When is a Saab 9-3 not a Saab 9-3? Perhaps when it’s the next-generation Saab 9-3. Company executives are apparently suggesting the next-gen model may adopt a different moniker — perhaps one ripped from Saab’s storied pass.
In a recent interview with Automotive News, Tim Colbeck, president of Saab Cars North America, hinted the next 9-3 could receive a new-old name when it’s overhauled within the next few years.
“There’s a chance we might move away from that [name],” Colbeck said. Instead, the car could wear a nameplate borrowed from Saab’s heritage — despite the fact that 9-3 is rather similar to 93, a Saab model built between 1956 and 1959.
According to Colbeck, the Saab 9-3’s replacement is due early 2013. The current 9-3 has been around since 2002, which seems like a lifetime for any automotive segment, especially in the highly competitive entry-level luxury segment. The 9-3 did receive over 2000 revisions during an update for the 2008 model year, but an entirely new model can’t come soon enough if Saab expects to be mentioned in the same breath as the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the BMW 3 Series.
Honestly, we think renaming the 9-3 is the least of Saab’s worries, but do you think the 9-3 needs a new name? If so, what should it be? A few suggestions thrown around the office hearken back to Saab’s jet aircraft heritage such as Viggen (which was also a limited-edition 9-3), Draken, and Gripen. And who could forget the beloved, though not spectacularly fast Sonnett sports car from the ‘60s and ‘70s?
Source: Automotive News