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Saab 9-4x in Aftonbladet

December 16, 2010 in Saabology

Robert Collin from Aftonbladet was in LA for the auto show and whilst it was a few weeks ago now, he’s just published some thoughts on the Saab 9-4x.

The article covers quite a bit about the vehicle’s development and Robert speaks with Peter Dorrich, who some of you will remember from this quick video.

In the Aftonbladet article, Peter goes into a bit more detail about the work that was performed, the fights that he had to have in order to get the Saab 9-4x to be a real, Saab-derived vehicle.

Peter Dörrich, a Saab man from Trollhattan for 30 years despite his German sounding name, had the technical responsibility for the project in which both the Saab 9-4X and Cadillac SRX would be developed…..

…..- I had been involved in developing both the Saab 9-2X and Saab 9-7X and had lived in Detroit since 2000 when I assumed responsibility for the new project in 2005

- We had many ideas that were not shared by Cadillac (that is, Cadillac didn’t see the value in them), not in the beginning anyway,” says Peter Dörrich when we meet in Los Angeles. But the American executives at GM had full confidence in me and I was working on getting the Cadillac people convinced of how we wanted the car…..

……The most important thing was driving characteristics. They had to be European

The story goes on to speak of how many characteristics were developed for the Saab side and were then picked up for the SRX.

The XWD system, for instance.

And thanks to Saab also the Cadillac has all-wheel drive from Haldex. Originally, the SRX was to have a cheaper system, but Saab were relentless, it must be Haldex, and also with the special slip differential eLSD rear, and the SRX got the same system.

- I’m extremely happy with the handling characteristics. They are better than the 9-3X (who received the highest rating for handling the Aftonbladet last year), mostly thanks to the engines. They are stronger, have better torque and run better.

There’s also a little bit about the considerations given to a V6 diesel, however the translation is a bit vague and I don’t want to risk a mistake here. So here’s the original Swedish and hopefully someone can provide an accurate translation.

– De var för dåliga, säger Saab-chefen Jan Åke Jonsson till Aftonbladet. Det var en V6 från italienska VM Motori och en fyrcylindrig GM-motor, men de var för klena och inte tillräckligt snåla. Då är vi hellre utan, även om vi förstår vad det betyder för försäljningen i Europa.

Translations now received (thanks!)

They were too bad, says Saab boss Jan Åke Jonsson to Aftonbladet. It was a V6 from italian VM Motori and a four cylinder GM engine, but they were not powerful enough and not fuel efficient enough. Then we rather have no diesel, altough we understand what that means for sales in Europe.

The Saab 9-4x as shown in LA looks like it’s going to be one heck of an interesting Saab. It’s the first genuinely Saab-developed vehicle in the segment and personally speaking, I can’t wait to have a crack at it.

Thanks to Arild for the tip (check that link to see the fun Arild’s having with his new 9-5).

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Saturday Snippets

November 27, 2010 in Saabology

Don’t miss out on the Saabs United Cyber-Monday specials from Maptun, State of Nine and Saab USA Parts!

I’ll post those back at the top soon.

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My sincere thanks to “Me” for putting together our new winter banner, featuring the Saab 9-4x.

Cool.

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More winter fun (well, it’s fun when you’re writing it from somewhere where it’s nearly summer) ……

First, a funny little video, shot over to me by Per R:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMw1q297I24

….and to keep that company, some more photos from Trollhattan, thanks to Rikard.

You may have seen in comments, or at TTELA, that Saab had to halt production on Friday due to excessive snow on the roof of the factory.

Hopefully they can get that cleared and production up and running again as soon as possible.

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Speaking of TTELA, there’s a very good story from the LA Auto Show from Valdemar Lönnroth, who I met at the show (we shared a very spacious bus ride out to the 9-4x photo shoot).

It’s a good overview of the feeling towards Saab at the LA Auto Show, and what Saab needs to do to turn those good vibes into customer awareness and ultimately, sales.

Such a thing is that many Americans in the common thought that Saab has been effectively eliminated, another is that they still believe it is part of GM. Here it is of course crucial that the public relations people and dealers manage to convey a different story: the facts.

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One more reason for Saab to go full-on into the World Rally Championship when they get a car suitable for the purpose – to take on GM.

GM aren’t certain to head into rallying, but they’re thinking about it. Not that I bear them any too much ill-will, but I’d love to see Saab take them on and win.

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There’s an interesting Saab for sale in New Zealand. I know a bloke who swore black and blue that if ever saw one of these on the market, he’d buy it.

It’s no ordinary yellow convertible. If the badging is to be believed, then it’s one of the late model Turbo S convertibles, which should be fitted with one of the factory red-boxes.

There was one of these for sale in Hong Kong a little while ago, too, and at a bargain price. I wonder if this is the same car?

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Is the Saab 9-4x a real Saab?

November 24, 2010 in Saabology

I was standing around talking with Dick Lague and his sons at the LA Auto Show when Saab’s chief midsize vehicle engineer, Peter Dörrich, came up and joined us. I introduced him by name and to put his role in context, he told Dick and the boys about his relationship to the Saab 9-4x.

It was a perfect moment in time, one that we tried to catch on tape a second time around…..

It was my first time meeting Peter. He’s another one of those great Saab guys that you feel like you know just minutes after meeting him. I can tell you one thing, he’s definitely passionate about his baby, the Saab 9-4x. Peter started working for Saab in the early 1970s and as mentioned in the video, he’s been working on the Saab 9-4x since 2005, ensuring that it would indeed be a real Saab, from the ground up.

If you ever get the chance to go to a Saab event, be it a motor show, Saab Festival, or any other event, the one thing that will make an instant impression on you is how ‘flat’ the organisation is. There are no ivory towers. Everyone’s accessible. Everyone’s approachable. And everyone’s working their tail off for a common goal – the sustained success of the company.

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Order a Saab 9-4x, get an iPad

November 22, 2010 in News, Saabology

This is another one of those things that received some attention in comments during the LA Auto Show, but didn’t to the front page. It’s time to change that.

Mike Colleran made the following presentation during the LA Auto Show, during which he announced a special promotion where the first 500 people to order a Saab 9-4x can receive a new Apple iPad worth $500.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNSc3m8PoZs

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How it works:

  • Go to ordermysaab.com and you can register your interest in the new Saab 9-4x. The dealer you nominate should make contact in January.
  • The final amount of the deposit will be determined by the dealer, but $500 of it is the purchased price of the iPad, which will be credited against your vehicle invoice. You’ll receive an iPad with “some Saab9-4x related software” on it, which I presume you can share with others given Colleran’s remarks about spreading the word.

Based on the value given, I’d say they’re giving away the 16GB WiFi iPad (I priced them in Santa Monica last week during a visit with some others to the Apple store).

I love this concept. A Saab 9-4x at $34,200 is pretty good value anyway and to get the freebie iPad and the opportunity to help promote the vehicle elsewhere is pretty good.

And yes, it does feel good to help promote the interests of a company you believe in – I’ve been doing it for nearly 6 years now so I’m really pleased to see Saab opening up these doors.

Be sure to check out the FAQ at ordermysaab.com

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Saab 9-4x launch – some official photos

November 20, 2010 in Saabology

Saab’s hired gun photographer, Charlie Magee, ran around with his camera during the Saab 9-4x launch on Wednesday.

I’ve been fortunate enough to get hold of some of his images, which are ten times better than the ones I took (I’ve really got to get a better camera, lens, flash, brain, etc).

Enjoy these.

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Autonews: Saab forecast and pricing for Saab 9-4x

November 20, 2010 in News, Saabology

I posted the price of the base model Saab 9-4x a few days ago. That model will sell for a smidge over $34,200. At that time, I couldn’t get any pricing information for the Aero model, although I was told it would be somewhere north of $45,000.

Automotive News have been speaking with Jan-Ake Jonsson and in their related story today, they’ve published estimated sales numbers and an estimated price for the Aero model.

9-4X output will average 12,500 units annually when full production is reached next year, said Jan Ake Jonsson, CEO of Saab Automobile AB.

Jonsson said it is a very conservative production forecast. Approximately 9,400 vehicles are intended for the United States, he said.

“It is not that we don’t believe in the car. We are trying to be responsible in how we set our volume,” Jonsson said during an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show, where the vehicle debuted.

Conservative forecasting would seem to be the order of the day. Better to do that and exceed expectations than take a barrage from the press when forecasts are downgraded.

U.S. sales of the 9-4X will begin in May, followed by shipments to Europe, Australia, Taiwan and the Middle East starting in August.

The base U.S. fwd 9-4X has a sticker of $34,205, including freight. The Aero model has a sticker of $48,835.

9,400 units of this car in the US will mean some pretty good extra business for dealers and Saab sales over all – and remember that sales don’t start in the US until May next year, so it’s not a full year’s worth, either.

Pricing seems to be spot-on, too. I think this one’s going to do pretty well as long as they can promote it properly.

My thanks to John for the tip!

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LA Notes – Day 3

November 19, 2010 in Saabology

Today was my final full day here and I regret to say that I didn’t get to go over and have a look at the other hall here at the LA Auto Show. Fiat and Porsche were both over the other side and it would have been good to see what they had on show. Unfortunately I had to leave earlier than expected for an appointment.

I’ll write a little about that appointment tomorrow.

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On the plus side, I had the pleasure of catching up with a former TS correspondent and all-round great Angelino, 1985Gripen.

Gripen covered a Saab event in San Diego back in the Trollhattan Saab days and provided reams of entertaining content from that trip. He was also gracious enough to drive me up to Santa Barbara last time I visited here, to meet with the late, very great, Bob Sinclair.

We ate well, and it was great to catch up with Mike once again.

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Most of the press conferences were yesterday and because they have to allow space (for people, vehicle drive-throughs, etc), a lot of the manufacturers actually changed their displays overnight.

The Saab stand saw the addition of a 9-3 SportSedan in silver:

Saab Stand Day 2

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Other events from the show…..

Mazda had a cool 20th anniversary edition of the MX-5 on show:

Cadillac showed a small concept car, which is about as anti-Cadillac as you can get and therefore makes total sense:

Volkswagen had a “Caraoke” stand playing Eye of the Tiger and other things. Seriously.

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Chevy were offering drives of the new Volt at the LA Auto Show. I didn’t have time for one, but I did see them cruising around the perimeter of the LA Convention Center on brief trips outside for some fresh air.

This will sound like I’m anti-GM (which I guess I am to some extent) but the one thing that struck me about the Volt as it drove down the street – it already looks dated and kind of cliche.

Maybe the cliche thing is a bit harsh, but it definitely looks dated. With that body shape and black panel at the back, it could have come out around 2002.

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And speaking of the Volt, it won a Green Car award today. There were five finalists but the presenter was candid enough to admit that only two of them mattered as far as the award was concerned – the Volt and the Nissan Leaf.

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I don’t want to be all negatori (but I will).

I also saw the Mini Countryman on the street today and it’s one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen. It’s like an automotive version of Honey I blew up the kid!. It’s a shape that screams small car, but it’s far from small.

It’s so big it made my camera blur with fear.

BMW have effectively built a Mini X6. And it’s not right.

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If you live in or near LA, I can highly recommend you get along to the LA Auto Show. The venue is great and the displays are spacious and well set out.

I’d go so far as to say it’s the most accessible and best presented of the few Auto Shows that I’ve been to since running this website (Sydney, Detroit, Frankfurt).

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Tomorrow I catch up with another SU regular and local LA resident, DickL, for breakfast.

Dick lives very close to the house where the Saab 9-4x photoshoot was staged a few days ago. In fact, he saw the bus and a Saab sign outside the property as he was driving past, but wasn’t aware of what was going on.

After that, a little sightseeing and then I’m homeward bound, baby.

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A closer look at the Saab 9-4x

November 19, 2010 in Saabology

I know the readership here at SaabsUnited is into details. I know that somewhere out there, someone is wondering what the tie-down hooks in the Saab 9-4x look like.

So I photographed them. And many other smaller bits and pieces of the Saab 9-4x for your viewing pleasure.

I know there’ll be something I missed, but here goes…..

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Let’s start at the back, where the 9-4x is set off with a set of tail lamps quite similar to those on the new Saab 9-5.

Here’s a look at the lamps once again with the 9-5-esque exhaust outlets thrown into the mix. The Saab 9-4x video featuring Christopher McKinnon had a good comparo sequence between the 9-5 and 9-4x and they really do speak the same design language.

Read the rest of this entry →

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Video: Saab 9-4x – the LA story

November 19, 2010 in Saabology

You can see two full videos in posts below:

Here’s the pacey, edited version of the big story from the last few days – the Saab 9-4x breaking cover.

It comes with an added bonus, too: they guy who was the first to order of a 9-4x from right there on the Saab stand! He liked the car so much he ordered one right here at the LA Auto Show.

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Video: Saab press conference from the LA Auto Show

November 19, 2010 in Saabology

Following is the official cut from Saab’s 9-4x reveal at the LA Auto Show.

I got a bit worried that the doors wouldn’t open when the car was due to come out. I thought Saab was having a wardrobe malfunction. It was all as planned, however.

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Video: Saab 9-4x walkaround with Christopher McKinnon

November 19, 2010 in Saabology

You saw some photos from this yesterday.

Time for the video. Enjoy this tour around the new Saab 9-4x with Saab’s Global Product Manager, Christopher McKinnon.