CAR Magazine on the Saab PhoeniX concept

CAR Magazine are generally pretty reasonable when it comes to Saab. They, like the rest of us, tend to think that the automotive world is a much more interesting place with companies like Saab in it. That’s why one of their roving reporters was busy getting a good spot at the Saab stand while Opel, next door, were running overtime with their Geneva press conference.

Back again to Hall 2, where I should be seeing a presentation from the brand that will not die. However, it’s GM Europe, Saab’s old owners, working their way through the presentation of the new Zafira Tourer. I’m keen to see the new car, but try to get a better location to view Saab’s presentation instead.

This traditional affection is why I’ll be very keen to read their April issue and see how they explain this headline about the PhoeniX concept. It’s fair to say that early signs from CAR are not looking promising.

From their online digital preview:

A harsh assessment?

I know I’m biased, but I’d say decidedly so. Alfa Romeo would want the “Right Car” assessment because the 4C is actually slated for production. Nobody wants a “Wrong Car” assessment, so it’ll be interesting to read what the assessment is based on – some controversial flying buttresses, or the use of a real-world new platform, a new hybrid turbocharged drivetrain and a real-world communication and control system that’s made massive waves everywhere. I hope CAR bore point 1, below, in mind.

We’ve covered plenty about the PhoeniX on this site and there are a few things of note that came out of that discussion:

  1. PhoeniX is a design concept (my emphasis) and the one thing you don’t want a design concept to be is boring. You want it to create discussion, which PhoeniX has certainly done, with the vast majority of it in the motoring press being decidedly positive.
  2. Given that it’s a rather radical concept in terms of looks, it’s going to divide opinion, which is fine. The trick is to look deeper than what you see at first glance.
  3. The importance of PhoeniX is not confined to it being Jason Castriota’s first statement as head of Saab design. The looks are deliberately Jason with deliberate Saab cues, and some of that look will carry through to the next 9-3. The importance of PhoeniX, however, is not just how it looks. It’s also concerned with what’s underneath. The PhoeniX platform that it’s based on is real – and when the next 9-3 is only 18 months away, that’s an important thing to know – and the PhoeniX concept showcases some of the vehicle proportions that will be possible with that architecture.

I guess I should hold my tongue until I get a chance to read the article, but I have a feeling that CAR may have only looked at the surface to judge the validity of PhoeniX and made a bold headline out of a subjective assessment.

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Yes, it’s OK. Tim’s given me the OK to continue to write here occasionally. This is one piece of subject matter that I couldn’t resist.

Saab PhoeniX video from Geneva

I need something to make me a little bit happier……

A quick rotational video from Geneva will do. This is from the public days at the show, and it’s good to see a decent number of people looking around the Saab stand, touching the iceblocks 🙂 and just generally checking out the new Saabs.

Thanks to SaabClubNL via Twitter.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSEc9tiJ188

Post-Geneva, plenty of work remains for Saab

As a Saab blogger, I have a regular daily routine that sees me scouring email, comments and a large number of RSS feeds on a daily basis.

Reading comments first thing in the morning lets me know what’s happened overnight. Emails, of course, are the way I stay in touch and see new material that people bring to my attention. When those are out of the way, I get to my RSS feeds, which summarise news stories on a variety of topics and from a large number of websites.

When I’m away at an event, as I was last week, the RSS feeds tend to slip by the wayside because there’s so much going on. When it comes to events like Geneva, I don’t necessarily need to read about the news, I’m right in the thick of it.

This morning, when I opened up Google Reader, I was confronted with an interesting situation. Having not touched the service for over a week, there were thousands of news stories waiting for my review. This collection of links provided much more than that, however. What I had at my disposal was a snapshot of Saab’s media coverage over the last week – and it revealed a few interesting things.

As you might expect, you couldn’t wave a stick around the internet last week without hitting half a dozen different stories about the Saab PhoeniX design concept. It was like a PhoeniX piñata out there. Any website that’s ever run a story featuring an engine seemed to have a picture of the car with the flying buttresses.

The other prominent stories were concerned with Saab’s new IQon technology.

I have to point out here that Saabs United’s own coverage followed a similar pattern. RedJ, Eggs and I did try to make sure we brought you all a well-rounded offering from Geneva, but the PhoeniX was still quite dominant, even here.

So, plenty of Saab coverage. Both IQon and PhoeniX were well received by the vast majority of news services and websites that featured them. That’s all well and good. But it does leave Saab with some significant work to do.

For example…… I had over 500 stories waiting on my Google News “Saab” feed this morning. How many of those news stories dealt with the Saab 9-5 SportCombi?

Three.

And how many of those stories were from Geneva, rather than just re-hashes from the press release?

One.

Aside from the PhoeniX concept, Saab also had the Saab 9-4x, the Saab 9-5 SportCombi and the Saab 9-3 Griffin (with an emphasis on the sub-120g/km SportCombi) at debut or near-debut status at Geneva.

Such a huge media focus on PhoeniX is great for the Saab brand in terms of general awareness but doesn’t do nearly as much to help out with vehicles that are actually for sale, either now or very soon.

To add to the urgency, the only ‘major’ show in the next six months is the New York Auto Show, one where the significance of the 9-3 Griffin’s emissions status will be irrelevant. Wagons are welcomed by Saab fans, but the Saab 9-5 wagon won’t be as big a story in New York as it is in Europe.

20/20 hindsight would have me wonder if it might have been better to save PhoeniX for the New York show and focus the spotlight on Saabs production models in Geneva.

It’s a pointless question now, though, as the dice have been cast. All Saab can do now is roll with the outcome and make the best of their opportunities. I suspect that means a major promotional effort for the 9-3 Griffin and 9-5 SportCombi over the next six months in Europe, and the same for the 9-4x in the US.

Some sort of viral video or prominent event might be needed to push one or more of these cars into the public’s mind.

Poll: Saab PhoeniX concept

I guess it’s time to weigh opinion on the Saab PhoeniX concept.

There has been plenty of coverage and no shortage of explanation about what PhoeniX is (a pure design concept), what is isn’t (a real production car), what parts of it might see production (IQon and the elements of front fascia) and what the heck those flying buttresses are there for.

If you need more information, try these links:

Plenty of comments have been made already. Now it’s time for your vote.

Ther are three votes available. Essentially they represent those voting for the concept, those sitting on the fence for whatever reason, and those voting against.

Giddyup!

The Saab PhoeniX Concept

View Results

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Unofficial: Saab PhoeniX concept to appear at the New York Auto Show

From MegH in comments:

Here’s my question. Since the Auto show will be in New York in April, will Saab be bringing the phoeniX to New York given the market demographic Saab has in the greater Tri-State area? I would love to see it in person along with the new SC’s and the Independence Edition of the convertible.

I can, albeit unofficially, confirm that the Saab PhoeniX concept will indeed make an appearance at the New York Auto Show, which begins on April 22 and runs through to May 1.

I emailed Victor Muller about this when I was still in Geneva and he confirmed to me via return email that Saab had plans to bring the car to The Big Apple.

There’s always a chance the car could fall off the back of a boat or something, but I’d take that as reasonable confirmation that the car will indeed be there. I’d encourage as many of you as possible to make plans to see the Saab stand in Gotham. You’ll love it.

My 2 cents on the Saab PhoeniX concept

I takes me a little while to get used to new things. I bought Radiohead’s new album The King of Limbs when it came out a few weeks ago and I still don’t like it much. I had the same reaction to In Rainbows, their previous release, a few years ago. This week, I’ve been listening to In Rainbows constantly and I absolutely love it. That’s just how I roll.

So when TV4 from Sweden put a camera and microphone in my face around 5 minutes after the Saab PhoeniX concept had been unveiled and asked for my opinion on the car, I felt a little awkward.

Like many of you, my eyes went to the most controversial element of the car – the flying buttresses – and the only thing my mind could process in those first few moments was the question “Why?” I think my response to TV4 was that I immediately liked around 95% of the car but that I was having trouble getting my head around the rest.

I wasn’t alone, either. Watching the comments come through here on the site, it was pretty clear that the initial reactions were around 50% each way – positive and negative. I was approving a lot of first-time commenters who were coming on site to share their messages of doom about how they’d never buy a Saab if this was the direction they were heading in, etc etc.

That trend changed pretty quickly, though, and by the end of the day people seemed to be getting used to the car a lot more. The day ended at around 80/20 positive. The walkaround video with Jason Castriota sealed the deal and comments to that have been indicative people coming to understand the vehicle a lot better.

Here we are, a few days later, and I’m feeling extremely good about the Saab PhoeniX concept.

Read moreMy 2 cents on the Saab PhoeniX concept

RobertJ mashes the Saab 9-5 and PhoeniX concept

Aren’t computers fantastic?

Just a few days after the PhoeniX has made an appearance, people are wondering what it might mean for future Saabs. We’ve already heard from Jason Castriota that some features of the PhoeniX concept will flow through to future Saabs, most notably the front end, elements of which will form the ‘face’ of Saabs in future years and of course, the PhoeniX platform itself (more on that in a later article).

RobertJ took the liberty of combining the new Saab 9-5 with elements of the PhoeniX’s design, the results of which he posted in comments and on Flickr.

Here’s the mashup. The 9-5 bits are in black and PhoeniX in gold.

Click.

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Jeff P has extended RobertJ’s work with a bit of coloration to make finished proposals.

It’s always fun to see this sort of thing. Outstanding work from both.

Thanks gents.

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