Saab 9-4x spotted, production and show details incorrect

Autoblog have published a story based on some Auto Express photos of the 9-4x out testing in the nude.

While it’s great to see they’ve removed all the flappy black plastic from the 9-4x, the stories that are written to compliment the photos are – I believe – wrong in couple of significant ways.

To the photos first, which you can see in their entirety here at Auto Express.

This vehicle is now limited to just the chequer-board disguise that characterised the later Saab 9-5 mules. What we can see here is not too surprising – the car looks pretty much the same as the Saab 9-4x display vehicle first shown at the Detroit Auto Show in 2008.

Saab have said all along that the show car was pretty much it as far as the basic shape of the car was concerned. What will change is the trim and some details, like the fancy ski rack, switchgear, etc.

So if you want to see 90% of what the 9-4x will look like without the camo, and in white, then click here.

Now to the articles…..

Auto Express state the following:

It’s been a long time coming, but the SAAB 9-4X has finally been signed off and production of the Volvo XC90-sized SUV has begun at GM’s Ramos Arizpe plant in Mexico.

I’d be very surprised if there are any vehicles rolling off the production line already, unless these are early pre-production models for testing or quality control purposes. The reason for that will be apparent shortly.

Under the bonnet, there’ll be a choice of two petrol units, a turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder and a turbo 2.8-litre V6, and a 2.9-litre diesel co-developed by VW Motori in Italy.

Incorrect. The Saab 9-4x specs that we’ve already seen state that it will have a 3.0litre non-turbo engine as the base engine, and the 2.8T V6 as the Aero engine. Basically the same offerings that are available in the Cadillac SRX.

Bear in mind that those specs were preliminary and were for the US market. They may have changed by now. There may be a TiD or TTiD engine for Europe (actually, they’d be mad if there wasn’t) but solid Euro specs haven’t been seen yet.

GM abandoned the VM Motori 2.9 diesel some time ago.

The Auto Express headline has the following trailer underneath it:

SAAB SUV enters production ahead of late 2010 on sale date.

VM and JAJ have been quoted extensively in the last few months saying that the Saab 9-4x will come out in April 2011. That’s the other reason why production is unlikely to have started already – we’re still 10 months out from release.

Autoblog state the following:

….and considering the time frame, it’s safe to assume that the production 9-4X will debut at the Paris Motor Show this September.

That’s a reasonable guess, but a better guess would be the LA Auto Show in November 2010.

First reason – The 9-4x is primarily a vehicle for the US market so it makes sense to make the biggest splash in the US.

Second reason – The LA Auto show is five/six months out from the vehicle’s scheduled sales date, which is just about perfect. Paris adds another 2 months to that and Detroit would take 2 months off it.

Third reason – If you’re going to make a splash in the US, why not do so at a show that’s growing and in a nice climate (i.e the LA show) rather than a show that’s shrinking, at a crappy venue and in the middle of winter (i.e. Detroit, where the Cobo renovations can’t come soon enough).

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