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Old 04-03-2001, 04:42 PM   #1
Porter
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Post GM draws new AWD from Saab - Where's Subaru?

Wow, check this out...
http://www.automotivenews.com/autone.../gmsaab305.htm

I thought GM was going to use Subaru componentry in their upcoming AWD products. I know the upcoming AWD Cadillac Escalade uses a design based on Subaru's AWD system. This article indicates that the GM luxury brands will use a Saab/Fiat derived platform for AWD. Saab has an excellent AWD system they've used in their Pikes Peak racers, but they've shelved it as far as production is concerned, probably because of the high cost of the mechanical LSDs used. I know they considered staging a WRC effort last year.

What's up with GM buying part of FHI if they're going to use another source for their AWD designs? Maybe Saab is sourcing AWD componentry for the new AWD 9-5 from Subaru by way of GM? Maybe there's more to the story?

If anyone has better information, please post.

[This message has been edited by Porter (edited April 03, 2001).]
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Old 04-03-2001, 06:20 PM   #2
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It does not have to make sense, this is the same company that brought us the Aztec.

Edit: And they brought us the Grand Am, with new improved side cladding!

[This message has been edited by CRZ_MSL (edited April 03, 2001).]
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Old 04-03-2001, 06:42 PM   #3
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Guess who supplied the 'boxes for the pikes peak cars?...Prodrive!...as a fellow saab owner,do you think Saab could actually make a beefy gearbox?hehehe,i would like to see Saab get back into WRC though-i mean thats where they came from ain't it?...a Saab was the first turbocharged car to win a WRC event back in '77 w/ our hero Stig Blomqvist...GM needs to be flowing dough for a good WRC comeback!...all this upmarket ***** at Saab really bums me out...
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Old 04-03-2001, 06:56 PM   #4
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I'm with you there! I'm all too familiar with the Saab tranny gremlins, I replaced the gearbox once already in my '89 SPG that's now out of commission w/ a blown head gasket and several bent valves. Got boost happy and blew it @ 24+ psi. It was a "reliable" 300hp beast until I killed it at 145k miles.

My '87 S has what's considered to be the only really strong manual tranny Saab ever made. I've beaten the hell out of it and it keeps asking for more. Clutches? Yeah I've gone through a few but with 160,000 miles I think I'm doing ok. Still, it's time to upgrade... WRX here I come. The S will get stripped out and turned into my ClubRally beater!

I know the Pikes Peak car has a similar gearbox to the sequential found in the WRC Impreza, but I didn't know it was an actual Prodrive unit. Sweet!

Anyway, I'm tired of the upmarket nonsense too. Hopefully with the new AWD cars they're coming out with, we'll see a close partnership between Saab and Subaru. Their design mentalities are very similar, and their combined experience with turbocharged 4 cylinder engines and rally heritage would be an absolute juggernaut. Anybody remember the 800hp 4cyl Saab rally car experiment in the early 90s? Imagine future cars from each manufacturer based on the same AWD platform, using flat layout engines with Saab variable compression and huge turbos, competing against each other in the WRC? I can dream....


[This message has been edited by Porter (edited April 03, 2001).]
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Old 04-03-2001, 07:29 PM   #5
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Yeah,i'll be rexed too,hopefully at summers end...my old 86 turbo(rip) was the "anti-spg",runnin' w/o bumpers,detrimmed,lowered,apc tweeked,spearco i/c spray etc...i ran 22psi max & never had any 'box problems(centerforce clutch)...it dynoed @ 246hp...a guy in Ohio,Gary Moore,imports shortthrowshifters & rally 'boxes(4spd only) that can handle up to 350 hp...but now i'm savin' all my pennies addin' to my downpayment fund!...will there ever be a Saabaru?hehe,those 2 quirky forces combined would smash all comers!
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Old 04-03-2001, 07:37 PM   #6
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As far as the Escalade relation.... you guys must remember the gestation period of any vehicle. From concept to production is a good 4 years. I doubt the AWD system in that truck has anything in common with Subaru hardware.

GM only got in bed with Subaru starting ~2 years ago. Heck, the first 5 years will have middle management pondering why executive management decided on the relationship and then trying to configure their vehicle product line-up the take advantage of Subaru's talents.

Think about it. Consider GM's crazy line-up of vehicles globally and how their brands must meld to produce a coherent product line-up. Then throw into the equation the fact that GM seems to buy(fully or partially) a car company every 3 years. Now you have a bunch of confused product planners that have to decipher the jumble of overlapping vehicle lines.

I assume they will use Subaru's existing platforms to deliver a niche vehicle. A partnership like they have with Toyota in NUMMI, which will finally bring out a vehicle GM can really sell(Vibe), unlike those Prisms of years past.
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Old 04-03-2001, 07:50 PM   #7
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Saab actually licensed Volvo's AWD system a few years back but has yet to put it in a production car.

Subaru's system only makes sense if you have a very short engine (boxer).

Glenn
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Old 04-03-2001, 08:12 PM   #8
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I heard Volvo's AWD only uses VC coupler without the center diff. (as is used in Subaru). Yikes!

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Old 04-04-2001, 05:49 AM   #9
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I don't that article means that GM is using Saab AWD components. As yet, Saab doesn't have any of their own. I believe the article implies that new GM products will be based on shared platforms, and that some Saab "platforms" may perhaps be used on GM premium models.

I recall reading that the upcoming AWD Saab 9-5 Wagon will use an AWD system developed by the Austrian firm, "Styer-Daimler-Puch". This same firm also designed the AWD system used in the Aztec and Buick Rendevous (and the upcoming Saab SUV).

I guess GM believes that different AWD systems are more suitable for different uses. For V-8 powered, heavy duty truck or SUV use, maybe the existing Subaru system just isn't appropriate. But you would like to think that GM, over time, will consolidate and develop the Subaru relationship rather than go "outside" for AWD technology. I've recently read that GM and Subaru are indeed going to cooperate on a new "cross over" AWD vehicle, with the same basic platform package likely to be for Saab and other premium GM brands.
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Old 04-04-2001, 06:03 AM   #10
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I wonder what AWD system they were using in their G8 Concept Car. If someone could find that out, it could answer a lot of questions.

FYI, the G8 is/was a 350hp Grand Prix with AWD. Pretty sharp looking, but it looks like it got shelved due the the Grand Prix being on the virge of a complete redesign.
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Old 04-04-2001, 06:22 AM   #11
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When I worked at a Pontiac dealer in the late 80's/early 90's they sold an AWD 6000 sedan. Had the 60-degreee V6, 3-spd A/T w/a center diff [lockable @ low speeds], 2-piece propshaft going to an S10 front diff mounted in the rear of the 6000. Kind of interesting to drive, but it was really heavy and not tossable at all. Only sold it 2-3 years. Atleast GM tried.
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Old 04-04-2001, 07:10 AM   #12
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Lightbulb

I remeber seeing a picture of a concept car, I can't remeber what the heck it was called, but it looked like a topless Chevy truck, and it was powered by a turbo 2.0 boxer, and AWD, and based on the Legacy chassis.
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Old 04-04-2001, 11:55 AM   #13
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that truck thing was the stx I believe
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Old 04-04-2001, 02:47 PM   #14
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It was the Borrego, actually. I think the engine was a 2.5 as well.

I didn't read the article, but here's my take on what's happened so far. I'm not happy about GM buying part of Subaru, but what can we do? It's not like Subaru's AWD system is black magic or anything. It's actually very simple. I don't buy the line that GM bought Subaru for their AWD technology. GM wants to buy companies, strip what they can, assimilate them into GM corporate (read: VERY bad thing), and then leave them for dead. It's happening to SAAB, it will happen to Subaru.

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