Having followed some of the proposals submitted, I feel inclined to contribute with some thoughts which – for obvious reasons are not based on any market research results – but entirely on what would be my own personal preferences.
Hence, appreciating the limitations and constraints, I would start with some presumptions.
- I presume that the prospective buyer would possess sufficient self-worth and net-worth to consider such a vehicle.
- That said, we are likely to primarily focus on a rather limited target group, probably aged 40 +, with a family, maybe a house owner, with the occasional need for extra luggage capacity.
- I also presume that such a person would be less inclined to favour extreme exterior features like huge spoilers and street scraping side skirts, machinegun sounding exhaust systems and the like, since both good taste and tolerance tend to change in lieu of age, maturity, residential area environment and acceptance.
- That the rationale for acquiring such a vehicle is for the pure pleasure of having it (heart rather than brain), its like buying a gold Rolex Submariner watch, thus not for the purpose of exhibitionism, or racing down the street. Still, the car should make an understated impression, and give its owner the knowledge and confidence that power and handling is there – if ever needed.
- That the premium payable should be reasonable and affordable (maybe USD 20 K), whilst at the same time enable SAAB to cover production costs, certification costs, and certain inevitable development and testing costs. Such a limited series vehicle would never make SAAB that much better off financially, but if they at least would break even, it would most likely enhance the status of SAAB, giving signals as an able (to be) prestige car maker. This premium on top of the “standard” Aero version is percentagewise much less than the competition is charging.
Thus, in terms of manufacturing, the following presumptions would be applicable:
- Development costs should be kept at minimum by using in main available or already designed / engineered / tried and tested components.
- The car should be possible to assemble at the same production line as the standard car.
The current palette of colours would have to do, preventing investments in separate paint facilities, or disruptions by diverting steel body’s elsewhere for special painting.
My ideal car would then – in line with the above – be a 9-5 XWD sedan or 9-5 XWD SC with:
- Exterior features limited only to a polished stainless steel mesh grille insert (type Bentley Continental), Hirsch 20” wheels and quad exhausts, the already available Brembo brakes, and on the SC perhaps a slightly more pronounced and Hirsch inspired roof top spoiler.
- An engine based on the already presented SAAB Aero X concept, i.e. the twin turbo 2,8 l V6, giving 400 hp, and for environmental reasons compatible with ethanol E85 fuel.
- A suitable transmission, c.f. the 7-speed Aero X box.
- The interior based on the current Aero model, but with selectable options for carbon or wooden dash, enhanced leather clad doors, enhanced stitching, etc. The current Aero seats are comfortable enough, so no need to go for Recaro or something extravagant.
- The option to more flexibly combine existing interior colour combinations (top of dash, carpets) since I am allergic to black car interiors.
So, that’s basically my perfect version of a “high performance” SAAB, capable and noticed without being flashy, at the same time not at shame beside the neighbour’s RS 6 or its Avant version.
An order book of maybe 1000 vehicles globally would hopefully avail sufficient capital (through either pre-payment or financing) go get the project off the ground.