When the summer holidays are over in August, a new model year begins for Swedish car manufacturers. The 2017 Saab model year would have been a big leap in the company's history. The 9-5 successor would have been launched, the transfer of license fees to Detroit would have come to an end.
Let's start 2010 in the year. The new 9-5 sedan came on the market, the important 9-5 station wagon would come with a delay as 2012er model. The successor of the Saab 9-3 based on the Fenix (Phoenix) platform should roll in the second half of the year, the Cabriolet 2013. A very short term would have had the made in Mexico Saab 9-4x, he would have already been replaced 2015 by a successor on Fenix basis. And under the bonnet no V6 engine would have been more, but a charged 1.6 liter with 4 cylinders from BMW.
Saab model year 2017
Cooperation with BMW, Volvo and Fiat would have lowered the development costs, and the grip on the GM shelf would have continued for cost reasons. We would have finally seen the 9-3 as a hatchback and a hybrid, the new 9-5 based on Fenix has been confirmed as a 4-door coupé. In retrospect, the question arises of how realistic the planning was. The data comes from internal and confidential presentations from spring 2011 - at that time everything still seemed feasible. The possible sale to BAIC would have saved Saab, secured the upcoming investments in the long term, the brand would still exist today. GM and BAIC were partners at the time, and in retrospect, BAIC would have been the only new Saab owner accepted by Detroit.
The GM problem with the 9-5
Because GM had a serious problem with the new 9-5. For many years, Opel, the brand that stands for average like no other, had priority over Saab. Everything was done differently with the new 9-5. And you did it right. The big Saab showed what was feasible in the group, and Opel customers got technology hung in the Insignia. Opel was only allowed to catch up with Saab with the facelift, but it was all over by then. Saab as a technological spearhead - that explains why the 9-5 was not licensed for other owners. Except maybe for the close partner BAIC at the time.
For 9-5 and 9-4x the production figures between GM and Saab were contractually precisely regulated. With the 2016 model year, the last sedans would have rolled off the assembly line; one year later, the last station wagon would have left production. And we should now look forward to the successor and the model year 2017. The 2011er preview of Saab's model planning ends with model year 2017. Except for a small detail. The development for the 9-3 Fenix successor would have started this year, the financial plan lists the investments.
Years of misjudgment
The last years of Saab, from winter 2009 to winter 2011, were marked by misjudgments. GM would not close Saab today. The Group has since been missing in Europe an accepted premium brand with the corresponding margins, Opel has been burning money for years. Although there was a small profit of 124 million in the second quarter, the first since 5 years. But rising self-registrations, the footsteps of Dieselgate, and the mounting crisis at Vauxhall show a bleak future.
Muller told 2011 that there would be better ways to optimize profits than selling to BAIC. He left the finished contracts, broke off the negotiations and moved with friend Antonov in the direction of bankruptcy. He too would not decide that way today.
We thought the 9-5 NG and the sports suit were transitional models on the way to new Saabs based on the Fenix platform. We were wrong about that. It was the last new Saabs that ever rolled off the assembly line. And even now, 5 years later, I regularly get emails from readers who have never driven a Saab but always wanted to. Who are annoyed that they didn't buy a new Saab in 2011. They were also wrong, and I do not answer these emails. Because what should I write?
Phonix will never fly
It was particularly tragic for the Fenix platform. The Phoenix will never fly. His genes will be featured on Volvo's CMA platform, which will be designed for hybrid, electric and conventional burners. And even at NEVS there will be traces of it. Why did Fenix fail in the end, because we mistakenly considered the platform to be the trump card of Saab's remains? Unconfirmed traces point to Detroit. GM should deliver sparks and claim parts of the platform again and again, the resulting legal uncertainty was the end of Fenix.
And Trollhättan? Perhaps there will be a 2018 model year from the former Saab factory in Stallbacka to get started with the restart. Electric cars with optical Saab 9-3 relatives, but under the sheet metal everything will be new. The Saab lettering has disappeared from the factory, the decision has been made to establish a new brand and focus on electric mobility. A decision for a good future? The blogger is only a chronicler, in a few years we will know.