The 9-4x is widely believed to be due for unveiling, at least in a pre-production or concept form, at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2008 – around six weeks from now.
I’ve been covering the various bits of news as they pop up, so with the public debut so close I thought it high time I put all the info together in one place.
The Saab 9-4x was first mentioned in mid-2005. At that point, GM had just sold off it’s interest in Fuji Heavy Industries, with whom Saab were developing the Tribeca based 9-6x. There was some growing disquiet about this model, and when the 9-4x was first mentioned, officials were at pains to stress that this new, smaller SUV would be designed as a Saab from the ground up.
The 9-4x has been in development, probably since just before that time. Saab employees gathered in Sweden earlier this year for dealer conferences and were shown life-size models of the 9-4x and 9-5. Here’s what we’ve learned from those viewings and from various reports:
In just one month and ten days I’ll be jumping on a plane and flying, coat and gun in hand, to Detroit.
Saab WILL have some new product there to look at and the smart money is wagered on it being the 9-4x crossover vehicle. It’s got to be either that or the new 9-5. I can’t see them taking the trouble of offering to fly me there for anything less. As much as we’d all love it to be the 9-5, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the 9-4x.
Saab have done a pretty good job of keeping this one secure. There’s been no spy-photos in testing, except for the Saa-vy Trail-7x mule that’s been spotted around Sweden. There’s been no preliminary images or anything. The only word I’ve had is the comments from a few people who saw it at Saab corporate engagements earlier this year in Sweden.
The question going through my mind is – who wants one?
I’ve had no-one at all from the Saab enthusiast community bombarding my email wanting details about the Saab 9-4x. Not a soul. Nobody from the US and no-one from Europe. Zip.
This could be good news or bad news, depending on how you look at it.
The dark side: maybe no-one at all is interested.
The brighter side: maybe this opens up a whole new demographic for Saab, one that doesn’t currently peruse the web looking for Saab information.
If you ARE looking for information on the Saab 9-4x, I’ll be compiling a summary entry soon, but you can also check the entire 9-4x category of this website.
This one’s from Andreas and whilst he lives in Switzerland we’re heading off with him to sunny Spain in a very, very nice convertible.
The attached picture was taken in summer 2007 at my favourite place near Valencia in Spain (sorry, not exactly where I live in Switzerland ….. but at my place there is not a landmark worth of taking a pic).
I’ve been many times there for holidays on a nice camping site, just opposite the road from where the pic has been taken. In past, I went down there with my 1986′ 900 turbo, later on with a 9000 turbo and now the first time in my 2001 Hirsch-tuned 9-3 Aero convertible.
The journey from Switzerland to the Mediterranean Sea (1300 km) and back was really fun in this car. Well, to be honest, the original Aero-suspension might have been a little more comfortable then the Hirsch one ….
Anyway, it was also a pleasure to use the car for some daytrips along the cost. Nothing more enjoyable then driving top-less on picturesque roads with low traffic and the sparkling sea within eyespot most of the time.
Full details of the competition, and the prizes you can win are at the link at the top of this post.
Swade, we can send only 1 photo??
Can we send 2 at least??
And my answer to that is: the more the merrier.
If you’v got multiple great shots of your Saab in a great location, then send them through. The one condition, however, is that if they’re in different locations, then you would need to provide a bit of background information on each location, as well as about your car.
We’ll hopefully see some photos in the next week that’ll show you what I mean. Multiple shots in a brilliant spot with plenty of thought going into the mood of the photo. I’ve seen them already on my RSS feed and they almost made me weep (g’day Tim!).
Full details of the Pride of Ownership competition can be found here.
It’s been quite a while since I posted on this issue, but Michael Karesh runs a vehicle reliability research center in the US called True Delta.
The big player in vehicle reliability rating is, of course, Consumer Reports. Whilst the Saab 9-3 is now rating better in their reliability data it doesn’t stop me from having some concerns over how they formulate their ratings. It seems to be relatively subjective and lets the consumer ‘vent’ over an issue rather than report absolute, objective data about any problems that might have occurred.
Michael notes his True Delta vs CR comparison here.
Being a relatively new service, True Delta requires participants. Whilst the number of Saabs on his register has grown this year, he still needs more participants to be able to give unqualified reports on the vehicles.
So, if you’ve got a recent model Saab then I’d ask you to think about signing up. It’ll only take a very small amount of time every three months to complete the survey, and as a contributor you also get access to the survey data, including reliability, repair history and fuel economy data (which others have to pay $25 for).
True Delta is now the vehicle data provider for The Truth About Cars, and both are growing as a result.
In the last post in a comment I indicated that there was a new lead on a great car.
Unfortunately, I had no idea that at that very moment, the car had already been sold. The small specialty dealer was in the process of selling it to one customer as I was speaking to another person there.
This was it:
2000 Saab 9-3 Viggen – 1 Owner – Luxury And Performance – $7900
We are excited to offer this 1 owner 2000 Saab 9-3 Viggen finished in silver over black leather with 109K miles and a 5 speed transmission. Saab enthusiasts will recognize the Viggen as a model combining luxury and performance while still offering good economy. Swedish quality at a very affordable price! We have done a basic service and state safety inspection. All power equipment is in working order with a strong engine, clutch, and transmission. Super clean car inside and out. Carfax shows no accidents and is available for your inspection.
I’m going to go cook dinner. That’s all that I can say.
I’ve had a couple of links come through via email to this video overnight. Thanks to all who sent them through.
You’ve all probably seen the video I shot with Kenneth Backlund from the Saab Performance Team at the 9-3 launch event in Sweden back in June.
This new video was also shot at the same event, using the same car(s) and on the exact same track. The great thing about this video is that they must have had heaps of cameras there because there’s a lot of external shots as the car progresses around the track.
Right now, in my garage, I have what many might consider a Saab nightmare: a crashed Viggen and a reluctant insurance company.
But I also have a Saab dream. I have several of them, actually.
I’d like to work for them in a constructive manner for starters. My day job’s about as exciting as a lamp post and I’d love to be genuinely involved in helping Saab be successful.
But in terms of cars, I have one distinct ownership dream, which I think will be quite attainable in a few years time after we get our home mortgage behind us.
I’ve never driven one, which is totally ridiculous as I probably could have in Sweden back in June if I’d pursued an opportunity, but I’d love one all the same. I have a feeling that in reality, they’re pretty slow, but I know it’d probably feel faster than what it is.
They’re an unhailed icon for Saab, completely different from their mainstream vehicles. I don’t know why, but I just want one.