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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:

The stars are in alignment!!! What some on here have been asking for, putting Buick with Cadillac, is what PCS says might happen!!! :breakdance:

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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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9-3 has no rear passenger space now. To downsize it even more makes no sense.

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.

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

I don't doubt that. A Delta Saab would fit more inline with a Volvo S40 in size or a Peugeot 407 or Alfa 159 in price.

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

I was thinking of something... If Buick and SAAB become part of the Cadillac franchise, where does that leave Saturn?

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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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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.

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

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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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Cadillac/Buick/Saab?

Now there's a dealership I'll never visit. :rolleyes:

one gets to a certain age and one lusts after a beige colored Buick more than a Salisbury steak special at 4PM. :deathwatch:

The voice of experience

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one gets to a certain age and one lusts after a beige colored Buick more than a Salisbury steak special at 4PM. :deathwatch:

The voice of experience

Not a chance.

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

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

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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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Well, portholes on anything other than a Buick usually look completely lousy and wrong.

But somehow, the fact that the HHR has that domed hood and the portholes were on it rather than the fender, almost gives it a pass.

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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.

+1

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They reduced the warranty on Saabs today in order to save money. Saabs inherently break down; the warranty claims must be very high per vehicle since they only sell 30,000 cars a year. Otherwise how much money could they be saving. The dumped the Aero driving academy also. Which is probably a good idea, since the 9-3 and 9-5 Aero have less power than a Camry V6.

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Which is probably a good idea, since the 9-3 and 9-5 Aero have less power than a Camry V6.

Wrong again. The 9-3 XWD makes 280 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

Edited by Dodgefan
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They reduced the warranty on Saabs today in order to save money. Saabs inherently break down; the warranty claims must be very high per vehicle since they only sell 30,000 cars a year. Otherwise how much money could they be saving. The dumped the Aero driving academy also. Which is probably a good idea, since the 9-3 and 9-5 Aero have less power than a Camry V6.

I'm going to start a thread called "SMK being blatantly wrong or maliciously deceptive" and start moving your posts in there.

Saab Aero 2.8 turbo has 280hp and 295 ft/lbs of torque compared to the Camry V6 that gets 268 hp and 248 ft/lbs of torque while having to lug around 400 more lbs. The 9-5 Aero has 8 less horsepower than the Camry but it has 10 more ft/lbs of torque in a 4-cylinder at an absurdly low 1900rpm. The Camry's peak torque hits at 4700 rpm.

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The regular 9-3 Aero has 255 hp. Thus less than the 268 in the Camry. Turbo X and Aeros with XWD have 280. But a Turbo X is more expensive than a 335i or G35 or CTS DI and those all have over 300 hp, and they get better mileage. The CTS and BMW get 2 mpg more city and highway than a 9-3 Aero.

Edited by smk4565
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The regular 9-3 Aero has 255 hp. Thus less than the 268 in the Camry. Turbo X and Aeros with XWD have 280. But a Turbo X is more expensive than a 335i or G35 or CTS DI and those all have over 300 hp, and they get better mileage. The CTS and BMW get 2 mpg more city and highway than a 9-3 Aero.

You're comparing the Camry's top engine, thus you should compare the 9-3's tope ngine. Not that this is apples to apples anyway, since they don't even compete with each other, but then none of your comparisons are fair or well thought out.

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  • 3 months later...

IIRC the 9-1 was supposed to be Astra-sized. Either it will be based on the Corsa, or there will be a full 9-3 range (sedan, wagon, hatches) on DeltaII... Or GM will be futher buried in the &#036;h&#33;ter and nothing happens...

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Let me ressurect this thread to ask if there are any news re the NG 9-3 moving to the same architecture as the NG Astra.

you know in my recent shopping i determined the 9-3 and astra (current ones) were both cars I like A LOT.

of course, the 9-3 is more posh and performs on the next level. but when i started to break it down to 'family car functionality', i found that in terms of back seat room, the astra is actually more comfortable. I can't even get in the back seat of the 9-3 and the backrest angle and headrest location is too severe. the 9-3 is wider. overall, the astra is way more accomodating in the back seat.

the astra has 92.4 cf of interior space, i think the saab is 93.4. you factor in the little bit of added width (the hip room is about an inch and a half and the shoulder room is about 2 inches) its easy to see why the back seat of the 9-3 is tighter in terms of leg room and backrest angle.

Now look at the wheelbases. the saab wheelbase is not much more than the astra. 2 1/2 inches i think. Now, the 9-3 is much larger aft of the rear wheels, and it has much more cargo room.

So my ultimate point. Even though the current 9-3 is on epsilon and the astra is on a compact chassis, i am thinking that if the next astra's wheelbase is the same or around that 104.0 inch mark (big for a compact) it will be able to produce hopefully as much interior room as the current 9-3 and maybe squeeze out some more leg room. And I bet we see a 5 door 9-3 next version which will basically be a much nicer astra.

So where does that leave the 9-1? Corsa / Fiesta sized is my guess. And super tight inside. But they better not eff up the 9-3 passenger compartment size since so many people bitch about it now. My impression is the 9-5 is large enough to carry the big sedan tag for saab, it will probably be somewhere inbetween the aura and impala in size is my guess. Maybe the size of the Insignia or larger. Hopefully a little larger. It will be large enough so that the 9-3 can go down a bit in physical size, and hopefully remain somewhat commodious.

this implies the astra chassis can actually be tuned to feel like an expensive premium car on the 9-3. We'll see. If anything, it makes me want to find out how the next Astra turns out.

Maybe they are also counting on the 9-4x to carry the saab car with space torch.

I like room in cars, especially after having that 500. GM doesn't make large cars hardly these days, at least in terms of passenger space. I gave up looking at the 9-3 that is current, because the backseat is really not usable.

Edited by regfootball
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