Answering your questions, part 1

Greetings from the offices of Auto Motor and Sport, Sweden! Toshiba’s in the house, baby!
I’ve finally got a little time to get to some of the questions you asked prior to me leaving for Frankfurt. I can’t get to all of them yet as there’s still a few people I need to speak to, but I’ll get to as many as I can answer in the time I’ve got.
When can I order a 9-3 Convertible TTiD XWD?
I’d be very surprised if you’ll ever be able to order that combination. First, XWD and TTiD just aren’t happening with the 9-3, though I expect it will happen with the 9-5 eventually.
Second, I think the market for that combination would be quite small and I don’t think Saab would consider it significant enough to make the investment.
And third, would you really want it? All the added weight of the convertible mechanism, then the weight of the big diesel engine, then the added weight of XWD?
And I’d like to know about the release of the 9-4x and the 9-5 SC. When will we get to see them in metal?
I expect both to be seen in 2010. The Combi is traditionally year after the sedan (though it befuddles me as to why, except for lack of money).
I asked people about the 9-4x as I know there’s been some uncertainty amongst readers as to whether it was happening or not. It is. The 9-4x has been shown in concept form and the concept is quite similar to the production vehicle in terms of its visual look. So there’s nothing more to see, really, until they’re ready to produce.
They’ve said 4 cars in 18 months, and that was a few months ago now. To me, that means we’ll see a 9-5 sedan, 9-5 Combi, 9-4x and a 9-3 refresh.
Will the “new Saab” have some sort of a communication with owners, potential buyers, and/or enthusiast regarding current and future products? I was thinking not only about an email address were everything is dumped and most is trash and no one really care about what is said… But more of a way (maybe as a “registered user” in some way) to communicate with marketing, design, development, etc. and be able to give more lengthy insights and thought about the brand, the products, the ownership, the dealership experience, the future and so on?
The Newsroom was their first foray into a more interactive space and I talked with them briefly about that. They know that the newsroom is a very basic service and that a lot could be done with it, but they seem to be very happy with the results they’ve seen from operating it.
That’s very encouraging for me as I’ve long thought that this should be a space that Saab get into more. There’s a lot to be gained and a lot to be shared.
I hope to talk about this with them a little more in the future, but don’t read anything into that.
Is there a suitable place to put loose change in the new 9-5?
There’s a space in the center console, where the cupholders are, which is fitted to the remote key device that comes with the car. This can also be used as a handy coin storage space.
There’s no dedicated space for spare change. Put it that way. But I’m sure that most owners will adapt a space for this purpose.

When are we seeing Hirsch goodness?
The Hirsch guys weren’t at the show themselves, but former Saab guy Taras Czorny was there and he does a little design work for Hirsch now and then. I’m sure he was looking at the car and gathering some thoughts.
Hirsch did have some 9-3’s on the stand after the press days were over and I’m sure they’ll apply their goodness to the 9-5 in due course.
Will be there some Hirsch parts available in the configurator (for the new 9-5), like the TX-Edition we have in Germany right now?
I have no direct information on this, but I think Hirsch will continue as a separate entity. For one, it’s not available in all markets at this point, and as much as I’d love to see them get more tied into Saab as an easily fitted performance package, I think there’s still some water to go under the bridge with the Koenigsegg transaction before Hirsch’s position is settled.
I really hope it works out though, because their stuff is top shelf and befitting of a higher-level specification for Saab. Jorgen from the SU Historic Rally Team has a Turbo X fitted with the Hirsch leather dash and I saw it in person for the first time yesterday. This is how a premium edition like the Turbo X should have come from the factory.
Are there any performance benefits to the sidevents behind the front wheels (of the new 9-5)?
There are not, and I sincerely hope that Saab gets rid of those vents in the first facelift.
New 9-5: How many cup holders? Will bluetooth be standard or an option?
There are two cupholders in the center console, just in front of the gearshift. There are also two in the fold down center section of the back seat.
Bluetooth will be an option on all models, as far as I understand.
Warranty, warranty, warranty!!! Please ask if they are going to offer a better warranty than the one offered now!!!
I don’t think this would be finalised yet, not at least to the point where they’d be willing to disclose it. I would expect them to be realistic with their warranty offerings and if I were to guess, I’d be hard-pressed to see them extending the warranty beyond what it already is.
Warranties are always an interesting issue for me. Car companies make extraordinarily complex machines and have very little control over how they’re used, but are expected to cover all situations with expectations to do this for an increasinly long period of time after manufacture.
Personally, I think Saab’s warranties are pretty reasonable, but that’s just me and admittedly, I don’t buy new cars as my wife and I are not in a position to do so.
When will we get direct injection in a Saab?
The new 2.0 litre BioPower engine is Saab’s first gasoline engine with direct injection. Of course, their diesels have had direct injection prior to this.
What’s the plan with the 9-3? Will we see a 1.6T option soon?
That’s an interesting idea and would fit with Saab’s rightsizing philosophy. I’d be very happy to seen them do this, but to be honest I don’t expect many changes to the 9-3 beyond the interior changes due with the next facelift.
The next generation of all-new 9-3 will probably be a more likely candidate for this engine.
When can we expect Biopower in North America? E-85 is now available in lots of places.
The new Saab 9-5’s 2.0T engine is a BioPower engine and will come into the US as Saab’s first Biopower offering in this market.
About time, too, eh?
I asked the new head of Saab in the US, Mike Colleran, about this and he left the situation wide open. It might be handled by the US office, it might not. Basically it felt like he either didn’t know, or he did and he was blowing me off.
Questions to others indicated that they’re going to have to search for a company willing to act as an importer, effectively to be the new Saab Canada in functional terms. That body may already have retail channels in place that add Saab to their offerings. There will also be a number of Saab/Saturn dealers that will lose Saturn due to Penske not continuing the brand in Canada. Some of these may or may not be interested in retaining Saab and perhaps adding another brand to fill the space.
The definite impression that I did manage to get is that it’s an incredibly complex area that they’re working very hard on right now.
Has real work started on the 9-1? When should I book my flight to Trollhattan for factory delivery?
There’s a distinct possibility that work has begun. I interviewed Simon Padian and asked about the design process and it’s not uncommon for them to be working many years in advance. From that point of view, there’s a distinct possibility that a 9-1 is on the designer’s table right now.
I wouldn’t go packing your bags just yet, though. The next generation of the Saab 9-3 is their #1 priority right now. A lot of things have to go right before Saab can sign off on a 9-1.
Any plans for other type of green fuel technology other than ethanol (E85)
There are two people I didn’t get to talk to at Frankfurt that I really regret missing. One was Jan-Ake Jonsson, and the other was Kjell ac Bergstrom, the powertrain guru.
I hope to rectify both situations in coming weeks.
Anything about the upcoming 9-3 range would be great….. please confirm 3-door hatch variant!!!
The 9-3 situation is interesting and I believe they’re further along the road than they have a right to be under the circumstances, but perhaps not as far as you might hope.
But the all-important hatch question was asked and the reply was “we have a much better chance of doing that now that we had before”
Take that as you will.
Do they really read SU? And what do they think about us and our ideas?
Either they read it or they’re all extremely well briefed prior to the press days. I think many do actually read the site on an occasional basis. It’s more of an awareness thing rather than regular reading for them.
I believe the PR team read it regularly, though, and hello to them all in the offices there in Trollhattan!
When will the 93 SS/SC be available in Inca(Lynx) yellow? When will be the full specs of the NG 95 available? What engines are planed for MY ’11 for the NG 95 ?
I’d be quite surprised if Lynx Yellow was used for the sedan/combi. I think it’s more of a novelty color for Saab. Sadly, silvergreyblack still dominates and not because the company says so, because the customers say so.
I saw a white convertible in Trollhattan with a tan roof, and it was stunning.
9-5 specs are, of course, available now.
Future engines will be interesting. It shouldn’t be overlooked that the engine range available for the 9-5 is the biggest range Saab have ever offered at the release of a new vehicle. We have seen photos of a TTiD4 badge previously, though this engine is not being made available at release. The emphasis will be on meeting emissions regulations coming online in 2012 and I’d expect any new improvements/releases to be aimed in that direction.
I gotta run. Time to head home to Oz.
Goodbye to Sweden. I’ll miss you.

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