A report from Autocar says that Saab will be scrapping it’s existing Epsilon 9-3 platform in favor of an entirely “new” platform. To be fair, Saab has said that it was a heavily revised Epsilon platform that would become the Phoenix architecture, but recently we’ve been hearing comments from executives saying that it would be an “all new modular architecture.”
I’d actually like to go back and really take note of Jan Ake’s speech from Geneva, and some of his comments. He highlighted how important distribution was, but also the new Phoenix platform. Starting at around 3:13 of the conference video:
“Seldom have we been able here in Geneva to present so many new products as we’re doing today…2012 will then be the year of the new 9-3, and this is the time when we will have the opportunity to show to you what an independent Saab organization can do, technically, with architectures that are flexible, modular, very appealing design, but also vehicles and cars that are drivers cars where our definition of performance, with safety, practical vehicles utilizing small displacement turbocharged engines that generate very low emissions will be the cornerstone of the Saab brand as we go into the future.”
We’ve known for some time that the new platform was expandable, but this article gives us a nice analogy to understand how the process will work. Imagine it’s like a Nikon F lens mount system, where individual parts use “fixed” interfaces so that down the road they’re easily upgradable and future proof– a lesson they’ve learned from none other than Scania.
Needless to say this is expected news, but it’s nice to hear some details continue to pour out. The real information is the suspension system, which autocar says will use a unique McPherson strut design and a new “race-car” style five-link rear axle made by get this– ZF– at a new plant in Sweden. If true, this is pretty big and exciting news. By tossing out the Epsilon/GM platform in favor of a true Saab solution, critics can no longer argue that Saab isn’t standing on its own feet. By aligning themself with ZF, they’re once again huddling up with the big boys of the auto world as they did with the BMW engine deal; Saab is staking a claim to true competitive performance. Phoenix up.