Never built: Saab 9000 successor

On the 28. 04. 1998 ran in Trollhättan the last Saab 9000 for Germany off the line. An 150 PS Softturbo CSE, Scarab Green, manual transmission. Whole 29 chassis numbers later was also the end for the rest of the world. The last Saab 9000 drove into the museum; Upper class with hatchback from Sweden should not exist anymore.

Saab 9000 successor. Design Bjoern Envall
Saab 9000 successor. Design Bjoern Envall

How could it come to this? The guilty parties, if there are any, are called Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Honda. The Japanese flooded North America with cheap hatchbacks in the 70s, 80s and 90s ... successful! GM was losing market share year after year, which must have triggered a hatchback phobia in Detroit. Since then, everything with a sloping rear has been classified as a cheap car from Asia in the Renaissance Center. For Saab, this meant the move to the 9-5 and 9-3 sedans - and the end of a tradition.

If GM and the market analysts had suspected that the market for classic sedans would experience a shrinking cure only a few years later - the decision would have been different. For Saab, a bit of the DNA was lost, the vehicles lost part of their charm, and with the end of the 9-3 I, the hatchback was finally history. That happened in 2002, but cars with large tailgates never completely left the Saab world.

Saab Design has incredible continuity, which can be seen from two people. Sixten Sason and Bjorn Envall. In the 60s, Envall worked with Sason on the Saab 99, then went to Opel for 2 years to continue working at Saab from 1969. Saab 99, 90, 900 and 9000 were designed by him or significantly influenced. The 9000 is the best Saab for him because it was “the only car where we were allowed to do what we wanted". The basic design of the 900 II is also attributed to Envall, who left Saab in 1992 to remain connected to the company.

Again and again he returned to Stallbacka for a few years, most recently in the years from 2006 to 2008 as a tech department consultant. Envall drives a Saab 9000 until today, and the hatchback is still his topic.

What would have been if? The question arises again and again, but the answer is missing. What if Saab had stuck to its design line? The small series would have developed a cult factor over the Saab 99, Saab 900 I & II, Saab 9-3 I. Similar to Porsche or Mini, where traditional design language is always translated anew. The 9000 II, which was never built, would have taken courage. A hatchback in the luxury class does not exist in the competition either; most recently VW backed down with the Phaeton study in 1999.

Björn Envall drew the rear of a possible 2006 II in 9000, before joining Saab again because he never let go of the topic 9000 successor. Aerospace is the name of his study, which bears the typical Saab hockey stick and the rims known as “Gurgenhobel”. The body has the wonderful shape of a wing, Saab Design, Ursaab and Sason say hello. The windscreen is extremely steep, you can see the cockpit. The rear is a reinterpretation of EV-1 and Saab 900 II.

Of course, the drawing of the Saab 9000 successor is just an idea. Sadly I have to say. With no prospect of realization, both in 2006 and 10 years later. Today large, angular, boring boxes called SUVs are in demand. People love uniformity ... apparently.

Nevertheless, a little hope is still. With Andreas Barbunopulos, NEVS has a former Saab designer among the designers, and 2018 has promised the world a hatchback. Does the story go on?

17 thoughts on "Never built: Saab 9000 successor"

  • It is certainly a later one and one of the last, if not the last.
    The latest 9000 with dt. Erstzulassung, which I had so far in my hands and is now in the circle of acquaintances and there next to one of the last 9-5I cherished and maintained, was / is a midnight blue 9000 CSE Anniversary 2.0t with Fahrgestellendnummer 8181.

  • Dark greens were a trend from the middle of the 90 years. Hard to believe, even for a short span of time. Therefore, many 9000 in Scarabaeus drive through the countryside.
    Unfortunately, our documents are only analog. We do not have a database, probably the data will be available at NEVS. Unfortunately, we have been waiting for a good year for an answer in another case, despite the promise nothing has happened.

  • Tom, I noticed that the color Scarab Green is noticeable in the 9000 used cars from the MY98. Does this have any production background? Green was always a marginal phenomenon and I think it is disproportionately represented in the last MY 98. Or is my impression deceptive?

    PS: Do you possibly have a database in which you can research the number of vehicles in the respective colors in Germany based on the 9-5 (1997-2005)? In Sweden this is unfortunately (not) possible anymore ... ;-( There may still be such backups, but they can no longer be read out because the hardware has changed, right?

  • They are all alright, but they are NOT a
    Saab …………….

  • Definitely true - I still think the A5 Sportback (and also the Coupé) is very successful. Simple, elegant, without significant design flaws such as unnecessary beads, bulges or whatever is always popular with other German (“premium”) manufacturers. And like my 9-3 I, it has a large tailgate that I wouldn't want to miss ...

  • The 5er GT is disproportionate. No alternative, SAAB would never have allowed such design flaws.

  • A5 and A7 are more 4 door coupes, right?

  • Then the Audi A5 / A7 ... the latter probably even more. But Audi seems to like to use SAAB lately anyway when it comes to design.

  • From my point of view, the BMW 3er GT is most likely to reconcile with the Saab philosophy. Not the 5er GT

  • No upper class and just ugly

  • the new 5er BMW GT also has a hatchback ?!

  • It would have been nice if the last 9000 for D had landed with you. Unfortunately, it is not, it has VIN W1008756, which in the museum has the… 8785. If I look at the systematics of the Saab VINs in 98, it seems that there were only 8785 9000s in the last MY. It's quite exclusive 😉
    It would be great if the last 9000 for D was still there somewhere, maybe it has a follower?

  • I agree with him.
    And thus the SAAB story is becoming increasingly clear, which is why it z. Is currently the way it is ...
    SAAB driving definitely makes fun !!!

  • And I never understood why you did not offer a fastback parallel to the station wagon
    (9-5) and why a station wagon was not offered in parallel to the Fastback (9K) ...

    The sedans of both series could have been completely saved. From 1960 to 1980 you went well with fastback and station wagon. Why did you give up this duality and tradition so lightly?

    Until SAAB finally got a good deal on the 9-3 as a sedan and even created a beautiful one with the 9-5 NG, each SAAB limo painfully saw that these were derivatives from a different and differently drawn car.

    As far as I know, the sales of limos were always well below those of station wagons or fastbacks ...

  • Wonderful that you dig out so old stories again and again!

  • A successor would have been awesome. I never understood why you did not offer a fastback parallel to the limousine. The 9k customers would have wanted that. Missed options, too bad.

  • Hi Tom,
    that is very interesting. My CSE is exactly like the last one described above for D. The chassis number ends with W1004847, first registration 26.05.1998. I bought it a week later with about 300Km. Previously, he was standing in Kiel in the hall, where a car wash is now working, but I can not say how long. Is this one of the last 9000 ???
    You can see that in your genial documents for sure.

    Greetings from the beach

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