Tag Archives: Bertone

Saab Automobile’s New Design Director, Jason Castriota Interviewed By New York Times

Posted on 23. Jun, 2010 by .


Photo Credit: New York Times

Saab’s new Design Director, Jason Castriota has been recently interviewed by the New York Times.

Here’s a small part of that interview below:

Jason Castriota, formerly designer for Ferrari, Pininfarina and Stile Bertone, has been tapped by Saab to lead design, through Mr. Castriota’s design firm. […]

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New Design Director at Saab Automobile

Posted on 18. Jun, 2010 by .


Photo Credit: Saab Automobile AB

New Design Director at Saab Automobile

* Former Pininfarina and Bertone designer joins Saab leadership team
* Will lead design for Saab’s product expansion program

Trollhättan, Sweden: Saab Automobile today announced the appointment of former Bertone and Pininfarina designer Jason Castriota as its new Design Director.

Castriota, 36, now takes the lead role in design at Saab, reporting directly to Saab Automobile CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. He and his design company will be responsible for exterior and interior design and will lead the design activities at Saab as the brand renews and broadens its product range.

Announcing the appointment, Jan Åke Jonsson said: “We’re delighted to welcome Jason to our leadership team. He has an outstanding track record in automotive design and will help us take the brand forward. He will play a key role in expressing all that’s best in the innovative tradition of Saab design as we carry our brand’s roots into the future.”

“I’m greatly looking forward to joining such an iconic brand,” said Castriota. “Saab has a very strong and distinctive heritage which gives it great potential to develop. This is an exciting opportunity for me to help shape its future products.”

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Saab Bertone Novanta

Posted on 01. Jan, 2007 by .


In 2002, the Italian Design company, Bertone designed a Saab 9-5 based concept car known as the “Bertone Novanta”. This concept car included a number of industry firsts, however it’s energy system still consisted of a conventional internal combusion engine.

The rest of the concept car was quite remarkable with the use of some cutting edge technologies. The application of such technologies in future vehicles would be interesting, combined with an electric / hybrid vehicle.

Below are some photos and information about the Bertone Novanta.

For more information, please visit http://www.bertone.it/en/90_novanta_en.htm

Photo Credits: Bertone & saab900.hu








The concept

Bertone celebrates its 90th anniversary with Novanta; a concept car that combines advanced design and pioneering technology. Born out of a vision of the imminent future, Novanta also recalls the philosophy that characterised the life and work of Nuccio Bertone, a philosophy still at the heart of Bertone today: always striving to push back the boundaries of what is possible.

A moving showcase of news ideas, Novanta returns to a classic Bertone theme – that of an executive saloon. Novanta relies on drive-by-wire technology from SKF, for the control of all major driving systems. This new technology has had a major influence during the design and architectural development of Novanta. Eliminating many of the constraints imposed by traditional mechanical systems, by-wire technology has allowed the designers to rethink all of the structural elements of the interior and to make new information technologies accessible. This re-evaluation is an evolutionary step from their design work on the Bertone-SKF Filo.

However, the use of new technology is not confined to the drive-by-wire systems. A variety of electronic devices transforms the car into a “knot” of nerve endings in constant communication with the external world, covering the needs of both driver and passengers.

The Form

The body is originating from a counterpoint of concave and convex volumes that are underlined by tense geometric lines. The side shows a smooth vertical flank defined by a high belt-line and sloping roofline

At the back, the roof forms almost a right angle with the large, vertical rear window that drops in a decisive movement to the rear of Novanta. The exterior architecture, moving the visual centre of gravity towards the rear axle, gives to the overall look a streamlined quality.

A sculptured shoulder line runs the whole length of the vehicle, visually pushing it forward. The sides are asymmetric: on the left is a single door for the driver and on the right two doors for the passengers.
The grill, divided into three separate air inlets, dominates the front. These inlets deliver air to the central surface of the bonnet that houses a next generation radiator. The headlamps, thin and horizontal, cut the extremes of the grill with two shafts of light. The tail section, defined by three adjoining vertical surfaces, enhances the sporty character of Novanta with a distinct geometric ratio between the width and height.
The rear light clusters, aligned with the exhaust outlets, are only visible when lit. The complex glasswork of the trapezoidal rear window echoes the movement of the bodywork with a dramatic fold running through to the surface of the luggage area.

The Space

Driver access to Novanta is further eased by the rear hinging of the left side door. The interior has the space, comfort and features expected of an executive class saloon.

The Guida – the driver’s control unit – stows unobtrusively in the door panel when Novanta is stationary. Once in the driver’s seat, a light pull on the Guida causes the door to close automatically under its own power-assisted arrangement.

As the door closes, the Guida and its supporting arm pivot out in front of the driver. The front passenger door is equipped with a similar synchronised arm carrying a park-away PC, offering passengers the possibility to work, surf the Internet, connect with home or office, play computer games, or watch a movie during the journey.

With both passenger-side doors opened, Novanta presents an unhindered view of its interior.
A particularly striking feature of Novanta’s interior is the luminous strip that runs the entire midline of the passenger compartment. Dropping to floor level immediately in front of both the front and rear seats, this strip displays information from the comprehensive driving and navigation aids, and the audio and the climate control.

Novanta also includes a revolutionary, custom-engineered Bose® surround sound music system. The innovativeinterior allowed Bose engineers to redefine current high performance automotive audio system design. Noticeable is the absence of door speakers. For bass reproduction, Bose engineers developed a powerful yet very compact bass module that sits unobtrusively toward the front of the cabin. They also transformed Novanta’s distinctive luminous center strip into a customized acoustic enclosure that provides bass in the rear.
The result is deep, impactful bass – without the bulky bass enclosures and door-mounted woofers used in most conventional systems.

The Man

Novanta opens a new perspective in the relationship between man and machine. This new perspective is characterised by speed. The speed of the car, the responsiveness of the audio and communications systems to the needs of the driver and passengers, and the immediacy with which an individual’s detailed preferences are configured within the architecture of Novanta’s systems and interior space.
The heart of this new interface is a Nokia Communicator cellular phone. Functioning as a sophisticated data bank, an on-line communication resource and as a smart access control key, the Nokia Communicator docks into a dedicated station in the centre of the Guida.

Individual drivers’ details are stored on their mobile phones. On approaching Novanta, the phone is automatically recognised, the driver’s door unlocked and the personalised settings for audio, air conditioning etc. are transferred and all adjustments are made automatically.

Customisation is further enhanced with a sophisticated biometric system. Housed in the dashboard, is a scanning device that recognises an individual’s fingerprint. Once stored, the image becomes a unique password, providing a secure ignition “key”. Individual settings for the position of the seats and the driving position, the temperature of the interior, the routes used – even favourite music – can be stored with the system, to be recalled with a simple tap of a finger on the scanner.

The Technology

Novanta utilises SKF Drive-by-wire technology. With this technology, the weighty and cumbersome mechanics and hydraulic arrangements are replaced by smart electro-mechanical systems. The drive-by wire systems represent state-of-art technology in this high-tech approach to vehicle control. The systems developed by SKF include steering, braking in collaboration with Brembo SpA, and interfaces for transmission control and throttle. The driver control unit – the Guida – incorporates all driving functions.

The Guida – All Novanta’s controls are located in the Guida and its supporting arm. Steering, throttle control, braking and transmission mode selection are localised on the main unit. The steering yokes are coupled and connected via a closed loop control circuit to the main steering smart electro-mechanical actuating unit (SEMAU). An actuator fitted within the body of the Guida provides “feel” to the driver. Positive feedback on steering position, response to road surface irregularities and the general vehicle dynamics is an essential ingredient in the quality of the overall man-machine interface.

The steering – A steer-by-wire smart electromechanical actuator replaces the conventional rack and pinion arrangement. Sensors continually feed information to the dedicated actuator control units via the fault tolerant data network. These signals form part of the closed loop arrangement controlling the feedback mechanism in the Guida.

The braking – The braking system features custom electro-mechanical callipers jointly developed by Brembo and SKF. Logic control is handled at the level of the individual calliper. An overall vehicle braking control looks after the broader vehicle dynamic needs. Signal propagation and calliper reaction times are noticeably shorter than those of conventional hydraulic systems, providing a significant improvement in safety.

The transmission control – Novanta has an automatic transmission. The selector function is automated with a dedicated logic controller delivering commands issued via the transmission control buttons on the Guida’s support arm to the SEMAU.

The power-supply arrangement – Novanta utilises both conventional 14-volt and the new 42-volt supplies. The engine has a 42-volt alternator in addition to the existing 14-volt unit. Both supply systems have battery back up. For the 42-volt supply used to power the steering, transmission selector and brake by- wire systems, two independent power-rails run through the vehicle, each with its own battery.
The conventional 14-volt supply provides power for the starter motor, and vehicle ancillary systems, such as lighting, audio and communications.

The data network – The nerve system of Novanta is a time-triggered, fault tolerant data network.
This network links all the vehicle drive-by-wire actuator control units (ACUs) into a single vehicle-wide system. It continually monitors the status of the overall system; the individual ACUs and the electrical power supply levels. Automatic node reconnection, fail-safe system routines and power-drop monitoring ensure maximum safety in the event of any electrical or electronic malfunctions. Message handling and respons times are in the millisecond range – far faster than current systems.

Technical data

Engine: 3.0 V6 24 valve.
Maximum power: 147 kW (200 bhp) at 5000 rpm.
Maximum torque: 310 Nm at 2200 rpm.
Wheels: 20″ alloy
Tyres: Michelin 245 – 40/20
External dimensions: length 4450 mm; height 1450 mm; width 1800 mm.

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Posted on 12. Sep, 2001 by .



Photo Credits: Saab Automobile



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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Production Concept