Death’s Revolving Door: More Saab EV News

That revolving door is still swinging. Digital Trends and TTAC have reported that Turkey’s government has purchased the rights to make the Saab 9-3.

2009 Saab 9-3 saloon: wikipedia.org (give them some money, please. €5 will do.)
2009 Saab 9-3 saloon: wikipedia.org (give them some money, please. €5 will do.)

And it will have a Cadillac BLS front end. Goodness me. It seems the 9-3 will be made and sold in Turkey with a engines of an unknown provenance which might or might not be electric. At the same time Dongfeng who are the main owners of the remains of Saab will produce their own version in China by 2020. What is keeping them, one wonders. This car really has had a colourful life, hasn’t it?

1974 Anadol Otosan aka the Renault 12: productioncars.com
1974 Anadol Otosan aka the Renault 12: productioncars.com

I find it odd that the Turkish version is going to have a front valence based on the now-dead BLS. Styling and making a more appropriate part would not cost a very great deal of money, I would have thought. You need a designer, a clay modeller, a CAD jockey and some production engineers. It could, in all likelihood be done for under a few million Euros. Since the Turkish government is in charge of local regulations they could even shepherd the design through these where the fence is lowest. TTAC shows two prototypes with Cadillac faces: a second interpretation is that these are simply mules and a special part will be produced in due course.

The cars won’t be sold in Europe.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

9 thoughts on “Death’s Revolving Door: More Saab EV News”

    1. +1 – I really miss SAAB, but can’t stand the idea of it being exhumed like this. We don’t want people to remember this as being “the last SAAB”, we want a far more positive frame put on what was something a bit special.

  1. I think they are just using some leftover BLS parts to make the prototypes. The ‘production’ car will probably have its own exterior and interior, unless the Turkish government is interested to lose a court battle with an army of GM lawyers. There are already some Chinese BIAC ‘Senova’ cars based on the old 93 and the ancient 95, with completely different design. The Dongfeng products will be – as far as I know – newly developed cars.

    Anyway, let’s see how far the Turkish are willing to go… I can predict they will fully develop the car and then not manufacture it. Or they build it and go bankrupt after 2 years.

  2. Doesn´t it depend on what what was sold and who owned it? I don´t suppose they will use the Cadillac parts but the Saab body shell presumably and quite likely belongs to NEV and the Chinese investor. Much as Renualt and Peugeot sold the designs for the 12 and 405 respectively, I would safely bet that it will be okay for the Turkish to keep the BIW as it is.
    Saab were great. This developement doesn´t trouble me as it does not really touch on what made Saab so lovely. Lancia´s decline hurts because Fiat continued to sell things called Lancias that were not Lancias apart from the badge. This Saab-derived thing will be labelled something else and so makes no claim on Saab´s identity.

  3. I believe that Turkey ranks just behind Italy as a car producer, though its indigenous cars ended with the Anadol in 1991. As such, it’s not as though Turkey is such an isolated and unsophisticated market that it will take whatever is on offer (as the Eastern Bloc did once with cast-off Fiats) and, whatever its virtues, the 9-3 will likely be viewed as a rehash that won’t compare favourably with, say, the Renaults being produced by Oyak. Beware of governments who are taken with the vanity of becoming car producers – possibly they should put their energies elsewhere.

    Incidentally, did you know that the original Cadillac Seville was produced under licence in Iran as the Cadillac Civil? Obviously before the Revolution.

    1. As I’ve discovered Ian Fleming’s favourite city more or less from the backseat of a Tofas, I feel some kind of connection to the Turkish car industry. Which has only been strengthened through the realisation that the Tofas is built by a company named – snigger snigger! – Koc Holding. Which wouldn’t be half as funny if they were a limited or plc.

  4. how many after-life’s will the Saab 9-3 have? Seriously though it will be interesting to see how BAIC, Dongfeng and Turkey further develop from the ageing Saab platforms.

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