By on April 21, 2010

Having acquired Saab’s old 9-3 and 9-5 platforms, Beijing Auto is wasting little time in putting the old Swedish warhorses back into action. In fact, if you cover the digitally-altered front end of this C71 concept, you’ll notice that it’s barely been changed. And that’s not all: at least one of BAIC’s two new SUV models seem to take more than a little inspiration from Jeep’s Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Rather than simply ripping off popular models as other Chinese automakers do, BAIC’s designers seem only to seek inspiration from their partner firms. The weird part: BAIC has signed a deal to sell new, “real” Saabs at its Chinese dealerships. The real deal and the cheap, outdated knockoff sold in the same dealership? Even by Chinese standards, that’s a bizarre strategy. [via ChinaCarTimes]

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12 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: BAIC Designers Take A Saabatical Edition...”

  • avatar

    I don’t find anything unusual about it.

    The new 9-5 would make an excellent Chinese car. Very large and comfortable rear seats. The old 9-5 (the c71) also is comfortable in the back, and with the government restriction on buying foreign cars might fit under a loophole.

    Unclear to me what the c71 powerplant will be. SAAB sold their engine plant to an Austrian company before the sale to BAIC. Not sure if BAIC got the engine tooling. I’m happy that engine will remain in production, if so.

  • avatar

    To me, the SUV designs pictured above are less Jeep influenced, but are heavy on LandRover design cues with a little bit of a Hummer-esque treatment in the grill of the red one.

    • 0 avatar

      I see a strong influence from the current Ford Explorer from A-pillar back. The A-pillar looks like the one in the Range Rover.

      The front end looks very nice, but I don’t see the Hummer there.

  • avatar

    The 9-5’s always had a classic, timeless, no-nonsense look to it. I’m just glad this doesn’t have chrome rings around the headlamps that look aftermarket but aren’t.

    BTW, since when can CODA afford banner ads?

  • avatar

    Little known to many, Daimler-Chrysler is alive and well in Beijing as Beijing-Benz DaimlerChrysler Automotive. It actually started as Beijing Jeep Corporation and was the first foreign automotive joint venture in China, between American Motors and Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation. It beat Saic/VW by a year. When AMC became part of Chrysler, Chrysler came in. Chrysler brought in Mitsubishi. When Chrysler merged with Daimler, Daimler joined that party.

    The company has a 30 year joint venture contract to make Jeeps. Any similarities with the Grand Cherokee are intentional and legal.

    The same company also makes China-sourced Mercedes


    • 0 avatar

      My irrational bias against Chinese made products aside, I am surprised that nobody is importing the BAIC Cherokees into the US. Would much prefer the older Cherokee to the newer Jeeps.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the XJ (sold there as Jeep 2500) was discontinued in 2006.

      @ Bertel. Didn’t Daimler leave the JV after dumping Chrysler? What a surprise. Interesting how Fiat is going to deal with that.

    • 0 avatar


      The JV with Daimler is alive and well. BAIC is busy building the E-Class, and are gearing up to build the C-Class as well.

      Except for the Jeeps, the Chrysler end is not going too well in China, I vaguely recall they stopped making Sebrings (after a resounding flop) and Chrysler wanted to import some. have not been following the story, too small.

      Beijing Auto has a license for the Jeep, I vaguely recall it expires 2013 – most likely, it was a 30 year deal back when in 1983.

      Also see

      They actually built the Russia GAZ “Jeeps” forever, side-by-side with the real Jeeps. I think they stopped doing that in 2002 or 2003. When I came to China in 2004, they still had some. We went to Beijing Jeep and I wanted to buy one, for historical reasons. They didn’t want to sell it to me, because “You can’t drive it down Chang’an Avenue” (where I live.) Even in those days, it was polluting too much and was considered a disgrace. I’m glad I didn’t buy it, these days I would have to take it outside of Beijing. Nothing lower than Euro 4 allowed in the city. And that thing wasn’t Euro anything.

    • 0 avatar

      I drove a beat-up Beijing GAZ jeep when I was in Shenzhen. I near broke my knuckles on the dashboard shifting the gears and it won’t go into fourth. But otherwise it’s built like a tank. They sell a lot of retired ones from driving schools.

      I’ve seen Soviet Ural bikes in urban Beijing though, aren’t they suppose to be illegal as well?

  • avatar

    Edward Niedermeyer is free to explain the bizarre bit to me, I see nothing strange or unusual about it.

  • avatar

    Not only does it look better than the slab-sided, demented-Audi pillbox that is the new 9-5, it looks better than the Chrome Mascara re-do that GM inflicted on us in 2006.

  • avatar

    +1 on the comments that this doesn’t look bad at all. If progress is hard creased and scalloped sides and a slammed greenhouse, color me Luddite. Don’t like the insectile lights, but many, many other cars look far worse than this one. I think eventually we’ll look back on the cars of the last few and next few years with all the fondness we now reserve for the boxy bodied fake landau roofed excrescences of the 70’s and 80’s.

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