NAIAS: Steve Shannon on the 2010 Saab 9-5

This one’s interesting.
Steve Shannon’s taken off the Cadillac hat that he was wearing earlier in the week and put on his Saab hat whilst talking to the guys at Motor Trend. Asked about future model releases, he said enough to provide the following:

So what about Saab’s version of the new Cadillac SRX unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January? It’s on the way, says Steve Shannon, Saab’s executive director in the U.S. Launch cadence is four or five months behind the Caddy’s, which means a late 2009 on-sale date and no plans for a U.S. auto show debut.
And Shannon says Saab continues work on a new version of its 9-5 flagship. “It’s about a year-ish away,” he says.

That’s all very encouraging, if true. And that’s a big “if” that I’ll have to try and iron out. One’s got to take a marketing director at his word when he says such things, but history’s proven that one has to also be cautious.
For starters, there’s the whole GM’s-in-trouble-and-has-put-non-essential-or-not-ready-enough-products-back-six-months-or-more thing that happened not-so-long ago. The outcome from that was that both the Saab 9-5 and 9-4x were believed to be delayed. In fact, GM’s own press release from November 8 said that the 9-4x would be seen in 2010.

GM will launch 15 new vehicles through year-end 2010, 14 of which will be fuel-efficient cars or crossovers, including the Cadillac CTS wagon and SRX crossover, Chevrolet Camaro Coupe and Equinox crossover in 2009, and Saab 9-4x crossover, Chevrolet Cruze small car in 2010.

In an interview with Eric Geers from Saab Sweden late last year we were able to all-but-confirm that the 9-5 will be appearing at a major international motor show later this year, with production following soon afterwards.
It may be a year-ish before you can walk into a showroom and buy a Saab 9-5 in Steve Shannon’s market, but according to my mail it’ll be rolling off the lines late in 2009.
As to the Saab 9-4x coming in only six months, with no US show debut planned……well, how much sense does that make to you?
I can tell you that the word to me via Djup Strupe a few months ago is that Saab were working hard to keep the car on schedule but that things were tough, there was a lot of discussions being had about it, and that the 9-5 was likely to come first. Maybe those discussions have been finished and the outcome has been favourable for Saab.
I hope so, but no US debut for the vehicle seems very strange. More than any other Saab, the 9-4x is a vehicle that’s made with the US as the primary focus.
I’ll wait on this one and try and find out more. If the 9-4x is coming sooner than expected, then great. But I’d like to hear a little more information before I get too excited.

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