The History Of The Saab 9-7x (2004-2009)

Posted on 14. Oct, 2008 by in 2000-2009, 9-7x

Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

The Saab 9-7x history is now coming to an end or production this December, so it is about time to cover the model from the introduction to the recent plant closing.

The Strategy:

The 9-7x, Saab’s first SUV, was put into place in late 2004 as a 2005 model year due to Saab Automobile USA’s statistics of nearly 40% of their customer base who have left to go on and purchase SUVs. It was under the authority of Saab USA President, Debra-Kelly Ennis, who gave the go ahead for this vehicle to go into production in order to broaden the model portfolio and extend its reach into this growing segment.

It was Kjell-Ã…ke Eriksson, the former vehicle line director, now Saab Automobile Germany President who oversaw this project.

The Nomenclature:

The Saab 9-7X (or Saab 97X) should not be confused with the Saab 97 (Saab Sonett II and III) produced from 1966 to 1974. This was is an SUV, while the latter was a fiberglass sport coupe.

The execution:

The Saab 9-7x SUV was built on a GM platform called “GMT360” which also was used as the GMC Trailblazer, hence the nickname it was given “TrollBlazer”. This platform was also used for the GMC Envoy, Buick Rainer, Izuzu Ascender and Oldsmobile Bravada.

The Saab 9-7x was most notable for it’s initial media references of “badge engineering” due to the obvious platform sharing and became the largest Saab ever produced, complete with the largest engine ever in a Saab, the V8 engine.

The Production:

The 9-7x was not assembled in Saab’s original factory in Trollhättan, Sweden, but in a GM truck plant in Moraine, Ohio.

The Design:

The Saab 9-7x Design. While many of the components both inside and out were obviously shared with other GM vehicles on the same platform, the distinguishing factors with the 9-7x beginning with the exterior, were the front fascia, headlamps, grill, hood, roof rack, tail lamps, rear bumper. On the interior, there was a 9-5 looking dash complete with night panel, Saab swing-out cup holder, and center mounted ignition.

The engineering:

The engineering of the 9-7x included a lower ride height of 1 inch, updated bushings and dampers, quicker steering, Additional braces between the cross members and frame, Firmer springs and shocks, Larger front anti-roll bars, Larger brakes, Specific Dunlop tires and a Limited-slip differential

The powertrain:

The Saab 9-7x Powertrain options included the following:

* Linear or 4.2i – Features the 285 horsepower (213 kW) Atlas LL8 straight-6 engine with 12-spoke wheels.
* Arc or 5.3i – Features the 300 horsepower (224 kW) Vortec LH6 V8 engine with six-spoke wheels and adds xenon HID headlamps with high-pressure washers and adjustable pedals. The 5.3 Liter V8 engine gained Displacement on Demand in 2006.
* Aero – For 2008 a new high performance variant was added using the 390 horsepower (291 kW) 6.0L GM Small-Block LS2 also found in the Chevrolet Trailblazer SS also featuring 20 inch rims, a heavy-duty automatic transmission and Aero-embroidered leather-appointed seats and floormats. Saab claims that the 9-7X Aero can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds.

The Features:

The features for the 9-7x included standard all-wheel drive, premium leather seats, 18-inch allow wheels and side curtain air bags. Other features included OnStar, XM Satellite Radio, a 6-CD Bose audio system with an optional sunroof or rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

The Special Editions:

There was a Saab 9-7x Aero concept car that was shown at the national SEMA conference in 2006

There was a Saab 9-7x “Altitude” edition limited to 500 made. The special options include 18″ alloy wheels, side steps, a rear DVD player and the carbon gray metallic paint.

There was also a Saab 9-7x Aero which was introduced as 2008 model year in 2007 that included a 390 horsepower 6.0 liter GM small-block LS2 engine, 20″ chrome wheels, the word “Aero” embroidered on the seat backs.

The Pricing:

The Saab 9-7x began with prices for 2005 model years at 38,990.00 for the linear and the Arc, priced at $40,990.00. The pricing for models in 2008 now commands $41,145 for the 4.2i linear, $43,515 for the Arc and $47,275 for the Aero models.

The Lifespan:

The Saab 9-7x introduced in 2004 as the MY2005 arrived at the beginning of the end of the SUV craze just as fuel prices, politics and other factors began to indicate that the idea of the vehicle was becoming too little too late for Saab & GM.

The Saab 9-7x production ends in December of 2008, when the Moraine, Ohio plant that manufactures it, will be shut down.

The Advertising:

There were a number of print advertisements that were created with the Saab 9-7x namely focused on the fact that it was unlike any other Saab ever since it was an SUV.

There were also a few television advertisements and promotional videos, here they are below from the beginning to the most recent:

2005

2006

2007 & 2008

No Ads nor Promo films


The Markets:

Although the Saab 9-7X was developed for the North American market, the model is sold in many countries: Bahrain, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Netherlands, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates.

The Successor:

The Saab 9-4x is planned as being the successor as a 2010 model year that we should see hitting production and the showrooms by the end of 2009.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. History, continued - Der SAAB Fan und News Blog - November 5, 2014

    […] A real SAAB Although the 9-4X shares many design features with the 9-5NG, it has a real distinctive own look and feel. Unfortunately only around 700 units were ever produced at the GM factory in Ramoz, Mexico; quite a difference from the about 20,000 units that were made of GM’s earlier SAAB SUV: the 9-7X. […]

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