With the last news coming to our ears in the recent days what I write below is something anyone making cars in Trollhättan in the future should consider not once but twice.
Weight-loss as a method to increase performance in the daily life is known to most of us with a few or more centimeters around the belly or thighs. The same goes for our cars. I was inspired to write this post after having seen the new FORD Lightweight Concept Car in american motor press. It is amazing what can be done today with new production techniques and new materials. Who would have thought about hollow springs or aluminium brake calipers, carbon fiber in seats and wheels. Carbon fiber wheels will finally make them lightweight. Unsprung weight is also good for the chassis performance.
Here is my bold idea for Saab Cars. Hold on to the chairs now boys and girls. Saab´s heritage IS aerospace it is just a fact and right after the second world war soon 70 years ago Saab embarked on a path of making cars with aerospace technology, and brave new concepts like front wheel drive, aerodynamic design by Sixten Sason and others, even if Gunnar Ljungström Chief engineer told me he was not satisfied with the front wheel houses as he called massive air brakes. Various safety concept Saab also pioneered like standard issue seat belts and dual circuit brake systems. Just like in airplanes redundant systems.
The Saab of the future should be constructed with lightweight constructions in focus, just like airplanes, that would bring back the “core” to the brand. Add to that class leading aerodynamics and a for the pilot/driver optimized workplace/cockpit. That environment must be free from “modern” styling cues that seams to be ordered from most of the automotive worlds marketing departments instead of the human factors man machine interaction engineers/psychologists. My professional recipe for this is to look back to the 9000 model some 30 years ago now. Time flies folks but good design does not. Get rid of everything that is shiny and blinds. As an owner of a 9-5 NG Aero I curse the silver chrome ring around the Color Central Instrument and the piece of shiny metal over the colvebox/compartment. I just realize I start to spin in my own area of expertise. This posting is primarily on weight and new materials.
So to conclude this and how Saab Cars could attract the small minority of prospective Saab buyers is to stand out and be truly unique. The majority of car buyers would not even consider a SAAB but that is fine because there are enough buyers with an acquired taste for the unique and special.
– Build the next SAAB from bottom up in lightweight material aluminum and carbon fiber. Lower displacement engine and BHP but with the same driving experience
– Make the car beat the current class leading car in terms of aerodynamic drag, the Opel Calibra with a Drag Coefficient (Cd) 0,26 number, if Opel could do it 25 years ago what could not be achieved today with better computers for design and fluid dynamics calculations.
– Ride (fly) on the aircraft heritage and set Saab apart from other manufacturers as an engineering driven company. name some of the top-of-the-line cars with distinctive names of famous SAAB planes just like the halo-Model VIGGEN some 15 years ago. A name is so much better for understanding and memorization for most people compared to a silly 9-5 or 9-3..
– Saab is not and will never be for the faint-hearted, put the brand in the same “category” as Alfa Romeo and Citroen. Swedish avant-garde. In this work do not hesitate to look back at old designs that never made it into production from Saabs DesignCenter. Make the Swedish touch from people who lives and breath the clean air here on the top of Europe. Talk to Eduard Gray, Björn Envall, Ola Granlund, Einar Hareide…..(Old Saab designers) Build competent focus groups. SaabsUnited with our extensive international network must be valuable in this work. Our network of dealers, buyers, drivers, enthusiast, and collectors is G R E A T!
Above is a drawing by Björn Envall, it is close t 20 years ago he did this but it encapsulate so much that is SAAB, new thinking, bright colors, extreme aerodynamics, low slung, and above all convertible.
And here is something family oriented. With this post I just want to energize the whole Saab community do not let the recent negativism let You down there will be a summer with bright light and blinding colors.