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The Future of Saab?



  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Saab have punched well above their weight when it comes to automotive innovations. I need to update the list with XWD and a possibly a few other things, but a good list of Saab innovations has been on the site since early days.

    This article originated from The Independant, though it’s now being reported in an online paper called The Star out of South Africa.

    The article deals with what the author considers 10 of the most important innovations to come about in the automotive industry. True to form, Saab rates a mention in three of the 10 innovations. Not necessarily because they invented them, but more because they popularised (or repopularised) them.

    The full list is reproduced below and where Saab has been mentioned, I’ve also reproduced the relevant text. If you’d like to read the full article then click at The Star link, above.


    Top 10 car innovations:

    1 The Airbag

    2 The Safety Belt
    Safety belts were invented in the 1800s by George Cayley, a prolific engineer and pioneer of aeronautical engineering. The belts were introduced first to aircraft by Adolphe Pegoud in 1913 - the first pilot to fly upside down. After the Saab GT 750 was introduced at the New York motor show in 1958 with safety belts fitted as standard, the practice became commonplace.

    3 Immobiliser

    4 Navigation Systems/GPS

    5 Anti-lock brakes

    6 Cruise Control

    7 The Hybrid

    8 Turbo charger
    In 1905, the Swiss engineer Alfred Buchi applied for a patent for his internal combustion turbocharger. The system was initially applied to aircraft engines, and was first used in an automobile in 1952 by Fred Agabashian in the Indianapolis 500, giving him pole position and the race lead for 100 miles. Until the ’70s the turbocharger was used mainly for sports cars. In 1976, Saab developed a turbo engine with the reliability and durability required for everyday use.

    9 The Convertible
    The convertible was in fact the original model for automobiles by default, until in 1910, Cadillac invented the first closed-body car. The popularity of the convertible soared in the 1950s and 60s, then all but disappeared in the US due to the threat of new regulations concerning rollover safety requirements. Although production continued in other parts of the world - most notably in Europe - the resurgence of popularity in the US can be attributed to the production of cars such as the Chrysler LeBaron and Saab 900 in the 1980s.

    10. Windscreen Wipers

  • XWD is just a Haladex derived system like Volvo has used for years.

    Land Rover uses a Haladex unit in the LR2 although it is beefed up and has very different software then the volvo units.

    The article forgot the one thing that SAAB really did do first.

    Ventilated seats in 1997 on the 9-5.

    link title
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    british, XWD is a generation 4 system and the new 9-3 Turbo X is the first car to feature this advanced piece of technology. ;)

  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Sorry but I gotta correct you on some things.
    Volvo started putting safety belts in their cars in the early 50's.
    A Volvo engineer, Nils Bohlin, holds the patent for the 3 point seat belt, in 1956.
    Saab didn't invent the technology,nor were they the first to offer it.
    The 1962 Olds Jetfire was the first production turbo car.
    BMW offered a turbo 2002 in 1973,and the first 911 turbo appeared in 1974. Buick offered a turbo car in 1977.

    Again,nothing to do w/ SAAB. Mercedes sold more SL's than SAAB sold 900's. Mercedes even invented a popup roll bar for the 1991 SL. Something the 900 never had.

    Saab did invent the seat heater though. Their cars didn't have heaters!
  • I don't care what generation it is but it is still a haladex clutch based AWD system.

    Is it cool that SAAB finally has AWD and will be one of the few AWD convertibles? Yes, of course but it is not ground breaking.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    british, XWD w/ eLSD is the most advanced AWD system in the world. It's Acura's SH-AWD + Mistubishi's SH-AWC and taking those technologies a few steps further. ;)

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I thought that the XWD was going to be restricted to the SportCombi and the Sport Sedan. I remember reading something over at GM's blog that said there wasn't enough real estate in the convertible for the XWD equipment.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Saab Unleashes 21st Century Black Turbo

    Saab celebrates three decades of leadership in turbocharging at this year’s Frankfurt International Motor Show by launching the Saab Turbo X, a driver- focused performance car that sets new standards for the brand.

    This black limited edition model takes Saab ‘back to the future’ by evoking the iconic appeal of its first black 900 Turbo and introducing innovative Saab XWD technology.

    It is unveiled today (11 Sept), exactly 30 years after Saab surprised the automotive world at Frankfurt when it revealed its first turbocharged model, that set a trend other manufacturers were to follow. Now Saab unleashes turbo power for the first time through Saab XWD, a cutting edge all-wheel-drive system that sets performance standards competitors will also seek to emulate.

    With 400 Nm of torque from its 280 hp/ 206 kW 2.8V6 turbo engine, the Turbo X is the ultimate performance expression of the new Saab 9-3 range. Saab XWD features active management that not only splits torque delivery between both axles, but also between the rear wheels. This responsive system delivers a level of driver involvement and dynamic chassis control never seen before from Saab.

    In addition to tuning of the suspension and its electronic chassis, throttle and powertrain settings, the Turbo X features distinctive styling additions that enhance aerodynamic performance.

    Available in Sport Sedan or SportCombi bodystyles, the Saab Turbo X limited edition showcases the launch of Saab XWD. The order book is now open and the first customer deliveries are expected during the second quarter of next year.
    Each example can carry a personalized message in the main instrument display.

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Turbo X

    Introducing XWD

    The Saab Turbo X adds a new dimension in chassis control to Saab’s unrivalled experience in turbocharging. It is the result of a development program that leverages the full potential of Saab’s innovative XWD system, with the car’s sports tuned suspension, brakes and electronic control systems all aligned to meet a single need: driving satisfaction.

    Saab XWD is an active all-wheel-drive system designed to optimize vehicle handling and stability. Its sophisticated electronic control allows fine balancing of drive torque, not only between the two axles but also between the rear wheels. In effect, this stretches the performance envelope of the chassis, for example, raising the threshold at which ESP throttle and braking interventions are triggered. The result is closer driver involvement through ‘positive force’ chassis control.

    The driving benefits of the XWD system are best appreciated out on the open road. Data from the ABS/ESP sensors - measuring wheel speed, yaw rate and steering angle – is utilized by the Saab XWD control module. Rear drive is instantly applied to balance oversteer and understeer characteristics, improving stability and roadholding.

    Driver control is taken a step further on the Turbo X by the eLSD, the first application of an electronically-controlled, rear limited slip differential in this segment of the market. It uses inputs from the rear wheel speed sensors and can transfer up to 40% of torque between the drive shafts, to whichever wheel has more grip. When cornering hard, this yaw damping effect helps the rear of the car more closely follow the direction of the front wheels.

    To exploit the full benefits of Saab XWD, the chassis of the Turbo X has been lowered by 10 mm and the springs and dampers stiffened to minimize body movement. To maintain a constant ride height irrespective of load, self- leveling dampers are fitted at the rear.

    Stopping power is also increased with larger brake discs fitted: internally ventilated (345 mm diameter x 30 mm) at the front and externally ventilated (292 mm diameter x 20 mm) at the rear. Standard 235/45 R-18 tires ensure excellent mechanical grip for the 18-inch alloy wheels.

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994

    The powerhouse at the heart of the Turbo X is a 24-valve, 2.8-liter V6 turbo engine generating 400 Nm of torque between 2,150 and 4,500 rpm and maximum power of 280 hp (206 kW) at 5,500 rpm. The advanced specification includes a lightweight, all-aluminum construction with a 60-degree angle between the cylinder banks for perfect balance, variable inlet valve timing and twin-scroll turbocharging. It is offered with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

    This responsive, high torque power plant is the perfect partner for Saab XWD. Together, they give the Saab Turbo X sporty, all-wheel-drive performance and handling characteristics that will appeal to all enthusiastic drivers who seek a rewarding experience behind the wheel.

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Saab Turbo X - Technical Specifications

    2792cc. V6. Aluminum cylinder heads and block. Twin-scroll turbocharger, intercooled. DOHC, 24-valve. Variable valve timing (inlet). Dual-mass flywheel. Bosch Motronic ECM
    Max power: 280 hp (206 kW) @ 5,500 rpm. Max. torque: 400 Nm @ 2,150 - 4,500 rpm
    Bore/stroke: 89.0/74.8 mm. Compression Ratio: 9.5: 1. Max. Boost Pressure: 0.8 bar.

    Saab XWD, all-wheel-drive. Electronic rear limited-slip differential (eLSD) 6-speed manual or automatic gearbox

    Front: MacPherson struts and gas shock absorbers. Anti-roll bar. Hydroformed sub-frame.
    Rear: Indep, four link, incl. toe-link. Coil springs and self-levelling shock absorbers. Anti-roll bar. Sub-frame.

    Rack and pinion, hydraulic power assistance. Turning circle (curb to curb):
    11.7m.Lock to lock: 2.75 turns

    Wheels, Tires:
    18 x 7.5" , 235/45R18,
    19 x 7.5" , 235/40R19,

    Hydraulic, dual circuit, vacuum booster. Discs: 345 mm / 292 mm (all ventilated)

    Performance Data (Preliminary figures)
    0 - 100 kph: Sport Sedan: 5.7 secs (manual)
    SportCombi: 5.9 secs (manual)
    80 - 120 kph (5th gear): Sport Sedan: 7.9 secs
    SportCombi: 8.3 secs
    Top Speed: Sport Sedan: 250 kph (manual)
    SportCombi: 250 kph (manual)

    Fuel consumption/CO2 (combined cycle, L/100km):
    Sport Sedan: 10,9/ 259 gm/km (manual)
    SportCombi: 11,0/ 263 gm/km (manual)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994

    The Saab Turbo X visually communicates its focus on driving performance by extending the bold, progressive design themes of the new 9-3 range. Offered only in metallic jet black, with the front grille and all exterior detailing accented in a matte grey titanium-like finish, it represents a contemporary expression of its illustrious black 900 Turbo forebear.

    Distinctive styling additions are designed to improve aerodynamic efficiency, as well as emphasize the Turbo X’s performance focus. At the front, a deeper lip spoiler and integrated air intake contribute to reduced drag while also increasing air flow to the engine and intercooler.

    Exterior design
    At the rear, the re-profiled bumper and insert panel lowers the point of air flow separation, further reducing drag and assisting high speed stability. The Sport Sedan features a rear spoiler that extends the line of the trunk deck, reducing high speed lift forces at the rear axle. The standard SportCombi already has a similar spoiler that extends the rear roof line.

    Unique alloy wheels
    The Turbo X is further distinguished by unique, 18-inch alloy wheels with a grey titanium-like finish that evokes the look of Saab’s classic three-spoke design. 19-inch alloy wheels available as an option*. Twin, rhomboid-shaped tailpipes complete the exterior additions.

    Interior design
    Inside, the ‘black turbo’ theme is continued throughout the cabin. The sports seating, with additional bolstering, is upholstered entirely in black leather. The sporty ambience is further emphasized by a carbon-fiber finish to the main fascia, door inserts, glove box and gear shift console which is unique to the Turbo X.

    The driver benefits from improved ‘feel’ through the addition of a thick- rimmed, soft grip leather steering wheel. Seating comfort can be taken a step further with an optional premium, natural leather interior, which includes perforated bolsters for the front seat squabs and backs.

    Original 900 Turbo display with personalized greeting In recognition of Saab’s turbo heritage
    Original 900 Turbo display with personalized greeting In recognition of Saab’s turbo heritage, the Turbo X boost gauge is a replica of the original 900 Turbo display. Owners will also enjoy a personalized greeting when they get behind the wheel and switch on the ignition. A unique ‘Ready For Take-off’ message (‘All Systems Go’ in US/Canada) flashes in the main instrument display. The owner’s name, with the edition number of the car, can also be programmed for display by the supplying dealer.

    * 19-inch wheels available outside US/Canada markets

  • Is the Turbo X really a 9-3?

    Will XWD be available on other vehicles or just the Turbo X?

    Will Saab be putting XWD with the 2.0 or 2.3 engines or will XWD only be with the 6 cylinder engine?
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    The Turbo X is really a 9-3. :)

    XWD will be available on the Aero versions of the 9-3.

    I've heard rumors that XWD will be expanded from the V6 models to the 2.0T models, but nothing confirmed just yet.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Will XWD be available on other vehicles or just the Turbo X?

    Right now the 9-3 is the only vehicle with XWD on the V6 Aero model. However I've read that GM, might expand XWD to other models in the Saab, line-up and possibly to other GM brands. ;)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    First Drive: 2008 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan/SportCombi

    Looks good so far !!!! ;) :shades:

  • Saab needs a vehicle about the size of the A3.

    I would like to get a smaller tooling around town vehicle and there aren't a lot of good choices.

    160"-170" long.
    3000lbs or lighter.
    Use the 2.0 engine as base and the 2.3 engine as an option.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "Saab files for reorganization, seeks $1 billion to survive

    Saab is seeking $1 billion (793 million euros) to be self-financing, the company said today after it filed for reorganization under a self-managed Swedish court process.

    The General Motors-owned Swedish brand said it will work 'to create an independent business entity' and will concentrate production, design and engineering in Sweden.

    Saab said it would continue to operate as normal during the reorganization process, with GM and the Swedish government providing some support.

    Saab Managing Director Jan-Ake Jonsson said: 'We explored and will continue to explore all available options for funding and/or selling Saab. It was determined a formal reorganization would be the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment.'

    Saab's application for reorganization was filed with the Swedish district court in Vanersborg. Under the procedures, the court appoints an administrator to review Saab and its business plans.

    The application was approved today by a Swedish district court in Vanersborg, Reuters said. The court has appointed an administrator as a first step in a legal process under which an insolvent company can restructure its business and renegotiate terms with creditors.

    In documents submitted to the Swedish court today, Saab estimates that it lost about 3 billion crowns ($340 million) last year.

    'The current outlook for 2009 suggests a similar level of losses and associated funding requirements,' Saab said in the documents.

    GM's role

    The company said GM had notified the company that it would not fund further projected losses at Saab, but that it would provide liquidity for the company to pursue a reorganization.

    GM Europe's head of communications Chris Preuss said GM was prepared to provide some funding for Saab but the brand needed outside money as well.

    He said: 'GM has put a substantial amount of money on the table to sustain Saab's operations and to launch the products that are in the pipeline.

    'We have asked the Swedish government for loan guarantees for $600 million to give Saab a balance sheet as an independent unit which will allow it to continue.'

    Preuss said funding for Saab is still intact. 'We just need to see how funding can be secured from either government or private sources during the restructuring process,' Preuss told Automotive News Europe.

    GM's support would also extend to the development costs and tooling for the new 9-5, 9-4X and 9-3X, which will launch in the next 18 months.

    GM will also continue to provide technical support to Saab in the future and provide parts through licensing agreements, Preuss said, but there were limits to the support GM would provide.

    Preuss said: '(GM President) Fritz Henderson made it very clear that GM will be out of Saab one way or another by the end of this year.'

    Loans sought

    Saab has applied for 500 million euros from the European Investment Bank, which is the long-term lending arm of the European Union. The company also is trying to raise more funds from GM as well as from public and private sources.

    Jonsson said reorganization will allow Saab to launch new models while minimizing the brand's liquidity impact on GM.

    'With a new 9-5, 9-3X and 9-4X all ready for launch over the next year and a half, Saab has an excellent foundation for strong growth, assuming we can get the funding to complete engineering, tooling and manage launch costs,' he said in a statement.

    Earlier this week, the Swedish government said it is not prepared to take over Saab after GM said it planned to shed the brand quickly as part of its restructuring efforts.

    GM bought half of Saab in 1990 and took full control in 2000. The brand has made a profit only in one year during GM's ownership.

    Last year, Saab's global sales fell 25.5 percent to 93,338 units

    Industry insiders said there has been a greater interest from outside investors in Saab since GM's announcement that it was looking to offload the brand.

    Saab employs some 4,000 people in Sweden, mainly at its plant in Trollhättan in the southwest of the country. Another 25,000 jobs at suppliers depend on Saab."
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I wonder how feasible it would be for Saab to mothball itself for 18 months or more, realign the cars to a few to focus on, wean a bunch of suppliers, dealers and workers out of the loop, and reposition themselves in a crowded market that may be significantly less crowded in a year or two.

    They could pay off GM with an agreement to sole-source drivetrains from it for a decade.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 116,433
    What happens to the dealers, then?

    It will be hard to get going again, if they kill their dealer network, I think..

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "I wonder how feasible it would be for Saab to mothball itself for 18 months or more, realign the cars to a few to focus on, wean a bunch of suppliers, dealers and workers out of the loop, and reposition themselves in a crowded market that may be significantly less crowded in a year or two."

    I don't know the answer to your question, Steve, but it's a good one. Coincidentally, I had a similar thought about Chrysler Corp. Since it's unlikely that Chrysler can last long enough for the Fiat-badged models hit its showrooms, it occured to me that one possible strategy would be to retain just the essential engineers and personnel to effect the model transition, to save cash. I'm sure management has thought of this, and, in fact, it may be pretty much what they're doing. Such difficult problems!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "Saab will be completely spun off from parent General Motors by January 1, 2010."

    Saab Tells Court It Will Be Sold by End of June (AutoObserver)

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "Analysts have puzzled at the choice of Koenigsegg to take over Saab, given that, among other points, the company reportedly built just 18 cars last year. But Sweden Industry Minister Maud Oloffsen told a Swedish news agency that retaining production of Saab models in Sweden was a significant concern in deciding on a buyer for Saab."

    Niche Automaker Koenigsegg Takes Saab Off GM's Hands (AutoObserver)
  • Will Koenigsegg be able to crank out real sport sedan Saabs? Or will they take some "tools" and sell their stake later?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "Reports last week from Sweden indicated some of the Koenigsegg Group's investors were considering pulling the plug on the plan to buy Saab because they were unhappy with the increasing amount of publicity and scrutiny of the deal."

    U.S. Investor Out of Pending Saab Deal (AutoObserver)

    (Dave, I guess they'll have to get the deal done before they can worry about cranking out cars).
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Ouch! My guess is that there's considerably more than a 50% chance that GM will shut Saab down. There are just too many brands in the world, and this is a weak brand. The cars are okay, even interesting, but the volume just isn't there to remain viable. I think the only hope, and it's a slim one, is for a Chinese company to buy Saab.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Just look at some of the stats:

    Saab's U.S. sales had fallen 62 percent in the United States through October, to 7,441 units. That's on top of a 35 percent sales drop in 2008.

    ....Nationally, Saab had 2,300 Saabs in inventory as of Nov. 1 -- a 125-day supply. The brand sold just 513 units in October.

    And Saab dealers have been focusing on other parts of their operations for profits for a long time:

    The dealership made about a fifth of its profits from Saab, most of that in the parts and service department.

    (Saab dealer general Manager Geoff) Kelly has just 10 Saabs in inventory, including four he uses as loaners. He sold only one Saab in October and hadn't sold any this month as of Wednesday, Nov. 25.

    So if Saab dies, Kelly will concentrate on picking up business from Cadillac dealers whom GM will wind down by next fall, and he hopes to do some Saturn service work.

    "We think that we're going to be able to pick up additional business to offset" the Saab profits, Kelly says.

    ......For Kevin Jones, owner of two stand-alone Saab stores in suburban Los Angeles, the situation seems grimmer.

    Selling new Saabs this year has been unprofitable, he says. But the dealerships have stayed in the black this year with other operations.

    "We've basically been in the used-car business for the last two years with Saab's reorganization," Jones says.

    Jones' two dealerships have been selling 30 to 40 used vehicles a month, and more than two-thirds of those usually are Saabs. That compares with the three or four new Saabs the stores together sell each month. They have 13 new Saabs in stock.

    "So if they wind down, we've got 13 cars to move," Jones says. "And I'll be out there buying all the other guys' '08s and '09s."

    Michael Simon, general manager of Saab of Downers Grove, is part of a management group that took over the suburban Chicago stand-alone store in July under new ownership.

    The owners' investment comes to $10 million, including the facility and property. The dealership purchase included discounts on vehicles, so the store is selling Saabs at about $5,000 below invoice, not including GM rebates.

    "We thought with everything going on, this would be a great opportunity," Simon said. "If it all falls through, we're going to have to find a different franchise." 193
    (registration link)

    And according to that article, the dealers already had to sign agreements way back in June that if the Koenigsegg deal fell through they understood that GM woudl be winding down the Saab brand.

    Looks like one of the two little Swedish brands has well and truly had it. Looking at the numbers, it doesn't seem like it will be missed at all in the U.S.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "a new one-off exotic-car maker, Netherlands-based Spyker Cars NV, formally confirmed yesterday it is talking to General Motors Co. about acquiring GM's twisting-in-the-wind Saab Automobiles.

    Spyker is backed by its majority owner, Russia's Conversbank Financial Group, which owns 29.9 percent of Spyker, currently best known for its gullwing C8 Aileron sports car."

    Another Exotic-Car Suitor for Saab (AutoObserver)

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