One of the most notable aspects of modern Saab design has been the “hockey stick”. It’s that classic curve from the base of the rear passenger window that looks a little like a Nike swoosh. It’s loved by most and a distinctive feature on all of Saab’s vehicles (bar the 9-5 wagon and even that’s questionable) since the late 1960s.
It started with the Saab 99:
Gained more noteriety with the Saab 900:
And carried through to the Saab 900/9-3…..
And the Saab 9-5.
Recently, though, things have changed a little and there’s been some concern voiced over it, too. It don’t remember much being said a few years ago when the Aero-X was shown. It was such a far-out concept that there wasn’t much you could do but say “wow”.
That all changed with the Saab 9-X BioHybrid. Whilst the Saab 9-4x concept retained some semblance of a hockey stick, the 9-X BioHybrid has what some have referred to as a “reverse hockey stick” – where the angle of the rear window extends out past 90 degrees instead of curving back toward the B-pillar. I guess there were so many comments because unlike the Aero-X, this is a car that could see production.
Given that there’s been a bit of conjecture about it, I thought I’d pose the question to one of Saab’s designers, Anthony Lo.
Anthony is the head of advanced design at GM Europe, he’s been working at Saab for years now and is all over everything to do with that’s going on with Saab right now.
His comments were as follows:
Design cues like the ‘Reversed Hockey Stick’ play a vital role in the design identity of the Saab brand but cues are not something one can copy/paste on every new concept. In general, we must question whether certain design cues are fitting to the overall design concept especially in 3-dimentional form. The C-pillar treatment is part of the side glass graphic or DLO (Day Light Opening).
Designers use DLO to create a visual balance between glass and body (proportion) and to define the attitude of a car. In my opinion, the reversed hockey stick simply does not work with a near upright rear end inspired by the original 9X. We decided that the Aero X inspired DLO is the best solution we can offer.
The 9-X BioHybrid rear end maybe polarizing but it is unmistakably a Saab!
So there you have it – right from the source!
Personally, I think it works and works well. This is a new era, and I’ll take all the Aero-X cues they want to dish out. The 9-1 should stay as faithful to the 9-X concept as possible. As Anthony said, it’s unmistakably a Saab.