Tag Archives: Opel Insignia

The First Official Photo Of All New 9-5 Produced In Sweden

Posted on 28. Nov, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab Automobile AB

The first official photo of the all new Saab 9-5 produced at the factory in Trollhättan, Sweden has come out and Auto Motor & Sport has provided it.

This is certainly a better photo than the earlier one we had here on Saab History this week. It was certainly nice to see everyone so happy!

Saab 9-5, first manufactured in Trollhättan
Pär Brandt – 2009-11-27 16:05

A few days ago was mounted on the first “real” Saab 9-5 at the factory. Previously, staff trained in the prototype workshop on the new car, with a dozen training cars, but now it is officially launched production of Saab’s new 9-5.

The first “real” Saab 9-5 has rolled the tape in Trollhättan. Production Stig Runesson, next to the far right, leaving the symbolic over the keys to Anders Svensson (right) who is responsible for production.

Saab Automobile is most associated with black doomsday headlines, and sometimes it’s easy to forget what business is that all about – building cars. Therefore, it is not without a certain pride that Saab now reports that they had built the first “real” Saab 9-5 on the tape. Production of the new model is officially launched, that is.

Parallel to the development of the car has been preparing to produce the car, with all that implies. Total work has been going on for four years and got extra boost last fall when it became clear that production would be moved from the Opel factory in Rüsselsheim to Saab’s own factory in Trollhättan. Some tools were made in duplicate in order to produce the Opel Insignia in Rüsselsheim and 9-5 in Trollhattan, but the extra cost paid by the Saab before GM entered its reorganization during the summer.

A dozen bodies were pressed in Rüsselsheim before the final move was carried out in autumn, from Germany to Trollhättan. Before that, the Opel factory “hand built” around 50 9-5: or used to test and crash tests, and exhibitions. The ten body structures has been working as “guinea pigs” in Saab’s prototype workshop where they built up and dismantled several times to train staff on the new model. These first cars were built at Saab’s prototype shop, which resembles a “mini factory” with the same workstations as the major production line.

The next time performed a series of tests, “a hundred cars, all pre-fixed to selected internal customers within the organization. Then start the production of regular customers and if all goes as hoped with Saab ownership can soon bring full speed at the factory again.

Saab’s production line is the so-called “flexible”, it means that all models can be mixed and incorporated into any number on the same line. This makes it easy to adapt production to demand. Right now produced 9-3 Sport Sedan, 9-3, 9-3X, ‘old’ 9-5 SportCombi and the new 9-5. In the spring you should also start building 9-3 Convertible, which moved up from Magna in Austria.

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Another Manufacturer Announces Premium Hatchback

Posted on 27. Oct, 2009 by .

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As the silence continues to be deafening from Saab as to whether they will be producing premium hatchbacks in the future, Jaguar has recently announced that they will be launching a premium hatchback in the next few years.

This news continues with a long line of high end up market manufacturers planning on launching premium hatchback models in the next year or so. The lack of a response from Saab Automobile about their position on hatchbacks since they ended them back in 2002 continues to surprise many as they had a long 28-year history of building them (1974-2002).

The question is, will Saab ever consider re-entering this segment as other premium manufacturers plan on launching them on a global scale in the next few years?

Here is the list of eight of those manufacturers that we can only hope that Saab will join.

    Skoda 2010 Superb W/Twin Back
    Opel Insignia 2010 5-door hatch (same platform as all new Saab 9-5)
    BMW 2010 3-Series & 5-Series Hatchbacks W/Twin Back
    Audi 2010 A5 Sportback
    Porsche – 2010 Panamera
    Jaguar – 2014 XF Hatchback
    Aston Martin – 2010 Rapide 5-Door Hatch
    Bugatti 2013 Bugatti C16 Galibier 3-Door & 5-Door Hatch

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2010 Opel Insignia, Sister To Saab 9-5, Has A Hatch!

Posted on 15. Oct, 2009 by .

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Photo Credits: Newcars.ua

It has been long since rumored that the platform that the all new Saab 9-5 was capable of having a hatchback, but it has never really been proven in the Saab community to any real credible extent. However, that rumor can be put to rest now that I recently received an e-mail with a photo and a link to a Ukrainian journalist that test drove the 2010 Opel Insignia.

The photo above of the 2010 Opel Insignia, a sister to the all new Saab 9-5 and Buick Lacrosse shows a nice full hatchback on this model in addition to a sedan with a trunk model, both part of Opel’s Insignia products. In fact, the third insignia product is a full wagon, so that’s three models, a sedan, hatchback and wagon like Saab should have with the all new Saab 9-5.

These photos above finally prove that the same platform is fully capable of integrating a hatchback, as seen on other premium models recently shown.

So the question here is, why did Saab Automobile not install a hatch on the all new Saab 9-5 sedan and make it a 5-door? Opel did, so why couldn’t Saab? That wagon argument won’t be applicable here because Opel has a wagon too.

We’ll most likely have to wait for a good answer on this one as to why the hatch continues to not be considered in the Saab product portfolio even when it’s immediately available on the shared platforms they have used.

I just cannot understand why Saab Automobile continues to throw a blind eye to not only their 28-year heritage in producing incredible hatchbacks, but to the emerging markets for premium hatchbacks.

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2010 Buick Lacrosse To The 2010 Saab 9-5, A Comparison

Posted on 15. Oct, 2009 by .

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Photo Credits: Saab History

As the all new Saab 9-5 has yet to make it to dealerships in the United States at this time, the Buick Lacrosse has as of September.

With this being the case, I decided to visit a local GM dealer here in New England with Carl, to see a production version of the 2010 Buick Lacrosse, the other sister besides the Opel Insignia to the all new Saab 9-5 that debuted last month in Frankfurt simply for comparison sake.

This 2010 Buick Lacrosse is for all intents and purposes a very similar vehicle to the Saab 9-5 inside and out. On the exterior of the vehicle you have to pay more attention to the subtle similarities, while on the interior, the components and designs are unmistakeably identical to that of the Saab 9-5.
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How Will Saab Compete In An Era Of Emerging Hatches?

Posted on 14. Oct, 2009 by .

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It is rather ironic, but today it seems like everyone except for Saab, is launching premium hatchback models. I say, good for them for doing it because Saab was historically known for hatches, however that 28-year history of hatchbacks came to an end in 2002.

Joe from Gaywheels states that “The trend seems to be melding the sedan with wagon to get a hybrid hatch. Not as functional as a wagon but arguably more sexy.”

The majority of the competition is now beginning to offer a number of premium hybrid hatchback models for buyers today from 3-doors to 5-doors and the demand is growing.

When it comes to the all new Saab 9-5 sedan, many were hoping including myself for that to also be a premium sport back model with a hatch, but it was not.

To clarify, while Saab has wagons or combi models and even an all new 9-5 Wagon coming. However, these models are not hatchbacks are not a replacement for a sport back premium hatch as they are wagons and therefore a completely different segment.

The question now is going to become, can Saab Automobile, once a legend in premium sport back hatches, compete in a premium hatchback segment where they no longer offer this in their product portfolio? I wonder if ending the hatchback a whole seven years ago and now seeing the market demand what they once had with competitors responding, is going to finally send the message to Saab Automobile. Regardless, Saab best take swift action and include a hatch in the all new 9-5 sedan as a variant and certainly in the new 9-3 to debut in 2011.

Here’s a list of manufacturers with their respected models on board with a 5-door hatchback model today that are part of the premium luxury sport hatch segment including some with the versatile twin-back system.

BMW 2010 3-Series & 5-Series Hatchbacks W/Twin Back

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Audi 2010 A5 Sportback

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Skoda 2010 Superb W/Twin Back

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Honda 2010 CrossTour

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Opel Insignia 2010 5-door hatch (same platform as all new Saab 9-5)

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Jaguar To Launch 2014 Hatchback To Model Lineup

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Porsche – 2010 Panamera

porschehatch.jpg

Aston Martin – 2010 Rapide 5-Door Hatch

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Bugatti 2013 Bugatti C16 Galibier 3-Door & 5-Door Hatch

bugattihatch.jpg

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Trollhättan Sweden’s TTELA Reports Saab Needs Funding Before Any New Products Are Launched

Posted on 13. Jan, 2009 by .

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Trollhättan, Sweden’s own newspaper, TTELA, is reporting that GM needs funding in order to complete production of next generation Saab 9-5, 9-4x and next generation Saab 9-3. No mention of the 9-1 at all.

Without that funding, those projects will not be able to get off the ground as long as Saab continues to be with General Motors later this year.

However, with funding now becoming available from both the Swedish Government and the European Investment Bank, will Saab Automobile actually launch these projects even though they were delayed due to GM’s choice to launch products from their “core” brands first? (ie. Opel Insignia, Buick/ Saab 9-5, Cadillac SRX / Saab 9-4x)

Saab will getting new products on the market requires help from the Swedish state.

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Next Generation Opel Insignia Saab 9-5 “A Year-ish Away”

Posted on 07. Jan, 2009 by .

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According to Motor Trend, GM Premium Brands Executive Director, formerly Saab Automobile USA President, Steve Shannon says Next Generation Opel Insignia Saab 9-5 is about a “Year-ish Away”.

At this rate, what’s the point with this car really? With the 1st generation Saab 9-5 that has had 2 facelifts, once in 2002, again in 2006, will be ending as a MY 2009, so does this mean that 2010 there will be no Saab 9-5, given that next generation 9-5 will be a MY2011 when it debuts now?

I think we’re all getting quite tired of this, especially when we see the first version of the 9-5’s platform, the Opel Insignia to get launched prior, and again with the Cadillac SRX being launched prior to the Saab 9-4x.

With this vehicle being substantially delayed and pushed aside for the Opel Insignia to be launched first, what will be the point by the time it arrives? It seems like for the forseeable future, Saab dealerships will only be selling the 9-3, and that’s just not enough, it just isn’t.

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Detroit Free Press Underestimates Saab Automobile’s Future

Posted on 24. Dec, 2008 by .

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Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press has recently written an article about why he believes that Saab Automobile won’t be bought from GM anytime soon.

He indicates the following, while true, misses the entire point of a company which would choose to buy Saab:

“Saab has never made a dime for GM, but it has contributed to the automaker. It’s been a test bed for alternative-fuel technology with ethanol-burning cars that account for a huge chunk of its sales in Sweden.

Like Volvo, Saab provides great expertise in safety. Saab’s leadership in turbocharging helped GM develop the fuel-efficient engines that will push the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze’s fuel economy well past 40 m.p.g. on the highway.”

It’s not what Saab Automobile provides to GM, because let’s be frank, GM has exploited Saab Automobile since December of 1989 when it was officially purchased for “less than” what FIAT was originally offering. Fiat offered $780 million, GM of course offered lower at $600 million.

This relationship began as a lower bid offer, and for some reason the Wallenberg’s Investor AB allowed Saab Automobile AB to be sold for less than FIAT’s offering. When you begin a relationship with a buyer that offers less as the first business transaction, the precident has already been set in stone. Over the course of the past 19 years, GM has continued this idea by always investing “less than needed” in the company, and as a result, Saab Automobile has suffered and has been reduced to a brand that GM finally admits they are selling.

If we look at all of what Saab has done for GM, not vice versa, we begin to see the nature of this single-sided relationship, such as the lack of investment in seeing the brand profitable, the transfer of Saab’s technologies to the rest of their portfolio (9-5x /Opel Insignia, 9-4x/Cadillac SRX, Saab 9-3 /Cadillac BLS, 9-7x/Chevy Trailblazer, Saab’s Direct Ignition now in new GM SUV’s, Chevy Malibu’s 5-star safety rating from Saab’s Engineering Team, 4-cylinder turbocharged engines to be in Chevy Cobalts, etc.), a depletion of existing 2009 inventory (ie. 9-7x, 9-5 and 9-3 models) coupled with the never ending desire to produce concept cars not for consumers, but for perspective buyers to see value in buying the brand for its future. It should finally be obvious to us all now what the plan is/was, of course now in restrospect.

GM has never seen the relationship with Saab as a two-way street, it was just a way to build their other brands exploiting Saab along the way. After nearly twenty years of damage to the brand, GM decides to start thinking about dumping them after they’ve exhausted all possible technologies, resources, staff, etc. If the next company chooses to go the same route as GM, they will be in for a problem, however if they choose the high road, by making a significantly “long-term” and sustained investment in a winner (ie. Saab Automobile), they will see the fruits via their committment towards the brand. The market is already in Saab Automobile’s lap. the new owner needs some significant on-board intelligence to see this and realize the untapped market potential which GM chose not to realize for Saab.

I end this response to Mark Phelan and the Detroit Free Press with a clear message: Saab has done more for GM than GM has done for Saab, and if you do some serious research into Saab’s history and the facts, you may come across the real details as to what has actually transpired in this relationship over the years.

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Production Concept