NG9-3 Hatchback Confirmed

Autoblog are at the 2011 Saab 9-4X launch event and they’ve been talking to Magnus Hillerborn, Saab’s Vehicle Validation Engineer. They are now reporting that a a five-door hatch is confirmed alongside the convertible.

The changes are so significant that Hillerborn says he imagines GM executives will be “very surprised” when they see the production car, which is tipped to take design cues from the PhoeniX concept car that debuted earlier this month at the Geneva Motor Show. Hillerborn says that the hatchback will likely be five-door only (presumably a SportCombi wagon variant will follow), though we imagine there are some three-door renderings knocking about in Trollhattan. Hillerborn promises a very sleek and unique hatchback, one that should appeal to traditional sedan buyers as well (read: not bulbous and overtly hatch-like, but more streamlined).

There’s no word on a 3 door hatch or a sedan at the moment, feel free to head over to Autoblog for a read:

With all this speculation, we’re curious as to what everyone here would be interested in purchasing. Sound off in the poll below.

What 9-3 variant would you like to buy most?
5-door hatchback
3-door hatchback
5-door 9-3x
3-door 9-3x
4-door Sedan
2-door Coupe


Mid Week Snippets

First up, GoAuto have a very comprehensive article about Swade and his Job at Saab. Swade’s comment on the article

“…this is pretty much the most complete article about what I did and how it got me a new job with Saab. GoAuto do the job better than any other motoring publication in Australia.”

So head over and have a good read

Today marks New Salem Saab‘s 50th Birthday, below is from their website:

However, during the purchase the financial institutions of the day would not lend the money to my grandparents for a Saab franchise. Remember Saab was a foreign front wheel drive car with a three cylinder two stroke, which only arrived in the states in 1956. The banks along with everyone else didn’t know anything about this funny sounding little Swedish car hence there reluctance to assist in the purchase. Never the less our family pressed on and sold off many things to help raise the money needed including a chunk of the families savings which grandmother was “fit to be tied” over. They managed to scrap together what they needed and our franchise was awarded on March 23, 1961.

Congratulations, and all the best.

Saab have come in at number 7 on Sweden’s 10 Greenest Brands.

SNORAS, a Lithuanian bank, has released a news article about the addition of 7 Saab 9-5 Aeros to their fleet.

Bank SNORAS has innovated its vehicle fleet by seven new business class cars Saab 9-5 Aero 2.0 Turbo. Heads of Bank SNORAS will use the new model cars complying with the highest requirements of safety and environment protection.

Vladimir Antonov is the main shareholder of SNORAS, so it’s not a big surprise they’ve picked Saab.

Peab are building new apartments south of Innovatum. For those unfamiliar with Trollhättan, Innovatum is the area which is home to the Saab Museum.

GM has sold of the rest its preferred shares in Ally Financial for US$1 billion. Ally Financial handles financing for GM, Chrysler, Saab, Thor Industries and Fiat Mexico. GM still holds a 9.9% interest in Ally Financial’s common stock.

Finally, if you’re a Saab convertible owner in Sydney, Australia and you and your Saab are available on 2nd July 2011 please get in contact with me.


Car and Driver waiting for Saab 92

Car and Driver have put together a list of 25 cars worth waiting for, and included in the list is the 2014 Saab 92. It great to see the motoring press getting excited for future Saabs.

There are also a couple of interesting comments, that I doubt the validity.

  • the 9-3 successor, which will likely be called 900
  • At first, the 92 will get Mini’s turbocharged gas four-cylinder; diesels and a three-cylinder gasoline engine are possibilities.

It’s not a long piece, feel free to pop over and have a look


Saab Australia – Where are you?

A journalist at Forbes wrote the following as an introduction

Sitting in a movie theater a few weeks ago sleepily waiting for the previews to begin, a sleek add jolted me to my senses. It was an advertisement for the latest cars built by Saab, supposedly the automobile brand that had vanished due to bankruptcy.

While many have doubted whether he was really unaware of Saab’s survival, the point is that the advert would of let the average punter know that Saab was still around. Saab in the USA are letting people know they are alive and kicking.

Meanwhile a look at an article in the Sydney Morning Herald written by Elizabeth Farrelly, a columnist, author and architect, on the 3rd March 2011 tells us that Saab have suspended sales in Australia. Farrelly is on the quest for a car that is “green” and has flair.

In the end, I decided a Saab, and only a Saab, had the right mix of intellect, Left Bank queerness and reliability. I do like a car that goes. It was also moderately green, in terms of road-load, with a good turning circle and an enjoyable acoustic, as evidenced not just by the satisfying thunk of its door-closure but also by the lovely flickety-sound its indicator makes.

But the clincher, re the Saab, was the room. It may be Saab’s airplane-making origins that led them to it, for the interior is as much cockpit as car (to the point where you expect push-button machine guns on the dash). But as a room, especially for the driver, immensely flattering. As a good room should, it makes you feel loved. And of course, I love it right back.

Only now, heartbreakingly, I’m back at square one, for Saab has temporarily suspended selling cars in Australia.

A trip out to my Saab independent mechanic always ends up in a chat about all things Saab. A trip out there just last week found us discussing the new offerings from Saab. The guys told me that many of their customers were asking about if Saab were still selling cars in Australia.

The Saab enthusiast would know that Saab is still alive down under. The average punter on the other hand, who recycles the motoring section in the weekend paper and never picks up a Motoring Magazine, thinks that Saab isn’t doing business down under.


Bankruptcy: Saab, GM and the Banks

There’s an interesting article/blog over at Forbes

The author, John Tamny, writes that the United States government feared that jobs would disappear if they allowed the auto-makers and banks in the United States to go into bankruptcy. So the United States government stepped in with bailout packages.

Tamny then goes on to look at Saab and how they dispelled the myth that bankruptcy means that the jobs will disappear. Saab went into the Swedish equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and came out the other side at its “market clearing level”. He then goes on to outline bankruptcy as a positive, and companies come out of it with better management practices ready to succeed.

Saab’s story is a reminder that as opposed to something we should fear, bankruptcy often is what ensures the perpetuation of things we like. Saab survived bankruptcy and lived to tell the story, and it’s time we apply the lessons of Saab to other corporate entities living off of the money of others.

Feel free to pop over and read for yourselves.


BAIC buys WEIGL Transmission Plant AB

After purchasing the technology for the old Saab 9-5 and pre-2006 Saab 9-3, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co (BAIC) have further move towards manufacturing the Saab 9-3 and 9-5 as Beijing Auto branded cars in the Chinese market.

BAIC have purchase WEIGL Transmission Plant AB, the company that manufacture gearboxes for Saab and GM. Early reports say that the deal, worth 31 million Euro, has included the factory, production equipment and IPR for the F25 and F35 gearboxes that are found in the Saab 9-3 and 9-5.


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