Car and Driver have submitted their post-NY report and it’s somewhat mixed news from my own personal perch.
There are the usual stories of the PDA picture and the production schedule. This is C&D’s rendering based on what they saw and heard:
Whilst I wish they’d picked a more suitable color, that’s not a bad combination of 9-X front and teardrop back as per what I saw back in February.
They run the line that the car will be called a Saab 92 rather than 9-2 and what’s more concerning, for me, is that they came away somewhat convinced that the next Saab 9-3 will be called a Saab 900.
The replacement for the 9-3–which will be offered with electric and conventional powertrains–also will wear a resurrected name from the past, says Muller, who hints that it will be called the 900. Saabophiles, rejoice.
I know there are some who like this idea. It’s a link to the past and a move away from the GM era. But I’m wary of shifting the nomenclature merely for the sake of it.
Personally speaking, I think the 9-3, 9-4x, 9-5 nomenclature works pretty well. It’s numeric, which is a plus to start with. Forget comparisons with BMW’s series numbers. It just works as a descriptor of the relative size and class of the vehicle. The ‘x’ works as an add-on, designating a deliberate model development featuring a more rugged outlook with XWD (though it’s acknowledged that message is a little confused in the case of the 9-3x TTiD).
Of course, more important than the name is the product itself. The product has to be good and I’m sure that’s the primary concern over in Trollhattan right now. But the jump back to a 900 name leaves little room for consistency in naming other vehicles in the range.
For example, if they plan on using the 900 name and following this as a path for all future models, then what should they call the 9-4x when it comes out next year? Surely calling it 9-4x would be a silly move as it’ll have just a year before moving on to a new nomenclature.
What do you re-name a revised Saab 9-5? The 9000? Do we really want that?
It just seems to me like they’d be boxing themselves in if they went down the 900 path. And aside from a few GM memories, there really isn’t anything wrong with the 9-2, 9-3, 9-4 and 9-5 nomenclature.