Saab To Introduce 9-3 SportCombi Crossover Variant
By Kevin Miller
Saab enthusiast site Trollhattansaab.net has published photos of a vehicle being referred to as the 9-3x. Information on that site and from Swedish car magazine Auto Motor & Sport gives us details about the vehicle as well as a timeline for future Saab product introductions.
The car being referred to as the 9-3x (which is different than the 2002 concept car of the same name) is a 9-3 SportCombi with Saab’s new XWD all-wheel drive system, a raised suspension, and a fairly discreet plastic-bumpers-and-fenders bodykit similar to what is found on an Audi Allroad or a Subaru Outback. Although a bit late to the buffed-up wagon game, the 9-3x will add some depth to Saab’s small and aging vehicle lineup, and will hopefully increase sales of the current-generation 9-3 line.
Introduction of the 9-3x is anticipated to occur at the Paris Auto Show in early October. A second-generation 9-3, to replace the current vehicle which launched in 2003, is not likely to be introduced before 2012. When that second-generation car does reach market, it will be based on the next-generation Opel Astra platform, and will be built in Saab’s Trollhättan plant.
Rumored to follow the introduction of the 9-3x in Paris is the introduction of the 9-4x crossover in Detroit. Following that Detroit launch, the long, long, long-awaited replacement for the ten year old 9-5 is likely to be introduced next spring in Geneva. The new 9-5 will be built on the Opel Insignia platform at GM’s plant in Rüsselsheim, Germany. The new models cannot come soon enough for Saab retailers, as their existing lineup (three basic models in North America, two in Europe) is growing stale and facing fierce competition from other automakers’ more-modern vehicles.
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