Archive for September, 2001

Saab recalls cars to check the nut on the end of the track rod

Posted on 28. Sep, 2001 by .

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2001-09-28

Saab recalls cars to check the nut on the end of the track rod

Saab Automobile has resolved to recall 7,000 Saab 9-3s produced on and since August 16. The purpose is to check that the nut securing the end of the track rod to the steering swivel member has been made properly tight. Only a limited number of cars are affected.

The fault came to light when it was reported by a customer in Britain. No cases of injury have been recorded.

A considerable number of cars are still in the distribution channels and have not yet reached the customer. The affected Saab owners will be contacted and urged to see their dealers, who will run a check and take any necessary action.

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Ericsson and Saab to develop vehicle telematics

Posted on 24. Sep, 2001 by .

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2001-09-24

Ericsson and Saab to develop vehicle telematics

Ericsson and Saab Automobile AB have entered into a collaboration to develop vehicle telematics. On September 24-26, Ericsson and Saab will reveal the first results of their development work in a prototype car at the Networks Telecom and Infosecurity Scandinavia show, which is being held at the Stockholm International Fair in Älvsjö.

The aim of the collaboration agreement between the two companies, signed in April 2001, to develop dynamic telematic systems, that is integrated software in the internal communication network of the vehicle for the delivery of e-services. The dynamic telematic system enables users to download and upgrade a number of different services.

The end-user can download services direct to the car via a screen or a mobile telephone (WAP or GPRS). The car also has an interface of its own, which means that the driver can modify the services via the web portal. This makes it possible to personalize the car by, for example, adjusting the performance of the transmission, changing the servo effect of the steering and pre-programming the settings of such items as the steering wheel and the seat. The car can also be provided with programs containing maps (GPS), driver logs, music and other media and entertainment, etc. The driver can use the system to communicate with emergency services, workshops and the supplier of the car.

“E-services in the car are about making life easier, the keywords being convenience, security and safety,” says Mats Andersson, the General Manager of Ericsson’s e-service venture. “The collaboration agreement between Saab and Ericsson,” he adds, “shows how two industrial enterprises can join forces to offer motorists more possibilities and greater flexibility. Arrangements featuring an open standard, known as the OSGi standard, afford greater scope for updating functions in the car.”

“The collaboration between Ericsson and ourselves seeks to develop and evaluate a technology capable of creating added value for the customer. A great advantage is that you don’t need to decide what functions you want in the car while it is being manufactured; you can add new ones as and when it suits you,” says Peder Fast, the Telematics Manager at Saab Automobile AB. He regards it as technically feasible to introduce the new technology into cars as early as next year, but leaves it to others to decide on a commercially suitable date. As the next step, Saab will now carry out studies to find out exactly what functions customers want.

The wireless communication will be made secure by means of encryption and firewalls. Each user will be given a personal code, with an associated profile. It follows that all members of the family can have different services programmed in, according to their individual preferences.

For further information, please contact:

Johan Rosendahl, Saab Automobile AB,
tel: +46 (0)70-590 48 54

Niklas Andersson, Saab Automobile AB,
tel: +46 (0)70-603 24 09

Donya Ekstrand, Ericsson Business Innovations,
tel: +46 (0)70-557 4962

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New Quality Manager at Saab Automobile AB

Posted on 20. Sep, 2001 by .

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2001-09-20

New Quality Manager at Saab Automobile AB

Lars Hellberg has been appointed Quality Manager at Saab Automobile AB, with effect from September 24. Hellberg becomes head of the Customer Satisfaction and Quality Department, with duties that permeate the whole Saab organization.

“Good customer relations are enormously important to Saab and vital to the future success of all automakers,” says Lars Hellberg.

“I regard it as a privilege to be working for Saab,” he continues, “especially since the company has such an exciting future ahead of it. A generational change is at hand, with many new products due to be launched over the next few years. The top ranking of the 9-5 in J.D. Power«s quality survey is very important to us and highlights Saab’s strength as a quality brand.”

Lars Hellberg joins Saab from Volvo, where he headed the Business and Volume Optimization Department. He has wide international experience and has worked for a number of automotive companies in Europe. During the 1990s he held a series of leading positions at Volvo in Born, Holland. Hellberg began his career with Volvo in 1979, working as an engineer in the engine laboratory.

For further information, please contact:
Christer Nilsson, phone: +46 (0)70-603 2412

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Multi-functional Saab car blanket wins top Swedish design award

Posted on 13. Sep, 2001 by .

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2001-09-13

Multi-functional Saab car blanket wins top Swedish design award

A multi-functional car blanket designed by Lena Bergström for Saab has won this year’s Excellent Swedish Design Award.

The blanket is made from charcoal-coloured 100% virgin wool with a rubberized underside for additional practicality. It measures 1.45 metres square but folds up easily into a small package measuring just 20cm by 37cm. The water-repellent surface means it can be safely used as a picnic blanket, even if the ground is wet, or it can protect the car interior when stowing muddy boots or clothing, for example. It will even serve as a makeshift waterproof if you are caught in a shower.

“I wanted to produce a modern interpretation of a somewhat traditional product,” says Lena Bergström, who works for Designer’s Eye, which specializes in produced advanced woollen products. “I began by asking myself how you fold up a blanket. I found the answer by folding a piece of paper. I saw before me a square, in a square, in a square. The outcome was a square blanket with a pocket for an additional small picnic cloth.”

“Winning the Excellent Swedish Design Award is very gratifying,” says Anna Tägnfors, who is responsible for the Saab Expressions range of stylish personal accessories. Last year Saab further developed the range and the car blanket is now one of the latest additions.

The annual Excellent Swedish Design Award is presented by Svensk Form, the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design. The award ceremony took place at Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm on Wednesday. The Excellent Swedish Design Exhibition is being shown at Svensk Form in Stockholm between September 13 and October 28 2001. During the autumn and next year the exhibition will go on display at seven towns in Sweden: Norrköping, Gothenburg, Växjö, Malmö, Luleå, Umeå and Östersund. The Saab 9-5 model is previous winner of this award.

For further information, please contact:
Anna Tägnfors, Saab Automobile AB.
Phone: +46-31-63 00 59

Lena Bergström, Designer´s Eye.
Phone: +46-702-772 580

Christina Nilson-Dag, Svensk Form.
Phone: +46-8-463 31 40

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THE SAAB 9X – A VISION OF THE ROAD AHEAD

Posted on 12. Sep, 2001 by .

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svgallery=2001_SAAB_9_X

Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

THE SAAB 9X – A VISION OF THE ROAD AHEAD

NORCROSS, Ga. – Saab’s Executive Director of Design, Michael Mauer, explains why the Saab 9X was created and how it symbolizes the arrival of a new design genre that challenges all preconceived notions about how a car “should be.”

In discussing the creation of the out-of-the-box Saab 9X, Mauer commented, “I have often heard people say that you cannot have your cake and eat it too. But, I have always wondered what is the point in having a cake unless you can enjoy it? With this car, you do both!”

Mauer is not a culinary expert, but he has always wanted to create a design recipe that will extend the boundary lines of automotive creativity. The Saab 9X is the end result. It demonstrates that exciting, driver-focused performance and genuine, real world practicality are not mutually exclusive ingredients.

A bold and sporting design foundation was essential for the concept that has become the Saab 9X. Its compact size and purposeful looks clearly position it as a highly efficient sports car. However, Saab is going further by potentially re-inventing the sports coupe/ roadster genre. The Saab 9X is a car that offers a much greater breadth of experience.

In explaining the Saab 9X perspective, Mauer asked, “Is it wrong to expect a real driver’s car to be more versatile? I believe today’s drivers want a true driving machine to provide something more. They want exciting, sporty cars, sure, but they also want practicality. This car is an interesting solution.”

It is a car that symbolizes the arrival of a new, more feature-focused design emphasis. “I believe the motor industry’s old segmentation approach to products is now effectively dead,” Mauer said. “It is no longer enough to have, say, a sedan, a roadster, a wagon or an SUV that are each good at satisfying just one particular need. Today, people expect a vehicle that can perform several different functions and roles. It is an expectation that presents an exciting challenge for designers. We are seeking to deliver new breeds of vehicle.”

The Saab 9X concept offers a unique fusion: high performance driving; roof fixed or roof removed; wagon-like load carrying potential; and – as the fourth “dimension” – the open deck versatility of a pick-up. It is a multi-dynamic vehicle delivering all-weather driving enjoyment and the ability to meet a variety of leisure or more mundane load-carrying needs. The execution is a masterpiece of clever design and innovative packaging.

Foundation: A performance car
A car offering “best-in-class” performance and driving appeal was the starting point for the design process. Mauer and his team regarded a light, extremely compact chassis as a prerequisite to achieve their goal. Here the design team utilized the cross-disciplinary resources of the Saab Advanced Concept Center (SACC) to produce an all-aluminum platform capable of satisfying their requirements.

The SACC at Saab’s Trollhättan headquarters in Sweden affords a very special environment, allowing small teams of engineers, designers, technicians, IT and marketing specialists to work together closely on a project-led basis. The informal atmosphere helps encourage the teams to adopt new perspectives, thinking “outside the box.” SACC has no permanent staff; those who work there are on temporary assignment from other departments within Saab. Its minimalist, all white, frosted glass interior was designed by a leading Scandinavian architect to encourage a spirit of free, unrestrained thinking.

The SACC team created a platform to accommodate the Saab 9X’s diminutive external proportions and its four-wheel-drive layout. To ensure an excellent weight distribution, a low center of gravity and a low polar moment of inertia – all essential for the quick reflexes of a high performance car – the SACC team were able to install the engine and gearbox almost completely behind the front axle line.

The Saab 9X is projected to use a new generation, all-aluminum, 3.0-liter V6 turbocharged engine, delivering at least 300 hp and extremely high torque values. This sophisticated engine is not yet in production and a prototype unit is currently in use. It is linked to a six-speed manual transmission with sequential shift and four-wheel drive.

Externally, the Saab 9X represents a unique variation on the traditional two-door, two-pillar coupe layout. Saab genealogy is immediately apparent in the dramatic wrap-around windshield, which conceals the A-pillars and is integrated with the door windows to give an uninterrupted sweep of glass all the way to the B-pillar. Combined with a high waistline, it gives the car an unmistakable Saab identity. In the same way, the grille is an extremely bold interpretation of more traditional Saab proportions.

The cocoon-like styling of the interior, the four, low-slung bucket seats and prominent transmission tunnel reinforce the Saab 9X’s performance mission. The instrument layout and interior ambience also evoke a subtle hint of Saab’s aviation heritage. However, Mauer is quick to point out that his team consciously refused to play the “retro card” when adopting a design theme for the Saab 9X. “I think so-called ‘retro-styling’ is something of a soft option these days, which can be overplayed to the point of cliché,” he commented. “We are looking ahead with this car – not backwards. The emphasis on performance and versatility, alone, echoes a strong Saab tradition. And there are other features, of course. However, we should not be prisoners of our past.”

The Saab 9X’s handling and performance are expected to place it firmly at the head of the compact, sports coupe class. Again, the design team was clear that the Saab 9X’s credentials as a pure driver’s car should not be compromised by the need to incorporate talents in other areas.

“We wanted to create a car which, in itself, should be a joy to drive,” Mauer said. “For example, I would like the owners of this car to want to get up in the morning and head off to work half an hour early, perhaps, so they can take a little detour, just for the sheer joy of driving.”

Creating four dimensions
Ensuring the Saab 9X had a variety of other unconventional talents was a more detailed, technical challenge for the design team. The innovative way that all of this was executed and accommodated within one vehicle sets the Saab 9X apart. “The more unusual features had to work well and give real benefits,” Mauer noted. “This is a car for the real world.”

For example, the roof system comprises two separate, fully powered glass panels that can be easily removed and stowed onboard – without taking up important trunk space. Similarly, the roof panels do not need to be left at home in the garage, as is the case for roadsters with a conventional, removable hard top.

The Saab 9X also offers a completely flat, fully useable load space with an extended volume comparable to a medium-sized wagon. And all within a sporty format.

However, it is the adoption of a traditional two-pillar (A + B), coupe-like foundation which, ironically, gave Mauer and his team the freedom to introduce their most eye-catching innovation – the pick-up, or fourth “dimension.”

They were able to achieve a completely open, unobstructed rear deck because, unlike a sedan, hatchback or conventional wagon, the Saab 9X does not have roof reinforcements connecting the small C-pillars. The structural integrity of the car is ensured by the permanent roof rail, a reinforced cross-member, connecting the substantial B-pillars.

Behind this line, the body can be completely open because the team has dispensed with a traditional tailgate hinged from the roof. The detachable rail at the rear is required solely to mount the rearmost roof panel and locate the retractable window in the rear door.

The benefits of this layout are optimized by another key innovation: the extending rear load space. Here Mauer said the team took inspiration from the sliding floor feature of the Saab 9-5 SportWagon. For the more compact Saab 9X, it was essential to be able to enlarge the rear load space. “We took the sliding floor concept and developed it a bit more,” he explained. “It is now fully automatic and we were able to add ‘walls’ at the sides. The extending floor carries the tailgate, of course, which can also be lowered to create even more load space.”

Another innovative feature developed from the Saab 9-5 SportWagon is the adoption of load-securing tracks to allow leisure items and all sorts of cargo to be stowed safely and securely. The system is extremely flexible in use and, for additional practicality, the team has also introduced new durable flooring materials for the rear of the car.

“We have put together a package that allows people to interact with the car during their other activities, apart from driving,” Mauer said. “You can carry a surfboard, a small raft, skis, or whatever, and still have enough room to take some luggage. You can have the roof up, roof down or half way up and half way down!

“While the car’s proportions are not those of a family car, the rear seating is adequate and the headroom is particularly good for a car of this type. There is easily enough room for adults or children for short journeys.”

Driving into the future
Mauer describes the Saab 9X as a directional “signpost” to the future. “Saab must continue to push the boundaries of design,” he said. “Of course, we will not specialize in producing only ‘niche’ products such as the Saab 9X. We see other opportunities to put together features from different types of vehicles& some interesting solutions are possible.

“There are no major technical obstacles to prevent the car going into production and I very much hope we produce it, or something very similar. This car is an icon for the future of Saab – it shows where we are going. It is real, physical proof that Saab is embarked on a very exciting journey.”

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THE SAAB 9X – VERSATILITY IN FOUR DIMENSIONS

Posted on 12. Sep, 2001 by .

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svgallery=2001_SAAB_9_X

Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

2001-09-12

THE SAAB 9X – VERSATILITY IN FOUR DIMENSIONS

NORCROSS, Ga. – The challenge of turning a vision of a new Saab concept vehicle into reality was embraced by Saab’s Advanced Design studio. They had to meet key parameters, in terms of compact design and packaging, and then develop the many all-important details that would give the 9X its unique Saab character.

The 10-person design team received valuable support from the Saab Advanced Concept Center (SACC) and also supervised the final assembly of the show car at Bertone in Italy.

The major design features of the Saab 9X are best appreciated by looking in more detail at each of the car’s four “dimensions” or formats. Chief Designer Anthony Lo, who led the team, is our guide. “The whole team has found it very exciting to provide a first glimpse of what is to come from Saab in the future,” he commented. “This is not just another show car, it has been developed with the serious intention of production.”

The Coupe
Externally, the Saab signature, wrap-around windshield is the Saab 9X’s most striking feature. The steeply raked, heavily tinted glass gives the car a strong “cockpit” look, balanced by the rear side windows that appear to flow around without interruption into the tailgate’s glass.

The curvaceous, muscular body styling is clean and uncluttered. There are no swage lines down the sides, only a smooth surface wrapping around the front wheels and extending the length of the car. The gently flared wheel arches accommodate 19-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels, which are located, with minimal overhangs, at each corner of the chassis to optimize interior space. This accommodates a relatively long wheelbase of 106.3 inches within an overall length of only 163.6 inches.

The purposeful looks and stance of the car are reflected in the frontal styling, dominated by a bold interpretation in polished aluminum of Saab’s traditional grille, within which eight headlamps are located. These use fiber-optic technology and are extremely small, yet will provide a powerful spread of light for safe night driving. “We’ve adopted fiber-optics to provide more freedom for design,” Lo said. “Headlamps with reflector units can take up a lot of room and get in the way of other structures under the hood.”

A smoked glass panel extends across the rear of the car and covers thin, neon-strip taillights and indicators, as well as the license plate. The overall effect contributes to the car’s clean lines.

This desire for simplicity is reflected in the complete absence of door handles. The Saab 9X functions through a keyless ignition system, and the frameless doors are opened from the outside by a one-touch panel or remote control.

Inside, sweeping, scalloped curves encapsulate four bucket seats, mounted low down and either side of a prominent transmission tunnel. The two-tone interior is warmly swathed in black leather and a dark beige fabric. Satin-finished aluminum trims the instrument panel, and forms a “rib” that runs across the floor and up both doors to the waistline.

The steering wheel design also incorporates the aluminum and leather theme, and a short “pistol grip” gear lever for the six-speed, sequential shifter leaves no doubt that this is a high-performance driver’s car. “The front airbags are mounted in the A-pillars,” noted Lo, “so there is no need for a large module on the steering wheel, which has given us the freedom to put a bit more design into it.”

Driver information is concentrated in a single large binnacle, via digital displays, on a “need-to-know” basis as in modern fighter aircraft. However, the team adopted an analog appearance for the tachometer with a sweep that turns a deeper shade of red as the upper limit of the engine’s power band is approached.

“We’ve tried to introduce a little emotion in some areas,” Lo commented. “For instance, there is also a single red button under a glass cover on the transmission tunnel for starting and stopping the engine. The ignition sequence includes a driver display where a 3D model of the car is scanned as a systems ‘health’ check. You can customize the computer to have your own suitable ‘all-systems-go’ type of message.”

There is a noticeable absence of gauges, switches or buttons because many ancillary functions are incorporated within a single control on top of the transmission tunnel. Best described as an automotive “mouse,” this controls the air conditioning, telephone and “infotainment” systems. It is turned and clicked in response to on-screen prompts from the central dashboard display. The Sat-Nav navigation system is also controlled here but, for driving safety, its instructions are displayed in the driver’s binnacle.

Another interior innovation is the use of lighting. The lights, in fact, never go out inside the Saab 9X. Day or night, there is a welcoming faint blue glow within the cabin, giving an ambience similar to the interior of an executive aircraft. The diffused light emanates from thin, almost invisible openings within the dashboard fascia and doors and appears to have no direct source. These same, narrow louvers also provide ventilation and air conditioning, eliminating the need for separate air vents.

“The ambient lighting is designed to make the interior warmer and more inviting,” Lo explained. “It also has a more practical use by making it rather easier to find things at night inside the car. We think it is more relaxing for the driver and passengers to be able to see and enjoy the interior of the car rather than sit in complete darkness, which is what normally happens at night.”

The Roadster
The freedom of open-top motoring, to be enjoyed with the agile handling of a true roadster, is just a button push away in the Saab 9X.

The highly adaptable roof system comprises two tinted glass panels that allow a number of open-roof configurations for driver and passengers. Both panels will be electrically-operated, and will move separately. This allows the front section to slide back over the rear panel, or the rear can also slide forward over the front section.

In either mode, the side windows of the doors and tailgate can be raised or lowered. Both roof panels are also completely detachable and, for maximum open effect, the rear roof rail can be easily removed.

The design team believes the Saab 9X succeeds better than many other attempts to deliver a top-down option. The starting point is much closer to a roadster format than fixed-roof “conversions,” and the Saab 9X goes about the task in a more practical way.

When removed, both roof panels can be easily stowed, on their side, at the front of the load space behind the rear seatback. Unlike convertibles or sports cars with folding metal roofs, there is very little loss of valuable luggage space when the roof is down. The system also provides a great deal more flexibility than using a hard top for a conventional roadster.

The Wagon
All seatbacks in the Saab 9X fold down neatly into recessed spaces. The design team ensured that there is a flat deck throughout the car while in “wagon mode.” This area is 37.6 inches long when the split/fold rear seatback is down, and extends to 75 inches if the front passenger seat is also folded flat.

Access to the load space is generous, thanks to large doors designed for ease of rear passenger entry and exit. At the rear, the tailgate is split and the electrically-powered glass window section can be lowered completely into the door.

As you would expect with Saab, the design team concentrated on providing useful ways to safely secure loads. As a further development of the cargo securing tracks first seen on the Saab 9-5 SportWagon, there are now four removable tracks that clip into the floor. In conjunction with fittings for the central roof bar, leisure items such as bikes and skis can be carried securely, as well as a variety of other loads.

The entire load space, and much of the passenger compartment floor, is covered with an innovative silicone-treated fabric. This is extremely durable, completely waterproof and has a practical non-slip finish. It is specially designed to meet the rigorous demands of everyday use.

“For the wagon format, it was essential to provide a completely flat load space,” Lo said. “We didn’t want this aspect to be compromised by the sports seating layout and the transmission tunnel. We’re quite pleased with the result.”

The Pick-up
The most unusual feature of Saab 9X is probably the extending floor area, telescopically mounted in the rear of the car. At the push of button, this can add almost 8 inches to the length of the rear load space, and even more if the tailgate is also lowered.

The tailgate itself is attached to the telescopic floor, which has sidewalls that retract longitudinally into the rear wheel-arches. The whole assembly is electro-hydraulically powered and can be deployed in about five seconds, via a button in the passenger compartment.

A clever refinement allows the tailgate to be safely lowered, even when the floor is extended, because its top, inboard section carries a separate taillight display.

When this imaginative innovation is used in tandem with an open rear deck, the Saab 9X can justifiably lay claim to the kind of versatility more commonly associated with a pick-up.

“The telescopic floor has certainly not been seen before in a car,” noted Lo. “It has allowed us to capitalize on the open deck format because the rear roof rail can be completely removed. The separate taillight display is also a neat solution.

“There are a lot of sports items, such as surfboards, small rafts or bikes, that can be carried more easily in this car because of the open rear deck. We also wanted to provide a very robust material to cover the cargo area. If you get caught in a rain shower, the silicone lining will prevent water from doing harm.”

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CONCEPT: SAAB 9X TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Posted on 12. Sep, 2001 by .

0

2001-09-12

CONCEPT: SAAB 9X TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS


CHASSIS

Type2-door sports car with floor-mounted rear tailgate
ConstructionMonocoque; aluminum/steel
Drivetrain layout4-wheel drive, front engine

ENGINE
Type6-cylinder, V-configuration
Displacement3.0 liter
AspirationTurbocharged, intercooled
Horsepower @ rpm300 @ 5,500 (projected)
Max. torque (lb.-ft.) @ rpm302 @ 2,200 (projected)
Engine managementSaab Trionic
ArrangementFront, transversely mounted
Valve trainDouble overhead camshafts, 4 valves per cylinder
Cylinder blockAluminum

TRANSMISSION, SUSPENSION, BRAKES, TIRES
TransmissionManual 6-speed with sequential shift
SteeringPower-assisted rack and pinion
Turns (lock to lock)2.5
Front suspensionStruts, lower A-arm, coil springs with gas shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Rear suspensionIndependent, multilink, coil springs with gas shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Braking systemFour-wheel disc, ventilated/drilled
Brake disc diameterFront: 13.78 in. (350 mm) with 4-piston Brembo calipers
Rear: 12.99 in. (330 mm) with 2-piston Brembo calipers
Wheels8.5 x 19 five-spoke alloy
Tires245/40 R19 Michelin

EXTERIOR
Wheelbase (in.)106.3 (2700 mm)
Front track (in.)61.8 (1570 mm)
Rear track (in.)61.8 (1570 mm)
Overall length (in.)163.6 (4156 mm)
Overall width (in.)71.6 (1820 mm)
Overall height (in.)53.7 (1365 mm)
Curb weight (lbs.)2,930 (1330 kg) – projected

INTERIOR
Configuration
Cargo volume (cu. ft.)8.1 (230 liters) Rear seat up
Cargo volume (cu. ft.)21.2 (600 liters)Rear seat folded
Cargo length (in.)19.5 (495 mm)Rear seat up
Cargo length (in.)37.6 (955 mm)Rear seat folded
Cargo length (in.)45.5 (1155 mm) + floor extended
Cargo length (in.)60.6 (1540 mm) + tailgate down
Cargo length (in.)97.6 (2480 mm)+ front seat folded

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THE SAAB 9X – AN EXPRESSION OF THE SAAB BRAND

Posted on 12. Sep, 2001 by .

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svgallery=2001_SAAB_9_X

Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

THE SAAB 9X – AN EXPRESSION OF THE SAAB BRAND

NORCROSS, Ga. – The Saab 9X concept is a bold indicator of Saab’s future direction. Embracing Saab’s heritage and giving it a new expression, the 9X is a car that reflects the changing values and needs of sophisticated and demanding customers.

Peter Augustsson, Saab Automobile’s President and CEO, explains that the Saab 9X is expected to become a turning point in Saab design. “This car symbolizes the kind of products Saab will produce over the next six years,” Augustsson said. “They will be innovative and distinctive, appealing to individualistic customers who make their own choices in life.

“Of course, we will not only produce sports cars. Whatever format is adopted, Saab products must always have a strong sporty, multi-dynamic quality, able to fulfill a number of roles through incorporating clever solutions. We will continue to build on the five foundations of the Saab brand: performance, safety, control, versatility and design.”

While the design expression of the Saab 9X may be new, it inherits a Saab sporting tradition that is founded in some 25 years’ experience of turbocharging technology, delivering high mid-range torque for performance that is easily accessible. It also echoes a Saab tradition for real-world versatility, first seen in voluminous hatchbacks and continued with the “four-season” Convertible and the widely acclaimed Saab 9-5 SportWagon.

“The Saab 9X and future Saab products are aimed at customers who place a premium on good, original design that is not derivative or commonplace,” Augustsson commented. “These people are busy professionals, often running their own businesses and increasingly involved in active leisure and sporting activities. They don’t follow the crowd in what they do and they want products that reflect that independence, while also meeting the needs of their lifestyle.”

The Saab 9X marks the start of a bold program that will see the announcement of at least one new product or concept from Saab every year for the next six years. It also heralds the development of new retail environments and new ways of engaging customers.

Just as the Saab 9X interacts with the driver in a number of different ways, the Saab brand is reaching out to engage its audience by innovative means. Saab “city centers” will appear at prestigious metropolitan locations where potential customers may also enjoy promotional events, such as music recitals and displays of art. There will also be “brand centers” at major airports – two have already opened at Heathrow in the UK – where visitors can use interactive communications to learn more about Saab’s brand values.

The international Saab dealer network is also undergoing an unprecedented period of redevelopment in all key markets that will see 100 newly-certified dealerships opening this year and 200 more next year and the year afterwards, leading to a total of 500 new outlets by the end of 2003. These modern, well-appointed sites will more accurately reflect the Saab brand and will account for some 80 percent of Saab sales volume.

“We are taking the Saab message out to locations where our target audience works, socializes and travels,” Augustsson explained. “It is, therefore, essential that the quality of the experience in our marketing and retail environments matches the high standards of our product.”

To emphasize the impact of these highly visible showcases for the brand, Saab is also focusing its marketing communications on a relatively small target group of just 10 million customers and prospective customers worldwide. This niche strategy will utilize high-quality relationship marketing and more carefully targeted advertising to allow Saab to directly address its audience.

These products, marketing and retail initiatives are expected to drive worldwide sales to new levels, virtually doubling current annual sales volumes to about 250,000 units by 2006. “The Saab 9X marks the start of a product and marketing offensive that is unprecedented for Saab,” Augustsson added. “It is a level of investment that will see Saab become an increasingly important worldwide player in the premium car sector.”

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Production Concept