By on September 19, 2013

Saab re-starts production

After years of rumors and speculations of the will they/won’t they variety, a brand-new Saab 9-3 has – finally! – managed to roll down the assembly line! Don’t be fooled by the fact that this new Saab looks just like the 2009 models the company was building when it was spun off from GM’s bankruptcy, however. This car features all-new components designed by Saab engineers and manufactured in Trollhättan, Sweden.

Saab, now owned by the National Electric Vehicle Sweden company, promised its new cars would reach production in 18 months. That was in September of 2012, so they’re about 6 month ahead of schedule. That on-track message puts NEVS-owned Saab in a decidedly different league than faux car-makers like Detroit Electric and Elio Motors, who’ve spent more time justifying delays than they have building cars. Don’t take my word for that, though, check out the well-appointed assembly line and experienced Saab assembly workers in the photo gallery, below, and start getting excited.

Saab’s back, baby! All we need now is a new Saab 900 revival and we’ll really be in business!

 

Sources | Photos: Saabs United, via WorldCarFans; Originally posted to Gas 2.

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62 Comments on “Saab 9-3 Back in Production...”


  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Are they being mass produced for export now? Or was this a practice run? I only see one car coming off that line. Would love to hear more about the new components as well.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      From Jalopnik:

      “SaabsUnited reports that the NEVS intentionally built the “old version” of the 9-3 to essentially make sure the factory machines and supplier relationships hadn’t collected too much dust.

      They also claim this car has “new goodies” under the hood but did not specific[sic] further… whether that means a bigger turbo, a 100-shot of nitrous, or one of those “hella JDM” socks on the brake fluid reservoir is anybody’s guess.”

      From that quote, the particular Saab above wasn’t built to be sold to consumers, but to make sure the equipment is all in order. Still, it’s a actual, real car that was built and presumably works, so NEVS is on the right track.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    I thought that the world already decided that we do not need Saabs by way of NOT buying them when they were available…

    • 0 avatar

      Actually Saab sold fairly well in the “world”. I figure around 06 to 08, GM decided Cadillac was to be their international flagship and Saab was yet another obstacle. And how many Cadillacs does GM sell outside of US? Tell us the “truth” TTAC.

    • 0 avatar
      365gh

      The naysayers should really just shut the $&@! up! SAAB was a great car until GM took things over. SAAB still has a loyal audience and can come back strong if Trollhattan makes the right decisions. The main decision is to get the car back to its PRE GM roots. Let’s see a new 3 door Supercharged Turbo coupe! BMW’s, Audi’s and Mercedes are all passé. Everybody is driving one and everybody looks the same stupid “look at me status symbol” part. BORRRRRING! Time to bring back some Swedish originality and driving fun again. Go Trollhattan!

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        GM took over half of $aab in 1990, full ownership in 2000. In 2003 they sold the most cars every in the US with the new 9-3, shared with Opel, Chevrolet… GM now has turbo-4, 2.0T passenger cars that would compete and beat the last 9-3/9-5 Aero’s for similar priced Cadillac to the half priced of the Aero models: Buick Regal GS and Verano(used with a couple thousand miles). Even the new Malibu has a 2.0T and is built on simlar chassis as the last 9-5 with a 270hp turbo-4. The GM 1.4T would knock your socks off if you are still drivng 1990′s tehnology today.

        Only so long can money be thrown down the drain, and I have owned five 9-5′s. You and Fred Diesel need to expand your horizons a little further than the $aab forums and SU as the world has left your beliefs behind.

        • 0 avatar
          scribble

          I agree, that Saab has a design story to tell. The problem is, they only did 2/3 of the design job they should have done; their build quality was truly squalid; and owners couldn’t bring their purchases up to reasonable standard without spending thousands of dollars rebuilding the cars they bought.

          No car is worth your attention as a buyer, owner or driver, if it isn’t be built in a robust way, doesn’t hold up under normal use and can’t be repaired for a reasonable cost. A car can still knock your socks off and be well designed, repairable, roadable and perform well.

          Many car models don’t meet this standard but Saab was consistently one of the worst brands over the last few decades. I consider Saab to be a failed brand because it didn’t tend to the basics; like Hudson, Studebaker, Fiat, Renault, English Ford and Zombie Lincoln.

          If Saabs are marketed again, they should come with a bumper-to-bumper 150,000 mile Warranty.

        • 0 avatar
          365gh

          Helloooooooooooo!

          Guess you forgot GM actually went bankrupt because their Board of Director’s BELIEFS in building cars! If it weren’t for a PUBLIC bailout GM would be deservedly dead for building the JUNK they did for so long. Talk about an old belief system that should have been left behind by the world!

          The only cars GM now builds that may be worth owning is a Caddy CTS-V, 2014 Corvette or Camaro SS. Only one problem, you’ll need at least $50k, a lot of insurance to get in one and most people don’t have it. For that money and alot less, I’ll drive a V6 Nissan Maxima, Infiniti G37 or Lexus before a 4 cylinder turbo Malibu or Buick. I’ll take a PRE GM Saab 900 Turbo or a POST GM Saab any day over anything GM is building today.

          Oh yeah, one last fact for you naysayers. I am the original owner of a 1984 900 Turbo that still looks and runs like new. It cost me 17K new is built like a tank, no air bags needed, and will run with any Malibu or Buick GM makes today.

          Yeah, that’s right my 900 Turbo is 30 years young and still running strong with all original parts and 140k on odometer! You know nothing about PRE GM real Saabs! GM killed Saab and didn’t deserve the bailout it received from the public! If any car deserves a second chance Saab does. Go Trollhattan!

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            In the event that SU block your feeds to the outside world:

            Learn why GM has received more 2013 J.D. Power and Associates Initial QualityAwards than any other automaker.

            http://m.gm.com/quality.html

  • avatar

    This vehicle is really a “Orphan” Who in there right mind would want to purchase one?

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    And what exactly is so new about it pray tell? “This car features all-new components designed by Saab engineers” is pretty vague, and probably came right off their press release. What it LOOKS like it a 2009 vintage GM-class Saab 9-3 that too few people wanted.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    April in September? More details please about this thing in the photos.

  • avatar

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQFEY9RIRJA

    Saab hasn’t been a going concern since the early 90s. Somebody at the top stands to make a bucket of money while this whole thing come crashing down again.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    More importantly, are they making spare parts for any recent cars? I am sitting on $500,000 of Saab spares and need to know what’s going on with the market value of them!!!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Wonder what the Swedish chef would say…

  • avatar
    bwhite850

    Are those front and rear drum brakes?!

  • avatar

    How long was the Avanti made after the death of Stude? There is always a market for such orphans. I wish them luck.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Wasn’t the Avanti just a Corvette with a new body though?

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ Frantz – It sounds like production petered out in 1991 (see http://ateupwithmotor.com/sports-cars-and-muscle-cars/94-studebaker-avanti.html).

        @ NoGoYo – No, the Avanti was built on a modified Studebaker Lark chassis. The salient difference between the original and the “orphan” Avanti II was the use of Chevy’s 327 in place of the discontinued Studebaker V8.

        I actually saw one of these being driven into a public parking garage a couple of weeks ago – great looking car.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I saw my first Avanti parked right out on the street in Erie a few years back. I was truly impressed and shocked to learn how old it actually was, it looked like some kind of rare 80s Eurotrash on first glimpse.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I guess the C5 Vette-wheeled Avanti I saw in car magazines was a kit car…also, I don’t think the Avanti ever came from the factory in a convertible version.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          I saw one the other day. It was the Avanti II, probably mid-80′s vintage in copper with the larger bumpers and square headlights and a nice set of wire wheels on it. Late 50′s-early 60′s African-American couple parking it. As I walked by I complemented them on the neat wheels.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Wasn’t there a company in Mexico building “new-generation” Avantis? Last I heard, the company president was arrested, about 5-6 years ago. I don’t know how many they made, but they were based on a Ford platform, not the Avanti II.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Great!!!

  • avatar
    Hummer

    By product cycles this means this car will be out of date next year.
    Sure the basic idea is paid for but if they redid it with non gm parts, then that’s scary, 2 model year runs both at opposite sides of the product life, high chance most parts won’t transfer between the two….

    This seems like a terrible idea, they actually spent money an time finding new suppliers, funding tooling and employees for a vehicle that no longer possess a supply chain, that barely retained what chain it had before bankruptcy.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      You’re looking at it from a western corporate point of view. The Chinese own the 9-3 tech and just ran a one-off to see if all the machinery is working. They may run off a bunch and try to ship them to the US, and if that doesn’t work, they’ll pack up all the machinery and ship it to China, and build them there, updated with tech misappropriated from other automakers.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I think this is great news, I don’t see how this car would be an orphan, if the company is back in business then it isn’t orphaned, at least until they go out of business again.

    But they have to start somewhere, and there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the Saab models, they just were marketed badly and priced badly. Saabs are supposed to be quirky, they are supposed to be designed for drivers, not luxury cars, they are supposed to be different from BMW and Lexus, not copies. Maybe the new Swedish owners will get the cars back to their roots, and they can have a small slice of the market that wants a slightly quirky car with good driving dynamics. They can share it with Subaru like they used to!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I mostly agree. My ’08 9-3SC was a terrific car – for the <$24K I paid for it brand new. For the nearly $35K MSRP, uh, no thanks. But they still have the problem of it being very expensive to build in Sweden, and too small volume to cut costs that way. Doomed yet again, sadly.

      There needs to be more slightly unconventional cars like Saab around, otherwise the automotive world is too dull a place.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    This seems like a fool’s mission altogether, I would think (hope) that the person(s) who spearheaded this had something in mind that was bigger than reviving an outdated vehicle exactly as it was in its past life. A new radio/infotainment system, new instrument panel and new (tastefully-applied) exterior LEDs would do wonders…

  • avatar
    Bocatrip

    Maybe the owners of those deeply discounted last few production Saabs didn’t make out that badly after all!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Kill it with fire and shred the remains. A cool (for the 80s) and quirky car, company had money issues, then got bought by GM, could be fixed by Mr. Goodwrench, although usually at co-branded Cadillac dealership; and was finally good for about 164 Buh-zillion articles on TTAC about it’s death. Hey, Saab’s death kept Bertel busy and provided a forum for the Sabbinistas. Unless GM had flown container fulls of money to Trollhatten and told them: build something, cool, euro-funky, and fast. They didn’t. Kill this Franken-Saab with fire.

  • avatar
    epsilonkore

    Ah if only someone could restore Saturn back… I mean, if Saab can come back, surely we could get one or two years of revised Sky’s back right?

  • avatar
    scribble

    Nothing witty here. Just a reminder:

    A bad car isn’t funny.

    It costs you a surprise emergency close shave or two on the freeway; maybe a stranding far from home a few times; thousands of dollars in surprise repairs of stuff that never should have failed — and then you lose, say, $35K or so when the car gives up shamefully early and has to be scrapped. Say, at 50K or 60K miles.

    The Saab was a bad car. A very bad car. It was badly designed. Badly engineered. Built worse at the Trollhatten factory — and the automotive press lied about how very bad it was for what? 25 years?

    The tragedy was that it could have evolved to become a really great car, if only the words “quirky” and “GM” hadn’t been attached to it.

    I’m ashamed of Saab and everybody attached to that dearly dead enterprise, may each of them to the last man, rot in Hell. I’m ashamed of the automotive press for inventing sizzle to sell out of whole cloth instead of describing how rotten the steak was — and I’m ashamed of myself for being sucker enough to buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      mshenzi

      Saab got what it deserved from the market, but I don’t think it spent 25 yrs being bad beforehand.

      I had two of them, sequentially. I was genuinely fond of the first one, (early 90s 900) for its jackknife utility, rough-around the edges fun factor, and, yes, quirky features. I found the reliability and build quality good for ten years. It made me WANT to like the second one when I test drove it (early 2000s 9-3). Shame on me for letting brand loyalty cloud my judgement, but I didn’t feel that the press had misled me– the reviews were tepid, which is never a good sign. Despite the press, I thought I knew why it was right for me, (where else in the USA could you find a slightly upscale five door hatch at the time?) The fog of loyalty didn’t lift until it was too late. Even that 9-3 was pretty good, maintenance-wise, and it certainly wasn’t unsafe– just increasingly disappointing to drive and live with.

    • 0 avatar

      You poor thing. Did you buy a V6 by chance?

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Am I the only one who sees Saab and Volvo as (at least in the past) similar yet opposite automakers?

    Volvo kept things very simple while emphasizing durability, while Saab chose to go cutting edge no matter how much it overcomplicated and overpriced the cars…I’ve heard that Saabs have a massive rat’s nest of wiring behind the dash because of all the fancy stuff they include.

    I certainly see more bricks than 80s 900s/9000s.

  • avatar
    Tostik

    Finally, the only other car company in the world besides Volvo is back. Don’t listen to the nay sayers in the comments above. You go SAAB. :-D

  • avatar
    RHD

    The guy who eventually buys this thing will eventually go to the local auto parts store and ask for a set of spark plugs and an air filter for a 2013 SAAB… and will get the funniest look from the parts guy…

    My AutoZone story: I went to my local AutoZone and asked the lady behind the counter for a part for my ’93 Miata. Her response (this is entirely true!) was:
    “What’s a Miata?”

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s poor vendor training, but it’s everywhere. “Dear Abby” published a letter from a woman in New Mexico applying for Social Security. The SS agent told her she’d need to provide her birth certificate and passport number, since she was in a foreign country. Don’t get me started on cashiers! I had a McDonalds bill of $7.37 and gave the clerk a ten, which she quickly rang up, with the register showing $2.63 in change. When I tried to give her the 37 cents, she told me that wouldn’t help.

    • 0 avatar
      WozTheWise

      Your first mistake was going to AutoZone.

  • avatar
    dave-the-rave

    Second mistake was going to McDonald’s.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I feel like many parallels can now be drawn between Saab and Lada. Lol.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @Corey: No, but the Niva did end up in my “The World’s Worst Cars” book…so clearly it had some major flaw compared to other similar vehicles.


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