Just some of the wonderful designs that might have been – or maybe still will be?
Share your Saab dreams for the future on this page. Let your creative juices flow!
Christian von Koenigsegg talks exclusively to our Swedish writer, Tom Ryner.
“Smart uniqueness= Success”
In the midst of all secretiveness surrounding the NEVS reorganization I guess you all would be interested in a hopeful and mouth-watering read?
This post is directed to You the owner of a SAAB car, to You that would be interested in buying a SAAB car and It is certainly directed towards the all important former and future SAAB Dealers and Spare parts suppliers.
It is also an informal Open letter to the New majority owner of NEVS and the current management of said company.
Why should you read on?
Well if the proposition of a V4 turbo engine for future SAAB cars sounds tempting then the above question is a no-brainer. Yes?
So sit down, relax, read, ponder and leave a comment if willing.
About that V4 turbo… We´ll get to that shortly.
But first some thoughts on tactics for the future of NEVS.
There are numerous things that a new NEVS-SAAB will have to take in account in order to become successful.
-A break with the initial NEVS Business plan
In parts that is. Getting the 9-3 EV in to production is still crucial. A Cabrio and 9-3X EV a must have.
-Number of models.
Pick up where GM left off with a progressive number of models. A larger CUV, a smaller car like the 9-X, a New 9-5 SS and SC and of course a New 9-3. But make the latter a Combi Coupé, a SC and the all important Cabriolet. No not another 9-3SS. The 9-3SS is a product of the GM era and does Not represent the ways a Saab should be perceived. Bring back the hatch and call it the Combi Coupé. Why? Because it´s unlike anything else out there… it´s not just any old hatchback. Yes several makes have picked up the hatch but it´s only something Trendy in their eyes and Not a part of their history and therefore not important in the long haul, For a manufacturer of -maybe- hoping to sell 400.000 units annually, sticking to ones proven to be successful heritage is important. It Was successful, it only lacked funding to get big.
Sonett? Yes in deed but it can´t be the first thing on the agenda.
Yes China is important but it will not make SAAB relevant on a larger scale and fact is the Chinese buyer with cash to burn on a prestige product buy into the prestige of the car being a make from the west.
A soul focus on China could very well backfire and have the buyer in China persive SAAB as an odd and all to expensive domestic brand harming the SAAB name.
The Nordic countries, The UK and Ireland, Spain, Germany, France and Belgium, The US, Canada (Yes Mark we hear you Mr petrol head) and The Netherlands are realistic countries to ”attack” in an initial global marketing offensive.
These markets all have former Saab dealerships that would be eager to sign papers with NEVS (Mahindra?) to sell Saab once again. There is still a lot of love out there among the former Saab dealers. And given the right kind of Saab product to sell they will sell plenty.
Design is the first step in making a splash. Dig deep in to SAABs heritage and go your own way. But be smart about it. Don´t go retro but make use of the features that made SAAB smart and appealing. Don´t follow Audi or Toyota like most makes do. Set your own standard for others to marvel at and for Them to try to follow.
And here it is: The Big one!
One Major part in transforming SAAB cars from a dwindling make perceived to be a dressed up Opel/Vauxhall is what engines are put in to the cars.
Outsourcing engine supply.
Don’t invest heavily yourself in what others can do cheaper but still sticking to the fundamental must for Saab cars to become strong, true to its heritage with unique design cues and technology.
For all that is holy, do Not source an engine from a mass manufacturer that will be one of Saabs rivals.
As an example the Swedish Automobile led Saab Automobile sourced a 1,6 litre engine from BMW. The engine used in one BMW, Minis petrol cars and some of PSA´s models.
To me and many others with me that would only have fed the journalists with yet more laughs about SAAB cars being a dress up something or another.
SAAB need to go their Own way to get to the dream of being a Premium make to be reckoned with.
One aspect of being able to get a reputation as a bold, interesting and unique brand and being able to charge for the cars is the heart of the cars.
The coolest way of making use of heritage would be an engine that harks back to the days of the 96/95 in synergy with later turbo cars.
A Groundbreaking V4 turbo.
I can almost hear doubtful murmurs, the clacking of neck vertebrae’s in handshakes but also Hurrahs of hope from some, boyish giggling and saliva splashing the keyboards of hopeful UK dealers, buyers and suppliers across the UK and beyond.
Some sceptical and others finding renewed hope and happiness
Is a new V4 engine a realistic thought?
In fact It Is realistic and quite frankly the Only way to go for a new petrol/E85 engine in Saabs of the future.
First some base specifications of a proposed line of petrol and E85 engines for select markets.
Base turbo engines:
V4t 1.6 litre
V4t 2.0 litre
HOT turbo engines:
V4T 2.0 litre
V4T 2.5 litre
All engines derive from the same build but with Free valve technology reducing emissions by 30-50% and fuel consumption by roughly 20%. Build height reduction by up to 50 per cent drastically reducing weight, centre of gravity and pedestrian safety.
One example for a proposed new Aero engine:
V4T 2.0 intended for the 9-3 Aero and 9-5 Aero successors
Peak power 450hp
Peak torque 500Nm
”Open” engine management software
And now some of you will probably go:
”All this sounds Wonderful but this has just got to be delusional dreaming on your part. And in fact there isn’t a V4 turbo on the market and it would cost an arm and a leg to develop a totally new engine. Money and Time the new majority owner of NEVS couldn’t possibly be willing to invest in when the main agenda is to get new Phoenix models on the road.”
But please hear us out. There Is a suitable engine.
Here come the reason for this post and the absolute pinnacle to have us hope for a successful threat to the Germans and even UK’s own Jaguar. A reason that we are sure to make you the reader get hopeful in the same way we are.
The base engine construction for the proposed V4 is the amazing 1360hp, 1370Nm Koenigsegg V8.
Put away your doubts and snarls.
On the contrary be hopeful we say.
The Koenigsegg V8 was developed with a possible variable size in mind.
Making it a V4 is Easy enough and development would be faster AND cheaper than buying an off the shelf 1,6 litre Mini/BMW/PSA engine as that require adaptations to fit a Saab as well and with the fastidiousness of the small effective Koenigsegg organisation in mind and relative geographical closeness between Koenigseggs HQ in Ängelholm and NEVS Trollhättan HQ two objectives would be met for a super deal with a short lead time.
”Because we develop engines that are suitable to all the emission demands of the world with full OBDII functionality it is fully possible for us to split our engine in to a functioning 4-cylinder engine.
We also develop our own engine management software that makes us totally indipendant when it comes to our engine line up”
Christian goes onto say
“Running on E85 we today develop a drivable 1360 hp= 1 MW and 1370 Nm. On Unleaded 95 that comes to 1200 hp and 1250 Nm. The engine displacement is today 5 litres.
If looking at a 2 litre engine with 4 cylinders with a sligtly smaller turbo, to get a fantastic response, we are talking about 450 hp and 500 Nm on Unleaded 95 octane.
This would hardly demand any new development. Function, design and components are the same as we have had in production for several years with fantastic reliability.
Here (in the case of a V4 editors remark) we have also lowered the power outtake and the cars would not be driven as hard as our sportscars. That should cater for fantastic durability.”
1. It’s a Uniquely Swedish engine from a company that at one time came Really close to buying Saab Automobile AB.
2. Adaptations would be quick
3. A unique engine only available in Saab Cars.
4. Engine management can be tuned to fit the characteristics of the intended model and engine. Something that could last be seen with Saabs own Trionic engine management only then to be restricted by GM and with the later addition of the GM DI engines totally shut by Bosch and GM only to favour Opel/Vauxhall and other GM makes.
The above specifications of a 2.0T V4 isn’t just guesswork.
The calculations come directly from Mr Christian von Koenigsegg himself.
The same Christian von Koenigsegg that had plans for Saab -back in the day- to make use of their engine, chassis and design know how to lift Saab to be a threat to the competition and surpass them.
The question of a Koenigsegg derived engine has been submitted to NEVS to think the matter thoroughly through.
“So your chain of thought sounds very interesting. It was actually one of the reasons that once made us show interest in SAAB”
ICE –short for Internal Combustion Engine– will be with us for several years to come. We all know that and so does NEVS.
A Hybrid solution could make use of a Koenigsegg V4 making it ultra effective together with Freevalve technology. www.freevalve.com
EV’s are of course the way ahead in the long run, but as of now and many years to come, they need to coexist with the ICE engine. An ICE engine that gradually will become super effective. The first natural step for NEVS and Saab would be the Koenigsegg derived V4 with freevalve technology.
The price of development of a V4 would as said be lower than buying an off the shelf engine and adapting to a Phoenix based car but it can never be as cheap per unit as something mass produced.
But the gain in prestige, durability and technology would Widely make up for the increase in BOM -Bill Of Material- cost. And as Saab would gain reputation faster and sell more cars a slight premium in price would only stand to gain our beloved SAAB.
Key is. Don’t do what everybody else is doing. There is no margin of success in that for a company with exclusive ambitions.
Koenigsegg and NEVS-SAAB. A match made in Sweden?
I thought it time for a little Saab history lesson, and for those of you that know almost everything there is to know about Saab I apologise, but I know there are a great many fans out there new to Saab that will find what I have written about the visionary that was Sixen Sason both informative and also interesting.
Sixten Sason was a techniical illustrator for Saab during and after world war two, and as most of you know was responsible for the shape of Saab’s first car, the 92. Sixton Sason sadly died at a the very young age of 57, but what he achieved during his relatively short life was quite incredible and he played a very key role in the early years of Saab Automobile helping to establish a new car brand in the years following world war two.
Examples of his work could be seen in the early 1980s at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London displayed within the ‘Boilerhouse project’ the brainchild of Terence Conran who established the Conran foundation, an independent charity to make design ideas more available to students and the general public.
It was called the Boilerhouse project because the exhibition was situated in the old Boilerhouse yard of the V& A.
Sixten Sason was born on the 12th March 1912 in western Sweden, and during his teens trained as a pilot. Eventually, he became a freelance designer and illustrator for Saab aviation. It is said that one day, carrying a bundle of drawings, Sixten walked into the office of Gunner Ljungstrom, who was an engineer designing the Saab 92. The Saab 92 was the first car to be built as an all-Swedish concept using aviation principles and techniques. Sixten had visionary ideas of what the car should look like. It was both an intuitive and aerodynamic success. So much so that wind tunnel tests showed the Saab 92 had a very low drag coefficient of 0.32; almost unbelievable for the time.
Again, we all know the first 92s were painted green and produced in the factory at Trollhattan. After the 92 and 93, the 95 estate car appeared, and Sixten’s name was first mentioned in advertising brochures for America. By 1958, Gunner Ljungstrom and Sixten Sason had already made their decision on the next generation of Saab cars, and in 1969, the 99 was unveiled to the media. Sadly due to Sixten Sason’s untimely death the same year, Sixten never got to see his Saab 99 design come to the market.
Who knows what could have been if Sixten Sason had lived longer? But we can take comfort in the fact that a great many of us own and drive a car created through one man’s dreams, vision and design.
Sixten Sason 1912 – 1969.