As crazy as the course of events sometimes is, the future of Saab looks good in the long term. Headaches are causing us the current problems in Sweden. Leaving the current situation behind, we look to the future and enter the year 2017.
Trollhättan in the year 2017. Still a small town with a small car factory. The research and development departments that Saab operates together with various joint venture partners have grown. Because the innovative Swedes are not only linked to the Chinese for a long time, there is also a developer marriage with Indian and Vietnamese car manufacturers. Last month, the Swedish Minister for Economic Affairs, successor to Maud Olofsson, inaugurated the battery development research center that Saab founded together with the local university.
The Saab model range in the year 2017
The small Saab 9-1, which is based on a former mini platform, became Saab's “savior” on the European markets. The design of an aerodynamically sophisticated reinterpretation of the first Saab models is the small Saab city car and fun machine in one. The 9-1 is available with small, turbocharged four-cylinders from partner BMW and an output of up to 200 hp. In the sports version, the Saab 9-1 has electric all-wheel drive, which is available as an option for all other versions. A hybrid version is optionally available, for operation in major European cities there is an environmentally friendly e-power variant with a purely electric drive.
Even the smallest Saab is about the revolutionary IQon Configurable so that each driver has his own individual Saab. The intelligent Saab interface controls the charging of the battery and searches on command the best charging time at the best price, or even on user request electricity that comes only from renewable energy sources.
Of course, at the intervention of minority shareholder Antonov, there is a special four-wheel version for motorsport, with which the Russian team is very successful.
The gap between the agile Saab 9-1 and the Saab 9-3 series will be closed next year by the 9-2 in the Golf format. The 9-2 is then the smallest model of Sweden, which builds on the modular Phoenix platform. A Saab 9-2 show car is at the IAA in Frankfurt in September.
"Bring back the hatch" had shouted the Saab community and Saab did it. The Saab 9-3 hatchback based on the design icon Saab 900 has been around for several years. In Europe and the USA, the Saab has brought back buyers both old and new.
The 9-3, on the long-standing Saab Phoenix platform, is also available as a hybrid, E-Power Saab and with turbocharged four-cylinder engines from Munich. With Cabriolet, SportCombi and Sedan, there are now five variants in addition to the Off Road version. Last year, the 9-3 series was upgraded with a facelift. The Saab 9-3 Viggen is now the top model, with 350 PS in ethanol mode and lightweight construction, he is a serious competitor for the sports models German manufacturers.
Incidentally, the 9-3 was the first Saab with the IQon interface, which is particularly popular with young buyers.
Saab 9-5 and Saab 9-4x
The two old models from the post-GM phase make the last rounds and are attractive with facelifts and special models. Unfortunately, the numbers have been falling for years as licensor GM denies the Swedes to bring a hybrid or an e-power variant on the market.
The 9-4x has admitted Saab saved the US market in difficult years. The successor was originally in Trollhattan run off the line. Since the small plant is at the capacity limit, the next 9-4x will also run again in Mexico from the tape. Saab uses the currency advantage, GM gets from Saab a modified variant which will probably come as Cadillac XRX from the same band.
The big four-wheel drive from Saab was ridiculed at the beginning and perceived as the wrong car at the wrong time. Meanwhile, the 9-6x is making life difficult for the classy four-wheel drive vehicles from Range Rover in particular. Both the minimalist Scandinavian design and the high-quality, individual interior fittings (we will report on this later) score points with buyers. Well, the Saab 9-6x is expensive, but the European and US versions offer pure luxury. As a hybrid, it is the only one in its class that can drive purely electrically. The electric all-wheel drive and the Phoenix platform also save weight and make the Saab 9-6x the lightest SUV in its class.
In Saab, partner Youngman, as well as the Indian partner, is running a modified, locally adapted version of the belts.
The successor to the Minister of State Reinfeldt drives one, because for the proud Swedes it is unimaginable to see a head of state in a BMW like the voted Reinfeldt. Because the 5.40 meter long 9-7 stands like a "phoenix from the ashes" for Swedish Stoz on the revitalized car manufacturer.
Although BMW, the best engine manufacturer in the world, supplies the turbo-charged icing to the Swedes. Everything else is really Saab on the big flagship from Trollhättan. In town, the 9-7 drives with electric drive and is powered by the rear wheels. If the driver demands full system performance, the internal combustion engine and the electric four-wheel drive will start.
With the 9-7 Saab has maxed out the Phoenix platform. More is not possible. Although the partners in China, where the 9-7 is especially popular, want an even longer version for the officials. But currently the 9-7 is over.
Saab is a small car maker, as before. The plant in Trollhättan is currently busy with 150.000 Saab. Rumors are buzzing for weeks that the new Saab 9 2 in Germany in the former Opel plant Bochum run off the line. Because GM has sold Opel in the right minute, shortly after the introduction of the Ampera to the Chinese. However, the Hessians were not as lucky as Saab. Opel in Germany today, after almost 6 years in Chinese hand on the site Rüsselsheim shrunk.
In order to make Saab more profitable, the "Saab Manufactory" was founded. Saab has come to terms with its Swedish roots. Every customer can design his Saab individually with the help of the manufactory. Wood from Scandinavian birch, maple or alder is mainly used. The leather is available in many variants, the seats are again from the Swedish supplier ELMO after Lear closed its plant in Trollhättan. If you don't want to sit on leather, you can get the finest seat covers from Ermenegildo Zegna's weaving mill. No new idea, admittedly, that already existed in the Saab 9000 series before GM removed this option from the program.
Especially the customers for Saab 9-6x and Saab 9-7 appreciate the individual offer. Hardly a Saab of the upper class leaves Trollhättan in the series trim. Also conspicuously many Saab 9-3 are refined, because in Europe the Saab customers stand still on understatement and carry the mink inside.
Saab was the first manufacturer to say goodbye to the print media. The difficult cash position at the beginning of these decades forced the company to fully rely on the Internet. Saab did the best out of necessity, the idea arrived at the customers. All dealers are online with Trollhättan, the consultation and configuration takes place on large touchscreens, the Saab manufactory is involved for special requests. The customer can experience live the production of his personal Saab from the press shop via the paint shop to the assembly line.
Saab in the year 2017, just a vision?
Yes, Trollhättan and Saab in the year 2017. Just the vision of a totally crazy blogger, or close to reality? Of course, the political fate of Minister Reinfeldt and the development at Opel are completely fictional. But Saab IQon, Saab Hybrid, Saab E-Power, everything already exists and makes its rounds on Swedish roads. Saab's electric four-wheel drive is a reality, as are the new Saab patents for lightweight construction in the tank sector. The new Phoenix platform can actually be used up to a car length of 5.40 meters. So everything is just vision?
No, it could be true, 2017, 2018 or 2019. Sometimes dreams come true because people want to experience those dreams. Like the people of Saab.