New Year New luck ! The blogger is back on the MacBook. Let's start with the most important questions! What's next with the cult brand Saab? Will there be another long year marked by waiting or will our wishes come true? What exciting innovations can we expect in 2013? We dare to think outside the box. All this and the blogger's personal wish for 2013 on the blog.
The newcomer of the year
In March, the time has come! Qoros presents in Geneva with the GQ3 the first series product of the brand. Former Saab managers have found a new home in the Sino-Israeli joint venture. The former press officer Eric Geers is also there, and he promised us a lot of Saab in the newcomer. The first pictures do not confirm that, but the GQ3 is a statement in other ways. Because co-owner Geely sees himself only as an investor and leaves the majority European team on the long leash. There is a lot of Europe in Qoros. Leading the way is Magna, and we will be dealing with the new brand in our own article.
The direction is clear now. The newcomers have chosen as the opponent the brand VW. For us to Europe the Qoros product range will come only 2014. Until then comes to the compact sedan GQ3 still a hatchback and an SUV.
The latecomer of the year
Mini introduces the third generation this year. The BMW descendant has done everything right and has been celebrating a success story since 2001. Fiat, in another price range, successfully trades in the brand with the 500. There is now a convertible and a long version. Chic and small are in, but do not always have to be cheap.
Just 12 years after the Mini debuted, this idea also sparked off in Rüsselsheim. Now the GM subsidiary Opel is launching a trendy small car that is full of hopes. It can be built in Germany. Not in a cheaper foreign plant, but in the Eisenach plant - which was hit by the weak Corsa demand. A shift has just been canceled, but everything should get better with the start of production of the “Adam” in mid-January. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether the small car looks good and whether the choice of name is successful. There is no innovation under the hood, but home-made food. But the look is unusually fresh, and there are, also unusual for Opel, many options for customization. Will the straggler for Opel become a lifeline? That is the exciting question of 2013. Against the next new release, the Adam is a car from the day before yesterday.
The revolutionary of the year
Revolutions are currently taking place in Munich. BMW shows impressively, what is possible, if you have good ideas but also the appropriate money in the account. The i3 launches this fall, and BMW delivers an impressively thought-through innovative package. In principle, what one does in Munich, is a strong Bavarian Watschn (for our readers from the north: Watschn = slap) for the competitor. The Munich do not simply transplant batteries into a conventional vehicle, they design completely new. Batteries are heavy, so the vehicle must be as light as possible. Really clear, right? BMW relies on carbon fiber, which comes from the 2009 together with SGL Carbon-based plant in Moses Lake. Carbon fiber consumes a lot of energy in manufacturing, so the factory's power comes from one of the world's largest hydropower plants.
The assembly takes place in Leipzig, where the electricity from wind turbines and the aluminum, which is also used in the i3, come from 80% recycled material. The interior is dominated by natural fibers. European eucalyptus and leather treated with the natural tannins of the olive tree make the i3 an ecological luxury car. The Munich-based company promises a range of 160 kilometers, from 0 to 100 in less than 8 seconds, and to round it off, they offer green electricity contracts. Green luxury has its price. 40.000 euros will have to be paid.
BMW is thus increasingly relying on sustainability, and the gap between Bayern and the competition seems to be getting bigger. The i3 story is exciting, because it's completely thought out, and the developer group around Ulrich Kranz has consistently used the freedom to create something completely new. Such perfect conditions could only be dreamed of at Saab.
The exciting question is, whether the customers are already as far as BMW, or whether the Munich 5 are too early to 10 years.
Hope of the year
We are of course particularly interested in how the cult brand from Trollhättan will continue. Will we see new products in 2013 or will we have to wait for 2014 or 15? And do we ever see cars with turbo engines and Saab lettering on the bonnet again? One thing is certain: we are working on the possible 9-3 successor, based on the Phoenix platform. Since the investors only have a small team on board, the contracts are awarded externally, which does not have to be a disadvantage. Because a lot stays in Sweden and is developed by former Saab engineers. The question of whether a comeback of the previous Saab 9-3 will shorten the waiting time remains unresolved.
The bets are undecided. Even circles in Trollhättan - they closely monitor what is happening on site - do not agree. Some see the first clues, and the rest already see the whole story as a failure. The press in Sweden is betting consistently and anticipates a quiet 2013 for Saab.
Wish of the year
My attitude to things in Sweden has relaxed in the past few months. Instead of wasting time with visions from Far Eastern investors, I concentrate on what we really have. Our cars are great, and instead of sitting in front of the Mac and reading the Swedish press, I prefer to “fly” with the turbo over empty, third-order country roads in the Spessart at home. That is more fun !
Maybe it's too much to ask to see moving bands in Trollhättan this year. Even if the old Saab 9-3 should start with a modified front end and new engines, it takes time. Maybe 12 months, and then the possible successor would be even only 12 or 18 months away. Maybe that would be too much hope, and in the end the bill does not work out. But I would have a Saab wish for 2013 then.
The investors should show their colors and present clear facts instead of press statements or dream locks that have nothing left to do. A study of how to imagine the future would be nice. A Saab presence at the IAA in Frankfurt. Maybe with a PhoeniX Reload or PhoeniX 2.0. Show presence for the brand and keep the interest of future customers alive. That would be something, right? My Saab wish for 2013.
Pictures: Opel (1), BMW (1), Qoros (1), saabblog.net