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Sporty Swede Goes Down Market
In the clearing, a Saab stands. Proud and tall, it bears the familiar design lines as well as the famous griffin logo of the Swedish car manufacturer. But look again, is it really a Saab? What kind of Saab wouldn't even be sold in its home country? Is it too ashamed of its origins to be sold anywhere else in Europe either?
Only recently has Saab announced its 9-2X would be available in Japan, oddly enough where it originates. If you're familiar with the destitute situation of Saab, you'll know the car I speak of is a provisional measure to keep the company's head above water. The 9-2X, wearing undergarments supplied by partially owned General Motors divisional partner Subaru, will make its premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December, and will be sold throughout North American and reportedly some Asian markets.
Making the announcement at the Tokyo Motor Show, Peter Augustsson, President and CEO of Saab Automobile AB stated, "We see a rapidly emerging segment in the United States for a premium, small car below the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan and we intend to be among the first in the segment." Augustsson added, "The 9-2X will help introduce Saab to a younger customer group."
With all-wheel drive, a turbocharged horizontally opposed 'boxer' motor, the new model may look doubtful at first glance, but there's a lot to be said about this little Saab. First of all, it's not like Saab hasn't dabbled in odd engine configurations over the years. Currently, the Swedish brand's lineup includes a variety of inline 4-cylinder engines featuring different levels of turbocharged tuning. Recently 9-5 models featured a GM derived V6, very un-Saab-like, with few complaints from brand devotees. Originally, many years back, Saab made its name with two-stroke V4 engines, completely different than its current crop of inline-fours.
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