Archive for August, 2002

Saab 9-3: Security and convenience A Secure and Comforting Environment

Posted on 08. Aug, 2002 by .



Saab 9-3: Security and convenience A Secure and Comforting Environment

* Advanced anti-theft, anti-intrusion measures

* Highly rated by insurance companies

* Designed for sophisticated immobilization, anti-theft and alarm systems

* Useful comfort and convenience functions

“For today’s customers, good car security is almost as important as safety. We have now taken the opportunity to arm our car with safeguards designed to tell any would-be thief not to bother.”
– Lars Evensson, Project Leader, Security

Norcross, GA – The new 9-3 is, quite simply, the most secure Saab ever built. Its defense system enlists an arsenal of anti-theft devices that includes almost all practical technologies that are currently available. Security is focused on preventing the car being stolen or vandalized.

With security comes comfort, and there are also a host of features to ensure the new 9-3 is easy, convenient and rewarding in everyday use.

Highly rated by insurers
Representatives of leading insurance companies in Sweden and elsewhere have been consulted throughout the development of security systems for the new 9-3. They were asked what they believe to be the most effective measures available, as well as examining and assessing the car’s security performance.

Anti-Intrusion measures
The front door is fitted with a “freewheeling” lock cylinder, which is designed to immediately disengage from the door unlocking mechanism if any device other than the correct key attempts to force it open. Efficient “shielding” of the locks inside the doors also prevents tampering with specialist tools.

Even if a thief were to gain entry, there would be little point in removing any of the car’s “infotainment” equipment. Apart from being uniquely designed to fit only a Saab car, they are electronically “married” to their original host car. They could only function in another Saab after being re-programmed at a Saab dealer.

Prevention of car theft
To help prevent the car itself being stolen, the immobilizer system uses both an electrical steering column lock and disablement of the engine management system.

When the ignition key is inserted in the floor-mounted switch, a remote sends a signal to a control unit, which then communicates with all systems in the car through the central integrated control module. The “start” message is encrypted in a complex, rolling code from the key’s transponder, which would take an estimated eight years to “crack” in the unlikely event that a would-be thief could make the correct electronic connections.

Further measures have also been taken to combat the so-called professional thief who may be stealing a car with high technology. Barriers have been put in place to help protect the car’s electronic systems from digital intrusion with illegal scanning devices.

As the car’s original key is such a vital component in the chain of security precautions, confidential measures are put in place at Saab dealers to help ensure there is no fraudulent issue of a replacement or duplicate key.

Alarm system
As a further back-up to the car’s perimeter security features, an advanced alarm system is standard equipment on U.S.-specification Saabs. This engages a siren and flashing lights to discourage anyone from entering or trying to move the car.

The alarm will be activated if any illegal attempt is made to open the hood, trunk lid or any of the doors. Inside the car, an extremely sensitive ultrasonic beam is designed to detect any movement, including pieces of flying glass or an arm reaching inside following a break-in.

For greater personal security, the car’s alarm can also be activated by pressing a “panic” button on the car’s remote control/ignition key, or by pressing and holding the interior central locking button on each front door.

Comfort and convenience
A range of features are designed to enrich the experience of driving and traveling in the new 9-3. Although often small refinements, they can make a significant contribution to developing a rewarding, interactive relationship between the car and its owner.

“Smart” door mirrors
A typical Saab innovation is the button for tilting the mirrors down. This function normally operates automatically when reverse gear is engaged. But it can be just as useful to tilt one or other mirror when going forwards, following a curb or low wall, for example. A push of the button gives you the choice in the new 9-3.

Remote window and sunroof operation
In many circumstances, it can be useful to remotely close or open the windows, and even the sunroof, after leaving the car. This can now be done simply by holding down the lock/unlock button on the remote control unit.

For example, this function makes it possible to close a window or sunroof that has been inadvertently left down, or it can serve as final check that the windows are fully closed. Likewise, the windows and sunroof can be opened, or set to a desired position, to let heat out of the car.

Variable speedometer illumination
The Night Panel feature allows all main dashboard illumination ? except for the speedometer – to be switched off when driving at night. The Profiler function also enables the driver to restrict illumination of the speed scale to the range, 0-90 mph. It will, of course, automatically illuminate if these speeds are exceeded.

Variable heating for the front seats
The thermostat for the heated front seats can be set at one of three temperatures (91, 98.6 or 107°F) by simply pressing the relevant button once, twice or three times. The setting can also be permanently stored via the Profiler function.

“Intelligent” windshield washing
When the windshield is washed at speeds under 12 mph, the wipers will automatically make an additional sweep after an eight-second delay in order to clear the windshield of residual streaks.

Washer fluid saver
When there is less than one liter left in the washer fluid reservoir, the headlamp washer function will automatically de-activate in order to prioritize washing of the windshield.

Vertical wiper parking
If you want to cover the windshield to prevent frosting up when parking outside or to help keep the interior cool in hot weather – the wipers can be parked in a vertical position by removing the key fob and pressing the wiper control stalk once.

Automatic air recirculation
To avoid the unpleasant smell of detergent in the windshield washer system entering the interior, the air conditioning can be programmed (through an authorized dealer) to briefly switch to “recirculation mode” whenever the driver operates the washer system via the stalk control.

“Lead me to the car” lighting
When approaching the car, a simple blip of the remote control unit will turn on the exterior and main interior lights. With a range of up to 65 ft., this feature can help identify the car at night in a crowded parking lot, illuminate the immediate surroundings and discourage anyone from attempting to enter the car when it is being opened.

Welcome lighting
A bright welcome always awaits the driver, courtesy of automatic soft footwell lighting, with “theater” dimming, and “puddle lights” in the bottom of the front doors to illuminate the ground outside. Likewise, at night the main interior light will switch on when the ignition key is removed so the occupants are never left completely in the dark.

“Follow me home” lighting
When leaving the car at night, one press of the lighting stalk will keep the headlights on for 30 seconds. This is a useful aid for walking up the drive to the door or when parking in an unfamiliar area.

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Saab 9-3: Ownership and Accessories Owning and Enjoying the New Saab 9-3

Posted on 08. Aug, 2002 by .



Saab 9-3: Ownership and Accessories Owning and Enjoying the New Saab 9-3

* Extended anti-corrosion warranty

* 30 percent reduction in scheduled servicing costs

* Low-speed accident damage protection

* Favorable insurance ratings

* Large design and lifestyle-oriented accessory range

“This car will be as rewarding to own, operate and live with as it will be to drive.”
– Thomas Lindskog, Executive Director, Aftersales

Norcross, GA – The improved build and materials quality throughout the new Saab 9-3 is reflected in a longer anti-corrosion warranty and a substantially reduced cost of ownership, including lower servicing and insurance costs.

Good serviceability, improving the cost and convenience of ownership, was the main focus of the “Aftersales” group, which communicated with the project team throughout the new 9-3’s development.

In addition, an exclusive range of accessories is available from launch, giving owners a wider scope to enjoy the full potential of the new car.

Extended anti-corrosion warranty
The anti-corrosion warranty, covering body perforation, is extended from six to 10 years, a result of Saab’s confidence in under-body joint and sealant treatments and new electro-galvanizing procedures.

The body-in-white is prepared, sealed, galvanized, primed and painted at Saab’s expanded paint shop, one of the most modern in Europe, where quality standards are considered to be class-leading. All primer and paints are water-based, except for the final clear lacquer finish.

Reduced servicing costs
Longer service intervals and reduced workshop times for the new 9-3 are designed to give scheduled maintenance savings of up to 30 percent compared to its predecessor.

The excellent quality of major mechanical components, due to better machining and finer tolerances, has allowed Saab to move away from rigid time and distance restrictions for scheduled servicing. It is now more important to monitor how the vehicle is actually used by its owner.

The engine management system logs key usage parameters, such as the number of cold starts, journey distance and engine speeds used, and applies an algorithm to inform the driver when an oil change is due. The maximum service interval is now every two years, or 15,000 miles. At any time, the driver can also request notification of when the next change is due.

With engine coolant filled and sealed for life, the only other major service items for the new 9-3 are brake/clutch fluid, spark plugs, the interior air filter and tires.

Quicker repairs, lower insurance
Saab engineers have worked closely with representatives of leading insurance companies to introduce ways of minimizing accident repair bills, as well as improving vehicle security and anti-theft protection. It is hoped that this close liaison will result in highly competitive insurance classifications and lower premiums.

A number of design elements in the outer body will make accident and other repairs easier and faster. For example, electrical wiring and connection points are routed and located away from areas more vulnerable to crash impacts, making repairs easier as well as improving safety. For example, there is just one connection point between the engine and main wiring harness and this is in a well-protected position behind the battery.

Low-speed frontal collision protection, through “self-repairing,” energy-absorbing bumpers (for impacts up to 5 mph) and deformable “crash boxes” (for impacts up to 9 mph), now bolted in position for quick replacement, helps protect the body structure from serious damage that would require expensive repair. The front fenders are also bolted to the main structure to make removal and replacement easier and less time-consuming.

Accessories tailor-made for individuality
True to its tradition as a sporty and multi-dynamic brand, Saab is launching the new 9-3 with the large range of accessories, available through Saab dealerships. These include new sporty performance items, and practical and lifestyle-oriented accessories.

For a more distinctive look, inside or out, there are a number of sporty design enhancements. Exterior items include: front spoiler, rear spoiler, sill extensions, fog lights, sport exhaust and a range of alloy wheels up to 18 inches.

For the interior, there are poplar wood or alloy trim inserts for the doors and the gear shift lever and housing, manual or automatic. Saab’s leather/wood steering wheel continues to be offered as an accessory.

“Lifestyle” accessories are designed to support new 9-3 owners in the enjoyment of their leisure pursuits. They include: cycle, ski, snowboard, surfboard, canoe and kayak holders; roof rack, roof cage and roof boxes and removable or fixed tow bars. Cargo mats, luggage boxes, cargo nets and fold-out rear bumper scratch protectors are also available.

Comfort and security
Pre-wiring facilitates the addition of entertainment and communications equipment. Owners can purchase a hands-free phone kit, CD changer, a pedal extension kit and a range of engine heaters. A first-aid kit, spare-bulb kit and towing line are also available.

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New Saab 9-3 In Focus: Creating Space
Extra storage room inside a car is always welcome and in the new 9-3, Saab designers have “created” space in an unlikely place, the Smart Slot, opposite that “hidden” handbrake between the front seats which can be used for holding credit cards, pens or a small wallet or notebook.

It can also be put to good use as home to a choice of three accessories: an ice-scraper, a six-disc CD holder or an expanding cup-holder

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Saab 9-3: Market Positioning Saab Enters Premium Compact Sport Sedan Segment

Posted on 08. Aug, 2002 by .


Saab 9-3: Market Positioning Saab Enters Premium Compact Sport Sedan Segment

* First Saab in premium, compact sport sedan segment

* Focused on involving, “fun to drive” experience

* Sedan format broadens appeal

* Saab customer profile analysis

* Saab Unlimited customer focus

“The new Saab 9-3 is for modern, youthful professionals who are independent thinkers. They want a great driving experience and a car that sets them apart from the mainstream.”
– Knut Simonsson, Brand Director, Saab Automobile

Norcross, GA – The new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan places Saab head-to-head against the established players within the premium compact sport sedan sector, offering a new, alternative, more self-expressive choice.

The new 9-3 will see Saab compete for the first time with a four-door sedan in the growing entry luxury, or compact, segment where it will be targeted at youthful, professional and business-oriented customers who want to enjoy a product offering sporty, dynamic performance without following the crowd.

In replacing the three and five-door bodystyles of the previous model, the new 9-3 Sport Sedan spearheads the biggest model roll-out program in Saab?s history. The launch of a four-door sedan format is the first stage in the creation of a bold, new family of cars, each model adopting a unique bodystyle and focused on the particular requirements of a different niche in the market.

Putting sporty appeal first
A key requirement in the design brief for Saab?s new sport sedan was the development of a clear “fun-to-drive” appeal; to deliver a rewarding experience with a high level of driver involvement.

Designed and built from “the driver outwards,” the new 9-3 gives Saab?s traditional philosophy a new focus. The outstanding qualities of the chassis, the refined performance of the turbocharged powertrain and the driver-orientated cabin are integrated as never before. The more sophisticated and involving driving experience sets a new benchmark for the brand.

It is a formula aimed at winning new “conquest” customers from other premium-class brands, as well as appealing to existing customers and those aspiring to move up from the “volume” sector of the market.

The development program for the new 9-3 has included the most intensive benchmarking process ever undertaken by Saab. The performance of key competitor products was compared across a wide range of parameters including: handling, ride, steering, braking, powertrain performance and refinement, interior functionality and ergonomics, build and materials quality, comfort and, of course, safety. The performance of the new Saab 9-3 in all these areas is designed to exceed, or at least equal, the best in the sector. Overall, it promises to set a new standard for the class.

Customer profile
Targeted customers are 30 to 40 year-old professionals. The new 9-3 is designed to appeal to a growing proportion of the market who want a sport sedan that is more distinctive, yet less ostentatious, than other products in the segment.

The typical Saab owner in the U.S. differs slightly from the segment averages. They are more likely to be female, married, have a graduate degree, and a higher household income.

Saab Owner Entry Luxury Segment Average
Married 72% 65%
College Graduate 86% 70%
Post-graduate 43% 33%
Annual HHI $135,870 $111,405
Gender split 51% female

In the U.S., the qualities buyers require from a premium product, regardless of brand, can be summed up as: exterior style, reliability, fun to drive, manufacturer reputation, and safety.

Targeted range
In adopting a sedan format, Saab is confident that the appeal of the new 9-3 will be significantly broadened. Research shows that there are many more potential customers for a premium sedan than there are for a premium hatchback. The product range is structured to appeal to each of its target customer groups.

The range-topping 210-hp 2.0T Arc and Vector variants are expected to provide a highly-competitive alternative to current products from the established segment leaders. For the first time in the 9-3 segment, Saab combines the widely-acclaimed performance of its turbocharged engines with a sport sedan bodystyle.

For those moving up into the premium sector from a wide number of “volume” manufacturers, the Linear variant, with 175-hp 2.0 turbo engine, focuses on an attractive value while maintaining superior performance, safety, and impressive standard equipment content.

For current 9-3 owners, the new range is an opportunity to enjoy Saab?s latest technology, promising a significant step forward as a more sophisticated and much stronger, even more fun-to-drive automobile.

The new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan offering addresses the entry luxury customer preferences. The entry luxury segment market is dominated by four-door sedans – with 98 percent of sales coming from that bodystyle. Over 75 percent of intenders prefer a four-door sedan compared to only 16 percent selecting a hatchback.

Saab Unlimited
Saab?s entry into the premium, compact sport sedan segment is being complemented by the development of a new marketing and retail strategy, Saab Unlimited.

At the start of sales, 300 dealerships in major markets around the world will have been upgraded and appointed in prime locations as Unlimited Partners. The branded style of these facilities and the services provided will meet the highest standards of customer care.

At a small number of prestigious, c

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Saab Cars USA's July sales up 11.4% for the month

Posted on 08. Aug, 2002 by .



Saab Cars USA’s July sales up 11.4% for the month –
and 21% for the year

Norcross, GA – With a sales increase of 11.4 percent for the month and 21 percent for the year, Saab Cars USA continues to outpace the entry luxury automobile market. For July 2002, the company reported sales of 3,756 Saab 9-3 and 9-5 automobiles vs. 3,372 cars last year. It is the sixth straight month of sales increases over last year. Year-to-date sales are up 21 percent over 2001, from 20,118 to 24,314 vehicles.

Strong sales across the full product line contributed to the overall increase. The significantly updated 2002 Saab 9-5 line posted an 18 percent increase, with the sedan model posting the largest gains, up 24 percent to 2,028 cars from 1,640.

“We obviously have fantastic momentum so far this year,” said Richard O’Kelley, VP of Sales for Saab Cars USA, “and we are extremely excited about the rest of the year – as we will launch our all-new 2003 9-3 Sport Sedan this fall. It appears that 2002 is going to be a banner year for Saab.”

Saab Cars USA, Inc. is the importer of Saab 9-5 and 9-3 automobiles for Saab Automobile AB and is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, near Atlanta. For more information, see

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Saab 9-3: Interior Design More Space and More Grace

Posted on 05. Aug, 2002 by .



Photo Credits: Saab Automobile


Saab 9-3: Interior Design More Space and More Grace

* Focused driver’s environment

* “Profiler” customization function

* High position display

* Three interior “forms” – Linear, Arc, Vector

* “Intelligent” dual-zone automatic climate control

* Advanced infotainment and audio systems

“The interior is designed to be light in appearance. A consistent design theme for the shape and layout of all the controls and displays keeps them well integrated so they are pleasing to the eye.”
– Aamer Mahmud, Chief Designer, Saab 9-3

Norcross, GA – The new Saab 9-3 is designed to provide superior ergonomics as well as a near perfect driving position for the vast majority of drivers, almost regardless of size, thanks to a carefully formed, multi-adjustable driver’s seat and a steering wheel adjustable for rake and height.

The main instrument panel gently arcs around the driver, an evolution of the same theme in the previous model. In typical Saab fashion, the controls are all logically grouped, those most frequently used bring nearest to the hand and closest to the driver’s natural field of vision. The short gear shift lever is just a hand span away.

The main dials – a large speedometer, with a compressed scale above 90 mph, flanked by a smaller tachometer and a combined fuel/water temperature/turbo boost gauge – are recessed in traditional Saab fashion. They are white on black and continue to be softly illuminated in green as Saab believes this is the best choice for night driving.

Also located in the main instrument panel are twin adjustable air vents and audio or infotainment system with a monochrome display to show numerous functions such as radio presets.

The “Profiler” feature, standard on all models, can store custom settings for a wide range of functions. The system is particularly user friendly, allowing the driver to make selections with a single, rotating button linked to on-screen prompts. The operation of the air conditioning system, including air distribution, fan settings and defrosting; the clock/alarm; speed scale illumination, anti-theft alarm, and optional Saab Parking Assistance, rain sensitive wipers and heated seats can all be tailored in this way.

Saab’s unique Night Panel feature allows the driver to switch off all main instrument illumination at night (except for the speedometer). This helps removes visual “clutter” and potential distraction, allowing the driver to better focus on the road. Gauges will illuminate automatically when needed.

New for Saab is a center-mounted high position display, located in a housing at the top of the dashboard, near the base of the windscreen. For safety reasons, this is as close as possible to the driver’s natural field of vision so that information can be seen without any head movement or much eye re-focusing. The Saab information display (SID) shows local time, outside temperature, radio settings and various warning signals. It also shows information about the Profiler function and the car computer.

As befits a sport sedan, the three-spoke steering wheel is slimmer and sportier than previous Saab designs. It can host buttons for the infotainment system, telephone, and even gear shifting.

A substantial central console below the main instrument panel is inclined slightly towards the driver and sweeps elegantly down between the front seats. It accommodates the air conditioning or automatic climate controls, more minor switchgear, the gear shift lever, ignition switch, handbrake and a large central storage area with smaller, roll-top compartment and cup-holder.

A particularly innovative feature is the “disguised” handbrake, which is integrated in the edging trim of the console. It is a Z-shaped lever, self-adjusting and with a positive, easy-to-use action. On the other side of the console, mirroring the integrated handbrake is a ‘Smart Slot’ detachable sleeve, for further storage of small items.

In true Saab tradition, the ignition switch continues to be located alongside the handbrake, between the front seats. It is now entirely electronic in operation and the customary, mechanical Saab reverse manual gear lock is now replaced by an automatic, electronic steering column lock.

Seating comfort
Saab has earned an enviable reputation for class-leading seating comfort and the new Saab 9-3 continues that tradition. All four seating positions are upholstered to be comfortable and supportive, without being too firm. The front seat lower cushions and backrests are well bolstered to give excellent under thigh and lateral back support.

The seats are clad in soft genuine leather on all models. The Linear features textile door panels, which the Arc and Vector models have leather door panels. The rear of each front seatback is also fully upholstered, including a large storage pocket, and carefully shaped to optimize rear seat leg room.

All four seating positions offer similar standards of comfort. Rear seat passengers in the new 9-3 benefit from with their own adjustable heating/ air vents, reading lights, cup-holders, a center armrest and generous storage facilities.

Saab’s new generation active head restraints (see Safety section for details) are installed in both front seats. The rear head restraints can be folded flat for improved rearward visibility without compromising seat comfort.

Interior decor
Each of the three “forms,” or models, for the new 9-3 is designed to create a distinct ambience or atmosphere inside the car. They can be specified in a “light room” (parchment) or “dark room” (charcoal gray) color scheme for seats, door panels, other main interior trim and carpets. However, the door cappings are always anthracite, as part of their integration with the dash fascia and main instrument panel, and the interior headlining is always off-white.

The line-up starts with the “Linear” form, intended to communicate a Scandinavian understated and modern environment. The seats are leather and door panels are covered in fabric. The door trim inserts and the center console molding for the gear lever are finished in anthracite.

“Arc” adopts real wood veneer and leather to hint at a more luxurious ambience. The seats and door panels are leather and the door trim inserts and center molding are finished in a satin-finish poplar wood.

“Vector” is more progressive and performance-focused. The main instrument display dials are highlighted with a chrome surround. The leather seats are sportier in shape, with more bolstering in the front seat cushions and backrests. The door trim inserts, center molding and steering wheel spokes are finished in matte chrome.

Heating and ventilation
All variants of the new 9-3 are fitted with highly efficient, Saab developed air conditioning systems, either manually or automatically controlled. The variable displacement compressor is programmed to cool only the volume of refrigerant that is required to maintain a temperature setting, thus eliminating unnecessary and wasteful running.

Both systems draw air into the interior through an extremely dense, chemically-charged filter which, for manually-controlled air conditioning, can extract dust, pollen and particles as small as three microns in size. For automatic systems, the filter also prevents odors from entering the cabin. Rear passengers benefit from adjustable, twin air vents at the rear of the central console, as well as outlets under the front seats

The manual air conditioning is standard on the Linear model and is operated through familiar rotary controls. The automatic climate control, standard on Arc and Vector, is fully programmable and dual zone, allowing different temperatures to be selected for the left and right sides of the car, as first seen in the Saab 9-5.

The system is now taken a step further in the new 9-3 by incorporating an automatic airflow balance control, which compensates for changing conditions outside the car, such as the effects of direct sunlight or shade. A sensor at the base of the windscreen detects the position of the sun and the intensity of sunlight reaching the car. A balance control program is then activated, directing airflow inside as required so that passenger comfort levels remain constant.

The heated front seats now also benefit from an automatic temperature control, which will progressively lower seat temperatures as the interior warms up. Like the ACC system, this function can be pre-programmed using the Profiler customization menu.

The new Saab 9-3 benefits from one of the most powerful electronics systems to be installed in a series production car (see Electronics section for full details). Fiber optics are used to provide a high speed platform for the car’s extensive “infotainment” (communication and entertainment) functions, the first time this technology has been used in the automotive industry for a complete network. It is capable of handling likely future requirements in the fast-developing field of infotainment and driver communication, making it easy for owners to upgrade.

The cabin of the new 9-3 sets new standards for Saab in terms of interior refinement and noise suppression and it has allowed technicians to take audio acoustics to a new level. The interior is designed to provide excellent acoustics, regardless of seating position, and the new 9-3 offers a choice of two modular audio systems which can be changed or upgraded easily.

The ES1 system, standard with Linear specification, includes a 150-watt amplifier integral with the radio, single-slot CD, seven speakers and a single antenna integrated in the rear window. Redundant steering wheel controls provide easy tuning or volume adjustment.

The ES2 system, standard for the Arc and Vector models and optional on Linear, includes an additional, external amplifier (total system, 300 watts), 13 speakers, radio, in-dash 6xCD changer and telephone keypad. Sound quality is nothing less than outstanding.

Storage and load-carrying
Although the new Saab 9-3 is a sport sedan, in the practical tradition of all Saab products, it offers excellent on-board storage and load-carrying facilities.

There are more than a dozen places in the passenger compartment where various items can be stowed. Up front, there are two good-sized door bins; a large air-conditioned glove compartment (cooled to 46°F); two pouches at the front of the lower seat cushions; The multi-functional central concole incorporates coin slots and a 12-volt outlet for a battery charger within the main storage compartment under the arm-rest, as well as that input socket for an MP3 player and the roll-top compartment with a cup-holder. The Smart Slot provides convenient storage for items such as credit cards, pencils and a small wallet or notebook. A CD disc holder, cup-holder and ice scraper are available as accessory items for this feature.

Rear-seat passengers are also well served. In addition to the two door bins, there are large pockets in the front seatbacks and a flat storage area in the center armrest. A double cup-holder is also spring-mounted in the front of the center lower seat cushion.

The trunk is deep and tall with a wide opening and an ample 14.8 cu.ft. capacity. Two pull handles in the top of the trunk lower the 60/40 split rear seat-back, which includes a ski-hatch, to give a flexible and impressive load-carrying potential. The floor of the trunk also has four tie-down loops to safely secure heavy items.

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New Saab 9-3 in Focus – World’s most advanced cupholder!

Most of the work of Saab engineers is, of course, a serious matter. But once in a while an opportunity comes along where they can indulge a creative extravagance. Designing the “ultimate” cupholder was just such an occasion.

The cupholder in the front of the Saab 9-5, which automatically swivels through 90 degrees from a vertical position, has earned wide acclaim for the beauty of its design. Indeed, one journalist from a leading UK national newspaper was so moved by its dynamics that he likened it to watching a Saab Gripen fighter jet rolling out of formation and lowering its undercarriage before coming in to land!

So when it came to designing a dashboard cupholder for the new car, the Saab team was determined to do something special as their “encore.” The result is “the Butterfly.” Here there are two separate movements in different directions, one for the base and one for the retaining hoop (the “wings” of the butterfly), both hinged from one arm.

The highly geared action of the wings opening and closing as the arm moves in and out is, indeed, impressive to behold.

“It is, perhaps, a little over the top,” concedes interior safety engineer Richard Lindstrand, who coordinated the Butterfly’s development. “A number of us in the project team wanted to do something a bit special and most of the design work was, in fact, done in our own time. It really was a group effort and we like to think the Butterfly will bring a smile to the faces of a few people.”

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Saab 9-3: Electrical Architecture High-Speed Connections

Posted on 05. Aug, 2002 by .



Saab 9-3: Electrical Architecture High-Speed Connections

* Most extensive systems use of fiber optic technology

* Platform for advanced infotainment systems

* OnStar telematics standard

“The advanced electronic systems in this car give us a powerful platform to accommodate all likely developments in the fast-moving fields of infotainment and e-services.”
– Patrick Lundblad, Infotainment and e-services specialist, new Saab 9-3

Norcross, GA – All major mechanical and electrical functions in the new 9-3, including numerous driver and passenger comfort features, are precisely and reliably controlled through an advanced digital signal network.

It incorporates the auto industry’s most extensive systems application of fiber optic technology. This provides a signal capacity 50 times greater than the fastest conventional wire links and offers a secure platform for the application of advances in telematics and communications, enabling new 9-3 owners to conveniently install new functions as technology evolves.

The entire electronic and electrical network uses databus transmission – often referred to a “multiplexing” – to connect groups of electrical subsystems and pass on signals from all the car’s sensors. In this way, a CANBUS (Controller Area Network) uses just one or two wires with microprocessors, transistors and LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) to replace a complicated wiring harness and all its associated relays, switches and bulbs.

CANBUS technology offers great benefits in weight saving, reliability and data transmission capacity. It is used to connect the new 9-3’s main subsystems: powertrain, chassis, body, “infotainment,” OnStar telematics, and climate and comfort systems.

Smart networking
A battery of sensors are the “nerve endings” of the new 9-3 and the data they provide is dispatched as packages of digital signals, or buses, along three information “highways,” stopping where required at 44 sub-stations, or microprocessors, for analysis and subsequent action. A powerful control module governs each of these highways and their substations; all three integrated with each other to ensure there are no “traffic jams” or conflicting requirements.

If all the functionality of the new 9-3 was to be achieved using a traditional, complex wiring harness, it would weigh twice as much, at least 90 pounds, and be twice as long, at more than 5,000 ft.

A single wire highway, or “low speed” Bus, with a capacity of 33 kbits per second, connects functions within the car: the ignition switch, steering column lock, airbags, the main instrument panel, interior lighting, doors, mirrors, windows, security alarm, gear-shift position and, when equipped, the sunroof, electrically-operated seats and parking assistance.

Powertrain control, the Trionic 8 engine management system, ABS, TCS, ESP and related functions are all connected by a dual wire, ”high speed” Bus, with a transmission capacity 15 times greater at 500 kbits per second.

Fiber optic innovation
The third highway is the largest yet fitted to a passenger car, using fiber optics instead of wire to give a massive capacity of 25 Mbits per second, 50 times greater than that of a dual wire bus. It is utilized by the audio systems, including the available in-dash 6-disc CD changer, and OnStar telematics.

The fast-moving world of information technology is likely to place increasing demands on the in-car time of drivers and passengers, and the new Saab 9-3 is configured to accommodate all likely future developments in digital communication to and from the car.

OnStar telematics
General Motors’ OnStar telematics service is standard on the Saab 9-3 in the United States and will be available for the European market when the infrastructure is in place.
Utilizing an AMPS phone and GPS tracking, OnStar provides a range of services including 24-hour access to an emergency support center, an automatic alert following airbag deployment and stolen vehicle tracking. Dozens of additional convenience services are also available, such as route guidance, roadside assistance and carrying out numerous information, booking and reservation requests. The OnStar support center can even assist in locating the car in a crowded parking lot by activating its lights and horn.
Twelve months of OnStar Safe and Sound program service is included at no charge.

OnStar also offers Personal Calling, a wireless, hands-free phone service, available for an additional usage fee. An additional feature, Virtual Advisor, allows the user to configure and customize Internet-based information services to allow the driver to hear news, weather, sports, or even e-mail using simple voice commands in the car.

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New Saab 9-3 In Focus: The Electronic Key?

The Electronic “key” to the new 9-3 is, of course, simply a means of operating a transponder. But what shape should it be? A car ignition key may now look like a credit card or a rubber ball, either using a unique PIN code to initiate a signal or sending a signal through a transponder.

Saab found the answer in a long-held Scandinavian design principle which states that “form should always follow function!”

Using a “credit card” activation key also means pressing a “start” button. It may be fun, but it is not good ergonomics. Two separate movements are not necessary when one traditional “engage” twist, is all that’s needed.

“The design department was involved from the start in deciding the shape of the Electronic key,” says Saab product marketing specialist Fritz Magnusson. “We have something different which is quite hi-tech but still very ergonomic and easy to use. It is an item the owner can identify with and represents the sophisticated character of the new car. If the car ever has a flat battery, you can simply pull out the metal blade and still get into your car.”

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Saab 9-3: Chassis, brakes, steering Sporty Dynamics Engineered for World-Class Handling

Posted on 05. Aug, 2002 by .



Photo Credit: Saab Automobile


Saab 9-3: Chassis, brakes, steering Sporty Dynamics Engineered for World-Class Handling

* Sporty handling to challenge class benchmark

* Saab ReAxs – unique rear-wheel-steer characteristic

* Braking system includes electronic driver aids

* Excellent steering response

* Saab-tuned Electronic Stability Program, ESP

“This car will put a smile on the face of anyone who appreciates a fine handling chassis. It’s a premium sedan with the responses of a sports car!”
– Ekkehard Schwartz, Chief Chassis Engineer

Norcross, GA – The new Saab 9-3 fulfills its role as a fun-to-drive sport sedan by displaying exceptional handling characteristics that not only set new standards for Saab, but also promise to set a new class benchmark. The result of a rigorous development program, the most exhaustive ever undertaken by Saab, the 9-3’s exceptional handling is designed to combine the benefits of front-wheel drive – predictability and excellent driver feedback – with new levels of chassis control for a more rewarding driving experience.

The new 9-3’s exceptionally stiff body and all-new suspension provided Saab test drivers with a solid foundation on which to achieve outstanding chassis dynamics, exemplary ride refinement and impressively low levels of noise, vibration and harshness. The chassis’s innate talents are backed up with a full alphabet of standard electronic driver aids, including ABS (Antilock Braking System), TCS (Traction Control System), EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Mechanical Brake Assist (MBA) and ESP (Electronic Stability Program).

Sporty handling
The top priority of the new 9-3’s chassis development program was to achieve best-in-class handling characteristics. This was an essential requirement for a car targeted at drivers whose priority is a satisfying, high-performance driving experience. Saab’s chassis
engineers are confident that anyone who drives the new 9-3 will immediately appreciate its quick responses to steering, throttle and braking inputs, together with its impressive levels of grip, driver feedback and body control. In all respects it behaves as well as, or better than, its class rivals.

Compared to the previous model 9-3, the key dimensions of new car offer several changes that contribute to improvements in handling and grip. The front and rear tracks (59.8 in. and 59.3 in.) are, respectively 2.8 in. and 2.5 in. wider. Combined with a 2.7 in. increase in wheelbase, a .4 in. (10 mm) reduction in ride height, a lower center of gravity and an inherently stiffer sedan bodyshell, the dynamics of the new chassis are more competent in every respect.

ReAxs – passive rear-wheel steering
The adoption of a four-link rear suspension layout has allowed engineers to dial in a unique, passive rear-wheel-steer characteristic (Saab ReAxs) by carefully tuning both inboard and outboard suspension bushings.

When cornering, the kinetics at the rear axle induce a very slight deflection of both rear wheels in the opposite direction to the steering input, ie. toe-out for the outer wheel and toe-in for the inner wheel. Depending on the radius of a bend and the consequent loadings at the rear axle, one degree of movement at the front wheels would typically produce a small but significant response of about one hundredth of a degree at the rear.

This is sufficient to prevent excessive understeer, where the driver is forced to apply progressively more steering input to turn the front end of the car, increasing the scrub angles of the front tires. The ReAxs characteristic overcomes this “crabbing” effect, helping the tail of the car follow the direction of the front wheels, instead of its nose. For the driver, this gives the car a better balance, helping it turn in and respond more precisely to steering inputs.

Suspension design
The front suspension includes McPherson struts with de-coupled top mountings, separating the damper and spring loadings. The lower control arms are attached to a hydroformed (hollow section) front sub-frame, including a hydraulic bushing on the rearmost mounting each side for optimum damping. For good directional stability and ride comfort, the layout is designed to be largely impervious to lateral forces and compliant longitudinally.

The independent rear suspension is also mounted on a sub-frame and incorporates three transverse and one longitudinal link. Compared to the rigid, torsion beam used for the previous model, the new layout has far more longitudinal compliance. Like the front suspension, bushings are stiff for lateral forces and relatively soft longitudinally. The new suspension allows greater scope for optimizing both handling and ride characteristics, as well as helping to prevent road noise entering the cabin.

New for Saab is the adoption of shear bushings in the rear shock absorber top mountings. These effectively dissipate vibrations from the road by absorbing small vertical up and down movements before they are transmitted directly into the mounting and the structure of the car. This feature improves ride quality and also plays an important role in further attenuating road noise.

Reducing unsprung weight
To deliver the high standard of ride quality expected in this class of car, Saab engineers carried out a thorough program to minimize unsprung weight. As a result, all four wheel carriers (hubs) and brake calipers, lower control arms in the front suspension and the toe and lower links in the rear suspension are made of aluminum.

Elsewhere, weight-saving materials are used wherever stiffness is not compromised. Both front and rear anti-roll bars and the shock absorber piston rods are therefore made from hollow section steel.

Braking system
The powerful steel disc brakes (ventilated at the front) are a match for the performance of the new 9-3. The Linear model will feature discs that measure 11.8-in. (300 mm) at the front and 11.4-in. (290 mm) at the rear. The Arc and Vector models will feature even larger 12.3-in. (312 mm) front discs.

High speed braking stability sets new standards for Saab thanks to the ReAxs control of the rear suspension geometry. This effectively preloads the rear tires by applying some lateral force through toe-in as braking commences.

An automatic brake boost feature, Mechanical Brake Assist (MBA), is introduced for the first time. This increases braking pressure from the master cylinder when the driver stomps hard on the brake pedal – such as during a panic stop. Activating ahead of the car’s ABS, this is designed to stop the vehicle more quickly.

A four-channel ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and TCS (Traction Control System), with additional throttle control, is standard on all variants. A series of electronic brake control functions also utilize the ABS wheel-speed sensors and variable valving at each wheel.

Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) is designed to ensure that optimum braking force is always applied at both axles for maximum stability under heavy braking.

New for Saab is the introduction of Cornering Brake Control (CBC), which is activated when the car is cornering during heavy braking. Brake pressure is individually varied between all four wheels to help keep the car stable, designed to minimize the possibility of snap oversteer or understeer characteristics.

All four brake discs have full size dust shields to help ensure braking performance is not impaired by large amounts of snow, mud or dust jamming the calipers.

Precise Steering
The power steering on Saab cars is widely acknowledged for achieving just the right balance between assistance and feel. In the straight-ahead position, there is virtually no power assistance, in order to give the driver as much direct control as possible. Even at low speeds, the driver’s feel for the road surface is not impaired by excessive power assist.

The rack-and-pinion steering system for the new 9-3 continues this tradition. The hydraulic pump is camshaft-driven and the rack is mounted low down at the back of the front sub-frame. The geometry and tuning of the front and rear suspensions also combine to give the steering its distinctive feel, linearity and responsiveness. At just 2.97 turns from lock to lock, it is the quickest steering yet fitted to a Saab car.

As a general indication of the tautness of the new 9-3’s chassis, tests show its lateral acceleration response time –the speed at which all chassis response to a steering input is completed – is about 30 percent faster than average for this size of car.

Advanced Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
The fine chassis dynamics of the new 9-3 is supplemented by an advanced, Saab-tuned ESP system which is designed to gently counteract over-exuberance or misjudgments from the driver.

The ESP has been honed by Saab technicians using dedicated software to match the behavior of the 9-3 chassis. The “intelligent” system is extremely progressive in use and is designed to function almost imperceptibly, avoiding harsh interventions when the chassis has already reached the limits of adhesion.

A yaw sensor in the center of the car detects movement around the vertical axis and a sensor on the steering column measures the steering angle being applied. Inputs from these sources are then correlated with the speed of the car.

The system is extremely flexible and it is programmed to execute whatever actions will most effectively assist the driver in controlling the vehicle. Depending upon the chassis’s disposition, it is possible for braking to be applied via the ABS system to any or all of the four wheels, as well as control of the electronic throttle.

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New Saab 9-3 In Focus – Making the Right Noises

Stefan Svedhem’s brief in the development of the new 9-3 was a simple one: turn noise into sound. His role was to ensure that the improvement in levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) was at least equal to the progress made in the chassis’s ride and handling qualities. While that meant eliminating unwanted noises, it also required sophisticated “noise management” or, as Stefan prefers to say, “turning noise into sound.”

“Noise is usually something irritating and unwanted,” says Stefan, manager of Saab’s Noise and Vibration Center, “whereas sound is something we appreciate and feel positive about.” The work of Stefan and his team included everything from eliminating squeaks and rattles and checking “click” quality from the switchgear to making sure noises from the road and powertrain were the “right sounds.”

In addition to making hundreds of hours of sound recordings from different positions inside the cabin, the team also used a powerful, finite element computer model. With over 400,000 elements, this was the main tool in combating structure-born noise and vibration inside the car.

“We have made a lot of progress with low frequency noise, typically the bump/thump from the road transmitted through the suspension,” says Stefan. “And we have balanced this with improved insulation for high frequency sound, such as tire and wind noise.”

Good NVH does not necessarily mean eliminating noises altogether because sounds, such as engine or road noises, can be provide relevant signals for the driver. It would be disorientating to be placed in a complete “noise vacuum.”

“Our work with noise,” adds Stefan, “usually involves what I call the ‘three I’s’. Information, where the driver should hear what he expects, such as when turning the starter or operating a switch. Impressiveness, where noises should become nice sounds, such as when the engine is being revved up or when the door closes with a nice thud. Lastly, there is irritation, and these are noises we don’t want to hear at all, such a poor door seal and, of course, squeaks and rattles.”

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Saab 9-3: Body Structure & Systems Built on a Solid Foundation

Posted on 05. Aug, 2002 by .



Photo Credits: Saab Automobile


Saab 9-3: Body Structure & Systems Built on a Solid Foundation

* New standards in torsional rigidity

* New jointing technique adds strength

* Second-generation “crash boxes” prevent body damage

* Aluminum hood

* Unique halogen headlamps

* Bi-xenon headlamps

* Powerful windshield washing system

“This is the strongest structure we’ve ever produced. It was developed in close cooperation with the design, chassis and safety departments who all had their own specific requirements.”
– Kerry Andersson, Project Leader, body in white

Norcross, GA – The body structure of the new 9-3 Sport Sedan is the stiffest yet produced by Saab engineers and it is the solid foundation on which the car’s exemplary handling, ride and safety characteristics are built.

The use of high-grade steels, laser welding, and galvanizing of all external components and advanced joint techniques has produced an extremely strong and durable body. Effective “crash boxes” in the front bumper help to minimize body damage in low-speed impacts, up to approximately 9 mph.

The power of the lighting system, which includes the option of bi-xenon headlamps, as well as the efficiency of the windshield wipers and washing systems continue to uphold Saab’s reputation for safety.

Structural benefits
An exceptional level of structural stiffness was a top priority in the design of the new 9-3. It is high torsional rigidity that helps give that reassuring rock-solid feel, which is communicated every time a door is closed or the car negotiates a poor road surface. And it makes a major contribution to eliminating squeaks and rattles, vibrations and resonances.

A stiff body is also a prerequisite for the work of chassis engineers. The car’s handling can only be effectively honed through its suspension and steering if the structure on which all these components exert force is solid and predictable.

Finally, but probably most importantly, the car’s ability to withstand a heavy impact is largely due to the strength of its passenger compartment and the ability of the structure’s crumple zones to help prevent energy from reaching it.

Structural strength
A four-door sedan body is inherently stronger than a five-door hatchback format because there is no large rear tailgate opening. This design, and advances in technology, contributes to the 9-3’s exceptional torsional rigidity of 5,000 lbs. per degree of deflection, which is more than double that of its predecessor. To put that figure into perspective, the body structure is as strong as a meter-long rod, fixed at one end, that would bend just one degree under the weight of fully-laden large car – or a small elephant – placed on the other end!

The Saab design team has adopted unique bracings above the rear wheel housings to provide a structure that is more than a match for premium-class competitors, despite some potential loss of stiffness through having the versatility of a split/folding rear seat.

While 59 percent of the new 9-3’s body weight is composed of high-strength or ultra-high-strength steel, a far more important consideration is how all the elements – 332 structural body parts are used in the new 9-3 – are connected. In other words, how they interact in sharing the load-bearing task. The strength of a good design is far more than simply the sum of its parts.

The body of the new 9-3 is essentially a monocoque construction fabricated from beams and pressings. Saab structural engineers have used CAD techniques and finite element data models with a resolution of up to 500,000 cells representing the new 9-3’s structure.

Special attention was devoted to the design of seams and joints. It is pointless using high-strength steel for different sections if the technique used to join them together is not at least as strong. For example, there are no joints at any of the corners of the safety cage, where stresses are likely to be greatest. Instead, joints between beams are carefully welded in place with overlaps of at least 20 mm on straight sections.

In order to be sure that extra strength does not necessarily mean extra weight, Saab engineers have made great use of new technology in using “tailored blanks” for large structural components. For example, the two main bearers that extend from the front of the car to the rear bulkhead are made from pressings of high-strength steel.

These are produced in different thicknesses, according to the localized loading demands at any point in the car’s structure. The extra strength or weight is located only where it is required.

Outer body
Both front and rear bumper assemblies are designed to be “self-repairing,” in that they can absorb impacts up to 5 mph, minimizing damage and the need for repair. The bumper “skin” is simple and quick to replace after a minor collision – a very practical benefit in minimizing the nuisance and cost of “parking lot” incidents.

For higher speeds, Saab was first to introduce deformable “crash boxes” behind the front bumper on the second generation Saab 900 in 1993. These are intended to absorb and contain relatively low-speed impact forces in order to prevent damage to more expensive bodywork components.

Other manufacturers have now adopted crash boxes, and in the new Saab 9-3 the technique is perfected still further. More than 100 computer simulations were carried out to ensure their effectiveness – a testimony to the extreme attention to detail that went into finalizing the new 9-3’s structures.

The finished design is a hexagon shape with a conical profile and “accordion” sections that are designed to protect the structure of the car, including its front body panels, from damage in impacts up to about 9 mph. The boxes are now also bolted, instead of welded, to the front beam to make their replacement even easier.

Where there are no structural demands, Saab engineers were able to consider the further use of weight-saving materials. For the new 9-3, they have adopted aluminum for the hood, saving 50 percent or 20 lbs. in weight compared to steel. It is also slightly stiffer and more resistant to dents.

The design of the trunk lid was also the subject of detailed research and the solution adopted is typically Saab. For users of the new 9-3 to be able to exploit the load carrying capabilities of a 60/40 folding seat, it was important that trunk opening be as large as possible. That is why the design team chose “swan neck” hinges for the once-piece trunk lid.

The use of a more conventional strut and multi-link pivot arrangement would have resulted in an unacceptable 4-inch, or 15 percent, reduction in opening width. The compact, spring-loaded “swan-neck” hinges, in fact, provide an even easier, almost weightless opening and closing action.

The doors are inset-mounted, as part of the monoside body pressing. With substantial ultra-high-strength steel reinforcements, they play an important occupant protection role. A particular feature of note is the way the bottom edge of the door frame overlaps and interlocks with the strong, reinforced side sills. This allows the doors to spread heavy impact forces by enlisting the support of stronger sections of the body.

Superior lighting
The strong lighting performance of Saab cars is widely acclaimed, serving as an integral element in Saab’s overall safety initiative.

The headlamps of the new 9-3 are housed within neatly integrated units. These are now molded clear plastic, which is lighter and less prone to stone chips, cracking and condensation than glass.

The standard equipment headlamps use halogen bulbs behind projector units for excellent illumination. In order to meet demanding Saab requirements, the reflector surfaces are uniquely made by the supplier, Hella, from magnesium, instead of the commonly used steel, which allows more complex shaping for better lighting performance.

New 9-3 customers can also go one step further by specifying exceptionally powerful bi-xenon lights, an option for all variants. These gas-discharge bulbs give an extremely bright, much whiter light than halogen units.

Saab is among the first manufacturers to offer this technology for both low- and high-beam – hence the term, bi-xenon. Where a normal halogen bulb will emit 1,500 lumens of lighting, a xenon unit will give 3,200 lumens, more than twice as much power, giving a 60 percent better spread of light.

The effective control of such a powerful beam is essential for the benefit of fellow road users, as well as the driver, which is why the bi-xenon lights have a dynamic, self-leveling function. Under acceleration or braking, sensors detect body motion at the front of the car, and electric motors in the headlamp units automatically adjust the height of the beam to compensate for any changes in level.

The performance of the headlamps, no matter how powerful, is badly compromised if the lens becomes covered with dirt or road film. For the new 9-3, powerful spray jets with 50 psi (3.5 bar) of pressure are activated with the windshield washers, to help keep the plastic units clean. These automatically retract when not in use.

At the rear of the car, the single fog light automatically disconnects when the ignition is switched off, an added precaution to prevent it being inadvertently left on when no longer necessary.

The high, center-mount rear brake light is now an LED unit, as tests show this illuminates more quickly than a conventional bulb, giving a more efficient warning signal.

Cleaning power for visibility
Keeping a clear windshield is vital for driving safety. The 9-3’s large wipers are linked to three pairs of powerful washer jets, all working at 50 psi (3.5 bar) pressure, twice the power of most other systems on the market.

The wipers are two-speed with an infinitely variable intermittent wipe. An automatic rain-sensing operation is available as an option, including driver adjustment for sensitivity.

In true Saab tradition, the 1.3-gallon washer reservoir is exceptionally large, with two liters more capacity than normal. User trials show that jets working at such high pressure do not, in fact, require more washer fluid because they are generally used in shorter bursts.

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