Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

2006 Geneva Show, Part V


Saab Aero-X: Born From the Corvette

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

Enlarge Photo
2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

Enlarge Photo
Is it the face of Saab's future? Don't expect to see the Aero X concept vehicle in your nearby Saab showroom anytime soon, but it still says a lot about the struggling Swedish automaker's future, according to company officials. Appropriately surrounded by 55 tons of ice, the Aero-X is a decidedly edgy alternative to Saab's current lineup. And that's precisely what was in mind, said Anthony Lo, a member of the Aero-X design team. The extreme proportions underscore the automaker's current ad campaign, "Born From Jets," with aerospace cues, such as the oversized air intakes. One of the more distinctive touches is the wraparound windshield, which eliminates the traditional A-pillar. A trick cantilever system raises and tilts the roof of the low-slung two-seater for relatively easy access to the interior. Think of it as "Scandinavian Cool," said Lo, playing off the popular J-Cool, or Japanese Cool design themes. In general proportions, the Aero-X is similar to the Chevrolet Corvette, and in production, it would most likely share theU.S. sports car's platform. But "I don't think Saab would ever do anything like that," Bob Lutz, car czar at Saab's U.S. parent, General Motors, conceded during an interview with TheCarConnection.com. Nonetheless, the Aero-X is, he said, "symbolic of what Saab could do with design." Long short of cash and product, the automaker recently won approval for a more aggressive business plan that will begin expanding its model lineup over the next few years. A vehicle smaller than the current 9-3 is a top priority, according to Lutz, as is a mid-size crossover.

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

Enlarge Photo
2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

2006 Saab Aero-X Concept

Enlarge Photo
The GM Vice Chairman also noted that the Swedish subsidiary is approaching the point of profitability, in part because of increased economies of scale. Going forward, Lutz said, Saab products will be largely the same as GM's under the skin, though the focus will be on differentiating ride and styling, while add-on features should allow "you to sell it at a much higher price." The typical Saab, he stressed, should command "anywhere from $1000 to $2000 over a comparable Opel or Pontiac" version.

2006 Geneva Show Preview, Part II (2/19/2006)
New VW Concept A, Porsche 911 Turbo, BMW WRC car.

 

Lutz Calls for "Decoupled Development"

A new approach to developing advanced technology, from powertrains to folding hardtops, should speed up product development at GM, while also reducing cost, asserted the automaker's product chief, Bob Lutz. Know as "decoupled development," the concept means that GM engineers will work on new hardware even before they know what vehicles it might be used in. "Very often," he noted, "incorporating something new into a vehicle program is where you have your problems." However, once a new system is developed, Lutz explained, "engineers can pull it off the shelf and put it on their vehicles" without delay. Decoupled development would have been particularly helpful with the Pontiac G6 convertible, the GM car czar suggested. The mid-size model was initially delayed because of problems with its folding hardtop. If GM had developed the hardware separately, the problems would have been fixed already, Lutz insisted, noting that Toyota uses a similar approach to developing future technologies.


 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Take Us With You!
   
Advertisement

More From High Gear Media


 
 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC. Send us feedback.