Saab 9-3 to be built on Delta – from the horse’s mouth


I’ve bumped this back to the top as a) it’s big news, b) it was posted on the weekend so there may be a bunch who missed it, and c) there’ll be a follow up piece later.


It takes a big story to interrupt a wedding anniversary, ja?

First, the news:

I’ve received notice from a member of the Djup Strupe collective inside Sweden – and this comes straight from the horse’s mouth – that the next generation of the Saab 9-3 will be built on GM’s global premium compact architecture, presumptively called Delta II.

This architecture will be used for a number of GM vehicles, the highest volume-seller most likely to be the Opel Astra, and the Trollhattan plant in Sweden is one of four European plants recently chosen to build vehicles on this architecture. The other plants are in the UK, Germany and Poland and the production of vehicles on this new architecture is scheduled to commence no earlier than 2010.

There’s been no word on the timing of this new 9-3, but given that this decision could only have been taken quite recently it’d be safe to assume 2011 at the very earliest, more likely 2012.


Second, the opinion:

The biggest concept vehicle reportedly based on the Delta II architecture so far is the Opel Flextreme which measured 4550mm. The current Saab 9-3 is 4647mm in length. With the current Saab 9-3 already having compact rear seat legroom, it’s going to pose a challenge for designers to preserve cabin space in the smaller package.

The one thing this will definitely do, however, is separate the 9-3 and the 9-5. With a new Saab 9-5 coming on board late in 2009, it will be positioned as the definite flagship model with this more compact Saab 9-3 beside it in the model range. Importantly, the new smaller 9-3 will also be easier to “rightsize” – Saab’s terminology for getting a smaller engine into the car with more power but reduced emissions.

I think this is a great decision. I feel quite confident that the Saab 9-3′s designers can pull off a great interior layout, which is going to be the only major concern with this architecture. It means the car can be smaller and lighter, more sporty, and leaves the new 9-5 plenty of space to play to the larger-car crowd with a bigger range of models than what we might have previously thought.

The other truly fantastic news in this is that there’s a very good chance that the cars will be built in the Trollhattan plant in Sweden. I can’t stress enough how important it is for Saab to retain a significant manufacturing presence in their home market. It’s not definite, with three other European plants capable of working with Delta II, but it’s quite possible.


And a chronology of the reporting, just for the record….

May 6, 2008 – More talk on the next Saab 9-3 was posted here at Trollhattan Saab. It was the first report in English on the subject of the new 9-3 being built on Delta and possibly at Trollhattan.

May 7, 2008 – Next-gen Saab 9-3 to be produced in Sweden was published at Motor Authority and contains basically the same info as I had in mine.

May 8, 2008 – Saab 9-3 Shrinking was reported at Autocar and contained essentially the same central piece of news with some extra fodder for filling.

These reports all cover the story out of Germany in the last week that the production of the Saab 9-3 had NOT been confirmed for Russelsheim as was previously assumed. That added fuel to the growing story that the 9-3 was being considered for something other than the Epsilon II platform.

What we have here in this story is the first confirmation from inside Saab that this is indeed going to happen – that the next generation 9-3 is going to be built on the compact architecture.


66 thoughts on “Saab 9-3 to be built on Delta – from the horse’s mouth

  1. This is indeed good news. Thanks for taking time out of your anniversary festivities to report this. Now turn around and look at the disapproving look on your wife’s face! :-P

    The only thing that bothers me is that a huge decision like this takes so long to make. At least when they finally made it it appears to be the right one.

    There are all kinds of tricks that can be done to increase interior space, I think. If they have a smaller engine in the car they can push the cabin space that much further forward. Heck, put an electric motor in there instead of an ICE and you’ll earn TONS of extra room! :-)

  2. For me its a big mistake. I am sorry, but taking in consideration the shame of Volvo with its S40/V40 based on the Ford’s compact platform and the lack of “premium” feeling to be the succesor of the S60 and compete with the rest of sedans with higher size, quality and so and the need of mantaining the old s60.

    For the brand’s image, performance, quality, requirements and so, there will be a lack of technical performance to achieve the requirements to compete with the chassis performance of the BMW, Audi and Mercedes with a design that is designed to perfom as a compact car and not as a premium sedan.

    The only good thing is that will mantain the production of the Saab in Trollhattan.


  3. The simple fact that this platform isn’t designed to hold a V6 will give you back the missing 10cm in interior room.
    Edusaab, please wait until we know a little bit more before writing the car off. Volvo is not Saab.

  4. Edusaab: the next-gen 9-5 should give you those things you seek. And there’s no reason the 9-3 has to be as bad as the Volvo S40. If it’s done right there’s nothing wrong with a little downsizing (as long as Saab doesn’t continue cheaping-out at every turn with fit and finish).

    People who don’t want a smaller Saab can buy the 9-5, which is a departure from Saab buyers’ options right now. Either you get the 23 miles-per-U.S.-gallon combined (best-case) manual 9-3 sedan or a marginally bigger 9-5 for much more money. Differentiation is the name of the game here.

  5. I cant say that I am disappointed until my 6′ 4″ frame gets in one. I also would need to drive one with a “right sized” engine to find out if it satisfy’s my enthusiast hunger.

    My concern is that it will not be able to compete with its intended targets in either size or power to weight ration. Call me crazy but I always saw Saab competing as follows:

    Audi A-3 / Saab 9-1 / Volvo C30
    Audi A-4 / Saab 9-3 / Volvo S60
    Audi A-6 / Saab 9-5 / Volvo S80

    I’m not trying to be negative. I’m just less than optimistic Delta II will be the right car to compete.

  6. The plan to make the 9-2 (or whatever they call it) just a shortened version of the 9-3 with two doors and a hatch kind of reminds me how BMW had that shortened 3-series some years ago.

    I’m not much of a Bimmer guy, so I’m not sure what it was called, but the 325i was available in four door sedan form and the 318Ti (or something like that) was a shortened version with only two doors. This is of course in the U.S. market. It seems like models vary greatly across markets. We can’t even buy a 4-cylinder Bimmer in the U.S. (not that I’d want one anyway unless maybe it was that new twin turbo diesel…).

  7. This is bad news IMHO. The A4 is getting bigger and no doubt the new 3-Series will be bigger so I assume the new 9-5 will compete with said cars. A smaller 9-3 will compete with an A3 and 1-series so whats the point of a 9-1 which would be Mini sized? Saab is way off course here – big time!

  8. A new 9-3 would definitely be bigger than the Astra/A3, but smaller than the new A4. Perhaps that’s a niche that needs to be filled?
    Remember, Saab has always been a great niche car. When it trys to go mainstream, it gets into problems.
    But Saab also needs the 9-1 to go directly up against the BMW 1 series and the A3. In many markets this could be the best selling model in their range.

    I’m not sure where a possible 9-2 model that “1985 Gripen” mentions would fit into that plan, but it seems that Delta II is an extreemly versatile platform.

    We don’t yet know how good Epsilon II or Delta II are. It’s too early to condemn or praise either of them.

  9. This car is going to kick arse, If Saab does it right it will be a lighter, sportier, more tossable alternative to the downright overweight 3-series and A4.

    In true Saab fashion (and in tune with rising gas prices) Saab should make the engine options 4-cylinder only, with a lineup comprised of diesels, DI turbo engines, and hybrids. Offer XWD and take back Saab’s title as the builder of the most powerful 4-bangers on the market. Combine them in a Turbo X follow-on that’s designed to offer STI or Evo performance with BMW/Saab luxury and refinement and Saab will have an excellent halo car for what could be a real game-changer in the luxury sports sedan market if executed properly.

    Most importantly, it will be built in Sweden, not Germany, I don’t think it gets any better than that!

  10. Alex, should be build a proper A4/3Series competitor in Germany or an A3/1Series sized car in Sweden. Germany all the way I say. The Volvo C30 is a prime example of a car that just isnt selling very well and Saab want to build a premium 9-3 that isnt much bigger than said car. Premium small cars dont sell well in Saab’s most important ie the US so why is Saab building one?

  11. I’m with you Alex! I was pinning my hopes on the 9-1 as an eventual replacement for my OG9-3 because I’ve never liked the 9-3SS and the thought of a larger (almost current 9-5 sized) new 9-3, even if it came in a hatch, didn’t turn me on. A smaller, lighter, more nimble and sporty 9-3 made in Trollhattan would be superb!

    As Swade says, perhaps this could also lead to a greater range of new 9-5 models too. If the Opel Insignia can come in a hatch, why can’t the 9-5? This would make it a truly great step up for those who want a roomier Saab and also those who still miss the 9000CS hatch.

  12. I’m scared that the desicion of building the next 9-3 will cause it to “shrink”, hence cannibalising the 9-1 we so hope to come… I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The models need to grow in size to stay competitive, the 9-5 needs to grow, the 9-3 needs larger legroom to compete with the A4, and then the 9-1 can be a car that fits in beneath the 9-3, 9-5 and 9-4X.

    Although larger, that doesn’t neccesarily mean the car needs to be heavier. But due to Saab’s strict safety standards, and the beancounters at GM, I don’t see an A8-style aluminium spaceframe coming anytime soon.

  13. So is this the writing on the wall that there will be no 9-1? Smaller 9-3 may have the bean counters think they can kill two birds with one stone.

  14. Hopefully, the D2 platform will have the same or longer wheelbase than the current 9-3. I wouldn’t mind shorter front and rear overhang to reduce length. One reason I chose the 9-3 over the 3 series and A4 was because there was more back seat room.

    With the difference in character between the current Epsilon built cars and the 9-3, I am not worried about platform sharing with “lesser” cars.

    I think this D2 platform is a good decision. Let’s hope they make another good decision and build it in Trollhattan!

  15. Building it on Delta doesn’t rule out a 9-1 coming. These architectures are flexible in terms of wheelbases so I’m still quite optimistic about a 9-1 coming.

  16. Maybe the lineup will change more after Audi than Bmw number-wise.9-3 vs A3, 9-4 vs A4?

    seems like better number placement than bring in the 9-2 to take on A3 when 9-3 really never matched good against similar priced sedans.leg room etc.

  17. Zippy raises a good point here:

    The Volvo C30 is a prime example of a car that just isnt selling very well and Saab want to build a premium 9-3 that isnt much bigger than said car. Premium small cars dont sell well in Saab’s most important ie the US so why is Saab building one?

    Hopefully it’s because they’ll push the 9-5 a lot harder in the US. The 9-3 may well end up just a tiny bit smaller on D2 than what it is currently (exterior measurement). In that case, you’ve got a good nimble 9-3 to sell as well as a good range of premium 9-5s to sell, along with the 9-4x of course. That’s a great lineup for the US.

    The 9-3 in that configuration will sell really well outside the US, though, and this is the important thing. It allows Saab to tailor its range to its total market, not just the US market.

  18. while other automakers are making models bigger if saab makes the 9-3 the same size or about but hatch , and brings in a 9-4 as coupe and sedan which would often more leg would be great.they could even go lower and make 9-1 or sonnet turbo X models.

    I like my GM900SE,but a new 9-1 would be nice or I might have to which over to Vw Roc

  19. Maybe the new 9-5 and the 9-4X will become the best selling models in the US, but the 9-3 and the 9-1 will be best selling in the UK/Europe and everywhere else? If that was to happen, perhaps they should consider building the 9-5 in America as well as Germany?

  20. Yeah, I like this approach as it shows that GM may be wisening up about Saab’s role overseas as a premium brand. In the rest of the world (i.e. not the US) a smaller 9-3 that offers 3-series features and performance has the potential to steal some serious business from the Germans.

    The big failure of the S40/C30 is that they weren’t upscale enough relative to their price. The cars look nice enough but their barren gray interiors were just not in keeping with the money that Volvo wanted for them and so they were left being too expensive to compete with VW, and too spartan to compete with Audi/BMW.

    As long as the next-gen 9-3 has an interior that’s on par with the 3-series (and a level of gadgetry that’s appropriate for a Saab) it should do fine on it’s smaller platform. The key is to keep the car feeling like a Saab.

  21. The Volvo C30 looks suspiciously like a Saturn Astra.

    The current 9-3 really is not really a ‘big’ car in my opinion. It can carry four adults, but the backseat might not be the best place to spend a long trip in – but for short jaunts around town it is fine.

    At the very least the SportCombi provides greater flexibility for carrying larger objects/cargo (something else that sold me on the car besides the V6). I would have never considered a 9-3 sedan (no offense sedan owners) due to its lack of trunk space. In the end the ‘wagon’ is much more flexible configuration. It will be interesting to see how compact the next 9-3 is although I am not looking for anything smaller (or much larger) than what I have now.

  22. That may be true, Zippy, but it’s been widely reported that its amount of practical space behind the driver/fr. passenger actually is poor for the vehicle’s size.

  23. Well compared to the GTI the C30 has poor rear seat space, but compared to most anything else the back seats are great. And they’re way more comfortable than the back seats in the GTI.

    If only the C30 drove like a GTI, maybe they’d actually sell some of them…

  24. I think a big part of the C30s downfall is the small rear opening. It’s a nice hat-tip to Volvos of old and looks funky, but it’s just way too small. If Saab are going to hat-tip the past, would they hat-tip the 92 with it’s complete lack of trunk?

    You reinvent good points, not good looking points that don’t work.

  25. Alex – you are exaclty right. The s40/c30 didn’t sell because Volvo priced them WAY too high. Before I looked at the 9-3 I researched the s40, and by the time you get it “reasonably” equipped, it was close to $30k.

    The c30 was pretty close to that as well. You can’t make a car intended for a certain demographic and price it as if it was another.

    Saab needs to take note of that! Because gas is so high people will first look at buying smaller cars. Saab is making the right move as long as they don’t overprice the new 9-3.

  26. This 98?

    I think I vomited a little in the back of my mouth

    I actually think the C30′s hatch is it’s strongest point, but then again I’m tall and I had no problem getting things in the back of my friend’s loaner car. I think the other big problem that the C30 has is that it has a beautiful, iconic shape from the A-pillar back, but when you look at it from the front it has the same bland old S40 nose. It needed a more aggressive or eye-catching nose so it could be a bit more consistent styling wise.

  27. Markac: your idea of manufacturing in the U.S. is a possibility according to Autocar. They point out the fact that cars built in Sweden and sold in the U.S. are a zero-profit endeavor due to the strong Krona and weak U.S. dollar.

    On another unrelated note, I think that Saab should advertise the heck out of the current 9-5. I know this sounds like a waste of money, but it’s been a while since there was a concerted effort to push the 9-5 in the U.S. With the 9-5 having the best fuel economy in its class that’s a big selling point with record-high fuel prices. People are turning-in their SUVs and with a 9-5 combi they wouldn’t have to give up any interior and cargo space moving from a compact SUV and they retain the same towing capacity, but have lower fuel costs.

    Saab makes more profit selling a 9-5 than a 9-3 due to the fact that all the engineering expense overhead on the 9-5 has long been paid-off. Give the model a proper sendoff!

  28. Gentlemen, calm down. The current platform that the 9-3 uses is the same as the Astra. Despite the limitations, Saab managed to build a much more robust car out of it than Opel did. I’m not talking about build quality, I’m talking about the quality of the ride. Remember how 4wd was not possible due to limitations of the platform? And who was stubborn enough to do it anyway? And remember Reax (or however you spell it)?

    If they plan to put the 9-3 on the same platform as the Astra, then what would be the problem? If the Flextreme is “only” 4550mm long, so what? That doesn’t tell us anything, as it’s the measurement from nose to tail. If you want to judge, you have to compare distances between the wheels. And then you still wouldn’t be sure, as the platform might be able to take more than that.

    Downsizing won’t have to do with size – or not much. It will have to do with smaller engines and a lower weight. It will be about technology to preserve fuel. All car builders are faced with the need to “size down”. You really think the next A4 or 3 will be as big as today? Think again. While Angela Merkel is doing the best she can to keep the EU CO2-regulations out of the door, the big German developers are preparing themselves for a complete new market approach with more fuel efficient cars. And as BMW and Audi sell a lot of “big” cars, they will have to try harder than the rest of the pack – harder than, let’s say, Fiat.

    In short: don’t let the platform scare you, it makes you no smarter than the self declared average Joe (auto) Journalist. Saab / GM are finally focusing on more efficiency. You should not worry about the platform, just worry if they get enough time to downsize enough.

  29. 1985 Gripen: They could build the next 9-5 in the USA or Mexico as well as Germany? I’m not sure how the Euro rates against the dollar for German built Saabs? I hope the new 9-5 is introduced with a hatchback and a sedan with a wagon to follow.

    You’re right they should give the old 9-5 a good send off. I’m sure they have quite a stockpile of 9-5 engines. Better to put them in cars than leaving them in a warehouse!

    With the 9-3, I’d really love a new hatch no longer that a 99 hatch, but perhaps a shade wider. A car like that built with a modern transverse engine and gearbox with modern space efficiency standards, would be great. That’s what I was hoping for the 9-1, but a different direction was taken.

    I think they should drop the V6 for the next 9-3 and introduce a new 2.3 or 2.4 litre turbo 4 for the top viggen style models. This engine should debut in the new 9-5 as the base engine.

    Speaking of the 9-5. it should also gain a bigger V6 turbo option for top models. I don’t mean 3.6 litres like Holden uses, but a 3.2 would be good. The new 9-3 should span from a ‘real’ 1.8 litre LPT to the top model 2.4 high output turbo, plus diesel and hybrid options. The 9-1 should range from 1.4 to 2.0 litre turbo motors plus diesel/hybrids.

  30. BaRa: Are you sure that the current Astra and 9-3 share the same platform? I’m quite sure that the Astra uses the Delta platform, while 9-3 uses Epsilon..

  31. (BaRa, check your ‘facts’.)

    To me, a big, big mistake. One Saab cannot afford anymore.

    That car could be 9-1 sedan or 9-2, not 9-3.

  32. Good news yes, but to me GM and Saab seems to be very indecisive and it was this behaviour that delayed the new 9-5 for years. I really hope this is the definite decision on the 9-3.

  33. Don’t blame the car, I blame the idea/concept.

    I consider that is not a good idea, if Saab want to be competitive again. I have a 9-3ss and I love it. For sure if I need or in my family when we need to change the Audi A3 (1.8T 2000), our first selection will be the 9-1. As a small car.

    As I said in other comments, BMW take the 3 series and do some synergies for the development of the 1 series(up to down), and stretched the rest for the requirements of the catefory. Audi do similar things between the A5 and A4, and there a lot of examples with synergies between models of the same brand.

    I see some complexity in the range of the future architectures for Saab. And its a big disapointing again, the delays of the new 9-3, its incredible when Opel is ready for launch the new Insignia(EpsilonII, Vectra successor), Saab is in a situation were GM/Saab Managers are trying to discover what platform is going to develop, instead of that the same EpsilonII it was to be used by Cadillac in the future BLS, it will have its own development of RWD premium platform for sedan. This is a joke??

    Saab during the last 10-15 years suffer for a lack of competitiveness, thanks to internal fights, between Saab and GM Managements and the lack of interest from Wallenberg family, that gived to the brand an unclear strategy, lack of new products, and finally when GM decided to take care of the situation, push the “clear button” and begin from 0, I was confident that fianlly saab is going to gave the respect that needs. The Automotive sector is moving to many ideas that Saab always defend, and the result is that Trollhattan has a lot of Engineering work, after GM decided to reduce in 400(aprox) engineers that center with the Viggen program and now they need it to do the Engineering work that need all GM group because Saab it has a lot of experience in those issues.

    The 9-3ss is taking the same way as the 9-5, over 10 years. Lets be realistic, with the global crisis or resources(commodities, money….), lack of credit capacity, excess of offer and lack of demand. This is a great atmosphere(ironically) to launch a new product and many brands are taking in consideration to increase the life cycle of its products.

    I am really optimistic about Saab and now that is integrated in GM instead of the next 5-6 years they are going to be hard for the global economy. But this idea it doesn’t help to Saab.

    My idea is to buy Saabs until I am dead, with thay in mind……xDDDD

    Many people was critic with the 9-3ss and since the begining I defended the model. I have one and I love it, like the 9000 v6, the 900cabrio(1992) i purchase recently and the 9-5 2.3t(1999) that my father had until the last year. The 9-3 its one of the most enjoyable cars I ever owned at the moment.


  34. Here is the obvious solution: build the new 9-3 on the outgoing 9-5′s platform!

    This means that the new 9-3 will arrive sooner, be almost exactly the same size as the existing 9-3, safer, and handle better. R&D and retooling costs would be minimal as well.

    The 9-1 and 9-2 will be Delta II based hatches/sedans, respectively, and the new 9-5 can be an A-8 sized Opel that nobody will buy because it is out of touch with the market.

    That way everybody’s happy, right?

    PS: I’m joking now, but I think that GM should have done this in 2003 instead of releasing the Epsilon 9-3.

  35. A very bad idea this is.
    Yes, I do like the idea to build the new 9-3 in Trollhättan. But no a Delta based car is not the premium car that can compete withe Audi A4, Mercedes C or BMW 3-series.
    Or will Delta II have the possibilities of:
    A 4-link front wheel suspension?
    A 5-link rear suspension? Current Astra has the same rear suspension as the NG900/old 9-3.
    Four wheel drive?
    V6 engine (both gasoline and diesel)?
    What I am also worried about is the possibility that the Delta II architecture will use smaller and or cheaper components than necessary for the vehicle class.
    Well, my next car isn’t due before jan. 2014, so I will have plenty of time to look for an alternative.

  36. I´m sure we shouldn´t be pesimistic. The Delta II platform is sure to be adaptable for larger engines, longer wheelbase aswell as XWD. The size of the NG9-3 probably will be close to todays version while the 9-1 will use the same wheelbase as the Astra.
    And somebody here tended to think that the next generation 9-5 were to compete with the next gen A4 and 3-series.. Are you for real man? Ofcourse it wont. The NG9-5 is said to be bigger than todays 9-5 which would make it somewhat larger than the Insignia and in the same size as the A6 and E-klass which is a wee bit bigger than the 5-series.

    Have fait friends.. It will all be good in the end.

  37. With gasoline prices going up to levels that will likely become the new norm, this Delta decision sounds like a wise one. SAAB’s right-sizing decisions are more important than ever!

  38. Bernard: I’m glad you’re only joking, because I don’t think the press would give the next 9-3 great reviews if they found out it was based on the Opel Vectra B from ’95 and onwards, which the current 9-5 chassis is based on.

    After having read over these comments a couple of times, I find it a bit strange that most of us are so worried that GM/Saab will screw everything up. I guess it will all be OK in the end ;)

  39. Don’t panic, the platform is scaleable to larger and smaller vehicles as Swade reported last week-better some decision, now full speed to get it into MY2011 latest!

  40. The size is in your mind, not in the cars.

    When it comes to measurements that matters (interior size) the current 9-3 is actually SMALLER than the current Astra in several places, for example back seat legroom and all measurements in the wagon boot.

    So if the current 9-3 is big enough, the next 9-3 will be big enough.

    And if Volvo S40/V50 doesn’t feel premium enough inside, it’s not because of the Ford parts, but because of the Volvo parts. All that you touch is Volvo.

  41. I don’t understand why people are passing judgement so quickly here. We currently know nothing about this next-gen 9-3, except that it will be built on the new Delta II platform. If Saab is actually trying to make this a true sport sedan, maybe they are looking for a car they can market more between the BMW1 and 3 series and focus more on it’s drivng characteristics. Maybe in this new 9-3 model we will see a coupe version who knows. Even the current 9-3 is cramped for space due to lack of space consolidation. Don’t get me wrong, I love my car, but can’t help to think that the car would have more room if the dimensions of the car were better preportioned. The hood of the 9-3 is so long that people automatically think that it’s a 6 cyl car. They are righto an extent. It’s just a 4cyl engine, it shouldn’t take up that much room. Hopefull this will be something that Saab focus on to increase cabin space in the future.

  42. I see this as an encouraging move away from “model creep” — The idea that cars need to get bigger as they get better. Today’s Nissan Altima is the size of yesterday’s Maxima. Do we really need a 9-3 that’s the size of a 9-5 and a 9-5 the size of a… Cadillac Eldorado?

  43. I might have jumped the trigger a bit, the cars we see today started development many years ago, before the “enviromental wave” kicked in for real, and before the fuel prices started to rise in the US (In my opinion, the fuel prices “over there” are still ridiculously low compared to Scandinavia- we’re talking about $2.30/litre and above).

    But having seen the A4 in it’s respectively grand dimensions, I find it hard that a much smaller 9-3 will be able to compete against it. It would have to be much more fuel economical and agile, in addition to having a more ‘premium’ cabin than it has now.

  44. I would think if 9-3 was made hatchback only built on delta and 9-4 or 5 coupe and sedan on EII and extended EII. Saab wouldn’t have the problems they have now.throw it a few niche products like a hot hatch and small covert. or Rav 4 sized Cuv.They could be produced in countries which have the biggest demand for such vehicles or matched up with other Gm brands to save on R&D.IE: if Opel makes sedan on EII ,Saab could make coupe.or Buick coupe from extended E2 Saab have platform is already going to 4 plants in different regions.these plant can make a series of vehicles for Gm brands not just brand specific.

  45. I find it hard that a much smaller 9-3 will be able to compete against it.(A4)

    true don’t don’t think that Gm’s goal with 9-3 believe it’s to compete with A3.

    unless they can extend delta which i don’t think it can be.

  46. The 5 door A3 is less than 4300mm and the 3 door even shorter. That’s definitlely 9-1 territory. The smallest the next 9-3 might shrink to (if it shrinks?) would probably be around 4550mm. I can remember when the C900 had enough room for everyone. It had a long nose, big bumpers and relatively poor space utilization (by today’s standards) and ran out to 4740mm. It shrank a bit from 1987 with the more compact bumpers. Has everyone got bigger and fatter in the last 20 years?

    The new Audi A4 is only 30mm shorter than an A6. Does that mean the next A6 has to grow by a corresponding amount? This whole thing is getting stupid!

    If the 9-3 isn’t big enough buy a 9-5. If that’s still too small wait for the MY2010 9-5.

  47. didnt gm say about the 9-x that its what to expect from a small car from gm for saab? how do we not know that the 9-x has the same face and everything for the new 9-3?

  48. Damn, all those platform names. I always have that problem. I never manage to keep the names in my head. The thing I hang on to is that the 9-3 uses the same platform as “that little one from Opel”. That’s the Astra, right? Wroooong. The thing you’re referring to is the Vectra. Stupid me! Thanks for getting me straight guys!

    Nervertheless, I think we cannot judge the quality of the future 9-3 based on a platform name. You can build a great car on a crappy platform and vice versa. Granted, it’s easier to build a great car on a great platform, but I don’t know why the “Delta II” would be worse than any of the “larger” platforms? But perhaps you people have some info on that to educate me even further ;-)

  49. Just wondering; those of you upset with this decision, what platform did you expect or hope for? Same as the coming 9-5?? I´m confused.

  50. Isn’t the next BLS going to be built on a rear drive platform? Perhaps GM are thinking about this too, and will built the 9-3 on the same platform?

    If it is Delta II, then I don’t think size will be much of an issue. The way I’ve seen things with the new platforms is that they are very configurable, and can be fitted to various lengths of chassis design.

  51. BaRa,
    “The thing I hang on to is that the 9-3 uses the same platform as “that little one from Opel”.”

    Well, if you call one of the biggest car in the class “that little one”, you’re right ;) I’m pretty sure the Vectra is bigger than the 9-5, anyway.
    (And again, I’m referring to the inside of the car since I seldom ride on the outside of cars)

  52. What platform is the Corsa on?
    Might we see a Saab off that ?, even if just a 3 door hatch, convert and Xwd.

    I just need a nice replacement for my GM900SE.

  53. Jorgen: No Saab is scheduled for the Corsa’s platform. It would probably be a Saab 9-0.5 if it was to happen. Best to wait for a new Astra sized 9-1 hatch, or wait a bit longer for the next 9-3 which could also come in hatch.

  54. The is one signal that is very clear in this decision and many other on the Automotive Sector. Now is the begining of the decadence of the sector and the Automobile and is the begining of the way that the car is becoming a “commoditie”, a computer, were the requirements of reducing consumption, costs and standarization is transforming the car a commoditie, like the computers.

    Also that we are facing a resources crisis, capital, commodities, water and other resources are limited and the search of the higher efficiency is the key, everything that is unnecessary will be eliminated. The car will be more rational than passion.

    And with this decision its a good probe of that. The search of a smaller, lighter architecture to save costs, emissions and so, instead of looking for the best performer in technical matters.


  55. I found this info pertaining to the new Delta platform on the website “All cars All the time” If what they are saying is true and all these cars do end up being derived from the same base. Then we have nothing to worry about for our beloved Next-gen 9-3 then. This new platform should prove to be an adaptable and expandible one for the forseeable future>>

    Automotive News cites a number of vehicles projected to be spawned from Delta II:

    Chevrolet Volt
    Minivan-like vehicle for Chevrolet in 2009
    Seven passenger minivan that will replace the Opel Zafira
    All-new Saturn Astra in 2009 or 2010
    Daewoo-badged model for South Korea
    Chevrolet for Europe
    Premium Buick for China
    Unnamed models for Africa and South America
    Possible Saab model

    Chevrolet really doesn’t like the “minivan-like” moniker, describing its future vehicle as being more crossover/sporty in nature. Certainly the minivan sector’s spiral of death has something to due with GM’s sensitivity. As for the Saturn Astra, I really get concerned with quotes such as this one from vehicle line director Peter Mertens

    “Regional brands and models will be differentiated by powertrains, safety features, standard equipment and chassis tuning. If you drive them next to each other, you will certainly see there is a difference in chassis performance between an Opel and a Chevy or between a Buick and a Chevy. Each is engineered to compete against very specific competitors.”

  56. I repost this one because I’m not sure everybody read it. From a Swedish newspaper, they are stating that 9-3 will come in four forms sedan kombi, cabrio and as a hatch (called maybe 9-2 because it will be a bitt smaller)…

    The new car from Trollhättan is an old classic in new form
    The Saab 9-1, 9-2 or 9-3 what kind of car is to be produced in Trollhättan from 2011. Aftonbladet (Swedish sort of newspaper, tabloid) reveals that the new 9-3 and 9-2 is virtually the same car. The 9-2 is a hatch back and the only thing to differ from the 9-3 is the rear end.

    When Trollhättan lost the battle in 2005 for the future 9-3 and 9-5 things were dark in Trollhättan. GM promised that the company would remain as a niche manufactory didn’t give much comfort. Many workers would be unemployed and Saab would be gone from Sweden. But soon Aftonbladet could reveal (yeah right) that Saab developed a new smaller car that was supposed to be manufactured in Trollhättan. The factory was saved and plans were made for 40 000 small Saabs and capacity should be filled with its sibling Opel Astra.

    This winter things changed, the talk about global warming gave GM cold feet. The cars consumed too much fuel they were too big and heavy. Downsizing and scale down got important and someone come to the conclusion that the future 9-3 should be smaller and based on the lighter architecture that is found in the future smaller Saab. The 9-3 is moving to Trollhättan and Aftonbladet can reveal that the future 9-3 and the smaller Saab is virtually the same car.
    9-3 will be 4-doors sedan, cabriolet and a kombi. The 9-2 will be a hatchback about half meter shorter than the 9-3.

    The result is that the 9-3 shrinks a bit and the 9-2 gains a couple of centimetres and would be a bit bigger than Golf and Astra. Production of the 9-2 and Astra begins in 2011 and the 9-3 follows the next year.

    A cheer of joy in Trollhättan but things in Rüsselsheim is dark. They were sure of three new models. Two models will disappear from production in Rüsselsheim and about 100 000 cars per year. You can count on big protest from the German union if this is realised. What happens to the 9-1? The name and car will have to wait for a new smaller car.

  57. Look at the wheelbase:
    1. Astra 5door: 261 cm
    2. Astra Wagon: 270 cm
    3. SAAB 9-5: 270 cm
    4. SAAB 9-3: 267 cm
    Astra Wagon has the same wheelbase as the current 9-5. Will the Delta 2 become smaller? I doubt it. Just more flexible! Will the next 9-3 become smaller? I doubt it. It will have more space inside though! The Astra is almost the same size as the current 9-3. Vectra (Insignia) is growing in size, next 9-5 will be much bigger. Next gen Astra will probably have more space and be wider, maybe not longer, but wider. That’s probably what will happen to the 9-3 based on Delta 2. Not longer, but wider to allow more space inside.
    Next 9-5 will be about 490 cm, 9-3 about 460 cm and new 9-1 about 430 cm. There you have it!

  58. How much I don’t know i never trust Aftonbladet but Robert Collin has been correct before when it comes to information from Saab and its plant.

  59. sounds great, as long as they make a 3dr hatch and sedans with small displacements no bigger than 2.0T

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