, that’s for sure.
Reps at the show also said that the preview image of the Saab 9-5 SportCombi has already led to plenty of enquiry and some pre-orders.
My thanks Jos for the info, and to Stephan for a big donut 🙂
Jorrit doesn’t live in Belgium, but that didn’t stop him from heading on over to Brussels anyway, to be one of the first Euro-dwellers to get a peek at the Saab 9-4x.
This is what he saw, and what he thought of it.
My thanks to Jorrit for sending it along…..
Saab has a truly great stand. It supports the Scandinavian feel that Saab is all about. It’s very clean looking and a nice place to be. The curved LED wall stands out and gives the stand a modern and technical advanced image. Also, I got the impression that the Saab employees were proud to be there and enjoyed the show. Of course, it’s very exciting to present a new Saab to (potential) customers after all that Saab has come through during the last months.
Although Belgium is a relatively small country, it’s responsible for a lot of Saab sales. So it was not strange to see many people checking out the Saab stand, especially the 9-4X and 9-5 of course. I got the impression that people were positively surprised by the 9-4X. I heard people saying that they liked what they saw.
This is the first time we got to see the real life 9-4X. At the last AutoRAI (2009), the Dutch motor show, we saw the concept car of the 9-4X. It’s great to see that there are a lot of similarities between the concept car and the production model. Something that struck us were the green/blue tinted head lights. They look quite good, but perhaps due to the lighting at the stand, they seemed to be more colored than the head lights of the 9-5. As this is the US version of the car, I think the orange part of the head lights won’t be there in the European version which makes it look more clean.
The 9-4X features a typical Saab dashboard which is angled to the driver. The interior looks great, no doubt about that, but sand color leather might make it even better. It’s easy to see that the 9-4X and new 9-5 are from the same family, which is great. One thing that is not very Saab like in my opinion is the look of the audio and navigation system. The interface on the screen features obtrusive colors and strong gradients on the buttons. In my opinion that doesn’t blend that well with the clean and uncluttered design which Saab stands for. It has probably to do with costs, but if it’s possible for Saab to change the interface theme, that might be a good idea to do. Give it more of a clean Saab feel, include the Gill Sans font, etc.
The boot looks great and the cargo rail looks useful. Also, this car was fitted with two DVD screens in the back which children will appreciate for sure. This is the Aero version, but there was no Aero badge at the back of the car. By the way, both the front and back seats were good and the leather looked nice as well. Overall it’s an outstanding car.
Car shows are a great way to compare cars. Next to the Saab stand was Land Rover. They showed their new Range Rover, the Evoque. By the looks of that car you would say that it’s a concept vehicle, but it’s really a production car. If you ask me, it looks quite Saaby (funny thing that the Evoque and 9-4X were very near to each other (it was a similar arrangement in Los Angeles, too, and the Evoque was well received by people at the Saab stand – SW).
For example the black A pillars and the sporty stance are shared by both cars. I think I would choose the 9-4X as the Evoque looks a bit too aggressive, but I have to say that the Evoque looks more modern than the 9-4X (in fact it makes the Freelander look older than it actually is, in my opinion). I hope Saab could do something like that with the all-new 9-3: make it look very modern and special so it stands out from the crowd, actually what the classic 900 did in its days.