GM can resurrect the Saab 9-4X, but do they really want this?

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 9, 2012

Only about 500 units of the Saab 9-4X were built by General Motors before production was stopped last year. This crossover, which was developed by GM when it was still the owner of Saab, made its debut last spring under Saab's new owners, Saab Automobile AB. Production began last summer at GM's assembly plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.

The car has the same platform and mechanical parts as the 2011 Cadillac SRX. The Saab can be differentiated from a Cadillac due to its exterior and interior styling plus suspension tuning. The 9-4X that GM developed for Saab is highly competitive.

If there would be a rebadged version, there would be two options. It could have its revival as a Chevrolet that is sold outside North America or as an Opel model meant for Europe. Notably, the 9-4X was built to be sold in Europe and the Middle East. It would be easy to replace the Saab badging and the name.

It may come with GM's new V-6 and the grille would need a new design to achieve a Chevrolet or Opel look. It’s unclear if GM could make a business case to revive the crossover under a different brand.

GM spokesman Jim Cain said that its plant in Mexico had already adjusted to the end of 9-4X production. Getting rid of the tooling would be wasteful, considering the investments of GM to its engineering and styling. Hence, this is a chance for suppliers and GM to put a stop to their losses.

According to Saab Automobile’s CEO, Jan Åke Jonsson, the Saab 9-4X broadens the Saab brand’s appeal. The 9-4X gives the company entry to the crossover segment with a car that conveys the brand’s values in significant areas like responsible and athletic driving performance and progressive Scandinavian design.

Jonsson says that the Saab 9-4X is one exciting package and they are confident that it will appeal to both new Saab customers and existing Saab owners.

Saab 9-4X will be available in North America this May 2011, and in Europe and the rest of the global market starting August. Prices for the vehicle will be announced right before sales commence.

9-4X impresses with its powerful and broad stance, as well as its clean and uncluttered lines, which reflect the brand’s Scandinavian design philosophy. The new 9-4X’s distinctive face, which displays similarities with the 9-5 sedan, takes inspiration from the Aero X concept vehicle, with its 'ice-block' lighting effect and its deep three-port grille.

To create the Saab brand’s signature wraparound effect, the car has a disguised windshield as well as door pillars. Its single glasshouse graphic emphasizes Saab’s traditional cockpit look. It also features other Saab identifiers on its exterior, including its 'hockey stick' waistline, the shape of its headlamps, and its strong C-pillars that are complemented by a rear screen with a wraparound-effect.

Additionally, the car’s roofline is lowered visually and is extended by its rear spoiler, which is integrated into its tailgate. Its rear lighting carries forth a signature that was introduced by the 9-5 sedan. It also has an 'ice-block' bar that is lit by LEDs and that extends across its lower tailgate then wraps around its light units. Also integrated neatly into the car’s lower bumper molding are two rhomboid-shaped exhaust tailpipes.

Topics: gm, saab, saab 9-4x

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