Saab places it's 9-X project on hold
1 August 2008

Saab's 9-X concept has been put on hold, a company course has revealed. Despite its claims to the contrary, GM Europe's senior management is reassessing the ecologically inspired concept.

Jan-Ake Jonsson, Managing Director of Saab, has admitted that the 9-X concept - which was expected to be badged 9-1 - now has to be "re-defined".

One highly placed GM source told Autocar that the case for the Saab 9-X, as it was shown at the recent British motor show, is currently being completely re-argued by Saab staff.

The debate now centres on the platform Saab uses to build the car.

Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM Europe and chairman of Saab, said that building the proposed 9-1 on the same platform as the new Corsa supermini was 'imaginable'.

However, company sources have said that the 9-X could not survive translation to a much smaller platform, and possible lower price tag, and could simply become a more conventional premium supermini in the mould of the upcoming Polo-based Audi A1.

Features such as the active aerodynamics package - which saw the 9-X's rear spoiler and rear undertray extend when the car was travelling at speed in order to improve economy - would probably be lost, as would the innovative interior design.

However, there is an outside chance that the 9-X concept could be incorporated into the new 9-3 line-up as a kind of three-door 'eco-coupe'.

The Saab 9-X was due to be built at Saab's Trollhattan HQ and would have been based on the next-generation Astra-sized 'Compact Global Premium' platform. The final production version of the car was expected to be revealed in 2011.

However, a recent decision to downsize the next-generation Saab 9-3 has derailed plans for the 9-X. The new 9-3 will now be built on the Global premium Platform and manufactured at Trollhattan.

Hilton Holloway

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