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9-3X takes Saab off-road

Crossover coupe: the 9-3X heralds Saab's serious new off-road intentions.

Saab's new crossover concept will debut at the Detroit motor show

30 Nov 2001

SAAB's new 9-3X concept will mark a significant new direction for the premium General Motors brand when the "crossover coupe" is revealed at the Detroit motor show in January.

According to Saab, the 9-3X will create a new, sub-sport utility vehicle (SUV) market segment by combining sporty styling with multi-dynamic features to demonstrate that all-wheel drive vehicles with off-road capabilities can retain a strong and athletic on-road appeal.

The 9-3X follows the four-wheel drive 9X concept car seen at both the Frankfurt and Sydney motor shows. But as the first Saab to offer an off-road dimension, it is also a clear signal the Swedish maker intends to be represented in the fast growing compact all-terrain vehicle market.

Full details of the 9-3X will be revealed at Detroit but the first official images released this week clearly depict a car with Saab's distinctive styling cues. The sweeping, wraparound windscreen and compact proportions are Saab hallmarks and, interestingly, traditional large off-roader wheel clearances have been avoided.

"The Saab 9-3X concept represents a further expression of the sporty, multi-dynamic design philosophy already established by the Saab 9X performance concept at the Frankfurt auto show," said Saab Automobile CEO Mr Peter Augustsson. "The 9-3X will also show aspects of the design language you can expect to see in coming products." The 9-3 and 9-3X are early signs of an aggressive new expansion policy by General Motors' sole European luxury brand. The Scandinavian company currently sells 130,000 vehicles per year globally, but hopes to increase this to around 250,000 by around 2005 by releasing at least six new models in the next four years.

That ties in with GM plans to be more competitive with Ford's Premier Auto Group brands like Lincoln, Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover - which together achieve 900,000 luxury vehicle sales per annum - by lifting its premium product sales volumes from 300,000 to 500,000 annually.

The first new generation product from Saab will be an all-new 9-3 sedan due to appear in Europe around July and set for release Down Under around October 2002. A coupe, convertible and wagon versions are all tipped to follow the sedan into production.

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