Since my daily commute takes me through some of Chicago’s wealthy northern suburbs, it’s not that unusual for me to see some interesting cars. Recent sightings include a Fisker Karma, an Audi A8 W12, and a McLaren MP4-12C. Bentleys are surprisingly common, and I probably see at least a couple Lamborghinis a month when the weather is nice.
But this morning in oncoming traffic I saw something I’ve never seen on the road before, a Saab 9-4X. It’s not particularly exotic, but it has to be plenty rare. If you haven’t been following the Saab bankruptcy drama, the 9-4X was the very-short-lived crossover SUV that was based largely on the Cadillac SRX and assembled at a GM plant in Mexico.
This got me to thinking: How many 9-4Xs actually made it into customer hands? My Google research produced several different production totals. All were comfortably under 1,000, but Automotive News reports 9-4X production at 457 units. The same source states that 267 were sold in 2011. An online search came up with 15 used 9-4Xs for sale. So, presumably some of these vehicles are being driven daily. I’d guess owning a low-production vehicle sold by a bankrupt car company introduces many challenges and headaches that I can’t even comprehend.
But what I’m really wondering about is the product itself. Since the 9-4X made it into production, development and tooling was completed. It doesn’t appear that Saab will be saved, but does the 9-4X have a future? I assume that GM could put it back into production if there was a reason to. Could 9-4X be turned into a new Buick crossover smaller than Enclave but larger than the upcoming Encore? Could it be transformed into a fleet-only vehicle, much like the 2008-style Saturn Vue recently resurfaced in the U.S. as the Chevrolet Captiva Sport? Could it become a Chinese Buick?
Who knows? But as a car enthusiast, it’s always fun to speculate about what could happen.