Could Saab Be Making A Dramatic Return To The Auto Industry?
The cautionary tale that is Saab still serves as a reminder to everyone in the auto industry about the fickle nature of the business. The once proud Swedish automaker closed shop in 2010 and has never been heard from since. But a new report from Swedish newspaper SvD Naringsliv could point to the return of the Saab name in the industry. The only caveat is it’s not going to be the same Saab that folded six years ago; it’s the aviation and defense company Saab Group, the same firm that split from the automaker in 1990 after General Motors bought the latter.
See, as much as Saab the automaker was a failure since the brand split, the Saab Group has thrived as a military contractor, developing aircrafts, missiles, computer software, and radar systems. The company’s expertise in these respective fields is a big reason why the company is looking at making a push to enter the auto industry and have the success its old partner failed to get on a consistent basis.
Don’t expect this Saab to start building cars anytime soon though because the company is specifically looking into autonomous driving technology with the idea that it could adapt its “Gripen E” radar to self-driving cars once that market has matured into something that could revolutionize the auto industry. According to Saab, Gripen E is a revolutionary radar system that can handle information more than the conventional systems that are being developed by automakers. The software’s capability is largely tied into its circuits being made from Galliu nitride, which can handle extremely high power loads, something that’s going to be expected for radars that will be used by self-driving cars in the future.
Saab’s interest isn’t just being thrown around as a possibility; it’s actually already had discussions with a number of European automakers about a possible venture down the road. CEO Hakan Buskhe also said that it’s already making preparations to start a new company by the first quarter of 2017, one whose sole purpose would be to assemble the software solutions it needs to make as it begins to make its move towards the auto industry.
Think of this new development anyway you can. The point is that the Saab company that saw its business thrive is banking on being a major player in the rapidly evolving self-driving car business. Only time will tell if it’s going to succeed, and that “success” will be largely tied into how self-driving technology evolves. But it is nice to see the words “Saab” and “cars” being mentioned in the same sentence again. It’s been a while.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
We all knew that the Saab deal was done, in principle, but all of the final details were still being hammered out. A big sticking point was the fact that Saab’s new owner, NEVS, wanted the rights to use the “Saab” name, but needed approval from Saab AB.
As expected, that is now all in the past, as NEVS and Saab AB have reached an agreement to allow NEVS licensed usage of the famed name. However, NEVS was not able to procure a license to use the half-lion, half-bird Griffin emblem that Saab was also famous for. This means all new Saab vehicles will either have a new emblem or just a decal that reads “Saab.”
A strange development in this that has almost fallen through the cracks is the fact that NEVS has also secured the intellectual property rights to the aborted Phoenix platform. The odd thing about that is that Youngman just entered a deal with Spyker to manufacture a car based on the Phoenix platform, which Youngman purchased the license to use back when Saab first went under. This means that there may be two cars running around in China bearing almost identical styles, but different names and completely different drivetrains. Strange...
What would be even more odd in this dysfunctional triangle would be if NEVS contracts Spyker and Youngman to manufacture the Phoenix to attempt to save a little production cost. That’s highly unlikely of a situation, as NEVS also secured all of Saab’s tools and its extremely high-tech Trollhattan plant and testing labs.
Get your popcorn ready for this one, we smell a lawsuit coming up at some point...
Click past the jump to read NEVS’s press release.
Just when we thought that the Saab saga was reaching its closure, a new wrench gets thrown into the mix. When NEVS purchased Saab’s assets a little while ago, we were under the impression that this sale included the rights to the “Saab” name and logo. According to reports coming out now, this is not the case.
Apparently, the sale of Saab only covered the failed Swedish automaker’s physical assets. The truck-building company, Scania, and Saab AB still own the rights to the Logo and the “Saab” name. For NEVS to legally use the name, both Scania and Saab AB will need to sign off on the usage, and the companies are reportedly in talks about how to handle this.
We would assume that Scania has no issues at all and just wants a piece of that Saab resurrection pie. Saab AB, on the other hand, still runs Saab’s line of parts, which was not included in the bankruptcy. Saab AB could benefit by using this opportunity to negotiate their way into new dealerships when NEVS starts rolling out new electric-powered Saabs. Saab AB also has to consider protecting its brand image, and it NEVS completely botches this revival, it will make Saab AB look bad as well.
We’re confident that a deal will be struck between the three companies to allow NEVS the rights to the name and logo, but Saab AB will likely have a heavy hand in how the name is used.
As always, we’ll keep you updated as additional information comes to the surface on this seemingly endless Saab saga.
few days ago, we let you know that several sources were reporting that bankrupt Swedish automaker, Saab, was finally sold to Hong Kong-based, Sweden-registered renewable energy company, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS). This in turn booted Youngman out of the bidding war for the third time, but we had not yet seen any official reports. Well, we now have all something official.
NEVS’ boss, Karl Johan Jiang (interesting mixture of names) announced at a news conference that NEVS indeed won the folded automaker and that NEVS will indeed use the “Saab” name on its cars. NEVS was awarded the Saab factory, its tooling company and the 9-3’s architecture, which is odd, as BAIC purchased the intellectual rights to the 9-3 several months ago. We assume that BAIC got the drivetrain rights and Saab retained the underpinnings and body.
NEVS also let us know that we will not be without a new Saab vehicle on the road for much longer, as NEVS is currently developing an EV car based on the 9-3’s architecture that it was awarded and that car should be released in the next 18 months. Sales will start in China, then eventually move worldwide.
Unfortunately, NEVS’ bid did not include the 9-4x or 9-5 rights, so other than the 9-3, Saab will be starting all over again with brand new models, if it ever gets off of the ground. Given the Saab 9-3’s somewhat sporty nature, we expect to see a higher performance EV made of it. It definitely won’t be a screamer, like the Tesla Model S, but also not as slow as a Nissan Leaf.
There should be loads more information coming down the pike in the next 18 months, and we will update you as often as we can. Until then, congratulations to NEVS and the “Saab” name for making it through this long saga.
Back in 2009, we reported that little-known Chinese car manufacturer Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd., which fortunately goes by the acronym BAIC, officially purchased the intellectual rights to the Saab 9-3 and 9-5. It was a rather odd transaction, to say the least, as few people knew what BAIC’s plans were with these rights.
Well, BAIC has officially come forward to let us all know the plan. There are two BAIC cars making their debuts at the Beijing Auto Show, which opens to the press on April 23rd and the general public on the 27th, one of which we know is based on the Saab 9-3.
The Saab 9-3-based model is dubbed the C70, but that is about where our knowledge stops, as BAIC has kept a pretty tight lid on the happenings on at their office. We can speculate that the C70 will feature a Saab engine, likely the 210-horsepower 2.0-liter used in the final 9-3.
The larger BAIC C80K is the most likely home for the high-output Saab V-6 from the defunct 9-5. This model has a little more info available, as BAIC teased us with a few images of the upcoming vehicle. From what we can tell from its outside, this vehicle appears to be designed to compete with the likes of BMW, Mercedes, and maybe even Bentley, but that 3.0-liter V-6 wouldn’t hold a candle to those makes. This makes it a possibility that the C80K’s engine is an in-house build.
Really cool, yet potentially dangerous, features on the C80K are the B-pillar-less suicide doors. This looks really cool, by giving one wide open entry with both doors open, but could potentially weaken the structural integrity significantly. We also know that the C80k will measure in at 205 inches long and 75 inches wide.
That’s about all we know right now about these new BAIC models, except that they will only be available in China. We will pass along more details as they come along.
By now we know that cars of the future will look nothing like the floating spheres featured on our favorite Jetsons episodes. With technology booming and people striving to create the next best thing, it’’s no wonder that the creative minds of the world are banging their heads against the walls trying to push the envelope with the vehicles of tomorrow. One such creative mind that may have just banged his head one too many times is Korean design student, Youngho Jong. Jong has put together a design for a 2025 Saab Concept that combines the elements of nature and human psychology fit to warn other vehicles of any impending danger.
The 2025 Advanced Warning System Vehicle concept is a four door saloon that comes with various warning signals to alert other drivers when he vehicle is getting too close or is driving recklessly. Jong’s inspiration for this concept came after doing some research and discovering that 50% of vehicle accidents are caused by carelessness, excessive speed, and tailgating. Keeping this in mind, Jong designed this sports sedan to feature amber hazard lights on the front, back, and side to warn the other vehicles that the car is too close. Another warning that the car may be coming too close are the patches of the vehicle’s body darkening upon sensing that another car is near. The coolest part of this concept is the body that is made of a soft, impact absorbing material that will decrease pedestrian injuries and vehicle damage upon impact.
They say that there is a thin line between genius and insanity, and this guy is doing the Lambada on it, but then again, a lot of people thought Christopher Columbus was crazy when he said the Earth was round.
Saab and BMW are continuing their "I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine" partnership on the next 9-2 supermini due out in 2012 by announcing that they will also be borrowing BMW’s latest front-drive platform. This news comes shortly after the two companies announced that the new 9-2 would be powered by a BMW sourced engine allowing BMW to reduce costs on their ever popular Mini which carries this same engine.
The sharing doesn’t end there either as Saab boss Victor Muller said that the next 9-2 might share technologies with the future 9-3: "We’re in constant dialogue with a number of players to share the [9-3] technology," he said. "There are parties that are interested in talking about possible licensing of the technology."
Expect the new Saab 9-2 to be unveiled sometime in 2012 and to be powered by a modified 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. The new model will compete with models like the Audi A1.
Spyker, the company that purchased Saab from General Motors, has released an official statement confirming talks with BMW about component sharing. These talks, which we heard about back in June, were originally thought to benefit the new 9-2 first, but it seems the larger 9-3 will get the first taste of BMW’s goodies.
An all-new BMW-sourced motor that will produce around 220 horsepower, according to Bloomberg, could power the new 9-3 schedule to be released by 2012. The report also stated that a BMW engine might find its way into the 9-5.
Though the 9-3 will be the first to receive the BMW treatment, we shouldn’t rule out the 9-2. Saab hopes to launch the teardrop shaped car by 2014 if it can find a partner. The Mini Countryman’s underpinnings might be used on the 9-2, as well as some small displacement motors from BMW.
Check out Spyker’s brief statement after the jump.
In 2008, there was a little concept by the name of the Saab 9-4X BioPower that was introduced at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. Two years later, Saab has finished polishing off the production version and will be revealing the second all-new model to be launched under the Spyker ownership at the Los Angeles Motor Show in mid-November.
The 9-4X will be built on an all new platform called the Theta Premium that mixes components from GM’s Theta and Epsilon 2 platforms. It will find itself with its own exterior and interior stylings, but will have a dashboard design that will be similar to the new 9-5. The 9-4X will be offered with a 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 petrol engine as the sole engine, but Saab is working on a diesel option for the future. The concept was powered by a four-cylinder, 2.0-liter BioPower turbo engine that delivered 300 HP and strong torque of 295 lb.-ft. With this engine, Saab wanted to demonstrate its commitment to “rightsizing” – achieving sufficient levels of performance with a smaller, more efficient engine.
Sales in the USA will begin in late 2011.
With all of the commotion surrounding the Saab 9-5, it’s no wonder that people have left the 9-3 to sit out in the dust, but new details have surfaced about Saab’s entry-level model. Apparently, a very credible source, who has seen the sedan in the past six weeks, can attest to several changes that are taking place with the 2011 (and not 2012 as originally projected) 9-3. The 9-3 is scheduled to make its appearance at the end of August with sales beginning sometime in October.
The new generation 9-3 will use the same techniques as the new 9-5 and the design will be inspired by the Saab Aero-X concept which is a pretty interesting and innovative concept in its own regard. The exterior of the 2011 Saab 9-3 will see the most changes during this minor refresh. The sedan will get a new front fascia with customers being able to choose from “Vector Griffin” and “Griffin Aero”. The bumpers will also be slightly different than the current line and a hockeystick chromestripe will appear around the windows. The headlamps will get the same design as in the 9-5 and the 19” turbine wheels will also be borrowed from the 9-5. The final change will come in the exterior paint finishes. Snow Silver will have to see the door as Javabrown and Diamond Silver get added to the lineup.
In terms of engines, Saab will be adding the Turbo4 and TID4 to the current lineup. There will also be a 2.0 DI engine producing either 163 or 220hp and three diesel variants ranging from 130, 160, and 180hp.
Competition for the 9-3 is said to be the Mercedes SLK, the Audi A3 Cabrio, theBMW 5 series Gran Turismo, the Subaru Impreza WRX, and the Cadillac CTS Sportwagon.
That’s all for today, folks, but we’ll get back with more details as soon as we get them.
The new Saab 9-5 is already on sale and it stands a great chance at becoming a very successful model; after all not everyone can afford to buy a car from Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. It stands an even better chance considering that the Volvo S80 has lost its touch and Cadillac is a brand made more for the American market.
The Saab 9-5 sedan version will soon be joined by a station-wagon version which was something to be expected, but what if Saab also offered the 9-5 in a CC (Combi-Coupe) version? A return of the legendary 5-door Saab 99 from 1978? This will be Saab’s answer to models like the Audi A5/A7 Sportback, the BMW 5-Series GT, and, while we are ticking models off, the Citroën C6. Although an interesting idea, it will not be one that will be made into a production version before 2013-2014.
The Saab 99 Combi Coupe arrived on the US market in 1974. It was powered by a 2.0 liter four-cylinder longitudinally mounted engine that delivered a total of 100 HP and was mated to a four-speed gearbox. The car remained in production until 1978. We can’t wait to see the new version when it hits the floor.
The Saab 9-4X BioPower was unveiled at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show and although it created quite a stir before it was unveiled, consumers left the concept behind without as much as a glance backward. Now, two years after the concept was laid out on the show floor, Saab has announced that a production version will be unveiled by the end of this year.
The 9-4X will be offered with a 2.8-liter V6 Turbo Engine with 300 HP at 5,300 rpm and Sentronic six-speed automatic with transmission and paddle shifting at launch. A 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder delivering 220 HP will be added at a later date.
The concept was powered by a four-cylinder, 2.0-liter BioPower turbo engine that delivered 300 HP and strong torque of 295 lb.-ft. With this engine, Saab wanted to demonstrate its commitment to “rightsizing” – achieving sufficient levels of performance with a smaller, more efficient engine.
Saab has also announced that an exciting lineup of vehicles are planned to hit the US market over the next year: an all-newSaab 9-3X premium crossover, the 9-3 sport sedan, 9-3 sportCombi, and the 9-3 convertible, as well as the all-new 9-5 sedan.
If the reports linking car designer extraordinaire Jason Castriota to Saab pushes through, then you gotta give up for the auto manufacturer; they scored a big coup on this one.
Castriota, the brilliant car designer who licked his chops and fine-tuned his skills while working for some of the most legendary automotive design houses in the world in the form of Stile Bertone and Pininfarina, has been responsible for some of the most out-of-this-world designs we’ve ever seen, including the Bertone Mantide and the Ferrari P4/5. Now, Castriota is embarking on yet another challenge as he begins his tenure as the head designer for Saab.
As his first assignment, Castriota will be tasked to come up with a new design for what is expected to be the next-generation Saab 9-3, a model that the Swedish brand is looking to integrate into a higher market segment where it would compete with a number of market mainstays including the Audi A4 and the BMW 3-Series.
Continued after the jump
Saab will unveil the new generation 9-3 in late 2012. Built on an all-new platform (known internally as the "Phoenix Architecture"), the new model will also get a hatchback version reminiscent of the classic 900 and a cabriolet version. The new Saab 93 will have as main competitor the Audi A3 and will be priced at £18,000 (around $26,000 at the current rates).
The new model will take its design inspiration from the new 9-5 sedan, but it will also get an aerospace-influenced touch. On the interior it will feature the same wrap-around dashboard theme, but with a minimal look in comparison to the Saab 9-5.
There are rumors saying that Saab has signed a contract with BMW to supply BMW-derived diesel and petrol engines, including the new 184bhp 1.6-litre, twin-scroll turbo Cooper S engine and the 112bhp 1.6-liter diesel engine used in the Countryman. The new engines will be coupled to an all-new six-speed manual gearbox and a four-wheel drive system.