By on December 28, 2009

(courtesy:saabsunited)

Saabsunited ran a recent piece by Sweden’s Dagensindustrie through Google Translate, and came out with a possible (and very old-GM) outcome for the new Epsilon II-based Saab 9-5:

According to Dagens Industri’s sources, GM is planning to use the new Saab 9-5: an own model program, including a future Buick in the U.S.. GM is also in a letter to Saab’s sub-contractors have estimated the time of closure of Saab to five years.

There are sources in Saab Automobile in the Dagens Industri – DI – indicates that GM now see positive opportunities to closure of Saab. By making use of Saab’s technology, tools and production equipment for GM use the new 9-5: an – that would be launched in the spring – to a future Buick in the U.S..

In the GM is also talk of exploiting Saab technology for the production of a new premium car for Opel, “says DI’s sources. It would then be about the reopening of the closed trial with an Opel Senator in Europe.

GM clearly has to do something with the 9-5. The General’s latest global mid-size platform (Epsilon II) has been a sticking point in all the failed Saab rescue deals, as the RenCen has refused to let the architecture fall into the hands of Chinese or Russian firms. Pulling the 9-5 out of the smoldering remains of Saab might keep the platform safe from reverse-engineering, but it also torpedoes any chance of getting real money for the Swedish division. Using Saab’s development of the EpsiII in a different division could help pull a little money out of Saab’s cash whirlpool, but only if there’s a possible use for it.

Which there isn’t. Epsilon II is already represented in nearly all of GM’s brands, especially the 9-5′s rumored inheritor, Buick. In fact Buick will soon be offering two versions of the platform, the LaCrosse and the Opel Insignia-rebadge Regal. With these models sandwiched between the Malibu and Cadillac’s forthcoming EpsiII-based XTS “flagship,” Buick needs another EpsiII sedan like it needs a hole in the head. Opel might be able to add a little volume with a 9-5 rebadge, as its only mid-size offering is the somewhat cramped Insignia, but such a move would only deepen Opel’s identity crisis. On the other hand, Saab has already sunk money into the 9-5′s development. If GM isn’t going to sell it for fear of losing its technological advantage, a rebadge may be the only way to recoup some of that development cost. Old habits can be so easy to fall back into.

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19 Comments on “Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: GM To Rebadge Saab 9-5?...”


  • avatar
    mjz

    They’ll slap a new grill on it and presto, a new Buick flagship has arrived. Just don’t call it the Lucerne, please! Also, you just know that the 9-4x will become a new Buick CUV to replace the stillborn Vuick (Saturn Vue) that Buick was going to introduce. I suppose it makes sense, they’ve got these new Saab models ready to launch and Buick could certainly use the additional products.

  • avatar

    forget Saab. Buick needs a full size Roadmaster sedan with a Wildcat coupe variant. bad enough they killed the LeSabre nameplate, went on a Rendezvous tangient, and are now pursuing a small car strategy. Buicks are supposed to BE BIG! crossovers are ok but we got into trouble trying to do SUVs and Vans. Buicks are substantial CARS, distinctive, powerful and mature, understated in their elegance. they should be marketed in a very simplistic and aspirational manner.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Buicks are substantial CARS, distinctive, powerful and mature, understated in their elegance. they should be marketed in a very simplistic and aspirational manner.

       
      OH! You mean like Buick does in China?

  • avatar
    mjz

    Buickman:

    Unless Saudi Arabia becomes the 51st state, the days of those big RWD boats are long gone. Buick has to develop an image as a contemporary luxury choice. The 9-5 and 9-4x could fit nicely into a modern Buick model line-up.

  • avatar
    krazykarguy

    Does anyone else find humor that the source of this information is coming from a DI?
    Saab? DI? Direct Ignition cassette (coil pack that failed all the time and stranded turbo Saabs from coast to coast)?

  • avatar

    to hell with China and Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Belize, I’m talking about America. listen to your friendly Buickman, and we will retake what is rightfully ours. trouble has been the American public won’t go for less than what they desire. our job is to identify and fill that desire.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Make it a GMC!!!  Just kidding.  The current 9-5 retails for $40K (DTS-STS-XTS territory).  That’s a stretch for a Buick sedan.  Especially since the new 9-5 has the same wheelbase as the 2010 Lacrosse.  Between the additional expense of having to design new front and rear clips and a whole new interior that says “Buick” not “Saab” (ignition key placement, etc) PLUS not being able to command a premium price in great enough volumes as a Buick, GM might as well just focus on getting the XTS to market.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    ” … but it also torpedoes any chance of getting real money for the Swedish division.”
    Nobody has offered “real money” for Saab, with or without the new 9-5.
     

  • avatar
    ekay

    1. Note to Editorial Staff: It’s not a rebadge if the vehicle never was sold as a Saab!
    2. Why should GM give this car away? I have no idea what should be done with it (Opel Senator actually sounds about right)…but handing over your latest tech to the Chinese (that’s shared with your Buick brand) does seem like a dumb thing to do, IMHO.

  • avatar
    mjz

    getacargetacheck:

    The 9-5 rebadged as a Buick would no doubt sell in higher volume than if marketed as a Saab, particularly if they sell it in China as well. A $40,000 Buick isn’t such a stretch, as the top-line LaCrosse models reach that level now when optioned up.

  • avatar
    snabster

    GM spent some serious cash earlier this year moving to tooling to Sweden from Germany.  Would they keep it in Sweden or move it to back to Germany? The 9-5 looks like an excellent car.  Would having it be made in Sweden by trolls keep SAAB owners from violently attacking it?  Or would there be  a aftermarket to replace the grill and lights with fake Swedish ones?

  • avatar
    camoeto

    This looks like a perfect fit to be rebadged as a Saturn. Wait a second… Nevermind…

    Seriously though, this actually looks like a really nice car. It would be a shame if GM couldn’t find a fit for it. I like it much better than the other Epsilon II variants.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    “….substantial CARS, distinctive, powerful and mature, understated in their elegance. they should be marketed in a very simplistic and aspirational manner….”
     
    Sounds like Lexus to me.. Or even a Hyndai Genesis.
     
    Ok, that was kind of a cheap shot.  Accurate, but cheap.  And at the end of the sales day isn’t that kind of the problem with all the domestic ‘luxury’ cars?

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    I can see this going to Holden too. Even a Canada only platform. GM’s done that before.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    If GM absolutely MUST use the new 9-5, I say give it a new front fascia, some interior tweaks, and make it the new Impala. After all, GM was going to base the new Impala on the long-wheelbase Epsilon II anyway. They’ll make their money back on volume, since they can no longer make it back on “premium” price. Buick DOES NOT NEED a new Ep. II model to cannibalize its other offerings.

    On a somewhat related note: Why is GM using the Ep. II for a Caddy flagship? What a joke. Why can’t they stretch the Zeta platform or even use the stretched platform currently used in the China-market STS? Ep. II will keep Caddy in the also-ran column for another cycle. Typical.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Simple solution:
     
    Change nothing about this car.  Simply label it SAAB by Cadillac or Buick and sell them to the remaining loyalists out there.
    There was previously an Opel GT sold by Buick, as well as the Cimarron by Cadillac.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    GM clearly has to do something with the 9-5.
     
    No, they don’t.  This kind of accounting shell game works on paper, but playing “amortize the platform” only works when the results aren’t stealing sales from each other.   You waited too long, you flubbed the division and your strategy is non-existent: cut your losses and consign the car to the dustbin of lost opportunities.
     
    The 9-5-as-Buick is a terrible idea.  Buick already has two cars that are really close in size, price and value (the Lacrosse and Lucerne) and they’re about to add a third (the Regal) overlaps the Lacrosse.  Oh, and they’re threatening to make an Astra, which is only moderately smaller than the Regal in useful terms.  That’s awesome: four front-drive sedans in a supposed luxury brand, never mind the Chevrolets.
     
    And now they want to add a fifth?  Are they insane?  The new 9-5 is more or less the same size as the LaCrosse; they’d need to either make it a lot bigger and rebadge it as a Lucerne, at which point we’d have a car that started life as an anti-Buick, with all sorts of un-Buick design quirks being marketed as the top-trim Buick
     
    Near as I can tell, the intent with Buick is to use it to sell whatever GM can’t quite make volume targets on internationally.  It’s not really a brand (except in the sense that “Overstock.com” is a brand) as much as it’s a clearinghouse and volume soak.  I’m sure this will net a few cool cars in the short term, but it’s not likely to be successful in the long term, not when the brand’s identity will make Lincoln’s look cohesive.

  • avatar
    mjz

    You have to look at the price points, not just the size/platform. The 9-5 is slotted to sell in the $40,000 plus range, the LaCrosse starts at $27,000, tops out at $40,000, fully loaded. The Regal will probably be $25,000 to $35,000. The Excelle low to mid $20,000.  The Lucerne is going out of production soon. A Buick badged 9-5 (Invicta maybe?) could be slotted in to replace the Lucerne as the new Buick flagship sedan/wagon. The 9-5 and Lacrosse are both stretched Epsilon 2 platforms, the Regal is the shorter version of it. The only design language they need to incorporate would be a Buick grill, an easy fix. The 9-4x will be the new Buick CUV.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Of course they could give it to Cadillac and call it “Catera”……..


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