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Originally posted by desmo9@Dec 10 2003, 10:36 AM
One more thing -- although the WRX is a fine car... right, wrong, or indifferent, this is the first time in history that Saab has released a car that is not genuinely a Saab (sheetmetal and engine). So no matter how good the 9-2 may be, it's presence is a little disconcerting. There's barely a person in this market who won't see a rebadged Subaru when looking at this.

To some, it won't matter, because it's a good car. To others, it will be a "Saab story".
Yes WRX is a fina car, but 9-2X is defintely the first Saab that's not all "Saab."
But like I've said before, GM's not going to pump another couple billion dollars to develop a 100% new Saab platform.

Furthermore, all of GM's new global platforms are Saab (Opel) in origin. So... in some ways, all new global platform GM's are Saabs. :p

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Originally posted by desmo9@Dec 10 2003, 11:13 PM

No offense, guy, but we keep going around and around about the difference between platform sharing and badge engineering. First 9-7 and now this. A platform can be shared, meaning the floorpan, basic criteria, and (sometimes) powertrain are common. But if the interior and all visible sheetmetal are totally unique between brands (with the possible exception of the roof ), only then do you have Malibu versus 9-3. GM does not need to spend "billions" re-doing the platforms for each brand... but they'd better give Saab more than a fascia and redo the interior and sheetmetal or they'll dilute that brand into oblivion. Having now looked closer at the 9-2 on the Saab website, I'm going to be the voice of dissenting opinion and say it sucks. The car is good, technically, as the WRX is good...but a Saab that's such a close clone of a Subaru Impreza wagon is a sacrilege. The picture above does look sweet. But go to the website and look at other views...the front clip is the only Saab-like feature, but even it adds a bulky front overhang that makes the car appear patched together. Why would a Saab enthusiast choose this, really, when for a little more cash they can have a 9-3? And if others want a genuine version of this car, they can have a WRX for presumably less cash. If "Lutz-the-Czar" can't do any better than badge-engineering, he's not worthy of his paycheck. Do the cars right or not at all. First GTO, then the cloned Buick and Saturn vans, now this...and the 9-7 will be more of the same, I'm convinced. Those who just want to look to the tip of their nose and say "it's a nice car" had better look at the bigger picture if they want GM to succeed. The X-car philosophy was a mistake that cost GM dearly. It could be argued that this cost them over 10% of the market in the 80s and 90s. Just because you add another 130 horsepower and all-wheel drive and a competent chassis does not make the strategy any more correct now than it was 20 years ago.
Yup... we keep going around.. and around... and around...

First of all, it seems to me that you're expecting a 100% new Saab. It'll never happen ever. Get used to it.

Second of all, I do agree with you that simple rebadging is frustrating and the "cheap way out." However, I do NOT see you criticizing other companies for doing that. VW is just a guilty as GM, as is Toyota and Honda, not to mention Nissan and Ford and DCX. EVERYONE does it. Some do it better than others.

Third, I think there is a significant difference between the WRX and the 9-2X. The car simply looks GOOD.

Fourth, you say, "Why would a Saab enthusiat choose this." You think about that statement for a minute. How is Saab supposed to grow its consumer base if it CONTINUES to target it's EXISTING customer base!! Ask youself this question, "Why would someone WANT to buy the 9-2X. Does it offer the consumer a value proposition? What will the 9-2X do for me??!

If you want to talk about the "bigger picture," let's talk...
- Record setting sales w/ fewer variants than a year ago.
- Reaching out to younger buyers with the 9-2X, with a car platform that's proven and is fun to drive, and is priced less than the 9-3.
- Being FIRST TO MARKET in the fast-growing and emerging "premium small car segment." (Can you believe THAT from GM?)

The 9-2X provides a solid addition to the Saab family, no matter how you look at it.
I think you too are guilty for "not looking at the big picture." No one in their right mind is EVER going to argue a 120% increase in sales. No one can argue the numbers GM posted this past november!!

Also... I do agree with you on the vans. Crap. But I do have to ask, "What can you do to a van?" I have absolutely no problem with the GTO. It was a competent car in the first place, and it's "brother" isn't sold outside of the Australian market.

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Originally posted by desmo9@Dec 11 2003, 11:55 AM
Yeah, a fair amount of folks wanted Cadillac Cimarrons too.

Isolated positive reception to the car, based on the strength of the Saab brand or the WRX's technical merits, doesn't mean squat. Even if these "quick fixes" raise revenue and market share in the short term, in the long run they can have the opposite effect.

I get the impression I'm talking to a fair amount of dimwits here when I read responses like that. This is why clinics don't work and have steered GM down the wrong path... Is that what we're about here? People counter an analysis with puddle-depth remarks like "I think it's cool"? Buy the car if it suits you.... The positioning of this car can be for people "too good" to drive a WRX... when the capitalist pig emerges and the yuppie quotient kicks in. They can show everyone how successful they are, and their logic of spending a couple grand more than an identically-equipped Subaru.
Enough with the yuppie jokes already!
You want to know why I purchased a 9-5?
1) It's handling was superior to an A6.
2) It had more power than a 530i.
3) It had more room than an S-Type
4) It was sportier than an S80.
5) It was far better looking than a GS300.
6) It was more luxurious than Catera Sport. (CTS wasn't out yet.)
7) It was a better value than an E320.

It took an entire year to make this decision. And I'm quite glad I have the 9-5 Aero. So what if I or anyone else wants to live this "yuppie" lifestyle. Saab offers a far better value proposition in its market segment than any of the 7 autos listed above!! In addition, it has a lower TCO and and higher ROI. (ie - it was a FAR better value!) Don't expect me to counter with "puddle-depth" arguments. Cause you're not going to get one from me. :type:

As for the 9-2X, it's success will be driven by how well it will perform in the new "premium sport compact" segment. Seeing as the major competitors (BMW 1 and Mercedes A) have not entered the US market yet, we will have to wait and see. But I believe... badge-engineering / platform-sharing aside, the 9-2X provides credible competition to these cars and the Volvo S40.

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Originally posted by desmo9@Dec 11 2003, 01:32 PM
GM only has a minority stake in Subaru. So how's the 9-2 help Saab and GM in the long-term? Expand on that knowledgeably and I'd be alot more would alot of others who like to read and participate.

I think it's a refined X-car case, and I think I'm right in my analysis... but I may not be on all counts... I want dialogue to help drive the issue. Maybe someone will make a counterpoint that I haven't considered, and I'll feel better about GM's decision. GM has made alot of bad ones in recent years. Who are you to write my post off with a five-word blurb about my "complaining"? As in I'm a glass-half empty personality because I see GM screwing up? I see alot of things they're doing right, too... but this doesn't happen to be one of them. My hope is that some influential folks are on this forum and forming their viewpoints, too.

Lastly, you don't know who I am, how many shares of GM stock I own, or much else about me... so why do you think this "shouldn't mean anything" to me? And even if I owned no shares, every American is a stakeholder in GM -- and in the American auto industry. I think there have been a fair number of clueless nimrods running the show there in the past couple decades. Their blunders have been bad for the industry, bad for the U.S. economy, and have robbed we enthusiasts of the ability to take pride in our American automobile establishment. I want to see this trend reversed...THAT'S why this matters to me.
You have got to be kidding me!! "How does the 9-2 help Saab and GM in the long term?"

By adding a 9-2X, which doesn't compete with any other vehicle in the Saab lineup, Saab does a few things.
1) It expands its line-up, which should increase sales. It's sales are 120% higher than the previous years. And its overall sales are on target to reach historic highs.
2) By adding the 9-2X, you target new demographics and expand the customer base, which in turn translates to increased sales.
3) By adding a hatchback into the lineup, you cater to Saab enthusaist who reeled over the loss over the 9-3 hatchback last year and have the need for a vehicle with greater interior space.

How does it help GM in the long term?
1) It allows them to realize economies of scale.
2) Premium automobiles have a greater profit margin than 'economy" cars. Therefore, this translates into high profits.
3) It brings credibility to GM in Europe... that GM has the ability to create cars that people WANT to drive, and are EXCITING to drive, and provide an extension to the history of the brand name. (Remember, Europe is the market of the future. If they can't compete there, then GM is dead.)
4) A strengthened Saab with the addition of Cadillac and Alfa in Europe will provide credible competion to the German premium brands.

I think what we have seen, with the resurrection of Cadillac and Saab is, to paraphrase a Japanese admiral, the "awakening of a sleeping dragon." The problem with GM for the past 2 decades is that their cars were not desired by anyone. They had lost a certain spark to it. Not to mention the atrocious quality problems. but NOW... GM has the highest build quality of any US manufacturer. Their customer service numbers are right up there with Lexus. But their cars are still a big bore. Oh... but wait a minute... we've got NEW cars from GM!! H2, CTS, XLR, 9-3, Escalade!! These are teh cars that Maericans WANT. So what if they can't afford them? Everyone wants a 7-series, but only a handful ever buy them!! These are cars peopel WANT to drive. it brings excitement back into GM.
It is an uphill battle for GM. They are still fighting a perception problem, and that's to be expected. Rome wasn't built in a day. Or in GM's case, "Rome wasn't REbuilt in a day." Just wait and see.

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Originally posted by desmo9@Dec 11 2003, 08:51 PM
- No, for the fifth time, no...not 100% new. But 40% new... all the stuff the owner can feel and see... all the sheetmetal and interior. Leave the floorpan, suspension geometry, and even the powertrain (sometimes) alone. That's good platform sharing. That's the approach Ford has taken with Volvo... no Volvo shares skin or interior with another brand... as it should be. The 9-2 is about 10% new. How you can go to the website, look at side views, and see anything but Impreza wagon is beyond me.

- China is the market of the future, not Europe. Where did that come from?

- Several of your arguments for the 9-2 were undoubtably shared by those in GM who made a case for the 9-2.

- Any beancounter would have made the case for the 9-2... GM can make some cash with little time to ROI, and if it fails -- if Saab fails -- they didn't lose much in the profit center. In the process, I for one feel they're selling this proud brand short.

- Relax on the yuppie thing. If you buy a unique Saab, as they've always been, you're buying something different. But I don't know what you call people who'll spend $3-4K more on a 9-2 than a WRX. (the BASE model, with the plain-jane Impreza powertrain, will base for what a WRX does). What, they feel like they're supporting GM or the Scandinavians versus the Japanese? Right. Fuji's getting theirs here.

- It's X-cars, reborn. Better quality, more powerful, but X-cars the same. This KILLED GM in the last two decades because brands became indistinguishable. Tell me how it's different now.
As far as I'm concerned, the 9-2X is about 50% "new." The side panels are significantly different from WRX, as is the rear spoiler and the hood scoop, fron and rear fascia, bumpers, tailpipe, and hatch. The interior is similar to the WRX, but mildly differentiated. And I'm sure the seats are different as well. The only thing that really resembles the WRX is the rear quarter glass. No one on the raod is going to think "Subaru" when they see the 9-2X... except maybe you. Sure, it's not on the order of a Volvo or a Jaguar. But it's far better than a Ford and a Mercury.

China has been the "market of the future" for the past 20 friggin years. Sorry, that country is sooo damned backwards and riddled with pirates that it will NEVER be the market people think it's going to be ... NOT without major reforms across the board. And definitely while they treat Hong Kong like a slum. Europe/Euroland is the market of the future. And if you want to argue global economics or globalization, I'm more than happy to do that.

I don't understand why you can't see the tree from the forest. 9-2X is a significant brand extension for Saab. It reintroduces the hatchback into the Saab lineup. i also don't understand why you don't see the fact that GM, for once, now has First Mover Advantage in an upcoming market segment!!! I'm willing to bet that you're one of those people in the mid-90's who believed that GM shoudl just shut down operations.

I don't even know what pricing is for the 9-2X. All Saab did was give a range. Nor do I even know the prices for the WRX. What's wrong about buying a "premium" car? or even wanting to buy a premium car? Why do people but A4's over the Jetta? or A6 over the Passat? or te Phaeton over the A8? personally, I wouldn't be caught dead in a Subaru. but I'd be all smiles in a 9-2X. :lol: Looks like you need to go back to Business School and take a few marketing clases. Why do people buy Sony over a Toshiba? Same reason people are going to buy a 9-2X over the WRX.

I don't know about you.. but I certainly can distinguish between the brands. I can tell a Chevy from a Pontiac from a Cadillac. I don't believe this is another "X-Car" incident. BTW... don't you mean the J-Car? J cars were the Cavalier/Sunbird/Skylark/Cimmaron brands. X-Car was the Citation/Phoenix/SkyHawk(?) And GM10 was of course Lumina/Grand Prix/Regal. :lol:

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Originally posted by desmo9@Dec 11 2003, 11:20 PM
The X car started it all, the J cars finished the job, and went one better with the Caddy offering. The X cars, and the Cimarron, are generally the euphemisms for "how not to run an auto business."

The side sheetmetal, doors, and all the glass on the 9-2 is identical to the Impreza. Not a shred of difference save paint scheme. Sorry, but your eye is not too discerning if you think they're different. Better look more closely. ...and an A4 shares not one visual characteristic with a Jetta. People buy A4's because they're distinctive... put an A4 badge and an Audi fascia on a cloned Jetta and the A4 would be a dud. Same goes for the other VW/Audi examples you've used,,, and that's what we have here with Saab. If you're thinking the Jetta is to A4 as the Impreza is to 9-2, then friend, this discussion isn't worth my time.

I travel to Hong Kong and other areas in Asia about once every two months. Doesn't make me a economist, but I've been in dozens of manufacturing facilities and have seen the work ethic and motivation those folks have to improve their lives... much like the U.S. probably was 100 years ago. One needs little econ knowledge at all to realize that the Chinese have a mindset to succeed... and in the long run that's why they will. Will the curve be as steep as GM et al would like? Maybe not, but in terms of (auto) growth potential, Europe is fairly flat, China is anything but. That's the disctinction I was making.

A friend of mine recently finished his MBA at Stanford. He was a lot more arrogant than when he started, for sure, and had theories on how cars should be developed and marketed much like appliances. Totally ignored the passionate aspect of car buying, that which once held the Big 3 on top the only way they'll get back there. Smart guy, nice piece of paper from a good school, but absofricken clueless about the idiosyncrasies of the business.... this guy thought he could run GM from the finance office a la (Roger) Smith, and sell cars as diapers a la Smale. I have enough degrees, so I wasn't offended by your remark... but dude, the fact that you implied an MBA refresher would help me better understand the industry is a sentiment that reflects exactly what's wrong in the industry.
i still believe you need a refreseher, but not from an ego stroking school such as Stanford or the Ivy Leagues. I have little patience for MBA's from those institutions and believe the education is all paper and not real world. I have worked with enough of them to know. And I do not have an MBA from one of those aforementioned schools.

I don't give a damn if you fly to Hong Kong daily or live there. Or if you own the company with factories over there. Fact of the matter is... labor is cheap there. Cost of living there is cheap. laws for doing business there are far more lax and too many loopholes exist. As is much the way Eastern Europe is now, but with a better system on laws. China will be exactly where it is now 20 years from now... which is exactly where they were 20 years ago. Any you don't need an MBA to figure that out. Just a little common sense.

If you think the 9-2X is crap. Fine. But DO NOT discount the fact that it is a significant addition to the Saab lineup. You can sit there and type and bitch all you want about the 9-2X looking exactly like the WRX. In my eye, it has significant differentiating factors to be a Saab and not a Subaru. If you're so frustrated with GM... why don't you go ahead an pull a "Roy Disney" and attempt to oust the GM management.

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Originally posted by desmo9+Dec 11 2003, 11:54 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (desmo9 @ Dec 11 2003, 11:54 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-mgescuro@Dec 12 2003, 03:34 AM

Sure, it's not on the order of a Volvo or a Jaguar.  But it's far better than a Ford and a Mercury.

Well this is where we differ after all. "Not on the order of a Volvo"?! A Saab ought to be the equivalent of a Volvo and better, dang it... Anything less is unacceptable. Chevy won't bow to Ford, and Saab shoudn't have to bow to Volvo. The next V40 is gonna kick the S%it out of this 9-2 in the market.

"Better than a Ford or Merc"? That's embarassing. Yup, you belong in GM's camp for the gifted all right. :zippy: -- picked him 'cause he looks clueless! [/b][/quote]
we're obviously very passionate about GM automobiles. But you also obviously feel the need to insult GM and its product, all from the comfort of your soap box. And that's fine too. But quite frankly, it's beginning to rub me the wrong way.. and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I am of the opinion that Saabs are at least the equivalent of Volvo. Sure, it is only a fifth the sales of Volvo, but what to do when you're a tiny company that can't take advantages of economies of scale for the past 50 or so years.

As far as I'm concerned, the 9-2X follows in the heritage of a Saab. (This argument won't pan out with the 9-7X... but we're not talking about the 9-7X.) Furthermore, Volvo and Saab actually target different markets. Volvo is the more family/luxury market, while the Saab is the more sport/luxury market. Yes, Volvo is trying to make inroads into Saab's territory with the new "R" series, but it's been stated already that Saab's working on high performance variants of 9-3 and 9-5.

I don't believe I'm clueless. I don't believe you're clueless. I think we're seeing the same forest, just a bit differently. Glass half empty/half full.

Whereas, I can point out all the good that GM is doing, you consistently point out the glaring flaws. Yes, I know GM has flaws. Their vans are crap. Their truck interiors are dated. But dammit they are making some awesome cars now... cars that never would have been possible a few years ago!!

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Originally posted by saabman@Dec 15 2003, 04:21 PM
Tried to post this earlier:

here's the $.02 of an old saab owner:

exterior: thumbs-up

interior: thumbs down, and not just because the ignition is in the worng place

worst mistake: offering a non-turbo. I think the current saab add campaing states something like . . . welcome to the state of independence . . . WHERE ALL CARS ARE TURBOCHARGED.

The 165 hp non-turbo'd version brings this car to down-market.

Overall, I guess it's ok if it keeps the brand alive and GM lets Saab, at least in part, be saab.
I guess they'll change teh ad campaign to "When most cars are turbocharged." :lol:

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Originally posted by desmo9@Dec 30 2003, 11:00 AM
The thing I can't figure out is why they're offering 9-2 with the normally-aspirated engine at all? Yeah, they want a base model with a lower price point. But Saab does turbos, after all. Let Subaru keep that non-turbo engine in the base Impreza. By not offering the base engine, they could have distanced the 9-2 from the Impreza a little more. As it stands, the $24K 9-2 will have the 165hp base engine. For the same amount of cash, you can get a WRX with the turbo !!! For the $29K the turbo model will fetch, you're in 9-3 territory!!!

You gotta be a real Saab freak to choose a base 9-2 over the WRX, and I don't know what you are if you choose a turbo 9-2 over a 9-3. The 9-2, as it stands, will only work if there is a $5K or more price gap between it and the 9-3. Meaning, the turbo model needs to sell for around $25K tops (maybe about a grand more than a WRX, not six grand).

Now flip this 180 degrees and do it right....create a nice, small 9-2 hatch off the Delta platform (Astra, Cobalt), give it an all-Saab look, a little 1.8 or 2.0 turbo making about 180hp, and throw in the traditional Saab goodies like center ignition.....this would have appealed to the brand-conscious (think Mercedes C-class), the Saab diehards, and would have been a smash hit. When I heard about a 9-2 a few years back, this is what I expected and I was excited about it. Instead, we have something that's overpriced, not distinctively Saab, and is already a little stale before it even hits the market. I like some of what GM is doing, but the half-a$$ed 9-2 harks back to Roger Smith and his compadre of clueless noodles.
Wow... i finally agree with you on something.... the non-turbo 9-2X base model.
Who knows tho. Maybe the non-turbo version is peppy enough. And maybe people who buy the 9-2X will lean more towards teh turbo version anyways.

Maybe a Cobalt version of the 9-2X would have been a better choice, but I'm not complaining about the 9-2X at all. True, it's not ideal, but it's not crap either.

And where are you getting pricing for the 9-2X? MSRP starts at $22K & 30K, last time I checked. 9-3 Linear starts at $26K. Aero starts at $33K.

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Originally posted by desmo9@Jan 2 2004, 12:08 PM
You don't need to guess about the peppiness of the non-turbo version... just go out and drive an Impreza wagon so-equipped. My neighbors just bought one with a lot of options for $17K. Nice car, but identical to the base 9-2 for $6K less.

If the 9-2 base starts at $22, with some options it'll fetch $23. The turbo with the options is around $30. So, if you compare Impreza and WRX ($16K - $24K)  vs. base 9-2 to turbo 9-2 ($22K - $30K), there is a $6K premium on the Saab. Worse, with this positioning, the top-line 9-2 is a couple grand more than a base (but decent) 9-3.  Had this 9-2 been a nice, original Delta application, the $22K - $30K range would have worked...with the 9-3 overlap. But as it stands, with the near-identical Subarus down dealership row a couple blocks, there should have been only a $1K or $2K premium on the Saabs... plus ditch the non-turbo so you don;t take Saab into economy territory. Thus you'd sell this 9-2 turbo (THIS one, not necessarily an original 9-2) for $23-$26. Then you could decide between a loaded 9-2 or base 9-3. Good decision for a buyer. But right now, the decision (for me) is easy. It'd be an Impreza ($18K) or WRX ($24K) or 9-3 ($30K), each equipped pretty well at those prices.

Fact is, the squids (like me) in the 9-2 market are usually performance AND value conscious. Most are not really brand conscious. Few will spend an extra $5K on a WRX that has some Saab badging and a Saab fascia. Heck, put that $5K saved into a WRX mods and you'd have a rocketship. That's ultimately why the 9-2 is gonna have an uphill battle here... unless dealers discount the heck out of 'em. As GM knows well... if you don't do the cars right, you gotta price 'em light.
I don't want to start another "branding topic" on this thread as well.
But suffice it to say... people who buy Subarus won't step into a Saab dealership... and vice versa.

Subarus are great niche cars. I wouldn't set foot in a WRX. I'm too tall and broad-shouldered for the tiny thing. But I'l take your word for it.

I think the 9-2X will provide a credible value for those Saab owners and Saab watchers out there who may have been eyeing a Saab for some time, but haven't found the right model... or may not have found a model in their price range.

Perhaps the 9-2X is a stop-gap measure. It's a far more credible stop-gap measure than the 1st Gen Escalade. Who knows what the next Gen 9-2X has in store?? Maybe it is a Cobalt with a high output EcoTec...

Who knows... but one thing's certain, the 9-2X will be a great hit for Saab.
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