Monday Afternoon snippets – taking stock edition

Now that much of the Saab sale malarkey is done, I’m currently taking stock of what should be done around here, and at home. Of course, Spyker still have to close this deal, so it’s not all over yet.
But that doesn’t mean the wheels aren’t turning in my mind already as to what this transition will mean for Saabs United as a Saab news site, nor for me as a writer and publisher. Things have changed in the last 12 months and this isn’t the site it used to be anymore.
Can it go back? Can I go back?
I’ve taken some first steps in terms of both the site and at home. There’ll be one big change around here coming quite soon and possibly some changes at home, in the garage area, as I try to return to being a normal person and an actual participating member of my family again.
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THE top executives at most car companies can rattle off the names of their models. Victor R. Muller can tell you the names of his customers.

…..so begins a story about Victor Muller and Spyker in the weekend’s New York Times. It’s a very interesting read about both the man and the company and they even talk to a Spyker owner about owning one as they take a C8 Laviolette out for a test drive.
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Are Renault looking to pinch the Saab 9-X Air’s beautiful back end?
Twingo-CC-modell_481.jpg
That’s a 1:43 scale model Renault seen by Auto Motor and Sport in Sweden. Apparently they’ve also seen full size testers up in the Arctic north for winter testing.
They believe the car could be scheduled for a debut at Geneva and have commissioned one of those clever photochoppers to prepare a CGI based on what they’ve seen.
Twingo_CC_schulte_481_0.jpg
Now compare that back half with the supermodel of Saab Concept Cars, the Saab 9-X Air….
Saab 9-X Air
Sacre Bleu!!
Saab need to get that 9-X Air out – and soon!
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Off topic for a moment…..
The crisis facing Toyota right now is something you just can’t ignore. I’m not sypathetic towards Toyota at all (but definitely towards victims) but am just amazed at how quickly and comprehensively a company’s reputation can go out the window.
In the event some of you haven’t heard, Toyota have stopped selling 7 or 8 key models in the United States, including the Camry and Corolla, and have issues recalls amounting to millions and millions of vehicles in the US, Europe and China. The problem is unintended acceleration, which Toyota wrongly blamed on faulty floor mats and customer misuse before finaly admitting that there’s a problem with their accelerator pedal assembly.
AutoExtremist has a very pro-Detroit look at the situation.
Andy Rupert has a couple of videos that you must watch (esp the ABC one) if you know anyone who owns a relatively recent model Toyota.
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And speaking of videos, here’s some Spyker beauty to start your week off right.



Saab’s convertible party trick

I’m not sure it’s wise to say who dug these drawings up, but suffice to say they’re in the public domain, having been found as part of a patent application by Saab. I believe it was lodged last year.
When the 9-X Air concept car came out, I told you all that there was something special about the operation of the roof. We never got to see it in action, however, as Saab never allowed the roof to be opened (or closed) in public. Having looked over this patent app and the associated drawings, I believe that’s because the 9-X Air doesn’t show off the full system they’ve developed, though it gives a hint as to what’s to come.
This is the 9-X Air as we saw it last year. And yes, I know Saab are now calling it the Saab 9-X Convertible, but I liked the ‘Air’ name better.
1203530.jpg
And below are the patent drawing relating to the convertible concept they’ve developed and applied to protect.
As you’ll see, the 9-X Air gives an indication as to their intention with the high sides coming down from the B-pillar to the rear of the car. What you can’t see in the photo above is the retractable rear window, which would protect rear passengers from uncomfortable headwinds with the roof in the open position.
Figure 1, below, is basically the car with the roof closed. When opened in the preliminary position, the roof folds into a compact unit and is stored in the boot of the car, as per normal.
fig1Saabconv.jpg
Unlike a normal convertible arrangement, however, there is still a rear window. Normally this would be part of the roof on a convertible, but in this new system, it’s a separate piece of the puzzle.
Figure 5 shows the folded roof being tucked away, with the boot of the car raised from a hinge at the rear and about to close again concealing it.
fig5Saabconv.jpg
Figure 6, below, shows the boot closed again, with the rear window still up and the car in a similar configuration to what we’ve seen with the 9-X Air.
All four passengers are now enjoying open-top driving, but all are protected a lot more from the wind than they would be in a regular convertible.
fig6Saabconv.jpg
If the initial party trick is the protection of all occupants whilst creating a damn sexy body style, the Figure 7, next, is the extension of the party trick.

Read moreSaab’s convertible party trick

Saab 9-X Air becomes Saab 9-X Convertible

I just noted a small subtle change on the Saab global website. I’m not sure when it happened, but it happened.
When it was first shown last year, this car was known as the Saab 9-X Air. It seems Saab are determined to solidify the image of this being the next generation Saab convertible as they’ve renamed it as such in both imagery and the press release on the Global website.
9-XConvertible.jpg
By the way, I’m firmly of the belief that this car has another party trick that we haven’t seen yet. I’m trying to figure it out from the drawings I’ve got here, but just can’t see what it is. Of course, we’ve never seen the roof in action and that’s the big and obvious mystery, but I think there’s more to it than that.
Still looking.

Saab 9-X Air

There’s pictures at the links in comments. Really great pics over at Auto Motor and Sport.
Unfortunately, I’ve got to drive off to Vancouver Island in the next hour so won’t have time to publish all the press information, but here’s the summary article.
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World Premiere: Saab 9-X Air Summary
Canopy Top Brings Breath of Fresh Air to Convertible Design
The 9-X Air concept demonstrates what a future convertible from Saab could look like. It features a unique ‘Canopy Top’ – patent pending – and the close-coupled proportions of a sports car, as well as four-seat accommodation.
In breaking the mould of conventional convertible design, the bodywork of the 9-X Air incorporates prominent rear pillars which curve upwards to mount the flat folding Canopy Top. They also anchor a distinctive, wraparound glasshouse, including a separate, recessed rear screen.
Designer Anthony Lo and his team have achieved this execution while still offering the four season, four seater practicality pioneered by Saab when its first convertible concept was premiered at the Frankfurt Show exactly 25 years ago.
Top down or up, the 9-X Air cuts a distinctive silhouette. With the canopy stowed away and the rear screen up, occupants can enjoy open-top motoring free from buffeting. Top up, the 9-X Air assumes the appearance of a true coupé, with a cohesive design that eschews the looks of a conventional, four-seater convertible.
Designed in parallel with the Saab 9-X BioHybrid concept, the 9-X Air shares its distinctive frontal styling, together with its highly efficient powertrain. The small, 1.4-liter Saab BioPower engine combines a series of steps for more responsible performance: engine rightsizing, turbocharging, the use of biofuels and hybrid technology.
Running on E85 fuel (85% bioethanol/ 15% gasoline), the engine delivers a sporty 200 hp (147 kW), giving zero to 100 kph acceleration in 7.9 seconds and projected CO2 tailpipe emissions of just 107 g/km over the combined cycle. Compared to gasoline, the overall environmental impact on a source-to-wheel basis of using E85 is even more beneficial.
Progressive Design
The clean, sculpted body contours of the 9-X Air give fresh expression to Saab’s Scandinavian inspired design ethos and its aircraft heritage. The purposeful stance, with minimal overhangs front and rear, is complemented by a single, wraparound window graphic, smooth uncluttered body surfaces and ‘ice block’ lighting themes.
The exterior look is defined by the prominent C-pillars, or buttresses, that provide the rear mounting for the unique Canopy Top – a powered, flat-folding roof developed from a Targa top principle. This innovation in convertible design, which distinguishes between a folding roof and a complete folding soft-top or hood assembly, is subject to a Saab patent application.
The Canopy Top is in fabric, rather than metal, to save weight and provide more efficient packaging. It is fully automatic in operation and folds neatly in three small sections under a rear tonneau cover in the trunk deck. The rear screen between the buttresses retracts automatically into the underside of the raised tonneau cover to allow stowage of the Canopy Top. The screen then moves back into position to provide a complete glass surround for the cabin in open-top mode.
This ‘surround glass’ feature, together with an active wind deflector on top of the windshield header rail, provides enhanced occupant comfort. It minimizes buffeting, reduces back drafts and eliminates the need for a wind deflector net. Separating the rear screen from the folding top also enables a glass area larger than feasible with a soft top and integral screen.
In a further break with design convention, the 9-X Air dispenses with a trunk lid. Instead, a large storage compartment, big enough to accommodate two golf bags, slides out from underneath the rear light bar. To save weight, it is spring-loaded, without any power assistance, and slides
effortlessly on rollers. Revealed underneath the sliding drawer is a separate compartment for stowing smaller items.
Driver Focus
Inside, the 9-X Air features innovative developments in its driver-focused cockpit design and the provision of seamless connectivity for personal nomadic devices, both first seen in the 9-X BioHybrid.
The driver information zone encompasses the top of the door moulding. It is a fresh execution of Saab’s traditional, driver-focused cockpit layout and dispenses with a central, floor-mounted console. The zone is a flat, arc-shaped surface, within which a row of five display screens is embedded and illuminated in green 3-D graphics, including an ‘infotainment’ screen and control panel in the driver’s door.
In co-operation with Sony Ericsson, the 9-X Air and its hatchback sibling also showcase the potential for seamless, wireless connectivity (Bluetooth) with one or multiple nomadic devices (mobile phones, PDAs etc). The in-car interface enables streaming of data, entertainment and satellite navigation functions, which are transferred automatically to the car while the device remains in the user’s pocket.
The smarter the device, the more functions in the car. The same unit could also be programmed to remotely lock /unlock the car, raise or lower the Canopy Top, and even remotely change incar pre-sets. The 9-X Air makes a separate car key fob or remote controller redundant
Efficiency in Design and Performance
The 9-X Air has been created by a team under Anthony Lo, Director of Advanced Design at General Motors Europe, working in co-operation with the Saab Brand Center in Sweden. “Like the 9-X BioHybrid, this car is all about efficiency in design and performance, and that includes the Canopy Top.” says Lo. “It offers important benefits in weight-saving and packaging, as well as giving us the freedom to take convertible design forward in a very Saabish way.
“This is the direction we’re exploring for a future open-top car from Saab. We’re keeping the all-year-round practicality and the four-seat format, but giving it a fresh, sportier expression.”


Visit Auto Motor and Sport in Sweden for all the best pics.
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Saab 9-X Air uncovered

Jalopnik’s got the goods and it turns out Boon94’s prediction of a few days ago wasn’t that far off the mark.
The embargo date is apparently later this week; Saab were going to pre-empt the Paris show by releasing details early. I’m not sure where Jalop’s got this stuff from as it looks like scanned images, but all’s well that shows early.
I’m sure we’ll get some better quality stuff through soon now.

Well, it’s certainly interesting, like all Saab concepts.
There’s precious little information about it over at Jalopnik so we’ll have to wait for more to come through in order to find out what sort of mechanism closes the top of the vehicle. I’d suggest that in order to keep it’s sleek profile, though, there might be something sliding up from the back (just my idea, though).
The interior looks just the same as the 9-X, though I’m sure the press release will promote a few new gadgets they’ve added in.
Interesting times.
Now, the challenge is for Saab to take this car and its 9-X sibling right into the board rooms of GM Europe and demand they get built. Otherwise, it’s all just pissing in the wind.

Thanks to Turbin for the heads-up.

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