Djup Strupe and the Saab 9-3 replacement

You know that I’ve already seen pictures of the Saab 9-3 replacement.

If you saw that entry, then you got to read my initial positivity to what I saw, even if I couldn’t talk about it much except to say that I’d seen it.

Someone else saw it recently, and this is what he said…..

Today I got to see a single photo of the new 9-3. It was a rear quarter view from the left side. I can only say that from the little I saw, it looks to be a home run!

The good news is that it is all Saab. The car was a five door hatchback. It looked like a true Saab, modern, but the look of the 900 prior to the GM 900. I think it will be a winner with both Saab owners and younger buyer, 28-45 year old buyers.

My thanks to Djup Strupe for the thoughts…..

93 thoughts on “Djup Strupe and the Saab 9-3 replacement”

    • That shouldn’t be a problem as this car is part of the fully funded business plan which Saab still is keeping up with just fine.

    • That´s what they are. Roumors. Sometimes (or often) self fulfilling.
      Don´t listen to them. Don´t pass them on.
      They´re often easaly passed on by people not informed of the situation.
      As said before. Big part of sales numbers (ca30.000) for 2010 where made the second half. So with excisting lineup we can reach appr 55-65.000.
      Add to that the new 9-3ss119gr(came in very late 2010), the new 9-3sc119gr, the new 9-5sc, the new 9-4x, revitalized aussie dealers and we´re at 80.000.

    • That is no rumors, that is the truth. It is hard times for Saab, and has been so for long. The question is what you do about the hard times. When i see what Saab has in the pipe, I belive they have an even harder response to the hard times… 😉

      Saab up!

      • The fact is that there are hard times, since jan 2010. We all know that the situation last year and this year is seriously tough. ;-/
        The most ignorant rumors tend to forget the special circumstances regarding startup time etc and like a mashine gun repeat that only read 30.000 cars was produced, as if it was a normal laidback production with no interrupts. And the rumors involve neither the actions taken during 2010 nor the fortcoming lineup 2011. They just swivel around in nowhere land and spread a bad odeour of baisse.

    • Picking up my new 9-3x on Monday so Im good for the next three years but after that a new 9-3 is a must. I think SAAB really is picking up pace now…

  1. Lars S, Yes but that business plan is dependent on selling around 80000 cars this year and that is a problem fir the dealers right now!

    • VM seems to be confident that they will manage to do so and that’s enough to keep me calm. Even if Saab fails to sell these 80 000 units I think there are ways to survive, VM has done such things before, when Spyker were doomed by most experts.

  2. Lars S, I sure hope so because my source is usually been positive about SAAB even when it was at worst but he has lost it a little bit now!

    • He needs some advice from Uncle Chop Chop.

      Search Ronnie Johns on Youtube (language warning – but it’s one of the best pieces of advice I received a few years ago).

    • Clearly, there is a risk for things to go bad, there always is.
      Saabs future is hard, not to use the word impossible, to predict as there may very well be companies and people yet unknown to us stepping in and playing an essential part. We just can’t tell.
      Being pessimistic about things is seldom a soluion though and therefor I’m not.

    • Given what is going on in the automobile industry at the moment, I never quite know what to think when people make prognoses one way or the other. I think the cards are being newly shuffled and dealt. Sure you might think that BMW for example will come out on top, but on the other hand they may make wrong bets and end up losing much, just like MB did a few years earlier.

      The long age of stalling the rate of technical change in car drivelines is probably almost over. Nimbleness and small scale, keen eyes and ears and lots of value besides basic mass production, might be just what the doctor ordered. And you know there’s always an Apple analogy somewhere in there – you have to be able to think different, believe in the value of your ideas, not just for you but for others also.

      It’s true Saab is probably not getting absolutely everything right at the moment, so sure anyone can find things to depress about – but that’s not the point! The question is how powerful what they are getting right is or will be. It would be a big mistake to think that a new “9-3” will be a repeat of the 9-5 launch. Just look at how the Aero-X concept basically took the world by storm! That’s a whole different ball game than selling huge luxury sedans to mostly “old” and monied people (sorry! I’ll take a 9-5 any day!)! Besides, Antonov is probably more in than ever now, given his exoneration from the false charges.

    • I believe that every individual at SAAB may have different feelings at the current state. Especially with the new organisation that will shake “some old GM positions”. Being an insider and from my point of view, I have never felt a more positive spirit and general confidence. Things, technically and organisation-wise, are definately starting to fall into its place.

      • Nice to hear, keep up the good work!
        People sometimes forget that Saab Automobile and dealers consists of many individuals, and you get a different story from each one. I hear things all the time, someones fathers brothers cousin has this and that position and he said that blablabla etc. We should also remember that changes are probably beeing made everywhere and we all know how people react to changes at work….

  3. Swade,
    Do you know if there are plans for a 3 door? That’s really the only thing I’ll buy. I’ve searched in vain for a clean OG 9-3 3DR (No I don’t have 25K for that Viggen on Ebay) but I could never find one.

    • I gave up on trying to find a clean low mileage 3 door Viggen. These cars are just too much darn fun and they have all been driven hard and put up wet.

      Bring on the NG 9-3 Viggen. Oh and yes it must be a three door. A Hirsched 2.0T will be just fine!

    • What’s wrong with a 5 door? I have a 5 door Viggen and it’s much more useful than a 3-door. People can go in the back without contortionist acts and getting that odd fridge in the trunk is also easier when you can open the rear doors.

      • A 3 door looks nicer and has more elbow room in the back when swing-out windows are used instead of the roll-down windows which are usually used in rear doors. Having rear doors also requires the rear seat cushion to have rounded corners instead of the straight-across cushion as found in the classic 900 3 door. Getting into the rear seat of a 3 door is actually easier than getting into the rear seat of a 5 door since you step in forward rather than swing in butt first. If Saab was to have a 3 door fastback hatchback it would have something no other company was making.

      • ?
        I don’t want a 5 door. If I wanted a 5 door I’d buy an A3. I don’t care how hard it is to get in the back seat as it will just be me and my wife. If I want to take extra passengers I’ll take my 9-5. I want a 3 door Viggen/Aero/SPG or whatever they are going to call it. If they don’t make one I won’t be buying a new 9-3. I would prefer a high output diesel but its not a deal breaker for me. Having 2/3 doors is.

  4. Forget the 9-4X, this 9-3 could be the savior for Saab in the US…when the average person conjures up “saab”, im sure they go back to the old 900. That shape is engrained in people’s minds just like the Volvo 240, The VW beetle, and the jeep wrangler/cj.

    • I think it depends upon what age you’re talking about… In the US, I’d say when those aged 35-40 and older thinks Saab, maybe they conjure the old 900, but no so much 35 and under, who conjure (and often drive) the GM era 9-3’s (and quite happily, I might ad).

      That’s the danger of going full-on 900 retro (which we already know from JC that Saab isn’t doing with this next model) – the old 900 only resonates for a certain age demographic.

    • Sadly at the moment if the average punter thinks of Saab (according to comments) they seem to think “closed”.

      Seriously though I do wonder if Saab should perhaps publicise the 2012 9-3? I know the acccepted order is not to show or discuss such a model as it can harm upcoming sales but considering where we are, perhaps some teaser “out line” pictures showing a hatch or the car draped in a cover with something like “Return of the Hatch – 2012” or “The Mayans predict the end of the world in 2012, Saab predicts the end of the Saloon ” and so forth. Build a bit of excitement. Have it lined up in a film prior to release. Something Ronin or Bourne flavoured.

      • Jon,
        they will show something, which I think will give some hints on the NG9-3, but Saab will deny any relation between this prototype and the NG9-3.
        Why, because they have to start the hype on that car without hurting current sales figures too much.

        • I agree Red and like I say normally I would not suggest it but with sales as they are and the fact that Saab have been open about a 2012 9-3 I think a teaser campaign rasing awareness will not hurt. It might put the thought in the minds of those who went to Audi to wait and it might even make other no Saab owners hold off to see. That said it is far enough away not to hurt sales right now.

    • Judging by what I see on the road, Saab’s most popular model ever was the OG9-5 wagon, and the second-most popular was the 5-door GM900/OG9-3.

      I know that, for me, when I think Saab, I think OG9-3 first and C900 second, but I’m younger than most of Saab’s hardcore fans.

  5. I was behind an 80s 900 on the highway and remembered how much I love the lights lower towards the bumper. But I wondered how well they do in fender benders. And then I thought, are there safety regulations that preclude automakers from placing down there now for visibility?

    Calm my fears, people.

    • Well, with all those huge SUV’s and pickups the light need to be put on stalks to be still visible. That’s why we have this 3rd brake light already. Imho, safety regulations should deal with putting trucks on the road with car registrations.

  6. OK Im drooling here. Its news like this first thing in the morning that makes the rest of my day that much better. The wait is soooo painful though.

    • Tomas,
      Djup strupe is not a person, but many different.
      Every time Swade gets some information he publishes here but wants to “protect his sources” he talks about Djup strupe.
      So Djup strupe could be VM, or Joe oliver, or any one working at Saab, even you, if you send some “interesting” material to Swade to publish but want to be kept anonymous.

        • Yes and no. Djup strupe is a literal translation of “Deep Throat”, but the expression doesn’t really exist in Swedish. Swedes understand it anyway, since they know the English expression. It makes for a bit of a comic effect.

      • Thanks Red J. I thought it was something like that.

        otherwise my associations goes to the sex industry “Deep throat” sounds like a pretty good “film” woulden´t you say =)

  7. I’ll take my ng 9-3 with a 2.0T engine, XWD, & a manual trans. And please Saab, keep the hand brake–I don’t want an electronic one like on the 9-5 or 9-4x.

  8. 3-door or 5-door hatch?

    Well for those of us that are not fortunate enough, to be able to buy 2 new Saabs, a 5-door hatch is to be preferred.

    If I could afford a 9-4x or 9-5 for the weekend journeys, I could also settle for a 3-door hatch for the daily commuting.

    Now I use my 9-3 SC like this: In the morning, I drive our two kids aged 1 and 3 to the kindergarten. The distance is less than a mile. After that, I drive daily somewhere between 50 and 200 miles at work in my car.
    For that purpose, a 3-door hatch is an absolute no-go! Both kids are in their child seats in the back seat, and for me having to carry both of them in and out of the back seat of a 3-door hatch would brake my back! I tried it, had an Audi A3 ad loaner once. Newer again!!!
    It would also be overkill for me, to buy a minivan or something large with sliding doors, solely for driving the kids 1 mile a day, and then having to crumble around in something big and clumsy for 300 miles the rest of the day, while I am the only one in the car.

    So basicky

  9. Damn iPhone…


    So basically, a 5-door hatch would meet all of my requirements, for a sporty and agile while still practical everyday car.

    Is a 3-door hatch prettier than a 5-door??

    – if the design is right, not always!
    Take the Alfa 156. I know it is not a hatch but a 4-door sedan. But with the rear door handles hidden in the c-pillar, it gives the car the look of a true coupe. Alfa has done the same with the Giulietta.

    Even Honda has done the same with the euro versions of the current Civic. True, the 3-door is sportier. But the 5-door is in my opinion more in harmonic.

    Back to the NG/3G 9-3. I really hope that it’s a cracker of a car. I hope for a high powered diesel with automatic or dual-clutch.


    • The 3 door C900 was definitely prettier than the 5 door. A 3 door coupe is a whole lot more practical than a 2 door coupe. 3 doors (and 2 doors) are great for us taller people who rarely carry rear seat passengers as they have nice long doors.

  10. +1 on the keyless entry!

    Active cruise control would also be a winner in my mind!

    I know I’m not popular for saying this…
    Sorry, but while I’m waiting for the 9-3 replacement, I’m considering a BMW 3-series, since it’s the only one that meets all my needs.
    – High power diesel (330d/335d)
    – Automatic
    – Medium size
    – Keyless entry, satnav and adaptive cruise control.

    But no worries! When ne new 9-3 arrives, I will be the first customer at the dealers lot!!!


    • Give it another consideration. Presuming you are a Saab driver, a RWD car will behave differently and tends to oversteer (though I think the the 3 series might be quite balanced). Do a long test drive.

  11. I found myself stood next to a end of life 2002 silver GM 9-3 5 dr Aero hatch the other day and though that the design has lasted very well. A modern take on anything like that with shades of pre GM 900 thrown in sounds good to me.

  12. As the owner of an A5 Sportback with 2 young kids, 5 doors are a necessity for our family. Personally if I were doing this car I would have a 5 door hatch (as opposed to the A5 that keeps the wider stance and lower roof of the coupe) and a proper 3 door fastback coupe.

    The reason why I would keep the hatch “normal size” is that at 38 I find it a bit of a bugger to get in and out of and “older” individuals had a bit of difficulty getting in and out.

    On the handbrake, on the whole I prefer it to a big lever. Its like stop start, once you use it for a month going back to the old system seems terribly dated. Unless its the old Passat button on the dash nonsense.

  13. 5-door hatcch = win 🙂

    With a 5-door hatch, a sedan, a wagon, and a convertible the core market is covered. Add a (convertible-based?) 3-door hatch and you have a very nice lineup!

  14. The hatch is exactly the reason my current Saab is from the last year they were manufactured – 2002. This design is timeless. It is the most functional, the most flexible and the most appealing for single car families like mine. If this new 9-3 is as good or better a hatch than what I have now – it will most certainly be in my garage when it goes on sale. And please…please….make the rear seats fold flat. That is a must. 🙂

    • You know what would be cool would be the option to fold flat OR easily remove the rear seats altogether, a la minivans, for when you need maximum cargo room. That would be some totally awesome engineering in a small car. I’d flip out over that, I could probably fit three amps AND a drum kit in my car that way.

  15. The “look of the 900 prior to the GM 900” made me hesitant a bit. While the classic 900 is, well, a classic, it’s not exactly a good example of efficient use of space. Do remember how the 9000 was smaller than the 900 on the outside, but much roomier on the inside.

    I absolutely love the 900 NG for the fact that it retains the signature Saab style (kill me, but I like its style more than the classic 900), but packs a lot of space inside, plus it is a very practical vehicle – it rides reasonably high with sloping bumpers that allow quite generous approach and descent angles, it looks good with “small” wheels and in general it is a great marriage of sense with sensibility.

    I am very much afraid the next-gen 9-3 will remain a cramped monument to design, a work of art on wheels that’s not that much of use in everyday conditions. I so hope to be proved wrong.

    • I owned several 900 Turbos in the late 70’s (a 3-door., then a couple 5-doors). They were roomy enough, but not as roomy, in my opinion, as the ’88 9000 Turbo I bought. I hope the new car is a hatchback!

    • I hate to be nitpicking; however overall dimensions seem to be as follows:
      Envall/Sason 900:
      w=66.5-66.7 in
      l=184.4-184.3 in.
      h=56.1-55.1 in.
      Envall/Fiat 9000
      Much of the apparent roominess, had to do with going with a transverse engine arrangement as well as losing the double wishbone suspension. If you were to take a classic 900, widen it by 3.5 inches and mount a transverse engine arrangement you would end up with similar passenger compartment dimensions.

      • Yup, there you go. The 900 looks so sleek because of the longitudinal engine placement and the length/width ratio. The 9000 is a classic in its own right, but it’s hardly got the flowing elegance of the 900 NG. And I echo the comments below – people didn’t believe my NG was 15 years old.

        Not to say the Classic wasn’t a good design one shouldn’t take inspiration from. And even the boxy 9000 is still one to keep in mind when designing new Saab. This is what Saab does, there is much continuity in their design heritage, every next design is a step further down the same road, or rather expanding farther using their rich experience.

    • NG900 had a big ridge in the hatch area and the rear seat could not fold flat. This is a critical feature for the Classic 900. In my 1997 9000 I could fold the seat flat (crushing the backseat in the process) however I had to move the front seats uncomfortable too forward and I’m 6′ tall. With my Classic 900, I could fold everything flat and drive comfortably.

      While the Classic 900 isn’t perfect, it is a genius design, balancing form and function. The only modern Saab which can match its functionality is the original 9-5 wagon.

  16. To give the GM hatch some credit I truly believe the design will be timeless. my Black 9-3 Aero MY02 is kept clean- a guy asked me today “Blimey I didn’t know Saab made those anymore…?”
    They don’t… I said…she’s nearly ten years old.
    He just looked puzzled.

    She still looks “current”, shows the og900 heritage and when polished, she looks new

    • +10 on that. I get the same “nice new Saab” comments on my ’02 9-3SE when she gets shined up – even with the rock chips on the front hood from the winter beating. 🙂

      • Yep, same here. This particular design has aged really well. Dunno why, probably just the eyes of the beholder but maybe something more. Figure it out and you have hit the car sellers jackpot.

  17. I am 45 now sow I will be to old when it reaches the market………
    Guess I have to settle with a 9-5 AERO TTiD a comfy ride for “OLD” people apparently!
    Don´t we all just love combicoupes. Maybe even the guys at Saab who took the disastrous decision some 10 years ago to kill the combicoupe.
    So the Young people can expect a almost 2 meter flat combi area. Good for camping and other activites (remember the Nash Airflyte in the 50ies, never let a daughter out on a date in one of those) With a double moonroof it could serve well as a stargazermobile. The possibilities are limitless.

    • Age is all in the mind (and attitude) Jörgen. Move your mind. 🙂

      I am also older than than that age range, but I have been saying for a while now I expect my next new Saab will be the 9-3 replacement. And hearing that it very well may be a 5-door hatch, I am even more encouraged!

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