Saab 9-5 NG - the long way of a dream car. (1/2)

My Saab 9-5 NG Biopower rolled off the assembly line in March 2011. It was delivered to a customer in Gothenburg as an order vehicle. A few days and only a few vehicles later, the assembly lines in the factory came to a standstill. Forever, the desperate and ultimately failed attempts to start production again are put aside.

The career of the Saab 9-5 NG, a dream car from Sweden, was short. The first vehicles were delivered to customers in April 2010; Saab had produced 11.280 vehicles within just under a year - under extremely adverse conditions, with strong opposition from GM, Opel and the motor press.

Saab 9-5 production. Image: Saab Automobile AB

The bumpy start of the Saab dream car

Actually, the new 9-5 should have been built in Rüsselsheim. Together with the Opel Insignia, which was technologically inferior to the Saab and was only raised to the level of the Saab 9-5 with its facelift. That's what the Opel works council wanted, and Trollhättan was allowed to build small cars with the lightning bolt on the hood.

For this reason, the first bodies-in-white for the 2010 model year came from the Opel main plant, and the tools were not relocated to the body shop in Sweden until the following model year. At that point, Saab was no longer part of GM.

The transaction in December 2010 was prevented by the sale to Spyker at the very last minute, and the Saab engineers had to clear their desks at Opel. The Opel colleagues are said to have applauded when the Swedes moved out. The relationship between the two brands has never been without rivalries, the story is probably true.

The test track at the factory in winter. Test of a dream car. Image: Saab Automobile AB
The test track at the factory in winter. Image: Saab Automobile AB

The story is also true that the new 9-5 with the adaptive chassis easily outclassed the Insignia on the Opel test field in Dudenhofen. The Saab drove away from both the Opel and other comparable makes in the test. That shouldn't have contributed to the good mood either.

The start of production, after 20 years at GM, without external help, was a challenge for Saab. From the start there was also a problem with suppliers who were no longer available.

Saab 9-5 NG dream car or flop?

Are 11.280 built vehicles a success or a flop? The bar could serve the other Swedish brand. Volvo is floating on a wave of success, the brand is growing, the press loves the manufacturer from Gothenburg. Advantage Volvo so. And yet, from April to December 2016, Volvo was only able to bring 7.383 new S90 sedans to customers worldwide. The last great Saab, under these circumstances, is an amazing success.

While at the end of March 2011 in Sweden rested the tapes, developments continued. On big diesel, of which only one copy survived as a pre-production vehicle, was in preparation. Many refinements would have flowed into the series in model year 2012, only that hatchback would never have existed.

But the 9-5 NG station wagon, which German Saab drivers were allowed to discover during the dealer tour in autumn 2011.

In the test lab, every 9-5 has up to 2,5 kilometers of cable. Image: Saab Automobile AB
In the test lab, every 9-5 has up to 2,5 kilometers of cable. Image: Saab Automobile AB

And as Saab continued to move towards the abyss, the 9-5 remained ever present. Because every time there was hope, when a sale or the start of production was announced, the fax machines in the Saab Germany sales department ran hot with orders. Saab did its best to fill the order books. The 9-5 station wagon would have been available at the price of the sedan when it was launched, and the warranty was extended to 3 years.

The last price list for the model year 2012

The official price list for the 7 model year came out on October 2011, 2012. The revised version was published three days later. (9-5 Equipment and prices MJ12_Ver.2)

It was the last Saab price list for the German market.

None of this changed the fact that Saab was coming to an end. In December 2011 it was over and Saab Automobile AB became history.

The chassis team at work. Seat covers from the pre-series, in the background a prototype. Image: Saab Automobile AB
The chassis team at work. Seat covers from the pre-series, in the background a prototype. Image: Saab Automobile AB

In the winter of 2011/12, some Saab dealers had very specific concerns. What if the leased 9-5 came back to the farm in a year or two? The residual values ​​in the basement, the vehicles are in fact not for sale? The concerns were not unfounded and in the first few months of 2012 there was no telling how things would play out.

Stocks of some 9-5 NG stocks were down favorably in the spring, with large dealers closing their Saab division. The supply of spare parts was considered critical. But surprisingly fast, there was a demand for the last, big Saab. At the latest from summer 2012 changed things.

Factory sold - The rights to the Saab dream car remain with GM

The plant and some relics were sold to NEVS. The rights to the 9-5 remained with GM. At the latest here ended for many fans hope for replenishment. In winter 2012 Saab pre-production vehicles, including limousines and model year 2012,  auctioned, The interest was enormous, the demand from other European countries much higher than from Sweden. In the home of Saab they had not realized that they had lost with the departure of Saab. Not until today.

Saab 9-5 NG on the road in Bremen, November 2011
Saab 9-5 NG on the road in Bremen, November 2011, after Saab's last event in Germany

KVD Auctionn came 4 pre-series sports suits to Germany. They are also Saab dream cars. I wrote at the time that you probably wouldn't see her on the street. A mistake! Because I didn't expect what would develop around the 9-5. In Kiel, and with some other Saab partners, the big Saab became an issue at the latest. Because demand and price rose, Saab Service Kiel brought the sports suits onto the street, and the 9-5 made its way to the dream car.

This week the blog belongs to the last Saab, except for Tuesday. Production ended 6 years ago. We tell what happened to production tools, bodyshells and lost sports suits. And how a Saab fan got his dream car home.

30 thoughts on "Saab 9-5 NG - the long way of a dream car. (1/2)"

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    Would have loved to have a 9-5NG, recently we missed a top offer, now we have to look further until one comes for sale, or import one from Germany

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    Thanks, Tom, I will do that!
    Greetings from Basel, Hans

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    Price List 2012, one 95 NG, TiD Vector equipment and Automatic for Euro 40300.- !!
    In Switzerland it was stated in the 2011 price list at CHF 60!

    I bought another 2012NG TiD, Vector + Automatic 95 in February (not for CHF 60000.-
    Because I need him too little and because he is too big for me, I want to sell him for about a year.
    In the CH zero market !! Two hesitant demands in one year! (2012, 38000 km, CHF 23900.- is a fair offer right?)

    That the 95NG is an outrageously great car is beyond doubt. You can, for example, drive from Basel to Kiel and back and meet no other 95 NG! (except, of course, at the meeting in Kiel

    An 95NG with hatchback that would have been the ultimate hammer.

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      A Saab sells well among Saab fans. Beyond that, the market is difficult. In addition, the diesel problem is added. My article on Thursday also deals with this topic. I would additionally offer the 9-5 in our Marketplace, the Swiss are a strong readership!

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      The offer sounds quite good, should also be priced, with some also cheaper.
      You need patience for the sale of Saab, then you can give it into good hands and both become happy.

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    The 9-5 II had a lot of potential, so GM kept the licenses. Saab just needed a little more time. Still, on the other hand, it's great that GM even allowed Spyker to bring the 9-5 to market.

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      That's what I wanted to say. Let's be glad that these 10000 have even managed to be built.

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    11280 vehicles are definitely a great success. Mainly because these cars were also built in Sweden. I don't know how it would have gone if the vehicles had actually been built by Opel. The comparison to the Volvo S90 is pretty fitting. As is well known, this is now only produced in China. Even the new small Volvo SUV will in future only be made in China with the same basis as this smartphone on wheels (Lync & Co). In the absence of Saab supplies, I now drive a Volvo, but when my current Volvo is worn out, I definitely won't get a Chinese Volvo. I think that's also the problem with NEVS that they are no longer seen as a Swedish company, but as Chinese with outposts in Sweden. If PSA has managed to take over Opel with all licenses and rights for the current or currently planned product range, it would be much better for Opel to be perceived again as a German, or at least European manufacturer. Much better than the status of the American outpost than Opel currently has.

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    You should see it in a positive way. It was a stroke of luck that he was ever built and we are among those who are still allowed to experience him. Incidentally, this applies to all vehicles from Saab. If the 9-5 NG 1-2 had been released years earlier, it could have saved the brand.

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      A 9-5 I successor should have come onto the market much earlier - the 9-5 I model had been running since 1997!

      As is well known, GM is to blame for this failure as well - the group only granted funds for several model modifications (so-called facelift). Of course, this was not enough for customers in the luxury segment - only die-hard SAAB enthusiasts had recently resorted to the 9-5 I in a manageable number. When the 9-5 II appeared, most of the previous customers had long since reoriented themselves. GM is and remains a rather incompetent association (see the current sales figures for Cadillac models in Europe or the OPEL disaster. Not to mention the bankruptcy that was put down a few years ago - even the American taxpayers had to bleed).

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    GM is and remains incompetent and unfair. Ford has behaved fairly fair to Volvo and Jaguar in sales. It works.

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      Oh yes, I heard rumors that the licenses or their refusal or license fees levied by GM should definitely still play a role in the Opel PSA deal ...

      That would mean that PSA would shut down opel plants as fast as possible and sell French cars with lightning. What could be stuck to SAAB DNA in one or the other Opel, then then extinguished.

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        Especially because you have many parts eg. from Vectra or Insignia. Especially with the 9-5 NG.

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        The GM Opel PSA deal is a very special story where not everything is as it seems. Maybe there will be a background report in the next week.

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          That would be great! Kind regards.

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    I do not understand at all why no company shows more interest in SAAB
    such great cars ...

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    Also, as a longtime Saab driver, I was attacked by the 9-5 NG virus. At the KVD auction, my dream came true and I bought an Aero XWD 2.8 Turbo 6. Unfortunately a model for the Canadian market. To this day I miss the European navigation for this. Maybe someone knows to offer help. But I have not regretted this decision until today. He is and will remain a dream car.

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      The problem is solvable. Please call in Kiel!

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    Very interesting facts. It is and always will be a dream forever for every Saab fan, the last 9.5.
    A pleasure from time to time to see one.
    I never understood why GM sold a factory but without licenses for cars. Ford has done it differently with Volvo and in recent days GM also with Opel. One could have achieved a higher selling price or could still earn later on the licenses. What have Spyker or later the Chinese thought of buying. A car factory without cars.
    Let's see how it goes tomorrow with the report.

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    Exactly because of such articles, the blog is always worth reading!
    What would interest me, if there are more pictures of pre-series interiors? In the Saab Museum, there are seats with quite colorful references that would have made you want more.

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      Thank you! The seats in the museum are quite exciting but unfortunately we had missed the last visit to ask for the origin. Presumably they are from the pre-series or from the design department. There were a lot more colors and a much larger selection of materials planned than there was in series.
      Unfortunately, pictures are very rare. We also have (almost) only the official press photos.

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    Interesting story!
    It's a shame how it happened…. 🙁

    When the new station wagon came, it should actually be the successor of the 2002'er 9-5 SC arc.
    (an extremely chic car, actually a "dream car" - only quite long at 5m)
    Well, then came here anyway different.

    I'm always happy when I see a 9-5 NG as a limousine on the streets.
    I'm not a big limousine fan, but the Saab looks really chic, sporty, elegant and modern!
    And - in my opinion - it still stands out visually from most sedans from other manufacturers today!

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    One of the most beautiful sedans, still, and for a long time! Unfortunately, but unfortunately also the last Saab, because you could howl

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    A nice car and I like to drive mine. There are light and shadows opposite the 9000aero. The 9-5 is a Gesamtkunstwerk the lines are fantastic. Technically up to date, but not ahead like the 9k. I especially miss the large tailgate and the additional heating in winter. Some things are easy with plastic clips where in 9k is a screw or other permanent connection. The automatic dimming, four-wheel drive and Haed Up Display, Drivesens and the audio system are really fun for this.

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    Too bad, again a proof: The customer is no longer king.
    Big corporations and their boss idiots say so.

    I certainly do not need to buy another car anymore (I already have years to go).
    My 3rd SAAB (9-5 2,3t kombi model 2002) is and is maintained and drives and drives and….

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    Do not understand why GM has not set the production in Rüsselsheim. Opel would finally have had a prestige car again, and we others would have just exchanged a few stickers, hehe.

    Unfortunately he is too long for me. Nothing for Munich

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      The fits in Zurich not in the parking spaces, but he is also to drive and not park there; P

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    Great, please write much more about this great car and its history, thank you!

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