• Jan 22, 2009
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Yesterday, we reported on the fact that General Motors' global sales summary for 2008 included a mention that both the Saab 9-5 and 9-3X would be launching in 2009. We also took note of the fact that the 9-4X was not mentioned anywhere. Saab spokesman Jan-Willem Vester also noticed what we wrote and dropped us a note. Responding to whether Saab might "just slowly slide off into oblivion," Vester says:
The word 'oblivion' is certainly not in Saab's vocabulary anytime soon, especially since the Swedish government has proven be to be very supportive of the brand as one of its best known products around the world and a main source of jobs for the region.
As for the 9-4X, Vester points to the fact that the vehicle is still being tested and regularly caught on camera, including this provided shot taken somewhere in the vicinity of Arjeplog, Sweden. The 9-4X shares its architecture with the Cadillac SRX and producing it would certainly add to the economies of scale. Based on its size, design and likely powertrains, the 9-4X should certainly be a far better fit in the lineup than the Trailblazer-based 9-7X ever was.

Given that GM would apparently like to offload the brand on a new owner and is taking steps to make it more autonomous, it certainly makes sense to keep the 9-4X alive, fleshing out the lineup and making for a more appealing purchase. However, with no firm launch date and GM still struggling, the 9-4X's long-term viability may still be in doubt if no one opts to buy Saab.


[Source: Saab]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Can anyone think of a good reason why someone should buy a Saab? Acura is not good enough? Germans are too flash? Infiniti is Japanese? Volvo is too old school? What about GM's stablemates that share everything underneath?
        • 5 Years Ago
        With regard to my 9-3 SportCombi, I bought it because

        0. My 1997 900 S has 135,000 miles on it and still runs and looks great
        http://uh2l.blogs.com/photos/cars/p1030403.html
        1. unique
        2. turbo power
        3. 4 cylinder efficiency
        4. safest car of its size
        5. looks great
        6. FWD with good handling
        7. reasonably priced for all the options you get
        8. best seats around
        9. hatchback that holds as much as many SUV's with the seats folded down
        10. (still) owned by an American company
        • 5 Years Ago
        What about if you like them?
        • 5 Years Ago
        There is no reason to by any GM car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Let's see. Here were my reasons for buying a 9-5 in '03:

        1. I have had a long relationship with the dealer and they take GREAT care of me.
        2. I love the feel of a turbo kicking in
        3. It is as big as a 5 series Bimmer at a much lower cost
        4. After an ECM re-flash, I get 38 MPG on the highway
        5. The trunk is enormous
        6. The back seat is big enough to be comfortable for tall adults
        7. The Harmon Kardon stereo is great sounding
        8. The cup holder is damn cool - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMxsf7PA95E
        • 5 Years Ago
        ok, couple of things i should clear up. my dad has had two 9-5s: he preordered his first one, a sedan, before it arrived here. he drove that for a couple of years and then swapped it for an estate because he got annoyed by the all the dog hair on the leather, dog loogie streaks on the windows and chewed up door panels, and wanted somewhere to contain the beast. they both had the same 2,3 lpt engine, but the estate one was slightly less well equipped.

        now, i have driven both and i guess the best thing that i can say about the 9-5 is that the ventilated seats were sublime (really excellent) and the engine, despite not being very powerful for such a large car, had that sort of turbocharged windy "go" feeling that you don't get in most NA cars. not bad on the whole, i guess. the first one had quite good build quality, the second one, though, had some issues with electronics and generally didn't feel as well made to the touch.

        now, contrary to popular opinion, with such a car i think the jet aircraft marketing is bang on because i think it goes well in a straight line with that airy boost and sort or smells like an airplane, but it also corners like one: banking left and right and you can't really feel the tarmac because the controls aren't designed for the runway.

        but none of that really mattered. the real reason why i never liked the 9-5 was something else.

        let me be clear on this - the cup holder is not cool. it's evil, in fact. i was young but i still should have picked up on it when i saw the brochure of the 9-5 when my dad came home with it one day, eyes filled with excitement and determination. i fell for the shot of the cup holder in the brochure hook, line and sinker, just like my dad. i don't know why the cup holder is such an argument on autoblog, but lets be honest - it's an insane reason to buy a car, ok?

        however, the real thing that put me off was when i opened the bonnet. i knew i had seen that shape, color and badge on the engine somewhere else before. being a natural car freak i had snatched all the brochures of different cars from my local motor show and had been reviewing them during many a sleepless night. yes, i soon remembered the original acquaintance - an opel brochure.

        i has been convinced that the main point of a saab, the thing my dad was so excited about, was the identity of saab. because the thing cost just about as much as the germans but was front wheel drive and, i think, not that brilliant to drive, i felt it had to make up for the dynamic shortfall with pure character.

        but it lacked that saabness, that character. in fact, i think the whole brand of saab is all about character. that's why everyone is screaming for GM to either kill it or give it up, or stop the butchering and let it be its scandinavian self. it has such potential in this, i think, somewhat boring aggregate of types of cars. i mean, the only reasonable new car i would actually buy is a fiat 500 and i would be labeled metrosexual immediately after the purchase.

        no-one, however, would do that with the renaissance of a 900.

        so i agree completely with the point KC is trying to make.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Or how about a new Sonnett
      • 5 Years Ago
      Keep drinking that Cool-aid Jan-Willem Vester. Saab is toast.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Regarding the oblivion comment, I have to say when I first read the story yesterday I was let down by autoblog. This is one of my favorite blogs, absolutely. But sometimes I read things that just don't check right with the rest of the internet and are obviously conjecture on the part of the bloggers. Now I know it takes time to clear up rumors, and this being mostly a rumor/news site, I'm sure you writers spend an awful lot of time working out the details. Some stories, you guys even break news.
      But with this one, it just rang disrespectfully. It showed a bias against Saab. Not because of the doubt that it showed towards their future lineup, that is certainly in question, but for the idea that the entire brand will slide off into oblivion. There have been several clear signals through the Swedish press about the future of Saab, about their profitablity threshold, about their understanding of their market, about their future models, and their stability. I'm sorry Sam, but you just need to read Swade's blog a little more carefully or just google "Saab" and take the time to put the articles through a Swedish translator, you'd find several more interesting tidbits to put up on the main page. For instance, the latest article from Dagens Insustri posted on trollhattansaab.net explains the advantages Saab has going forward as an independent entity out of the GM-Europe umbrella. Also not shown on this site are the first ever spy pictures of the new 9-5. I've seen plenty of mules of cars without even having the right sheetmetal on them on this site, yet this crucial model for Saab is still shown as a sketch here. The pictures were posted at:
      http://www.autojournal.fr/actualite-automobile/Saab-Exclusif-la-nouvelle-9-5-24371.html
      Just credit autojournal.fr and post one already.

      I love your blog. I like your articles Sam. I just hope that you try to paint Saab with a little more respect in the future. It's clear that Saab drivers love their cars vehemently. Trashing the brand doesn't help you make friends with them.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks like they're doing some 'warm' weather testing...warm, at least for Sweden. LOL
      • 5 Years Ago
      who cares about the 9-4x ( that question is only half rhetorical...seriously, who cares??)

      give us the brand new flagship now, worry about the badge-engineered lineup-fillers later.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Um... is it an impossibility that it could be launching in early 2010 and that's why it wasn't mentioned for 2009?? That's only one year away.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's good to know.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Saab is so dead that adding a new SUV to its pathetic lineup is like spreading a coat of paint on its casket.

      GM should try to dump this mill stone around its neck or liquidate it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And what do you drive?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I drive a hard bargain.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Saab design reflects the looks of Swedish girls. This is not easy to understand until you live among them in real life. Then you can see the complicated 'modern' looks of others as crutches. The problem is that people can't afford this simplicity conceptually because they don't look as good and they will go for all the help they can get. This is a subconscious thing, nobody explicitly thinks about this. If you like blondes with blue eyes you should buy a Saab...
      • 5 Years Ago
      ok, couple of things i should clear up. my dad has had two 9-5s: he preordered his first one, a sedan, before it arrived here. he drove that for a couple of years and then swapped it for an estate because he got annoyed by the all the dog hair on the leather, dog loogie streaks on the windows and chewed up door panels, and wanted somewhere to contain the beast. they both had the same 2,3 lpt engine, but the estate one was slightly less well equipped.

      now, i have driven both and i guess the best thing that i can say about the 9-5 is that the ventilated seats were sublime (really excellent) and the engine, despite not being very powerful for such a large car, had that sort of turbocharged windy "go" feeling that you don't get in most NA cars. not bad on the whole, i guess. the first one had quite good build quality, the second one, though, had some issues with electronics and generally didn't feel as well made to the touch.

      now, contrary to popular opinion, with such a car i think the jet aircraft marketing is bang on because i think it goes well in a straight line with that airy boost and sort or smells like an airplane, but it also corners like one: banking left and right and you can't really feel the tarmac because the controls aren't designed for the runway.

      but none of that really mattered. the real reason why i never liked the 9-5 was something else.

      let me be clear on this - the cup holder is not cool. it's evil, in fact. i was young but i still should have picked up on it when i saw the brochure of the 9-5 when my dad came home with it one day, eyes filled with excitement and determination. i fell for the shot of the cup holder in the brochure hook, line and sinker, just like my dad. i don't know why the cup holder is such an argument on autoblog, but lets be honest - it's an insane reason to buy a car, ok?

      however, the real thing that put me off was when i opened the bonnet. i knew i had seen that shape, color and badge on the engine somewhere else before. being a natural car freak i had snatched all the brochures of different cars from my local motor show and had been reviewing them during many a sleepless night. yes, i soon remembered the original acquaintance - an opel brochure.

      i has been convinced that the main point of a saab, the thing my dad was so excited about, was the identity of saab. because the thing cost just about as much as the germans but was front wheel drive and, i think, not that brilliant to drive, i felt it had to make up for the dynamic shortfall with pure character.

      but it lacked that saabness, that character. in fact, i think the whole brand of saab is all about character. that's why everyone is screaming for GM to either kill it or give it up, or stop the butchering and let it be its scandinavian self. it has such potential in this, i think, somewhat boring aggregate of types of cars. i mean, the only reasonable new car i would actually buy is a fiat 500 and i would be labeled metrosexual immediately after the purchase.

      no-one, however, would do that with the renaissance of a 900.

      so i agree completely with the point KC is trying to make.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Skiwithme,

        The 2.3 l. in the Saab 9-5 is the ONE engine that is Saab-exclusive, built by Saab in Sweden, only for the 9-5.

        Nice try at some creative writing based on what you've read on the interwebs though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm with Kroum on this one. That engine traces it's roots how far back in the Saab line-up. It's much the same as my 9000 Aero's 2.3.

        I like Saabs and I hope that the future holds great cars that are called quirky by journos looking to fit in. Time will tell, huh?
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