Saab product strategy remains suspended

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 11, 2011

As Saab’s financial difficulties have yet to be resolved, its product strategy remains suspended. Operations at Saab’s plant in Trollhattan, Sweden, were halted in early June when Saab failed to pay its suppliers. If the Chinese government gives its approval, a move to rescue Saab by Chinese partners Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. may be accomplished. The Chinese partners are prepared to invest $326 million. If this materializes, Saab will resume production early next year.

If Saab gets the breaks it is seeking, it could fund its future product plan. Saab plans to redesign the 9-3, expand the 9-5 line and maybe develop a small car, according Autonews.

Saab is hoping to build a 9-2, a small front-drive car that will rival the Mini and the Audi A1. So far, there is no timetable. In addition, the freshened 2012 9-3 made its debut last February and a 2013 model is slated for the first quarter of 2012.

There aren’t any changes to be expected. Before Saab shut down the plant, a redesigned 9-3 was set to debut late in 2012. Saab was set to show off a concept displaying its styling direction at the Frankfurt auto show but due to financial problems, Saab didn’t even have an exhibit. Saab has set the redesign to take place in late 2013 or 2014.

Showing an appearance that is more confident in addition to being bold, the new 9-3 line-up of the Saab shows clearly the effect on undergoing improvements to its powertrain. These include the launching of an all-wheel-drive as well as new and more powerful engines, which can be gasoline, diesel, or BioPower (E85). In terms of style, this new range combines the classis design themes of the brand with the more modern ones and then puts it in an advanced and modern interpretation of its unique quality.

What sets this 9-3 range apart from the others is the new bodywork that is in front of the A-pillar as well as the bumper moldings, also new, on the front and the rear. New as well are the light assemblies. For the Sport Sedan and the Sport Combi, the doors and their handles are also new.

Fitted as standard on this new range are the flared side sill extensions. Combined, all of these give the vehicle a better way to show the Saab identity and even have a stance that is both bolder and more assertive. In addition, specifically for the Sport Sedan, 70% of the parts and panels on its external body are brand new. It is clear that the front end of the new range is unique and is based on the Aero X concept car.

This style allows the brand to strengthen the sporty appeal of the 9-3 range. As mentioned, the release of the new 9-3 range also marks the introduction of the tri-fuel engine line-up. The first is the turbo 2.8-liter gasoline V6 engine with output at 280 hp (206 kW) with the ability for extra 175 hp. The second is the turbo twin-stage 1.9-liter diesel engine, which produces 180 hp (132 kW). This same engine delivers an efficiency that is at the top of its segment.

It is also the first engine in the premium class to have a turbocharging two-stage system. Exclusive to the 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan and the 9-3 Sport Combin model is the advanced all-wheel-drive system (XWD). In it are the latest in wheel slip management as well as the ability to control the limited-slip differential in the rear electronically.

Topics: saab, production

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