Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Is This Your Next Saab?

No, actually the photo is of the Concept X debuted this week at the Geneva Auto Show by Saab, which has no production plans for the vehicle.

Concept X does, however, give broad hints about the direction of future Saab styling, according to company officials.

"'This study shows how the strength of the Saab brand heritage can inspire bold, innovative design,' says Bryan Nesbitt, Executive Director, GM Design Europe. 'As we move forward with new Saab products, we will remain focused on carefully cultivating this brand equity in the context of Scandinavian design values.'

"'This concept shows the exciting possibilities that are open to us as we evolve a more progressive design language for the brand,' says Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile's Managing Director.

"'Our designers, engineers and marketers in Sweden are ideally placed to nurture and communicate the unique DNA of the Saab brand. Their work will ensure that future product proposals express core qualities, such as progressive design, sporty performance and emotional functionality, in a way that is specific to Saab.'"

Concept X is powered by a 400 horsepower V-6 that runs on ethanol. The interior features no conventional switchgear. Instead of the usual buttons and rocker switches, the Concept X displays all control functions behind glass acrylic "clear zones" with three-dimensional images.

In related news, Autoblog reports that GM's top car guy, Vice Chairman Robert Lutz, told a media event in Geneva that Saab is near profitability and has such a bright outlook that Jerry York, newest member of the GM board, has reversed his previous recommendation that the Swedish automaker be dumped.

And on GM's Fastlane blog today, Lutz promises:

"It has taken a while, but we're solidly on track now with a strong and extended future product portfolio for our Swedish brand. All based on GM architectures, these products will be more 'Saab' than ever before."