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Saab 9-3 2.0t Sedan 4-door on 2040-cars
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Auto blogMon, 04 Feb 2013 16:30:00 EST
The Saab faithful are going to be playing the "what if" game for years to come. It's one of the burdens of being a fan of a dead brand. A fresh batch of grainy 9-3 Phoenix images have made their way online, alleged shots of a design proposal penned by none other than Jason Castriota. The five-door looks to feature an honest liftback, though SaabsUnited.com says this particular vehicle was drawn up as part of a business plan in early 2011. As such, Castriota apparently told the site the final product was to look much more athletic than what we see here. While the low-resolution images make it difficult to tell much about the design, we certainly appreciate the familiar roofline, full band taillamps and the contrasting rear spoiler reminiscent of the old Saab 99 and 900 ducktails.
Unfortunately, we know all too well why this creation never saw the light of day. Would-be savior Victor Muller couldn't quite pull Saab out of its nosedive, and the company fell into bankruptcy before the 9-3 Phoenix could get off the ground. There's talk of the Phoenix platform and Saab brand having new life in other markets as EVs and even as gas cars, but the model seen here will likely never see production - let alone North American showrooms.
You can take a closer look at SverigesRadio.se - just make sure to have your translator ready if you don't speak Swedish.
When a brand goes belly-up, it's natural for analysts to wonder where that brand's consumers will turn. General Motors has mothballed more car brands the last decade than most other automakers' have in their entire portfolios, so "Where did [insert brand here] buyers go?" has been a common question asked of The General. According to reports, it didn't do so well at retaining Oldsmobile owners (who supposedly went to Hyundai), or Hummer and Saturn buyers, but did get some return love from Pontiac owners.
A consultant with Polk has turned the loyalty lens on Saab. The Polk Disposal Loyalty Methodology tracks owners selling vehicles within six months of buying a new one. In 2010 and 2011, Polk found that when Saab died, owners went right up the middle of the mainstream to Honda. It was close, though, with just 0.2 percent separating Honda from number two Volkswagen. Audi comes in third.
After that it's back to the masses with Toyota, Chevrolet and Ford trumping import luxury brands. And if you combine all of the General Motors brands that Saab owners have migrated to, GM more than doubles Honda with a 15.2-percent share, so all the love is not lost.
Do you believe in reincarnation? Like how we hope that, maybe, all of our hard work as auto writers will result in an eventual return as a swarm of beautiful butterflies. If you are a Saab fan, the equivalent could be this bit of news: The 9-3 Convertible may rise again, as an electric vehicle.
Word comes from the Dutch version of Autoweek that Chinese entity National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) has indicated that it will bring an electric version of the 9-3 Convertible to market in the next 18 months. The EV droptop would first debut in the Chinese market, but could expand, as could the lineup to other 9-3 variants, such as the sedan and SportCombi. A NEVS spokesperson has stated, "NEVS basically no doors holds." We're not sure if that's the spokesperson or the translation from the Dutch report, but you get the gist.
NEVS also indicated that conventionally powered versions of the 9-3 could be produced as well. The internal combustion engines could be the originally intended General Motors engines. Regardless of powerplant, we would be very eager to see Saab return, potentially as an EV to boot!