The Saab 9-X BioHybrid Configuration Discussion

Posted on 24. May, 2008 by in 2000-2009, 9-X BioHybrid

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Photo Credit: Saab Automobile

Edmunds inside line has recently written some concerning news about the Saab 9-X BioHybrid’s configuration (2-doors or 4-doors), however the 600 pound gorilla in the room has still not been considered (3-door fastback utilitarian hatchback).

Here is their recap from Saab Automobile USA’s marketing director, Roger McCormack whom I interviewed in Detroit back in January.

McCormack says Saab is carefully considering how many doors the production car should have, because the company believes the two-door layout compromises the sales potential of the premium compact cars currently on the road. Moreover, some research is indicating that the utility of four doors trumps the styling statement of a coupe — even for younger buyers.

McCormack said two doors and high prices have worked against some of the premium compact cars already on the road. Mini, for example, made it a point to add a third access door for the new Clubman to mitigate the reduced utility of the standard two-door Mini, and the appeal of the Audi A3 and 1 Series, both pretty fine cars to drive, has been severely limited by its high prices. Saab wants to avoid these pitfalls with the 9-1.

“I don’t think anybody’s nailed it yet,” he said of the current models in the premium compact segment. McCormack said the challenge is to find the right balance of size, fuel economy, price — and body style.

So what does all of this mean? This dialog within Saab Automobile USA mentioned above indicates that the configuration of the 9-X BioHybrid is in question at this time, but it surprises me that the hatchback configuration continues to be overlooked.

It’s the hatchback Saab needs for that critical utilitarian function that came to an end in 2002 on the 9-3 model, so why not include that into the production version of the Saab 9-X BioHybrid?

Memo to Saab: If you build it, they will come..

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