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Just about 100 more Saabs will roll off the line after the Swedish automaker decided to send some employees back to finish incomplete units still standing in the factory.
The company was plagued with financial problems after changing hands from GM to Spyker Cars and ultimately Swedish Automobile. That forced them to shut down despite attempted rescue investments by Chinese companies, Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. Unfortunately for Saab, GM, which manufactured the 9-4x crossover, said the move would unfairly share their technology in key markets and subsequently blocked it.
For now, new Saabs can still be seen on the road, and the company’s North American operation is trying to find a way to honor existing warranties, but the brand will soon be little more than an automotive relic.
An article in Automotive News proposed that the Saab 9-4X crossover may be the world’s rarest new vehicle on sale. Although Saab had planned to sell between 15,000 and 20,000 examples globally this year (with half of sales conducted in the United States), a mere 194 have been sold through October in the United States.
While ultra-low volume cars like the Lexus LFA may sell in the double digits for a given model year, the 9-4X is a mainstream vehicle, built at a General Motors facility in Mexico and based on the Cadillac SRX crossover. Given Saab’s recent financial roller coaster, it’s no surprise that production and supply woes would be present. But the notion of a Saab being one of the rarest vehicles on sale, is highly ironic. For years, nobody wanted Saab products. Now it would be tough to find one even if you wanted one.
[Source: Automotive News]
General Motors has announced that it will cut ties with Saab over its pending sale to two Chinese automakers. The threat has some very real consequences with GM stating it would cease manufacturing of the 9-4X crossover for Saab, as well as stop delivery of the parts it currently supplies the Swedish automaker with.
“Although General Motors is open to the continued supply of powertrains and other components to Saab under appropriate terms and conditions, G.M. will not agree to the continuation of the existing technology licenses or the continued supply of 9-4X vehicles to Saab following the proposed change in ownership as it would not be in the best interests of G.M. shareholders,” said Jim Cain, a General Motors spokesman in an interview with Reuters.
GM owned Saab until last year, selling it to Dutch exotic car maker Spyker, remaining connected despite the changed ownership. Money problems have plagued Saab since, bringing it to the brink of bankruptcy over the summer. A series of deals meant to save the company fell through, until current owner Swedish Automobile decided to sell Saab to Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile and Pang Da Automobile Trade.
Therein lies the problem for GM, which objects to supplying its technology to Chinese companies and potentially threatening its sales in China and other markets. Monday’s announcement represents a hardened position compared to their Friday announcement suggesting the sale would be difficult to back.
Don’t forget that there haven’t been any final decisions made yet, Swedish Automobile said they will discuss the sale with G.M. before moving forward.
“I expect this to happen tomorrow. There are always alternatives but we only have limited time,” the chief executive of Swedish Automobile, Victor R. Muller, told Reuters in a text message.
[Source: The New York Times]
The Evoque was up against some stiff competition this year. Other contenders up for the award included BMW X3, Dodge Durango, Dodge Journey, Ford Explorer, Jeep Wrangler, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, MINI Countryman, Saab 9-4x and Volkswagen Touareg.
According to Motor Trend, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque passed each of its six criteria for the distinction (Advancement In Design, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value and Performance Of Intended Function) with flying colors.
Based on the Land Rover LR2, the Evoque is an evolutionary leap over its predecessor, says Motor Trend. Even though it shares a platform with the LR2, the Evoque performs considerably better in every way. “The Evoque is meant to appeal to the buyer who ranks style, content, and fuel efficiency above approach and departure angles,” says Motor Trend.
Just a few of Evoque’s perks that wowed the judges included its Terrain Response handling and AWD system, its stylish design, roomy cargo area, emission reduction, improved fuel economy and impressive value (it has a price tag of $43,995 – not too shabby when you see all the great features it comes with).
Discuss this story at RREvoqueForum.com
Saab’s attempt at selling off assets to a Russian financial magnate Vladimir Antonov has stalled after the European Investment Bank told the Swedish auto maker to essentially find a new partner within a set time frame.
The EIB and other parties have expressed concerns regarding Antonov’s reported Russian mafia connections. All parties involved are understandably reluctant to elaborate on specifics, but Saab parent company Spyker said in a statement that “Saab Automobile is working with all parties involved on a solution to complete the sale of the property and will have further talks with the EIB today,” Spyker said.
Saab has borrowed $400 million from the EIB, but a cash crunch has also seen the company owe its supplier $49 million, leading to parts supply disruptions and a mere trickle of cars built due to the disputes. Saab has also been courting Chinese auto makers for a variety of deals, but said that it has nothing to do with Volvo, Saab’s fellow Swedish auto maker, currently owned by a Chinese corporation.
They still build the 9-3? You betcha, bucko, and they still like the 9-3 enough to give it a few more last hurrahs. But as fans of the original 900 know, all good things must come to an end – and when the replacement for the 9-3 is launched, it will draw much of its development from Saab’s PhoeniX concept.
The next-generation 9-3 is expected to drop soon, in 2012, riding on a newly re-engineered platform that will be flexible enough to be shared with future models. Saab is already planning to use it for the second-generation 9-4X crossover, even while the current 9-4X is just going into production, as well as the next 9-5. And just as likely, the PhoeniX concept will indicate the direction of technology and styling for these future Saabs.
“I think this is an excellent solution for us as a small manufacturer,” said Jan Ake Jonsson, CEO of Saab. “We will be able to get as much as we can get out of one architecture. It will give us the ability to build all of our cars in one plant so you can reduce your investment in the plant.”
Like the concept car, the platform is internally dubbed “Phoenix,” after the mythical car company that escaped near death in the clutches of a multi-brand conglomerate and arose from the ashes of bankruptcy restructuring through a last-minute buyout from the Dutch.
[Source: Automotive News]
Saab employees will get a day off on February 23rd to celebrate the company’s independence from GM and its resurgence as an automaker.
Slated to die during GM’s bankruptcy proceedings, the Swedish vehicle manufacturer was rescued by Dutch boutique sports car maker Spyker, and is set to launch an all-new product line over the coming years. Saab has already released an all-new 9-5 sedan and a 9-4x crossover.
The festivities will take place at Saab’s Trollhattan, Sweden facilities and include live music, presentations, awards, product displays and desserts. Saab President Jan Ake Jonsson said that the February 23rd celebrations will become an annual event.
[Source: LeftLane News]
Saab has officially begun production of the 9-4x crossover at their Mexican assembly plant. While the 9-4x was due to hit the market some time ago, financial troubles at GM halted production.
The first 9-4x , an Ice Pearl metallic Aero model, was fitted with a 2.8L turbo V6, and will be used as a media car before being shipped off to Saab’s museum. Sales begin in May in the United States, with European sales following in the summer.
[Source: LeftLane News]
The four-car range will feature the 9-5 SportCombi wagon, which was previously teased and will debut at Geneva. There will be the 2012 9-4x crossover, which will go on sale in May. The aging 9-3 range will get some special editions to keep the momentum going. And perhaps more importantly, the concept car will feature a hatchback and styling by newly-minted Saab Design director Jason Castriota.
This vehicle will no doubt be the rumored 9-2 or 9-1 that will be powered by the current turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engines found in the MINI Cooper.
For a company that, one year ago, was nearly swallowed into the bankruptcy abyss of GM bureaucracy, to come back and debut a concept car in such a short amount of time is great news for brand loyalists and the automaker’s future.
The Saab 9-4x will come to America starting at a base price of $34,205 when it hits American dealers sometime in 2011. The $34k entry point will get you a front drive 9-4x with GM’s 3.0L direct injection V6.
Moving up the ladder, the $38,075 Premium is laden with more opulent features and Saab‘s renowned XWD all-wheel drive system. For the princely sum of $48,835, the 9-4x Aero can be had with a 2.8L turbocharged V6 making 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft.
The 9-4x is priced within a few hundred dollars of its sibling, the Cadillac SRX. We expect that the two cars won’t be too different when it comes to the driving experience, so it’s mostly going to come down to how image conscious you are.
[Source: Saab via Autoblog]
Taking a page from Hyundai’s playbook, customers who pre-order a Saab 9-4X crossover will get an iPad courtesy of Saab – sort of.
After contacting a Saab retailer, the customer will place an order for both the 9-4X, and the iPad. The iPad will set you back $500, but the cost will be refunded upon taking delivery of the vehicle.
If you don’t want an iPad, you can just order the car, and if you cancel the order, you’re still on the hook for the cost of an iPad – which makes this exercise pretty pointless, if you ask us. The promotion runs from January 15th until February 28th.
Saab’s 9-4x crossover will finally see the light of day, and we have some of the first pictures of the car ahead of its Los Angeles Auto Show debut.
Sharing much of the same architecture as the Cadillac SRX, the 9-4x also comes with the same 3.0L V6 and 2.8L turbocharged V6 engines, displacing 265 and 300 horsepower respectively. Torque vectoring all-wheel-drive is available, while a 6-speed automatic gearbox helps put the power down.
AutoGuide will have live shots of the 9-4x when we cover the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. In the mean time, check out the gallery and official press release on the Saab 9-4x.
GALLERY: Saab 9-4x
Hit the jump to see the official press release
The official Twitter feed of the Los Angeles Auto Show has confirmed that the Saab 9-4X crossover will bow at the West Coast’s major auto show this November, hot on the heels of the brand’s flagship 9-5 sedan.
The 9-4X will share underpinnings with the Cadillac SRX and be built at a GM facility in Mexico, despite GM having sold Saab to Spyker. The 9-4X will likely use the 9-5′s 2.8L V6 and 2.0L 4-cylinder engines and many interior pieces will be shared as well.
Most interesting is that 147 9-4X’s were produced in January of 2010, before GM offloaded Saab. That means that the 9-4X will have debuted nearly a year after production officially started, something that never happens. We can’t help but wonder what happened to those examples that never made it to showroom.
[Source: Los Angeles Auto Show]
Saab is about ready to launch its second model since leaving General Motors, the 9-4X, and new spy photos of the crossover doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Caught by the folks at AutoExpress, the 9-4X looks much as we suspected.
When it does launch, presumably at the Paris Auto Show this Fall, it will be offered with three engine choices, a 2.9-liter diesel (for Europe), a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a range-topping 2.8-liter turbocharged V6. That engine is also found in the Cadillac SRX, which is not surprising as the 9-4X’s platform also comes from the SRX.
See more pics of the 9-4X at the link below.
New Saab Spyker company expects to be profitable in same year
With Saab having just been saved by Dutch automaker Spyker, the new Saab Spyker Automobiles company has confirmed that it will deliver a new 9-3 model to market in 2012. The current 9-3 has been in production since 2002, meaning that by the time the third-generation of Saab’s volume seller arrives, the current model will be 10 years old.
Saab has said the new 9-5 model will arrive in dealerships this Spring, replacing a model that has been on the market for over a decade. The 9-5 will be offered as both a sedan and wagon, and a 9-5X model is also coming. The 9-4X is due out in 2011.
Most surprising is the news that the automaker is looking at delivering a 9-1 model, as past reports have suggested Spyker didn’t want to take the Saab brand down-market. But with automakers like BMW and Audi already competing in the premium compact segment, Saab is reconsidering. Saab Spyker has said in an official press release that it intends to be an, ““independent, performance-orientated niche car company with an industry-leading environmental strategy,” that will compete directly with BMW and Audi.
Saab Spyker expects to return to profitability by 2012, an incredibly short time considering it hasn’t turned a profit in almost two decades.