Saab 9-1 Latest Details  

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Last month we presented an artist rendering of a Saab 9-1 Concept expected to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in a few weeks. Prompted by confirmation from Saab designer Anthony Lo to Auto, Motor & Sport, our rendering showed a supermini-class car build on the Opel Astra platform.

And it looks like we were pretty accurate.

At a recent gathering of journalists at a GM design studio, drawings of a GM-made three-door hatchback were "accidentally" left lying around during an event for the Volt. Motor Trend reports these drawings as a near copy of the MINI Cooper, "with a conventional, vertical B-pillar." A manually removable roof, a la Honda Civic Del Sol, lifts off between the a- and b-pillars.

Motor Trend is showing off their version of the drawings, likely taken from journalists' descriptions. As it turns out, the Motor Trend renderings practically replicate our Saab 9-1 drawing. Seen above, the drawings diverge at two key points: our artist envisioned a more elongated body, especially at the rear, and the Motor Trend artist keeps the rear windows large and square, like the MINI Cooper. Higher resolution versions of each drawing can be seen in the gallery at right. Motor Trend also believes in the possibility of this car being used as a Saturn, hence the front-end difference in the drawing of the red car.
The car magazine believes GM would need to sell the car between $20,000 and $25,000 to turn a profit. However, we believe the profit point to be much lower, but mid-$20s pricing is necessary to actually market a competitor to the BMW-made MINI. Although we do believe near-identical pricing to the MINI Cooper would be likely for a Saab 9-1 production version, the actual cost of making such a car is likely much lower, making the Saab 9-1 a potential cash cow for GM.

America's supermini sales has proven to be more successful than expected over the last ten years. As oil prices climb, and concerns about the environment grow, supermini sales could expand even further. With $38 billion in losses last year, GM will be looking to squeeze as high a profit margin as possible out of new models over the next few years, making further entry into the supermini segment a very promising venture for GM.

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Saab 9-1 Concept to Geneva

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