Daily News Briefs: June 14, 2012

Saab

More details have emerged on the potential Saab asset sell, according to Automotive News. The deal, devised by a Japan-Hong Kong partnership, so far only includes the purchasing rights to the current Saab 9-3 vehicle and a platform Saab was developing called "Phoenix," which was supposed to be the next-generation 9-3. The firm also wants to buy the old Saab factory, but it plans to hire only 200 employees instead of the 3,500 that used to work there. The new Saab company, called National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, aims to become the world’s largest purveyor of electric vehicles, turning Saab exclusively into an EV maker. The new company won’t have the rights to build the Saab 9-5 or the Saab 9-4x, according to GM, which owns the technology rights to those vehicles. The company won’t own Saab’s spare parts company, either. The biggest omission to the deal is the rights to the Saab brand name; those discussions are still ongoing, according to the company. If the deal goes through, the new company aims to build EVs using Japanese technology on the Saab platform by 2013 or 2014.

In other news:

By Colin Bird | June 14, 2012 | Comments (0)

Saab Stops Covering Warranties

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As it falls into liquidation, Saab confirmed today that will no longer honor warranties on any models. This includes not only cars still on dealer lots, but all 2010 and 2011 models already sold. If you bought a Saab while the automaker was still part of the GM stable, warranty work will be covered, GM told Kicking Tires this afternoon. The sale was completed in February 2010.

The bankrupt Swedish automaker told dealers yesterday it would stop covering its policies, according to Automotive News. Warranty booklets were to be removed from cars on lots, and all cars should be sold "as is," according to Automotive News.

All warranties have been suspended, regardless of model year, Saab spokeswoman Michele Tinson said, but "Saab owners should be advised to keep receipts of all related warranty work done or services performed until further notice." A service representative at True Saab, a dealership in suburban Chicago, confirmed the news, saying the dealership was charging customers for all Saab repairs and maintenance. The dealership had no immediate provision to offer its own replacement warranty, a sales representative told us.

By Kelsey Mays | December 20, 2011 | Comments (15)

What Saab's Liquidation Means to You

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As the automotive industry digests the news that embattled Swedish automaker Saab filed for bankruptcy liquidation this morning, current Saab owners and prospective buyers likely have serious questions.

Breaking: Saab Stops Covering Warranties

Saab is seeking a true liquidation, meaning there will be no future buyers, and Saab will no longer make new cars. GM sold Saab in 2010 to an independent firm in Sweden. At the time, GM said it would honor any Saab warranty because the cars were still built with GM technology and parts.

A Saab representative told us there are no details at this time about future warranties and who will honor them.

By David Thomas | December 19, 2011 | Comments (33)

2011 Saab 9-5, 2011-12 Volkswagen CC Earn IIHS Top Safety Pick

2011 Saab 9-5The 2011 Saab 9-5 and the 2011 and 2012 Volkswagen CC received the Top Safety Pick designation in the midsize luxury/near-luxury category from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

These cars had previously earned the title, which is awarded to vehicles that receive the agency’s top rating — Good — in front, side and rear crash tests, and have electronic stability control. But that was before IIHS implemented its tough roof-strength test, making it harder for new cars to be named Top Safety Picks. To pass the test, a vehicle’s roof must be able to withstand the force of four times the vehicle’s weight. The VW CC’s roof can withstand 4.4 times its own weight; the 9-5 can withstand 5.85 times its own weight.

The Top Safety Pick designation on the CC applies only to the front-wheel-drive model because the heavier all-wheel-drive model was rated Acceptable in the roof-strength test.

Neither vehicle has been fully tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, whose tests include more side impact test data.

Altogether, IIHS recently completed roof-strength tests for eight midsize/large family and luxury cars. The 2011 Lexus ES 350 earned a Good rating in roof strength, but it was rated Acceptable for rear crash protection. The 2011 BMW 3 Series, Chevrolet Impala, Infiniti G series, Lexus IS and Saab 9-3 all earned Acceptable ratings in the roof-strength test.

By Colin Bird | June 16, 2011 | Comments (4)

Chinese Partner Throws Saab Another Lifeline

2011 Saab 9-5Saab used up another of its nine lives today as the company announced a new partnership with a small, private Chinese car company, according to USA Today. Hawtai Motor Group bought a 30% interest in Saab in exchange for $223 million.

Saab has been shut down for nearly a month because it lacks money to pay for the parts it needs to build its vehicles, USA Today reported. Before the recent turmoil, Saab was threatened by the bankruptcy of former owner General Motors before the big American carmaker reached an agreement with small Dutch boutique carmaker Spyker. Ever since, Spyker has struggled to keep the lights on.

Along with the new money from Hawtai and a short-term loan from an investment fund, Saab will now have enough money to restart production of 9-3 and 9-5 vehicles. Despite the lull in production, Saab has plenty of inventory in the U.S. Cars.com is showing some 2,602 new Saabs at its estimated 130 dealerships. That’s equivalent to 141 days of inventory, the highest in the industry, according to Ward’s Automotive. A new 9-4x crossover was supposed to go on sale this month, but we don’t know if that model has been delayed. A Saab 9-5 SportCombi is scheduled to come to the U.S. this fall.

The deal still needs to be cleared with European and Chinese authorities, but Saab expects the agreement will clear regulation hurdles in six to 12 weeks.

Saab Buys Time by Selling 30% to Tiny Chinese Carmaker (USA Today)

By Colin Bird | May 3, 2011 | Comments (8)

Saab Confirms Next-Gen 9-3 for Fall 2012 Launch

2012 Saab 9-3

In a going-away blog post, Saab’s former CEO confirmed that the automaker will launch a redesigned Saab 9-3 on or before October 2012. By that time, Saab’s entire vehicle lineup will consist of new models, including the new 9-5 SportCombi and 9-4x crossover. The current generation 9-3 is shown above.

There have been growing concerns surrounding the sustainability of the recently formed independent Saab because the CEO recently resigned amid new financial losses.

The 9-4x will go on sale in May with a starting price of $34,205. The 9-5 SportCombi will go on sale this fall. Saab confirmed earlier that the underpinnings of the Saab PhoeniX concept we saw at the Geneva International Motor Show will underpin the new 9-3.

By Colin Bird | March 29, 2011 | Comments (5)

More Saab 9-5 SportCombi Photos and Video

2012 9-5 SportCombi

The 2011 Geneva International Motor Show is shaping up to be a promising stage for vehicles that will eventually show up in the States. One of those cars is the 2012 Saab 9-5 SportCombi.

We’ve shown you a teaser shot before, but the wagon’s profile was fully revealed today in both photos and a promotional video.

There aren’t too many surprises in the front. Of course, it’s the tailgate that’ll catch your eye with its wraparound greenhouse. It's accomplished with blacked-out D-pillars, integrated rear spoiler and a full-width rear light bar.

By Colin Bird | February 24, 2011 | Comments (0)

New Saab 9-5 SportCombi Coming to U.S.

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Station wagon fans in the U.S. haven’t had much to cheer about lately. For every Acura TSX Sport Wagon we gain, we lose a Mazda6 or Volvo V70. That’s why it’s good news to learn that the redesigned Saab 9-5 will not only get a SportCombi wagon variant, it will also go on sale in the U.S. this fall.
 
The SportCombi debuts in March at the Geneva International Motor Show, but we’ve got images aplenty below. Trim details and powertrain information weren’t available today, but Saab says it will have a turbo engine and XWD all-wheel drive. We’d hazard a guess that the wagon may only come with all-wheel drive in the U.S.
 
The cargo area will feature a multifold floor and a sealed wet storage compartment underneath the cargo floor. The cargo area is 18.6 cubic feet with the rear seats in place and expands up to 56 cubic feet when they’re folded down. Those figures are much more in line with BMW’s old 5 Series wagon at 17.7 and 58.3 cubic feet, respectively, versus the current Volvo XC70, which has a huge cargo area at 33.3 and 72.0 cubic feet.

By David Thomas | January 19, 2011 | Comments (8)

Cars.com Reviews the 2010 Saab 9-5

2010 Saab 9-5

The 2010 Saab 9-5 is the first vehicle from the newly independent and reanimated Swedish automaker. To survive in the short-term, Saab needs the 9-5 to be a hit with car buyers, but that’s not exactly a surefire bet, says Cars.com senior editor David Thomas. On the outside, the 9-5 exudes style, with just the right amount of retro cues to tug at the heartstrings of Saab loyalists. Unfortunately, the 9-5 already looks and feels outdated on the inside. Despite the so-so interior, is there enough worth bragging about on the new 9-5 besides its quirkiness? Continue reading to find out.

2010 Saab 9-5 Review

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By Colin Bird | November 9, 2010 | Comments (6)

What Does This Button Do?

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Hidden from view behind the steering wheel was the oddly named Night Panel button in the new Saab 9-5. I had actually seen it on many other Saabs in the past, so I knew it wasn’t related solely to this new design.

What is a Night Panel? When you press the button does it ask you a series of questions about your vision at night?

By David Thomas | November 4, 2010 | Comments (12)

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