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GM Europe decides to downsize future Saabs


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The midsized sedan has been growing in all directions for decades, but soaring fuel prices have customers begging for something smaller. GM is heeding the call as it is preparing a smaller batch of next generation Saabs. The next 9-3 was originally slated to be underpinned by the Epsilon II, but in March GM decided to instead utilize the lower-medium Delta architecture. The Delta platform will also be used for the next-gen Chevy Cruze, which is slated to eventually replace the Cobalt. The end result will be a smaller, lighter, more efficient Swedish sedan.

With the 9-3 shrinking, Saab will also need to down-size its planned 9-1, which was originally scheduled to be Delta-based. Speculation has Saab reaching into GM's global architecture bin to use the Gamma platform that currently underpins the Opel Corsa. The idea has legs, too, as the Swedish automaker calls the idea "imaginable." Both vehicles are said to contain small, efficient turbocharged powertrains, which is in line with what Saab already uses. We're all for smaller, more agile Saabs, and killer fuel economy wouldn't hurt either.

Link: http://www.autoblog.com/2008/07/23/gm-euro...e-future-saabs/

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Guest aatbloke

If Saab is to aim squarely at its primary junior exec rivals in Europe - namely Volvo and Alfa Romeo - it needs a more clearly defined structure to that which it presently has. It particurly needs to focus on challenging the C30 and 147, as well as the S60 and 159. A coupe and coupe-convertible along the lines of the C70 and Brera/Spider would complete the line-up it needs.

However, cheap rebadging of old Subarus and Chevrolet SUVs - even for limited markets - will do nothing for Saab's reputation.

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Wasn't this the original plan for Pontiac? Downsize Pontiac's vehicles so there wouldn't be overlap with Buick in the same showroom. Could future SAABs be heading to a Buick showroom near by? It's been mentioned as a possibility... this kind of falls in line.

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Wasn't this the original plan for Pontiac? Downsize Pontiac's vehicles so there wouldn't be overlap with Buick in the same showroom. Could future SAABs be heading to a Buick showroom near by? It's been mentioned as a possibility... this kind of falls in line.

Maybe Buick is headed to a Cadillac/Buick/Saab sales channel. :AH-HA_wink:

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Maybe Buick is headed to a Cadillac/Buick/Saab sales channel. :AH-HA_wink:

I agree with wildcat. That setup would be perfect... in the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

I just can't imagine that combination not working out well in any market. The three brands combined would generate enough volume to sustain a well laid out dealership network.

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Guest aatbloke
Benz has the A-class and BMW has the Mini.... I'd rather see GM fill this role with Saab than Cadillac.

Except that in Europe at least, Saab buyers don't usually cross-shop with the German Q-car marques.

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It makes more sense rather than the original plan to have both the 9-5 and 9-3 on EPII.

I agree!

I'd keep the 9-5 sedan and wagon on a SWB EpII and I'd make the NG 9-3 on DeltaII offering a couple of hatches, a sedan and a wagon. A model on Gamma would only make sense as a true MINI competitor (I mean size- and content-wise as well as price) IMHO.

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Guest aatbloke
PCS has already said there will be a wagon version of the Cruze, so a wagon 9-3 is probably doable.

According to industry sources here, the Cruze will not spawn a wagon for the European market. Instead, a mini-MPV will be offered to compete with the likes of the Renault Scenic, Mazda 5 and Ford C-Max. This will reputedly be shown in concept form at the Paris show later this year.

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I agree!

I'd keep the 9-5 sedan and wagon on a SWB EpII and I'd make the NG 9-3 on DeltaII offering a couple of hatches, a sedan and a wagon. A model on Gamma would only make sense as a true MINI competitor (I mean size- and content-wise as well as price) IMHO.

Exactly, makes perfect sense, and if they style them right and price them right they should do well. The main reason Saab has done so poorly is because it's product either rots on the vine or has been rebadged Subarus or Chevies.

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Saabs don't do well because of low brand awareness, very poor reliability (they have been bottom 5 in JD Power dependability the last few years), and dated product. Volvo has been struggling lately too, but at least they have the safety reputation to fall back on, and a broader product lineup. Perhaps Lexus reliability and hybrids took some Volvo buyers, and Infiniti took some from Saab, but I suspect the bulk of cars cross shopped with Saab and Volvo come from Germany, and Saab/Volvo don't have anything as good as what the Germans have.

A rebadged Cruze has zero chance against a 3-series or A4 or C-class, why continue to dump money in a brand that won't make it back.

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A rebadged Cruze has zero chance against a 3-series or A4 or C-class, why continue to dump money in a brand that won't make it back.

Come on now.... you know quite well that a 9-3 isn't meant to go up against those three. The 9-3 will go up against the S40, 159, and 407.

Cadillac will have the BTS go up up against the German three.

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I like the idea of downsizing Saab. Saab should be a lean, clean, green, and mean brand.

A 9-3 Aero gets 15/24 mpg, most V8s do better. 9-3 with the 4 cylinder gets 19/26 (21 combined), a lot of V6s can get that. A Lincoln MKZ gets 18/28 or 22 mpg combined. Saab is far from a green brand. All they have going for them in that regard is how the 9-3 catalytic converter cleans heavily polluted air.

The 9-3 and Cobalt aren't too far apart in size now, so the new 9-3 will still be near 3-series size. The current 9-3 starts at $29k, 35k for the Aero, with options you can spend $40k. That is 328i and A4 territory unless they plan on lowering the price.

Cadillac doesn't have a BTS, what they have is a rebadged 9-3 that is just as bad as the 9-3 and sells at an even slower rate. The BTS should be rear drive and perform better than a CTS Direct Injection. If they make a BTS built on DeltaII (I know it is supposed to be Alpha, but the accountants will get involved) they should call it Cimarron II and sell it with a white flag to wave every time a German car goes by.

Edited by smk4565
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the BTS on Alpha.

We hope. We were supposed to get the Opel Insignia here for the Aura, but now we are getting a watered down cheap version. And hopefully it doesn't take until 2012 for the BTS to get here (or to Europe).

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Yeah, the 9-3 is already a small vehicle. I guess Saab's biggest vehicle (9-5) will probably be just slightly bigger than the current 9-3.

well, if the 9-5 is downsized to 9-3 size now, then take the price down too. make the 9-3 affordable.

in defense of Saab. i have tested a few in the last couple weeks and liked them a lot. the problem is GM's pricing structure.

maybe they want to take all saabs down in size as entry level caddies. make the 9-5 less cushy than the CTS and let caddy take off from there.

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A 9-3 Aero gets 15/24 mpg, most V8s do better. 9-3 with the 4 cylinder gets 19/26 (21 combined), a lot of V6s can get that. A Lincoln MKZ gets 18/28 or 22 mpg combined. Saab is far from a green brand. All they have going for them in that regard is how the 9-3 catalytic converter cleans heavily polluted air.

The 9-3 and Cobalt aren't too far apart in size now, so the new 9-3 will still be near 3-series size. The current 9-3 starts at $29k, 35k for the Aero, with options you can spend $40k. That is 328i and A4 territory unless they plan on lowering the price.

Cadillac doesn't have a BTS, what they have is a rebadged 9-3 that is just as bad as the 9-3 and sells at an even slower rate. The BTS should be rear drive and perform better than a CTS Direct Injection. If they make a BTS built on DeltaII (I know it is supposed to be Alpha, but the accountants will get involved) they should call it Cimarron II and sell it with a white flag to wave every time a German car goes by.

real world mileage figures on the 9-3.......most 4 cyl will approach 30 consistently, with up to 40 highway. 6 cyl is in the 20-25 range.

the epa is not always right.

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The only damn SAAB in human history that is not cramped

already is a damn Trailblazer-clone. I would have killed this

useless brand like 20-times over before even considering a

quick and idiotic euthanasia of Oldsmobile.

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My mom had a 9-5 Aero, I didn't think it was cramped, but this brand should have been killed. They dumped Olds awfully fast, but consider Saab, Hummer and Saturn precious and valuable. The 9-5 got about 24 mpg average, and that was with more highway than city driving.

I can say that the EPA's 15/23 mpg on the Aurora is pretty accurate. On a flat highway at 55-60 I can get 25 mpg, but I average about 19 overall.

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It wasn't Saab that killed Oldsmobile, it was Saturn.

I think the point was that Olds was killed without a second thought, yet GM has other money losing or under performing brands that they cling to for dear life and won't get rid of.

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With all the attention given to efficiency these days, Saab should position itself as the environmentally-conscious, alternative luxury car maker. Find a way to sell the excellent 1.9TTiD (180 hp twin-turbo diesel) here, and offer a host of hybrids and plug-ins from GM's diverse parts bin. Every Saab should at least be a light BAS hybrid, and surely the VUE shouldn't be the only front-drive GM vehicle to offer a two-mode full hybrid.

Saab likes to emphasize its Scandinavian design - but apart from ice block taillights and light wood floors in dealer showrooms, it's not very convincing. Now is the right climate for Saab to extol its brand values of sustainability, design, and functionality.

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With all the attention given to efficiency these days, Saab should position itself as the environmentally-conscious, alternative luxury car maker. Find a way to sell the excellent 1.9TTiD (180 hp twin-turbo diesel) here, and offer a host of hybrids and plug-ins from GM's diverse parts bin. Every Saab should at least be a light BAS hybrid, and surely the VUE shouldn't be the only front-drive GM vehicle to offer a two-mode full hybrid.

Saab likes to emphasize its Scandinavian design - but apart from ice block taillights and light wood floors in dealer showrooms, it's not very convincing. Now is the right climate for Saab to extol its brand values of sustainability, design, and functionality.

I agree, now let's see if GM has the right mindset to make it work.

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Or the cash to make it work. GM is lowering their R&D spending and is cutting back on marketing also. Toyota outspends GM in R&D by nearly $2 billion a year and has half as many brands, no wonder they are #1 in the world now.

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Or the cash to make it work. GM is lowering their R&D spending and is cutting back on marketing also. Toyota outspends GM in R&D by nearly $2 billion a year and has half as many brands, no wonder they are #1 in the world now.

AFAIK the R&D spending cuts are essentially directed at NA-developed trucks and SUVs.

Edited by ZL-1
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Not a chance.

At 45, I won't be changing my spots.

No beige, no Buick, no Caddy, no Saab, no FWD...

At 45, I was still in my motorcycle phase. <_<

Even though I have Buick lust, I doubt it will happen. We got an extended warranty with the HHR and it may very well outlast me.

Speaking of Buicks, there is a last generation Corolla running around my neigborhood with "portholes" and a fart can exhaust. :fryingpan:

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Wasn't this the original plan for Pontiac? Downsize Pontiac's vehicles so there wouldn't be overlap with Buick in the same showroom. Could future SAABs be heading to a Buick showroom near by? It's been mentioned as a possibility... this kind of falls in line.

The idea of making Pontiac a Scion fighter was kicked around.

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