Some have noted in comments that the Monaro is to go out of production at the end of this year, which would seemingly pu the kibosh on my master plan for a big Saab flagship.
However, the Detroit Free Press reports that it will stay in production for the US, in the guise of the Pontiac GTO and in Britain as the Vauxhall Monaro. Those models will keep on coming until a new global RWD platform is initiated for 2008.
My advice for Bob and Jay, investigate a Saab variant with AWD for this segment. A flagship, a statement, a halo vehicle. Call it want you want, just build it, and they will come.
What would you see as being an appropriate Saab flagship?
I covered this experiment on the old blog, but as the photos hadn’t carried over I thought it was worth having a look at again.
Consider Saab’s ongoing position in the marketplace. Currently the marque is regarded as being GM’s global premium brand, even by the head honchos in Detroit. Saab may have to duke it out with Cadillac in Europe to see who’s going to get the nod for the prolonged future, but for the moment Saab is positioned to capitalise on some good model development and some, albeit small, sales momentum.
Given that Saab’s main competitors should be the other Euro premium brands, can Saab really take them on with a sub 3-litre V6 as the premier powertrain? Even with a turbo?
Now, I know this is the work of a serious photoshopper, but is it an unattractive vehicle? Properly set up, appointed and propelled, I think this could be a worthy flagship vehicle. The nose looks a little pinchy – it should be filled out and made a bit more muscular, but the groundwork is there for a pretty nice design.
Now this may just serve to expose my ignorance, but consider the following:
That photo looks very much to me like a photoshopped Holden Monaro (or it’s European equivalent blah blah blah), which is the two door version of the Holden Commodore, which has an AWD wagon version called the Adventra. What does all this mean?
Well, it means that various power and drivetrain options are already available within GM’s lineup for some serious tweaking and twisting. Why not a decent-sized-turbocharged-fully-loaded-with-all-the-bells-and-whistles-incorporated-in-an-understated-fashion-AWD-Saab Griffen to take on the Bimmers, Mercs and Audis?
So much of the hardware is already hanging around. Ship a few Monaros and Adventras over to Sweden and watch what the little trolls do with them. I guarantee they’d be able to blow the doors off the competition given half a chance.
UPDATE: I know this report at Edmunds is for sedans, but this is the area of competition I’m alluding to. Shouldn’t Saab be GM’s entrant in a test like this (All AWD test: Audi, BMW, Lexus, Acura, Infiniti)?