Thursday Snippets

I have a couple of massive work days coming up, so things might slow down a little.


Thanks to all who wrote to me with regards to accommodation in Geneva.

We have double good news to report – it looks like both RedJ and I will be going to the show (there was some doubt about being able to get RedJ a pass, but we’ve had some positive news there) and it looks like we’ve both got accommodation sorted as well.

Again, many thanks to the many people who wrote, offering advice and assistance.


How tough is it selling cars in the northern winter?

Saabs might have great winter driving characteristics and be quite appealing in that regard, but people have got to actually get to the dealership to look them over.

This is New Salem Saab this morning.

They keep plowing and the snow keeps falling. As Darryl said to me just now via email – fun for the boys (his twin sons), not so much fun for business.

I hope these poor conditions can lift soon.


GMInside News report that the Cadillac SRX is getting a 3.6 non-turbo to replace the 2.8T. In fact, the 3.6 might replace the 3.0V6 engine as well and be the only lump available.

Saab will be sticking with the 3.0V6 and 2.8T lineup.

Thanks Charles!


Our mates at ANA Specialbilar are working on a new police car for the Swedish authorities, based on the new Saab 9-5.

Great news!


From Autoblog….where they’re playing with backwards cars.


Saab always have a great looking stand at any motor show, and now their models will be blinging it up a little more with some Saab themed jewellery:

Saab builds on its brand – with jewelry. Specially-made necklaces and earrings to adorn the staff at the upcoming motor shows.

With the help of designer Helen Berggren, Saab has developed a series of jewelry that will reflect the Trollhättan-producer’s identity.

– Together with Helen, we chose to do a combination jewelry with a Snowstar and cow elk in discrete plexiglass colors, “says Nina Bergheim, project manager at Saab Exhibitions & Events responsible for Saab’s profile on the international auto shows.


And finally, this 9-5 Taxi in Stockholm already has 30,000kms on the clock. Pontus L had a word with the driver:

The car was put in traffic in November and until yesterday the driver has made a little bit over 30,000km!! The car have made all these taxi kilometers without any problems or failures what so ever. The driver is very happy with his car and planning to change to the new 95 SC when it is available later this year.

Notes from the Brussels Auto Show – Saab TX badging

A couple of our mad Dutchies SU regulars, Jos and Stephan, took a trip down to Brussels a few days ago and checked out the Saab stand.

Jos’ notes……


Jos discovered some new TX badging on the Saab 9-3 display car there.

The TX edition is a version of the Saab 9-3 that’s been available in selected markets at different times over the last couple of years. It’s currently an option for the Vector line of the Saab 9-3 in Belgium and offers:

  • Front bumper with gray insert
  • Front Grille – Titanium look
  • front fog light surrounds – Titanium look
  • Sports leather steering wheel
  • carbon fibre effect decor – center console and glove box
  • carpet floor mats with grey edge piping

Basically, what you’re looking at is a number of trim pieces from the Turbo X to dress up the 9-3 Vector in a cost-effective manner.


We saw the 9-4x, which looked quite nice. Not my type of car, but still a nice car.

There was quite some interest in the 9-4x, we saw lots of people getting in and out the car, going straight to the private rooms, I guess for making price quotes. Funny thing, there were a lot of elderly (like 60+, retired) people looking at the 9-4x. Maybe there’s a market there for this car in Europe after all, one that no-one even though of: These retired baby boomers that don’t do the miles to be needing Diesels. They do however have cash to spend, and want a practial car, which is easy to get into and out of. The 9-4x fits that gap perfectly.

Well, it might just be my optimism, but there was a lot of action arount the car, that’s for sure.


Reps at the show also said that the preview image of the Saab 9-5 SportCombi has already led to plenty of enquiry and some pre-orders.

Fantastic stuff.


My thanks Jos for the info, and to Stephan for a big donut 🙂

Saabs we can expect to see this year – but when?

The Detroit Auto Show is out of the way for 2011 and Saab used their unofficial attendance outside the show hall to announce the introduction of Hirsch Performance parts in the United States.

That’s one show, one announcement, but there’s plenty more due for this year. The fun part is trying to figure out when we’ll see all the new things that Saab has to offer.

There are plenty of auto shows around the world every year, but there are only a few big auto shows each year. I think we can expect to see a lot from Saab at each of those big shows (and a presence at plenty of the smaller ones, too).

The big, “debut-worthy” shows remaining for this year, in my estimation, are as follows:

  • Geneva – March
  • New York – April
  • Frankfurt – September
  • Los Angeles – November

The big debuts that Saab could make this year, with my guesses as to when, are as follows….

Saab design concept – Jason Castriota’s stamp on Saab design will show at Geneva. We heard as much late last year. No doubt this poured the pressure on the Saab design team, as they’re also working flat-out on the replacement for the Saab 9-3.

Contrary to what some might think, this design concept is not a lead-in to the 9-3, nor is it a look at what Saab’s small car might look like if they find a partner. This concept is intended to be a bookend to the Aero-X – a design exercise only. It’s Castriota’s baby where Saab is concerned and it will have plenty of Saab in it, but plenty of Castriota in it as well.

MY2011.5 9-3 – A mid-cycle enhancement is expected for the Saab 9-3 that will see the exterior re-shaped to look more in line with the new Saab 9-5. The car has been referred to as the Griffin Edition and is intended to carry the 9-3 through until it is replaced late in 2012.

The 9-3 is expected to get the 2.0T engine with direct injection from the Saab 9-5, said to be available in both 163hp or 220hp variations. Whether there will be enhancements to the interior is as yet uncertain, but they may be restricted to some minor trim enhancements (silver strip around the dash to become grey, and some other grey trim, too).

Geneva would be a good candidate for this to be seen, too. Given that the model is a mid-year refresh, it would make sense for them to show it in March and have it go on sale shortly thereafter.

Saab 9-5 SportCombi – I don’t know exactly why Saab release their wagons a year after they release sedans, but they do. The Saab 9-5 SportCombi will hold massive interest for Swedish customers, as well as much of Europe and a few outside as well.

It’s expected to go on sale around mid year, so I’d expect this to be the third and final big announcement for the Geneva show. I know that’s a lot to expect from one small company, but these are big debuts and Geneva’s the biggest stage available prior to them going on sale.

Saab 9-3 SportCombi TTiD with sub 120g emissions – It would be nice to have a Swedish show to launch a sub-120g/km range of diesels in the 9-3 SportCombi range but the Stockhom show for 2011 has been at best, postponed, and at worst, cancelled.

As it’s not relevant to the US market (the NY show is in April), this one might be done via a press release and drive event in Europe only.

Saab 9-3 Independence Edition Convertible

This car will use the mid-cycle enhancement that I expect to see in Geneva. The Saab 9-3 Independence Edition will be a limited edition, with just 365+1 units available worldwide for 2011, in convertible body style only.

It’s expected to go on sale in May, so a debut at the New York International Auto Show might be appropriate.

2012 Saab 9-3 and 9-5 – I don’t know how different the 2012 Saab 9-3 will be from the 2011.5 Griffin Edition, but if there are more changes, they’ll be marked as a 2012 model.

I think we can expect enhancements to the Saab 9-5 range for 2012. There is room for enhancement in the interior of the car and the possibility, however near or far, of a sub-120g/km model (tangent – I think Magnus Hansson’s “smile” in response to questions about a sub-120g 9-5 might be over-interpreted here. The good news is he didn’t rule it out).

The obvious timing for this is at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011.

Saab 9-3 replacement concept vehicle – This car is due in the last quarter of 2012. Would they dare show a concept a year early? I know it’s been mentioned already, but I think it’s far from certain.

If they do proceed with showing this vehicle, then Frankfurt or LA are the end-of-year big shows. My tentative bet would be LA in November, contrary to previous reports about the vehicle showing in Frankfurt. It gives them something big to talk about in the United States, as well as much-needed extra time.

Showing this vehicle could give them a good reason to showcase new technology from eAAM, too.

But all that’s a very big IF.

One man’s thoughts – the Saab 9-4x in Brussels

Jorrit doesn’t live in Belgium, but that didn’t stop him from heading on over to Brussels anyway, to be one of the first Euro-dwellers to get a peek at the Saab 9-4x.

This is what he saw, and what he thought of it.

My thanks to Jorrit for sending it along…..


Saab has a truly great stand. It supports the Scandinavian feel that Saab is all about. It’s very clean looking and a nice place to be. The curved LED wall stands out and gives the stand a modern and technical advanced image. Also, I got the impression that the Saab employees were proud to be there and enjoyed the show. Of course, it’s very exciting to present a new Saab to (potential) customers after all that Saab has come through during the last months.

Although Belgium is a relatively small country, it’s responsible for a lot of Saab sales. So it was not strange to see many people checking out the Saab stand, especially the 9-4X and 9-5 of course. I got the impression that people were positively surprised by the 9-4X. I heard people saying that they liked what they saw.

This is the first time we got to see the real life 9-4X. At the last AutoRAI (2009), the Dutch motor show, we saw the concept car of the 9-4X. It’s great to see that there are a lot of similarities between the concept car and the production model. Something that struck us were the green/blue tinted head lights. They look quite good, but perhaps due to the lighting at the stand, they seemed to be more colored than the head lights of the 9-5. As this is the US version of the car, I think the orange part of the head lights won’t be there in the European version which makes it look more clean.

The 9-4X features a typical Saab dashboard which is angled to the driver. The interior looks great, no doubt about that, but sand color leather might make it even better. It’s easy to see that the 9-4X and new 9-5 are from the same family, which is great. One thing that is not very Saab like in my opinion is the look of the audio and navigation system. The interface on the screen features obtrusive colors and strong gradients on the buttons. In my opinion that doesn’t blend that well with the clean and uncluttered design which Saab stands for. It has probably to do with costs, but if it’s possible for Saab to change the interface theme, that might be a good idea to do. Give it more of a clean Saab feel, include the Gill Sans font, etc.

The boot looks great and the cargo rail looks useful. Also, this car was fitted with two DVD screens in the back which children will appreciate for sure. This is the Aero version, but there was no Aero badge at the back of the car. By the way, both the front and back seats were good and the leather looked nice as well. Overall it’s an outstanding car.

Car shows are a great way to compare cars. Next to the Saab stand was Land Rover. They showed their new Range Rover, the Evoque. By the looks of that car you would say that it’s a concept vehicle, but it’s really a production car. If you ask me, it looks quite Saaby (funny thing that the Evoque and 9-4X were very near to each other (it was a similar arrangement in Los Angeles, too, and the Evoque was well received by people at the Saab stand – SW).

For example the black A pillars and the sporty stance are shared by both cars. I think I would choose the 9-4X as the Evoque looks a bit too aggressive, but I have to say that the Evoque looks more modern than the 9-4X (in fact it makes the Freelander look older than it actually is, in my opinion). I hope Saab could do something like that with the all-new 9-3: make it look very modern and special so it stands out from the crowd, actually what the classic 900 did in its days.

Greetings from Holland!

Best regards,
Jorrit D

Images: Brussels Motor Show

I’m not sure what was said in Brussels, but here’s what it all looked like when they said it.



Of course, the feature of the show was the European debut of the Saab 9-4x, which once again looks very good on the Saab stand.

The images were sent over by Sofie from Saab in Belgium, and she was very happy with how things went at the show, which is great to hear.

Thanks for the pics!

SAAB at the Brussels Motor show

Saab will be hosting a press conference at 10:30 am(GMT+1) at the Brussels Motor show. So if anybody gets some info about that press conference, feel free to post it here.

Saab will be there with the 9-4X, being Brussels the official European presentation of the car, and the 9-3 ePower.

It seems that this is the first really post-GM Motor-show as Saab will be surrounded by BMW, Alfa Romeo and LandRover.

What’s going to happen at the Paris Motor Show?

169 comments would tend to suggest that people are interested in the difficulties that are confronting some Saab dealers at the moment.

Saab clearly need to make some noise – and preferably before October.

But October is Saab’s chance to once again stand on a world stage and make announcement that says “We’re here!”

The Paris Auto Show is on from the 2nd to the 17th October and Saab are on the map of exhibitors. And check out their neighbors!


Here’s something I’d love to see. Saab executives wearing “100% GM-Free” T-shirts on the stands. In fact, anyone who visits the Paris show must wear a 100% GM-Free T-shirt. OK, so we’re still connected by parts, but the common punter doesn’t know that.

There’s one cheap stunt to get some publicity.

But there should be some other serious ways to get the public’s attention, too, which is why Saab will actually be there. That means they should have something big to announce.

The way I see it there’s two options and maybe they’ll go for maximum impact and announce both.

1. The new, refreshed Saab 9-3.

If they’re really doing an update to the Saab 9-3 for it’s final two years, then a big motor show is the perfect place to unveil it and Paris is a big motor show. It won’t be an all-new car, but they’ll have the Saab 9-5 there for that. This should be a reasonably significant upgrade to the 9-3 so it’s release will be a significant story.

2. Partnerships for the future.

Speculation has been rife on the interwebs that Saab have been talking to BMW about sharing some bits. Some say just engines and some say platforms as well. I’ve said a number of times already that I think it’s just engines, but I’ll be pleased to be wrong.

An announcement like that would make huge waves in the automotive world and it’d get plenty of press, too. If they could time an announcement like that for the Paris show then it would surely take up quite a few column inches.

The Saab 9-4x will debut at the LA Auto Show a month later, so it won’t be that. I’d bet on one or both of the above.

I just wish it were in the first week of September and not a month later than that.

Saab 9-4x to show at LA Auto Show in November 2010

Predicted here at SU back in June….. and now confirmed by the LA Auto Show people and reported at Autoblog.

The Saab 9-4x will show at the LA Auto Show in November this year.

We’ve been expecting this announcement to come sooner or later, though we didn’t exactly count on it coming from the LA Auto Show’s own Twitter page. But there it is anyway, straight from the horse’s mouth: “Saab has confirmed that the 9-4X Crossover will make its world debut at the LA Auto Show this Nov.”

The Saab 9-4x should be showing in its production specification ahead of its planned release in April 2011.

Hopefully we’ll be able to sort out those pesky engine details as well. All I’ve heard from within Saab (but some time ago) is that it will have the same engines as the Cadillac SRX on release – that’s a 3.0 NA engine for the base model and the 2.8T for the Aero.

Autoblog are predicting the 2.0T like the 9-5, but I haven’t heard that yet. It’ll be nice if it works out that way, though.

Thanks to John B for the tip.

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