Greetings from the Phoenix

Trollhättan, the 2. December 2013. I think almost every blog reader will remember this date. What was then or what could have been is somehow the background of this article.

Saab Fenix ​​/ Phoenix pilot.
Saab Fenix ​​/ Phoenix pilot.

Mark and I are our guests in Trollhättan that day and are already on our way early in the morning. The big show at NEVS doesn't start until the afternoon, and so we walk - thickly wrapped up because it's cold on that day - the factory premises ... to capture some Saab atmosphere and always in the hope of seeing something that could be spectacular . Maybe a NEVS prototype that could deliver a good Saab Spyshot.

But apart from a few Volvo prototypes that rush past Trollhättan on Inlandsvägen, full of people of Asian origin, nothing comes across our way. We don't care about Volvo, NEVS is making the area opaque on these days, so we walk through Swedish botany to the former test workshop. There we take photos through the fence, briefly shocked when we are caught, but the employee takes the matter in a sporty manner and happily waves to us.

That’s all, and in the afternoon we’re guests at the plant, and only when we’re back home in Germany do we look at the pictures of the test workshop. What do we see? A mountain of boned bodies, you could also say junk. Point.

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Only much, much later - a friend looks at the pictures - it becomes clear that we shot down two test vehicles of the Saab Phoenix platform. A sedan and a convertible, both with flares on the fenders, on rims that are not Saab rims. Phoenix or Fenix, as they say in Sweden, is wider than the 440 platform of the Saab 9-3. The axes do not fit under the sheet metal cladding, with the effect that everything is drawn a little wider and the dimensions are no longer correct.

This is Saab tradition, reminiscent of the project Padan. Paddan, or toad, was a Saab 96 that drove the floor pan of the upcoming Saab 99 for testing ... undetected! Paddan still exists today in the Saab Bil Museum.

While Paddan still enjoys good health, the story for the two Phoenix test subjects did not go so well. Her condition was already bad in December, though not quite as miserable as that of her predecessors. To the right of the cabriolet and sedan camped more shelled bodies, which can be identified due to the holes in the fenders also as a former test car for components of the Saab Phoenix platform.

Both photographed Fenix ​​test vehicles were scrapped in the spring, but this does not end the story of NEVS and the Phoenix platform. Other vehicles for testing the Saab Phoenix platform were spotted and photographed in Trollhättan until early summer. Unfortunately not from Mark and me. The pictures are available, but may not appear on the blog. How we keep ourselves

At the moment we're not getting any Saab Spyshots from Trollhättan, but development continues ... in the development department on site, internationally at partner companies. NEVS has outsourced everything to do with the Phoenix platform in its own company; the platform is probably the decisive asset that NEVS has. What's the secret?

The decisive point should be the limitless variability. You can build a very small car as well as a very large car on a Phoenix basis. Just for comparison: Neighbor Volvo needs two new platforms, Saab would have made it possible with one. And Fenix ​​could serve as a basis for both premium and economy class vehicles. Depending on how you interpret it. At least that's what they say in Trollhättan, and it's no wonder that certain other manufacturers are increasingly working in Saab City.

What NEVS or the future owners will do with it is unclear. The course at NEVS didn't open up to me in 2014 as a whole, and quite frankly: I gave up even thinking about it.

The Phoenix platform may be the last legacy of a small, brilliant company that gave the world many great cars. What could become of it is of secondary importance if it will not bear the name Saab ... but which is still open. The cards on this topic are currently being shuffled, Fenix ​​plays a role in this.

12 thoughts on "Greetings from the Phoenix"

  • Yesterday came a movie where a Saab 900 turbo was there unfortunately it was done badly with a wrong starter tone and with a tailgate which opened up without opening

  • Especially the upper middle class has been a carnage. Lancia theme, Chrysler 300, Alfa 166, Renault Vel Satis, Citroen C6, Peugeot 607, Fiat Chroma, Opel Omega, Ford Scorpio, and several Japanese models, and now even the 9-5, all gone. In the class newly added is actually only the Skoda Superb, which is quite light and therefore probably less solid.
    And if you deduct the rear-wheel drive, only the S80 / V70 and the A6 remain in the class next to the Superb.

    In that regard, not surprising, if one struggles with alternatives.

    • Something should come from Alfa again ...

      Hopefully the two station wagons in C and E class format,
      of which one whispers. And if not? Does not matter! As
      SAAB driver one is used to disappointed hopes yes meanwhile. Something will always be there to get you from A to B.

      • Yes, that's the way it is! Actually bad cars do not exist anymore and you can get from A to B, but it is different.
        Every mass manufacturer is inventing new niches that he uses to pretend individuality to potential customers, but it remains a disguised mass product.
        Our brand has really produced individual cars and even the old ones are today more than ever (eg the incredible everyday suitability of an 9000).

        • Yes, the 9000 was and will be a legendary car. Perhaps the best and most progressive of its time. With the Aero you could even show a long nose to some 8-cylinder of the upper class at that time ...

          And that at 50% less consumption. Downsizing a quarter of a century (!) Ahead of the competition. SAAB was really great.

          Really sad how this lead was gradually lost without ever having been translated into major economic successes.

          I like my 9-5 (MY 2008) and would have liked to have bought its successor at some point, but the same feeling as the 9000 (simply sitting in an all-round damn good and above all progressive car) has never had a SAAB with the convey the same intensity ...

          • The successor is on my wish list ;-), still. However, the prices for 2-liter gasoline engines have been rising for months, these things are more expensive than in December 13
            Maybe someday something from Sweden will come, but certainly not from NEVS, I do not believe in that anymore.

  • Reads well, just remains to wait if Mahindra takes over the store and finally brings to fruition. Because with a replacement brand, I do just as hard!

  • Those were my thoughts too, if the platform is to fit long and short cars, it will only be "unnecessarily" stiff for short cars. This makes sense for small quantities; for larger quantities, the savings in material may be offset against the development costs. Well, let's hope that things get going again in Sweden, that the people there have jobs again and that the brand image + name remains, I really don't want to find a replacement brand!

    • Somehow I have the feeling that the Vikings have already written off “their” car brand.

    • Hello Bergsaab, there is no substitute, no! My first was an 9000CC. Slightly accidentally damaged and given. I repaired it and since then I drove nothing but Saab. Just a dream, whether 900 I or 9000 CC or CS, even 900 II and 9-5 liked.

  • Although I believe that the flexibility is somehow limited. The whole makes sense only if certain components are used everywhere to save manufacturing and development costs.

    I know that the module concept says something different; namely, that the interfaces between the individual assemblies are defined, while the design of the groups can then be different. But already the interfaces provide a certain framework for the overall concept. If an interface between eg the moving part of the wheel complex and the Karroserie is defined, and a real combinability is to be given, the mechanical mounts must be designed eg between the shock absorber bearing and the part of the body where it is grown, for the largest load a vehicle can ever have.

    Or in the field of electrics. There, for example, an interface between engine electronics and dashboard displays has to be defined. Until now the CAN bus, iirc. Should something new be used? Then it will probably be expensive, the CAN bus is quite cheap. This then increases the costs for small variants.

    And this high flexibility indeed allows the simple design of particular assemblies for specific purposes. Only these assemblies are then possibly quite expensive. And that brings us back to Saab. If a manufacturer wants to sell really large numbers of a model, it may be cheaper to put more money into the development of special, price-optimized components. But if, like Saab, you build rather small quantities, it may make more sense to use more expensive components within the scope of the kit, but to have little development costs.

    Or to summarize: A modular system makes the most sense with smaller, more exclusive manufacturers. What my feeling is that it improves the chances that a buyer like Mahindra will continue the Saab brand, and build any more small series like the Chairman or any SsangYong SUVs that are also being built in not so large numbers, all based on Phoenix. As a result, hopefully the ideal mix of modular system and modular system can be achieved.

  • Well written, Tom. Full of hope until the 2. March 2015. Then, hopefully, it will be clear which way to go.

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