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February 24, 2005
Just How Saab-like Is It?
By Bob Lutz
GM Vice Chairman

Saab 9-7x

Tuesday’s New York Times featured a story about the “Saab-ness” of the new Saab 9-7X SUV that raised a lot more questions than it answered. Let me see if I can’t clarify the issue here.

As you may know, the vehicle is based on GM’s midsize SUV (GMT360) platform. This practice is no different from many Toyota-to-Lexus, or Nissan-to-Infiniti transformations, particularly in utilities.

No one should have the impression that this is nothing but a re-ornamented TrailBlazer — especially after driving it. I can assure you we made certain the 9-7X both looks and acts like a Saab, with plenty of mechanical changes as well as cosmetic ones.

Although produced in Moraine, Ohio, along with TrailBlazers, Envoys, Rainiers and Ascenders, the 9-7X is by far the most differentiated, with special focus on making it an authentic driver’s vehicle.

The 9-7X underwent extensive suspension modifications to give it a more responsive, “European” feel. It has stiffer springs and bushings, a larger front stabilizer bar, and revised shock valving, all of which required beefing up the frame and control arms to handle the increased loads. A quicker 18.5:1 steering gear reduces steering friction, and increases on-center feel. We also stiffened the front part of the frame with additional braces to boost steering response. High-speed stability was enhanced by a limited slip differential, coupled with Saab-specific 18-inch tires and suspension tuning, which included lowering the vehicle one inch. Larger diameter ventilated disc brakes in the front provide better brake pedal feedback.

It not only feels like a Saab, but looks like one too. We focused on fits and broke the mold in designing the front-end appearance. An integrated fascia on all-new front end sheet metal gives the truck a clean look with tight gaps and flush fits. A new chrome roof rack accepts existing accessories from the Saab portfolio.

Full Article: http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/archives/2005/02/just_how_saabli_1.html#more

 

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Beware the temptation of the Corporate Beancounting Dark Side, Bob. OHV V8 engines and 4-speed transmissions do not a Saab make. Uuuuse the Hummer H3's Turbo Inline-5, Bob, uuuse it!

 

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driverblogger said:
I only like the style, that's it. I don't like how it is an expensive trailblazer or ascender.
Did you not read the article? There are alot of mechanical differences between the 9-7x and the rest of the GMT-360's.

Have you even seen the interior? The only thing it shares with its platform mates is the door panel design, but the wood/leather inserts are Saab specific.

If anything, it's an expensive Rainier, which is not a bad thing by any means.


9-7x






Trailblazer






You can't even compare the two. The Saab is 10 times better than the Trailblazer in every catagory. :yup:
 

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You''ll see the YUUPIES will eat it up especially in towns like princeton NJ
 

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Just how Saab-like Is It?

Um, not very. If Bob and GM thinks that Saab means having a center console ignition, upscale interior, and a Saab-ish front end, the brand is surely doomed. Also, while the beefed up suspension is nice, I'm not sure why for about the same price I wouldn't want this supension in the Trailblazer SS with an LS2.
If this isn't fooling us, it'll get torn apart in the media. I hope ARCANGEL is right, and yuppies go for it, but I beleive they may be more discerning than that.
 

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ARCANGEL said:
You''ll see the YUUPIES will eat it up especially in towns like princeton NJ
Good!!!
If that translates into sales for Saab!!! Go for it.

And what's wrong with us yuppies? Huh??? :blah:
 

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Bob's got a problem and even his used car salesman slickness isn't going to be able to convince anyone that a Saab 9 whatever is a real Saab. Yeah, you've changed this and that and this over here has been tweaked and you spent $50 to move the ignition from the column to Sweden, but the fact remains that no one in their sober moment will pay $10k more for a midsized SUV that walks and quacks like the duck that was the donor.

Despite the spin to the contrary, GM is into badge engineering like it always has been with every minivan (or whatever they call them) looking like each other, every midsized SUV looking like the other, and even the cross over SUV/car is being exploited across nameplates to some degree.

Too bad that Saab's SUV couldn't have been based off the Equinox with a unique engine and driveline combination and far more sheetmetal changes than the Chevrolet to Pontiac transformation that has just appeared.

Bob can stammer that Lexus and Toyota are nearly one and the same, but this simply shows how little he understands about today's marketplace. I'm beginning to think Bob is GM's Joe Gibbs. Perhaps he should have stayed retired.
 

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giagastormer said:
Did you not read the article? There are alot of mechanical differences between the 9-7x and the rest of the GMT-360's.

Have you even seen the interior? The only thing it shares with its platform mates is the door panel design, but the wood/leather inserts are Saab specific.

If anything, it's an expensive Rainier, which is not a bad thing by any means.

You can't even compare the two. The Saab is 10 times better than the Trailblazer in every catagory. :yup:
Unfortunately even the untrained eye can tell that the exterior isn't a real saab with the same greenhouse and even the interior which is said to look difference is so un-saab-like, that one wonders how GM can pass this off with a straight face. I certainly don't see an extra 10K's worth of changes. My guess is that no one else will give a **************** to notice any faster steering or other tweaks that are hidden from view.

Who really cares anyway?
 

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While as far as the look of the vehicle and the fit and finish I think they did a great job of making look like a Saab, the powertrain is the problem. It should have gotten the 5 speed auto from the XLR. What I think it should have been.

Saab 9-7x
320hp Turbocharged 3.5 liter In-line 5 cylinder
5 speed auto/6 speed manual

Saab 9-7x Aero
400hp Turbocharged 4.2 liter In-line 6 cylinder
6 speed auto/6 speed manual
 

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Me and the wife are gonna be deciding between the 9-7X and the Fully Loaded Buick... I really like the styling of the Saab though. By the way, you can keep your turbo inline-6, I'll take the LS variant 5.3 any day of the week. And as far as the TB SS is concerned, there's just something wrong with it. The back sits too low, the rims don't feel right, it looks overweight, like a Navigator with 20's. The Saab definitely looks more nimble, Whether it actually is is yet to be seen, but aesthetically I feel it is superior.
 

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Ming said:
..... and increases on-center feel.
Thank God, the last TrailBlazer I drove ('05 EXT) had 0 on-center feel.

I can't wait to drive it, but I'm guessing the TB SS will have the same suspension upgrades?
 

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The Saab Line has already been trashed with the 9 3 on the Epsillon platform.(My sister has one on lease,loads of electronic problems).Further when they did the Saburu / Saab 9 2.And now this.They even took the hatch away from it , along with it's Saab soul.The slap to a Saab owner was when they used it for the Chevy Malibu, now the malibu Maxx looks like the 1980's Citiation . The Pontiac G6 is dumpy compared to the Grand Am it replaced.Yes! sounds like I do not know what I'm talking about! go take one for a ride, seating position is subpar, power is subpar to the 3.4 it replaced.Looks are just okay on the outside,and price is too high.This will not sell well outside of rental agencys.Now they are going to do a Cadillac on that dumpy episillon platform.It has super thick pillars on the front windshield that makes you strain to see the road in front of you.Shame on them, shame.Do they even look at the competition? I want them to be the best in the world.But at the rate they are going with new models not as good as their predisessors , it seems that they are going to be the folks that supplys the rentals for the rental car companies.And at the same time ruin resale values for current buyers.
 

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driverblogger said:
I only like the style, that's it. I don't like how it is an expensive trailblazer or ascender.
Did you even read the article?

all an infinity QX is is a hopped up nissan armada. Lexus has a hopped up toyota land cruiser. talk about a double standard.
 

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DDelphic said:
The Saab Line has already been trashed with the 9 3 on the Epsillon platform.(My sister has one on lease,loads of electronic problems).Further when they did the Saburu / Saab 9 2.And now this.They even took the hatch away from it , along with it's Saab soul.The slap to a Saab owner was when they used it for the Chevy Malibu, now the malibu Maxx looks like the 1980's Citiation . The Pontiac G6 is dumpy compared to the Grand Am it replaced.Now they are going to do a Cadillac on that dumpy platform.It has super thick pillars on the front windshield that makes you strain to see the road in front of you.Shame on them, shame.Do they even look at the competition? I want them to be the best in the world.But at the rate they are going with new models not as good as their predisessors , it seems that they are going to be the folks that supplys the rentals for the rental car companies.
I dont even know what to say. G6 is dumpy compared to the Grand Am? What the hell is wrong with you? I suppose you are going to tell me the CTS doesnt have a thing on an 80's cavalier. and oh yeah, the pinto was the pinnacle of automotive expression. get a clue dude.
 

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stormwatcher said:
The 9-7x is just a Rainier with a bit of cheap Swedish lipstick applied. Why bother?
I don't get it at all. The damage to the Saab name won't be worth the few extra sales.
another candidate for the "why dont you actually read the ****************ing article before making asinine comments" award.
 

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Is this thing perfect? No. But its pretty **************** good for what they had to work with. All this crap about a saab soul drives me crazy to no end. Even saab people arent buying saab cars! 25% of saab customers go look at other things because they want an SUV. Who exactly are they saving the brand for if saab people wont even buy them because the company doesnt offer something in the segment they want. At least thing this will retain some of that 25%. I swear some of you people are so self righteous it makes me sick. Do any of you who complain about it not being saab enough actually own a god **************** saab? i doubt it.
 

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Askani said:
Me and the wife are gonna be deciding between the 9-7X and the Fully Loaded Buick... I really like the styling of the Saab though. By the way, you can keep your turbo inline-6, I'll take the LS variant 5.3 any day of the week. And as far as the TB SS is concerned, there's just something wrong with it. The back sits too low, the rims don't feel right, it looks overweight, like a Navigator with 20's. The Saab definitely looks more nimble, Whether it actually is is yet to be seen, but aesthetically I feel it is superior.
You honestly think they would release the TB SS with the rear end like that?
 
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