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The Future of Saab?

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  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,685
    that a 9-5 has more room than a BMW 5er as well. Saabs have always been known for delivering a lot of interior space for cars that aren't big outside.

    Saw a 9-2X Aero with dealer loaner livery on it and realized I have seen very few around, that's not a good sign considering that Saabs and Subies are both popular in this area.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • I haven't seen any 9-2x's on the road. Not one. The sales figures have been a few hundred a month, which is amazingly pathetic. They just cracked the 1,000 barrier in October, after release in June
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Both cars seem to be a bit short on rear seat room compared to the Acura TL.
  • I think that may be a common misconception because the TL is a bigger car. Seems to me that that Acura did not maximize the space. About the same size back seat, much smaller trunk than Saab

    Exterior 9-3 TL
    Length 182.5 in. 189.3 in.
    Width 69 in. 72.2 in.
     
    Interior 9-3 TL
    Rear Headroom 37 in. 37.2 in.
    Rear Shoulder Room 55.1 in. 55.7 in.
    Rear Hip Room Not Published 53.8 in.
    Rear Leg Room 35.1 in. 34.9 in.
    Maximum Luggage Capacity 14.8 cu.ft. 12.5 cu.ft.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    That misconception fooled me. The Saab just seems that much smaller than the Acura. Seems like the Saab has more room, which leads me to my next question: Why does CR harp on their opinion that the 9-3 has a very uncomfortable backseat, when it has more room than the TL, its top rated entry level luxury sedan?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Well, without looking to see what Consumer Reports actually said, my guess is that the seat isn't shaped properly or is too low.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    that the future of Saab now that GM has it will be less quirky cars and a few more sales. while some my not care for the loss of "character" it was that character that put their head on the chopping block in the first place. Yes, I freely admit that if you were part of the Saab faithful you got a different kind of car. But the Saab faithful weren't numerous enough and they simply didn't buy enough to stay true to the family tree. So today Saab is becoming something different again, but not the way we were used to it. GM is like Microsoft. They absorb other companies so it is only natural to see more GM and GM partners in Saab.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,828
    we leased a 9-5 for 3 years. i thought it was a great looking car, and pretty efficient. basically the dealer screwed with it whenever i took it in for service, so it wasn't a good experience. this had turned away a lot of potential repeat customers for saab. in other words, i'm not the only one.
  • Well, without looking to see what Consumer Reports actually said, my guess is that the seat isn't shaped properly or is too low. <<

    Isn't the height of the seat related to leg room (where Saab is slightly higher?)
  • saab9xsaab9x Posts: 12
    //

    the only saab i see in my future is the
    9-3x, but not if it's that "paddle"/
    sequential-shifting "business." (if
    there's no manual transmission option,
    "no deal." i'm jumping ship.)

    meanwhile, i have to deal with 9-2x/9-7x
    nightmares.

    kthxbye.

    b.

    //
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    how long has it been since Saab has had a platform that was unique to Saab? ten years? fifteen? twenty?
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Saab does need newer models. How long has the 9-5 been on the same platform? For seven years almost?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    has pictures of 9-6x test model doing the rounds. Looks about right, will have Subaru's 250 hp flat-6 and 5-speed auto, and seven seats. This model should sell well, although I did note that the article mentions that the new Subaru model known as the OOX (also Tribeca) is being co-developed with the 9-6 on the GM Lambda platform. So the day has arrived when Subaru is building new models on GM platforms. The day will come soon when ol' Subie is just another 72-month 0% brand.

     

    There is a "five minutes with Bob Lutz" interview too, where he is talking specifically about Saab. The quirk is gone intentionally (no news there), and he hopes to build Opels and FWD Euro-Caddies at the same factory that builds Saabs. He also expects to consolidate European GM-brand design, and move the Saab designers out of Sweden for good and all.

     

    He does say (this is the first time I have seen him say it so boldly, but maybe he has before) that the 9-2x and 9-7x are nothing but crude stopgaps designed to avert the loss of a bunch of U.S. Saab dealers last year.

     

    He is not sure where the 9-5 should go from here - it is an aged model at this point. Dare I vocalize my fear that the next 9-5 will be a stretched Legacy GT with a new nose and standard leather? Oh, I hope not.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,689
    Dare I vocalize my fear that the next 9-5 will be a stretched Legacy GT with a new nose and standard leather? Oh, I hope not.

     

    I see that as a possibility for the 9-3, not the 9-5. The 9-5 might be a sedan version of the larger Subie B9X.

     

    I'm also not a fan of the Subie/Saab hookup. Not because it will ruin Saab, but rather, it might ruin Subaru.

     

    Bob
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,685
    as seen by Michele Krebs of the NY Times

     

    I figured it'd be OK to print this in it's entirety, since the Times and Edmunds are partners. If not, Host, please delete.

      

     

    "GREGOR MENDEL, the Augustinian monk known as the father of genetics, cross-bred peas in his monastery's garden so he could observe patterns in how features are inherited. General Motors seems bent on a similar course of research as it cross-breeds cars and trucks from its farflung operations and affiliates.

     

    For old-timers with Saab, the Swedish automaker now under the G.M. umbrella, it must be startling to discover that their latest offspring seems so, ahem, Japanese. Who's the father? Well, that would be Subaru, the automotive operation of Fuji Heavy Industries, of which G.M. owns 21 percent.

     

    Saab, a two-model car company for decades, desperately needs a larger footprint in today's ultracompetitive market. So G.M. looked across its global empire for an existing car that could be transformed into a Saab to compete in the premium-compact market. That booming segment includes the Acura RSX, Volvo S40 and Mercedes-Benz C230 (with the Audi A3, Mercedes B-Class and a smaller BMW yet to come).

     

    G.M.'s geneticists settled on the Subaru Impreza, an all-wheel-drive compact. Restyled and lightly revamped, it has been transformed into the 2005 Saab 9-2X and is being built alongside Subarus in Japan.

     

    The 9-2X brings some assets to product-hungry dealerships. It is the first Saab with all-wheel drive, and with a starting price of $23,685 it becomes the least expensive car in the showroom. Two versions are offered: the Linear, which is similar to the Impreza 2.5 RS and shares that car's 165-horsepower flat-4 engine, and the Aero, which is equivalent to the sportier, faster Impreza WRX, with a 227-horsepower turbocharged flat-4. Saab does not get a version of the hottest Impreza, the 300-horse WRX STi.

     

    While the 9-2X is heavily based on the Impreza wagon - there is no Saab equivalent of the sedan - it received a distinctive and attractive nose job. No Subaru sheet metal remains from the windshield forward, and the front end truly looks Saablike, despite a hood scoop that feeds air to the Aero's turbocharger.

     

    The cosmetic surgery fooled at least one onlooker. When I wheeled the 9-2X into a parking spot outside a baseball tournament in a small town north of Flint, Mich., the dad parked next to me took just one look before asking, "That's a Saab, right?"

     

    His next question was one that Saab enthusiasts routinely ask: is the ignition switch between the seats in the usual Saab fashion? The answer is no, it's on the steering column. (Saab says moving the ignition would have taken too much time and money.)

     

    The Saab interior's character is only slightly more Scandinavian than the Subaru's. While Saab uses higher-grade materials, including plastics with a metallic finish, the cabins are not starkly different.

     

    Saab has long been known as a innovator in safety features. But while all 9-2X's come with side air bags and antilock brakes, they don't offer side curtain bags, stability control or the "active" head restraints that help to prevent whiplash injuries in other Saabs.

     

    Beneath its skin, the 9-2X has good bones and, at least in the Aero, a pounding heart. Car and Driver magazine ran the Aero from a stop to 60 m.p.h. in a very respectable 6.1 seconds. Still that is less brisk than the 5.4 seconds recorded for the lighter Subaru WRX.

     

    The Aero carries a fuel economy rating of 20 in town and 27 on the highway with a five-speed manual transmission, and 19/26 with a four-speed automatic. The Linear has a rating of 23/29 with the manual and 22/29 with the automatic.

     

    While the Subaru fundamentals are largely unchanged, Saab added sound-deadening material to quiet the cabin and tweaked the suspension with the goal of softening the ride.

     

    My test drives included treks to my son's out-of-town baseball games. Despite the suspension adjustments, the ride was quite similar to what I remember of the Subaru's. The Saab also retains the WRX's responsive handling; the car is delightful on winding country roads.

     

    One marked difference between the Saab and Subaru, at least so far, lies in their popularity. While the WRX has sold very well, the 9-2X has had a slow start. Through November, just 1,350 of the Saabs had found owners since they went on sale in June. The company has lowered full-year sales projections to 5,000 from the original estimates of 7,000 to 8,000.

     

    While Saab attributes part of the sluggish start to the summer debut of an all-wheel-drive car with winter appeal, price may be a factor. The Linear starts at $23,685, including delivery - more than $4,000 above the Subaru equivalent. At $27,645, the Aero seeks a premium of $2,675 over the WRX. There are few significant differences in features, though Saab includes two years of free maintenance and a 4-year, 50,000-mile limited warranty, a year longer than Subaru's.

     

    The 9-2X is by no means the only Saab that shares major parts with other cars. The midsize 9-3 is based on G.M.'s global Epsilon architecture, also used for the Chevrolet Malibu and Opel Vectra. Early next year, Saab will bring out the 9-7X, a sport utility based on the G.M. line of S.U.V.'s that includes the Chevrolet TrailBlazer. For 2006, Saab plans a seven-passenger car-based utility developed with Subaru. (The Subaru version, the B9X, will make its debut next month in Detroit. Saab says it will reveal its version, which may be named the 9-6, later in 2005.)

     

    Since the 9-2X was created from an Impreza that was already halfway through its life cycle, its future may be in peril when the Subaru is redesigned. Will the Saab's replacement be based on the next-generation Subaru or the next Opel Astra? In any case, the car will surely share components with some other car from G.M. or an affiliate. The days of purebred Saabs are over.

     

    Company officials say all this parts sharing and crossbreeding is an economical and timely way to expand the product line. And they promise to inject more Saabness into future models. For those of us who are Saab fans, such a move can't happen too soon.

     

    INSIDE TRACK: The face may be Swedish, but Japanese genes are dominant."

     

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

     

     I've gotta say I agree with Ms. Krebs' statement, I for one hope they put the Saab back into Saabs and soon.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    for the unwashed masses they don't put that much Saab back. Saab was a niche car in a niche market driven by educators and guys with patches on their sweater sleeves. The Saab faithful were indeed faithful but there simply aren't enough people interested in being a Saab owner to make the old "quirky car" popular enough to make them profitable. GMs has improved sales and that has breathed new life into a vary sick manufacturer.

     

    Some may have said earlier that it would be better to let the company die. I believe GM is the best thing to happen to Saab ever. Quirky is fine for a year or two. After a while the vehicle needs to evolve into something people can feel comfortable about. At least GM has introduced Saab to people that would never have darkened the door of a Saab dealership before. Even if the only thing they get is the Saab badge.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,685
    in the survival of Saab as a brand than as a distinctive choice. That's your privilege but many of us do not think that Saab dealers will benefit in the long run as peddlers of expensive Subarus, Trailblazers and the like.

     

    GM needs to give us a reason to choose Saab over Audi, BMW, Acura, Infiniti and even upper level VWs.

     

    I've owned three Saabs (no patches on my sweaters, sorry) but I'm not sure I'll buy another when the time comes. I know it won't be a 9-2X or a 9-7.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    You know my "patches" comment was hyperbole. But you also have to admit it was close to the image Saab had to the rest of the automotive world. In real life there was nothing to recommend Saab over any car let alone the ones you mentioned. It had a great past but "quirky' is out in the automotive world. At least in the US.

     

    There are times I ascribed anthropomorphic values to a car, like any enthusiast. However the practical side comes through when I see a name plate circling the bowl. No offense to you but you sound more like the traditional Saab buyer. If that is the case it was GMs decission to leave that customer base and move on to more fertile fields. They also wanted to do that as quickly as possible. However we feel about it the method is working. Saab sales are better than they were even if they aren't stellar. And when all is said and done, sales are the only thing we can measure a successful business by.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    about the new Saab is it gives the appearance of offering more variety and choices to the consumer, when in fact it does nothing of the kind.

     

    The market had spoken with the old Saab, which is why it was foundering heavily when GM came along. What they should have done is let the market take its course, and out Saab completely. Maybe Saab could have taken the approach some companies like Isuzu and possibly Mitsubishi will be doing shortly, and retreat to their home base to regroup, and leave the hypercompetitive U.S. market to its own devices for a while.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    and what they did is history however. I think Saab would have folded. After Ford got Volvo there was simply no way Saab would have survived by itself. They didn't have the home market any more than they had the export market and with Ford's backing Volvo would have had the money.

     

    The British market that we all remember is all but gone in reality but some of the names carry on. Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls Royce is gone and now under foreign control. Bentley is as much Audi as Saab is GM and no one even suggests it should be dropped. The Mini- Cooper is BMW every inch. These are name plates that meant something and to be honest Saab meant nothing to the majority of buyers let alone enthusiasts of the world. If you were going to put a black line through names just because they lost their identity many more than Saab would be gone.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    " If you were going to put a black line through names just because they lost their identity many more than Saab would be gone."

     

    ...and your point is?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    The point is that cars have become more of an appliance than they once were. There is very little room for "quirky" cars when people can get any number of cars that aren't quirky. It is simply a sign of the times. Saab is simply one of many that have been absorbed by the corporate monsters of the world. Nissan could quite easily be transformed by Renault. After all aren't they planning a Nissan on a Cleo platform? Early on people predicted that Mazda cease to exist because Ford had control. Yet the few Mazda people that remain talked Ford into making a new Rotary after all these years.

     

    Some of the old company will always exist it just has to evolve into the giant automotive melting pot. But even in this melting pot there is some name identification. Just look how many times a whole company was bought just to get the name Jeep. Maybe you are right. Maybe companies like Saab, Jaguar, Bentley, Cooper, Nissan, Mazda should have been allowed to die. Then we could lament their passing and remember them being much better vehicles than they were in real life. But it does seem like it would be a waste of a lot of jobs and factories. So to me I think it is better this way.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    so you are a proponent of efficency in the auto manufacturing industry at the expense of the actual character of the individual brands?

     

    This

    "The point is that cars have become more of an appliance than they once were."

    is not something I will probably ever celebrate as long as I live, even if it keeps auto workers employed and obsolete brand names "current".

     

    And unlike the Saab case, I feel that despite the ownership changes over the years, the Jeeps sold today still share enough Jeeplike characteristics with their ancestors to make the name valid. Now the people-movers DCX intends to market under the Jeep brand in the next few years may yet negate this comment. But as of today, Jeeps are some of the most offroad-worthy vehicles sold, in stock form.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    To be honest I'm a little sad about what's happened to Saab as a brand, particularly since the 2nd-generation 900 came out in '94. I remember the days where my friends' mid-'80s 900s and 9000s were always breaking down and spending a lot of time in the shop. I liked seeing that happen, in a way...now I don't see that happening with the newer models.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,689
    I remember the days where my friends' mid-'80s 900s and 9000s were c. I liked seeing that happen, in a way...now I don't see that happening with the newer models.

     

    Huh?

     

    I owned an '86 9000 turbo that was always breaking down and spending a lot of time in the shop. Now that might be your idea of fun, but it certainly wasn't mine. That Saab was possibly the worst car I've ever owned; I unloaded it as soon as the warranty was up.

     

    Bob
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    Gosh, I hope I didn't offend you with my remarks.

     

    What I meant was that back in those years, when I was much younger and less mature, I liked seeing the older Saabs broken down on the highway. Now, as a college senior, I personally think that's an inconvenience for the average everyday driver. Was your '86 9000 a 5-speed or automatic? I've driven a few 9000s and they seemed quite fun to drive (when they were running that is).
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    Oh yeah what was wrong with your Saab? Was it the way the car was built?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,689
    No offense taken:) It just seemed like a very odd statement to make, that's all.

     

    Problems? Well, we're going back at least 15 years or so, so my memory isn't all that clear. But I do remember a leaking windshield that took 6 trips to the dealer to fix, numerous electrical problems including flicking the high beam switch only to lose the headlights altogether&#151;great fun on a dark country road. I just remember every time I brought it in for the normal scheduled service, there was always a laundry list of other issues that needed to be dealt with.

     

    I knew once the car was out of warranty, it would be very costly to maintain, so I got rid of it. Not only that, but the constant hassle of bring the car in for service gets old very quickly.

     

    It was a 5-speed manual. Great fun when it worked properly. Unfortunately that was rare. The only other cars That I've owned that were as unreliable were an Austin Marina and a VW Quantum, with the Audi 5-cylinder engine. I must have ticked off the the Euro Car God somewhere earlier in my life...

     

    Bob
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    A Quantum? Oh boy, I've heard (and seen) many stories about bad Quantums. My neighbor back home has an '85 wagon that he "restored from the dead," in his own words, after it had been sitting for two years. He claims it runs good, even though the body is shot and it breaks down almost once every two weeks. Remember the Dasher too?
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