Chinese car buyers will soon face a luxury problem. NEVS starts with the 9-3 EV, and BAIC launches the C60 under the old Saab brand name “Shenbao”.
The C60 is based on the last Saab 9-3, which was developed in Trollhättan. NEVS is also coming this year with the further developed original, which is “Made in Sweden”. However, NEVS will only offer the electrical variant that will undergo final assembly in the new Quindao plant. BAIC customers, on the other hand, will find the B205 engine under the Shenbao hood.
Maybe the old Saab turbo engine with direct ignition is one reason that it took a little longer to present a finished product. Because this first had to be adapted to the 9-3 basis, which made additional new pressing tools for parts of the body necessary. Incidentally, a problem that also plagues the manufacturers of the original in Trollhättan. Because there too, with the “update”, new engines will move in under the hood, and there, too, new equipment is needed for the press shop.
By the end of the year 2009 BAIC had acquired the rights in Sweden and then needed more than 4 years for the revised product. During this time, competitors are developing more than a complete model generation from scratch. The result, the first pictures of which appeared on autohome.com.cn, has nothing to do with a Saab visually. The design is based on the larger Shenbao D series, which is based on the old 9-5, and seems to be a successful model in China.
The B205 turbo engine has 204 hp and 280 Nm. Later in the year, a 1.8 liter turbo with 180 horsepower developed by BAIC is to be submitted. The interior is reminiscent of the 9-3 we are familiar with, the photo shows the inexpensive entry-level variant. In the luxury version, which is also available, leather with visible seams dominates the optionally three-colored (!) Interior. The center console was changed and a new multimedia system was integrated. The steering wheel - in Europe we know it in a similar basic form from the Saab 9-5 NG and several products that roll off the assembly line in Rüsselsheim and other factories in the GM world - is not only found in the new Shenbao. In countless variants, always with small changes, you can see it in many Chinese new releases that have nothing to do with Saab or GM. A supplier is doing really well here!
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Buyers of the model, available shortly after the Beijing Auto Show in April, can choose between automatic transmission and manual transmission. The pricing at BAIC is aggressive. The C60, which is positioned between the D-series and the entry-level C50 from the Chinese premium brand Shenbao, starts at € 14.000,00 on the home market. The full equipment should be just under € 20.000,00.
BAIC is clearly accelerating NEVS, the electric test fleet will not arrive in China until later. However, let's be fair, they also had a full two and a half years ahead. As optimists, we assume that Trollhättan will be a little faster with the presentation of the petrol and diesel versions than the manufacturer from Beijing. Is it?