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Saab hoping new 9-2X will succeed in growing premium compact segment
DAVE GUILFORD
Automotive News

SAN DIEGO - Saab is aiming its Subaru-derived 9-2X hatchback at what it sees as a rapid-growth segment: premium compacts.

"We're bringing this vehicle to market very quickly because we wanted to be among the first in this emerging segment," said Debra Kelly-Ennis, president of Saab Cars USA Inc., at a press event here.

Total U.S. sales in the niche were about 45,000 in 2003. But Saab projects sharp growth - 125,000 to 150,000 units annually by 2006 - and it wants 8,000 of them to be 9-2Xs.

Saab's projection assumes that car buyers in the United States will pay more than $25,000 for the small, luxury-branded cars that are common in Europe.

But industry analysts question whether import brands can draw in mainstream buyers for small cars that cost as much as, for example, a low-end Ford Explorer. The other risk is that smaller cars, however well equipped, might tarnish premier brands.

Competitors are the Acura RSX and Volvo S40. But Saab expects entrants such as the Audi A3, BMW 1 series and Mercedes-Benz B class, Kelly-Ennis said.

Saab's primary target for the 9-2X is a young buyer who is on a budget but eager to own a luxury car. Base prices, including destination, are $23,685 for the Linear model and $27,645 for the Aero.

Kelly-Ennis said the 9-2X will offer buyers their first chance to buy a premium brand. "This is probably at the top end of what they can afford," she said.

The 9-2X is based on the Subaru Impreza WRX, with a restyled front end, rear and interior. Saab also has tuned the handling for a slightly smoother ride and added insulation to reduce interior noise.

Those will be key selling points, as well as all-wheel drive, Kelly-Ennis said.

Analysts say the 9-2X has a decent chance of attracting customers to Saab. But they are skeptical about the prospects for European-style premium compacts in the United States.

Doug Scott, senior vice president of NOP World Automotive in Southfield, Mich., says that when mainstream U.S. buyers spend $25,000 to $30,000, they opt for bigger vehicles.

"Will any of this come out of the domestic marketplace?" Scott says. "The answer is probably no." The segment will cannibalize the import marketplace, he says.

The Mini Cooper S is probably the closest thing to the segment today, but even that isn't quite the same sort of vehicle as a 9-2X, Scott says.

Saab spokesman Kevin Smith says most buyers will be new to Saab. He says the 9-2X tested well with young, urban males.

Full Article Here

 

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Not sure how it can be first in a segment when the WRX is already in the segment.

I still like the Saab's styling better.
 

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I agree with you Rex, the Saab has nicer sheetmetal.
We'll just need to see if loyal Saab owners will buy a
a reworked Subaru.
 

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Originally posted by Rex Raider@May 20 2004, 10:25 AM
Not sure how it can be first in a segment when the WRX is already in the segment.

I still like the Saab's styling better.
WRX really isn't the same segment... if only because it's not a luxury mark.

But yeah... he styling is much easier on the eyes. 9-2X should do pretty well. :lol:
 

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The whole idea of the 1-series/S40/A3, etc. is quality, not performance. The 9-2x has the performance, but being based so closely on the Subaru I doubt the quality can compare.
 

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Originally posted by stewacide@May 20 2004, 11:50 PM
The whole idea of the 1-series/S40/A3, etc. is quality, not performance. The 9-2x has the performance, but being based so closely on the Subaru I doubt the quality can compare.
I don't believe the whole idea of that class is quality. People who want performance luxury but don't care about the size of the vehicle will be interested in buying one of these fun-to-drive cars. The 9-2X is a different class than the WRX, especially if you look at the interiors, but the price should also seperate the 2 if Saab can get their MSRP.

But you do make a good point. The Impreza scored like a 149PPH on JD Power, so I hope they fix some things before the Saab get's a reputation. They are competing with the likes of at-least average-quality luxury nameplates.
 

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A Subru is a Subaru is a Subaru. You start adding options to the aero and your in 30 grand territory. I don't think so. For that price you can have an EVO, STI, R32. for a few dollars more you can have a GTO or G35.
 

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" A Subaru is a Subaru..."

I second that. Just changing the fascia and monochromatic body-side makes it no less a Subaru. But then, GM only plans to move about 7000 of these. Whoopee.

Take a look at BMW's new 1-series hatch, then compare the Saab 9-2 to that. Kind of hilarious, actually. That the 1- and 2-series cars will be priced in-line with the 9-2, GM's being optimistic at 7000.

This is one model in the GM portfolio they shouldn't have cut corners on, as it's one of the few aspirational models that can bridge the gap between mainstream domestic and the more premium CTS.
 

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I wonder how this will go against the V50. I hope the interior feels high in quality!
 

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This Saab is a symtom of old GM think. REBADGE it, they are to stupid to figure it out. Well in one way they are right. There have been far to many GM loyalists that bought it for far to many years. That's why you got the bleep you got for cars. It is not going to fly anymore. All this 9-2 Saab deserves is contempt. NO MORE REBADGEING GM, TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. Anyone that buys this car is a fool who hates his paycheck. A Subaru is a Subaru is a Subaru.
 

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Originally posted by yoblues@May 21 2004, 08:10 PM
This Saab is a symtom of old GM think. REBADGE it, they are to stupid to figure it out. Well in one way they are right. There have been far to many GM loyalists that bought it for far to many years. That's why you got the bleep you got for cars. It is not going to fly anymore. All this 9-2 Saab deserves is contempt. NO MORE REBADGEING GM, TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. Anyone that buys this car is a fool who hates his paycheck. A Subaru is a Subaru is a Subaru.
this saab might not fly, but not all 'rebadges' are "bleep" (checked in the dictionary... i can only assume you mean "crap"). vibe is one example... i own one and it's been an excellent car in the first 75,000 kms. aztek has flopped, but the rendezvous 'rebadge' is doing very well. 9-3, malibu and G6 all look to be well accepted vehicles (though only time will tell for sure).

as for the "they're too stupid to figure it out", GM isn't trying very hard to hide the origins of the 9-2x. most information i read touts the similarity between saab and subaru (aircraft heritage, quirky attributes, cult following). GM figures the 9-2x will attract some new customers. as i said before it might not work, but GM isn't trying to trick anyone. they present a product, and wait to see if anyone buys it. sounds reasonable to me!
 

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Rebadging is Bullbleep. Platform shareing is good business. If you put a Malibu and a SAAB 9-3 beside each other do you see the same car. NOOOOOOOOOOO! That is intelligent use of the same platform. Subaru WRX, Saab 9-2, SAME CAR. Ford 500, Merc Montego, SAME CAR. REBADGING Bullbleep. Hopefully this 9-2 CRAPBAG will be one of the last attempts at GM rebadging. If you have to rebadge, your cheap, you have run out of ideas, or your design department SUCKS.
 

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Saab and GM really are not trying to hide the origin of the 9-2x. as has been pointed out. And it really pulls off being a Saab pretty well, except for the ignition. The interior is lit in the same green as the 9-3 SS, the exterior couldn't work more perfectly as a Saab. And the new one will be out in about 4 years. That is the big reason why there was not a whole lot of changes made, this one will have a short life. The next one will still be Imprezza based, but will be more Saab designed.

As for the quality, I am glad there is going to be some Subaru in this one, Saan doesn't do too great in initial quality, anyways, and long term a Subaru is almost unbeatable.
 

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Originally posted by paul8488+May 21 2004, 08:20 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (paul8488 @ May 21 2004, 08:20 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-yoblues@May 21 2004, 08:10 PM
This Saab is a symtom of old GM think. REBADGE it, they are to stupid to figure it out. Well in one way they are right. There have been far to many GM loyalists that bought it for far to many years. That's why you got the bleep you got for cars. It is not going to fly anymore. All this 9-2 Saab deserves is contempt. NO MORE REBADGEING GM, TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.  Anyone that buys this car is a fool who hates his paycheck. A Subaru is a Subaru is a Subaru.
this saab might not fly, but not all 'rebadges' are "bleep" (checked in the dictionary... i can only assume you mean "crap"). vibe is one example... i own one and it's been an excellent car in the first 75,000 kms. aztek has flopped, but the rendezvous 'rebadge' is doing very well. 9-3, malibu and G6 all look to be well accepted vehicles (though only time will tell for sure).

as for the "they're too stupid to figure it out", GM isn't trying very hard to hide the origins of the 9-2x. most information i read touts the similarity between saab and subaru (aircraft heritage, quirky attributes, cult following). GM figures the 9-2x will attract some new customers. as i said before it might not work, but GM isn't trying to trick anyone. they present a product, and wait to see if anyone buys it. sounds reasonable to me! [/b][/quote]
Difference is, the Matrix and Vibe were released at the same time, so the Vibe looked fresh, plus the two actually look quite a bit different from any exterior angle.

If the Impreza had been restyled to coincide with the 9-2 launch, the sharing might have worked better. But there are literally ten years worth of Impreza wagons with this body side, so the Saab already looks dated from the start. It's not so much the rebadging that's a problem here, it's also the staleness.
 

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I think the 9-2X does a competent job at being a Saab. it's sporty, has great handing and good power. Yes... it looks liek a Subaru. The interior is lightly changed from the Subaru... yet.. it does not "exude" Subaru. it says Saab.

It's not a perfect car by far... but with the WRX undergoing an overhaul in a few years, there really is no need to add additional development costs.
Could GM used the Delta? Maybe. but they didn't. So we just move on.

And if you all want to talk about rebadging... lets look at Mercury... when virtually the entire division is a rebadge. :huh:
 

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Originally posted by mgescuro@May 25 2004, 10:43 PM
I think the 9-2X does a competent job at being a Saab. it's sporty, has great handing and good power. Yes... it looks liek a Subaru. The interior is lightly changed from the Subaru... yet.. it does not "exude" Subaru. it says Saab.

It's not a perfect car by far... but with the WRX undergoing an overhaul in a few years, there really is no need to add additional development costs.
Could GM used the Delta? Maybe. but they didn't. So we just move on.

And if you all want to talk about rebadging... lets look at Mercury... when virtually the entire division is a rebadge. :huh:
ahaha Merc is the badge-engineers dream company. Ford is king at doing that. And people laugh at GM?
 

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Speaking of the 9-2X....

I was at the Saab Dealership today... (stupid check engine light popped up... and it's time for the 80K check up).... and I saw a bunch of 9-2X's being washed and placed on display.

They REALLY REALLY do not even look like a Subaru. THe only Subaru cue from the outside is the rear window. I didn' get a chance to see the interior... but as they're on display later today... I may just sit in one.

Oh yes.... the 9-2Xs are a week early, according to the dealership... so your local Saab dealership may not have them out yet.
 
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