Mysterious Saab 9-5 test vehicle spotted in Trollhattan

I’ll keep the spotter’s name out of this post as he’s a local there in Trollhattan, but this makes for a very interesting photo.

Saab 9-5 tester

It’s badged as a V6 Aero, but that’s obviously not an Aero bumper or exhaust setup on the back there. And then there’s those blue plug-like things.

Saab 9-5 tester detail

Our spotter says that the car also had similar plugs around the glovebox area.

Hybrid-electric tester? Something else? Let the speculations begin!

And if anyone knows the truth about this vehicle, that’d be welcome too.

Tuesday Snippets – Farago edition

The Saab/BMW news is all over the interwebs and it’s all been positive (aside from TTAC, see below).

We’ll have to wait for the press conference to see what the actual agreement brings to the table. Will it be more than architecture and/or diesel engines? I don’t know.

But personally speaking, I think it’s going to be absolutely fantastic, both for the expansion of the vehicle range and the perception of Saab in the marketplace. I’m pretty amazed at some of the reasons put forth in comments for reservation about this potential deal. The idea that this deal could ‘turn Saabs into BMWs’ is just really shortsighted and doesn’t give Saab’s excellent engineers any credit IMHO. Hang your reservations at the doors, people, and see what happens.

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Our mate Rune has been to meet his new ride…..

Rune Saab 9-5

…..unfortunately there’s some problems with the road and registration authorities at the moment so Rune’s plates haven’t arrived yet. Agonising!

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I never thought I’d ask for Robert Farago to be reinstalled at The Truth About Cars, but it seems the inmates are now running the asylum. Farago was grumpy and critical, but at least he was predictable. This guy’s just freaking nuts!

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Another ‘different’ Saab is for sale over at Saabnet…..

Stretch Saab 900

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And then there’s this….. pre-production, and a sequel to the rear shot shown yesterday…. click.

Saab 9-4x front

Looking absolutely fantastic!

Saab 9-4x spotted, production and show details incorrect

Autoblog have published a story based on some Auto Express photos of the 9-4x out testing in the nude.

While it’s great to see they’ve removed all the flappy black plastic from the 9-4x, the stories that are written to compliment the photos are – I believe – wrong in couple of significant ways.

To the photos first, which you can see in their entirety here at Auto Express.

This vehicle is now limited to just the chequer-board disguise that characterised the later Saab 9-5 mules. What we can see here is not too surprising – the car looks pretty much the same as the Saab 9-4x display vehicle first shown at the Detroit Auto Show in 2008.

Saab have said all along that the show car was pretty much it as far as the basic shape of the car was concerned. What will change is the trim and some details, like the fancy ski rack, switchgear, etc.

So if you want to see 90% of what the 9-4x will look like without the camo, and in white, then click here.

Now to the articles…..

Auto Express state the following:

It’s been a long time coming, but the SAAB 9-4X has finally been signed off and production of the Volvo XC90-sized SUV has begun at GM’s Ramos Arizpe plant in Mexico.

I’d be very surprised if there are any vehicles rolling off the production line already, unless these are early pre-production models for testing or quality control purposes. The reason for that will be apparent shortly.

Under the bonnet, there’ll be a choice of two petrol units, a turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder and a turbo 2.8-litre V6, and a 2.9-litre diesel co-developed by VW Motori in Italy.

Incorrect. The Saab 9-4x specs that we’ve already seen state that it will have a 3.0litre non-turbo engine as the base engine, and the 2.8T V6 as the Aero engine. Basically the same offerings that are available in the Cadillac SRX.

Bear in mind that those specs were preliminary and were for the US market. They may have changed by now. There may be a TiD or TTiD engine for Europe (actually, they’d be mad if there wasn’t) but solid Euro specs haven’t been seen yet.

GM abandoned the VM Motori 2.9 diesel some time ago.

The Auto Express headline has the following trailer underneath it:

SAAB SUV enters production ahead of late 2010 on sale date.

VM and JAJ have been quoted extensively in the last few months saying that the Saab 9-4x will come out in April 2011. That’s the other reason why production is unlikely to have started already – we’re still 10 months out from release.

Autoblog state the following:

….and considering the time frame, it’s safe to assume that the production 9-4X will debut at the Paris Motor Show this September.

That’s a reasonable guess, but a better guess would be the LA Auto Show in November 2010.

First reason – The 9-4x is primarily a vehicle for the US market so it makes sense to make the biggest splash in the US.

Second reason – The LA Auto show is five/six months out from the vehicle’s scheduled sales date, which is just about perfect. Paris adds another 2 months to that and Detroit would take 2 months off it.

Third reason – If you’re going to make a splash in the US, why not do so at a show that’s growing and in a nice climate (i.e the LA show) rather than a show that’s shrinking, at a crappy venue and in the middle of winter (i.e. Detroit, where the Cobo renovations can’t come soon enough).

Autoblog.nl leak Saab 9-5 wagon spyshot

OK, not a spyshot, per se. It looks more like a CGI from a brochure or presentation. I don’t know how Autoblog.nl have got hold of it and they’re not saying, but I can tell you one thing: It is accurate.

I can say that because I’ve shown my own leaked image in the past (how quickly we forget), which reconciles with this one quite nicely, and also because I’ve seen the car for myself – last year, in Sweden.

Here’s the image:

95estate.jpg

Of course, the Saab 9-5 wagon is still the best part of a year away from being sold, though we’ll probably see one in the metal before then.

It is a sexy beast from almost every angle but a troubling beast in one regard. I’ll be interested to see if your opinions agree with mine and therefore, will not share what troubles me.

I’ll take mine in a dark color with tinted windows, please.

Thanks to Thomas for the tip via email.

Mystery Car leaves Saab facility

I’ll preface this by saying I don’t think this is a Saab vehicle. It’s quite small and Saab have consistently said have a small car in their plans – not in development. Saab need new investors before they can think about building a new smaller car.
If I were to guess I’d say it’s one they have been doing some development work on for GM, possibly for some time. Maybe one of their smaller new vehicles.
It was photographed yesterday near Saab’s facility in Trollhattan.
Guesses, anyone?
MysteryCarSaab.jpg

Thanks to SL for the pic and the photographer for passing it on to him.

WSJ coverage from the NY auto show

Dan Neil, formerly of the LA Times and now of the Wall Street Journal, has a nice fat headline claiming The Next Saab 9-3: World Exclusive First Picture!
DanNielSketch.jpg
Now, I can tell you a few things about this.
1) It’s (reportedly) Dan’s own pencil work based on him seeing the famous rendering on Victor Muller’s mobile phone. As such, it’s not “the next Saab 9-3” as Dan wrote in his headline. The sketch on Victor’s mobile phone is his idea for a new smaller Saab, one that would be a Saab 9-2, or 9-1, or 92 or 91 depending on what the naming convention will be at that time.
2) It’s not a world exclusive, either. I described the sketch, which I saw as desktop wallpaper on VM’s laptop, in a post that I wrote from Schipol airport in Amsterdam back in February:

The desktop wallpaper on Victor Muller’s laptop is his sketched idea for a new small Saab. This is the Saab 92 inspired teardrop shaped vehicle that he’s been talking about recently. Think Saab 9-X Air at the front and Saab 92/96 at the rear.

Based on that description, Jeff came up with this rough photoshop, which gelled reasonably well with what I recall seeing.
Jeff'sVMsketch.jpg
So, sorry Dan, but it was neither a 9-3 or a world exclusive. But it’s a nice Saab 93 (1950’s generation) you’ve drawn there.
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The rest of the article makes for some good reading, summarising a good number of talking points with regard to Saab.

  • Manufacturing in Sweden.
  • Initial plans for the US
  • Partnership with BAIC
  • Technology sharing and breaking even

Recommended reading. Just ignore the sketch bit.

Saab 9-4x seen somewhere other than showroom

Yes, it’s frustrating for me too, to see be seeing camo versions of the Saab 9-4x instead of a production version. Like every other product they can build, Saab dealers need the 9-4x yesterday.
German publication, Bild, have caught some new shots of the Saab 9-4x, apparently doing some testing in Stuttgart.
saab-erlkoenig-01-15633261.jpg
saab-erlkoenig-02-15633307.jpg
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You can see more (and read some) here at Bild.
Thanks to various parties for the link.

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