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Spotted in China: first Beijing Auto Shenbao D-Series on the Road

Published on March 19, 2013 by Tycho de Feijter

Spotted in China: first Beijing Auto Shenbao D-Series on the Road

This must be the very first Beijing Auto Shenbao D-Series on the road, seen parked in front of an office building in the Sanlitun embassy district in Beijing. The Beijing Auto Shenbao D-Series debuted as the Beijing Auto C70G on the 2012 Beijing Auto Show. We have seen two variants so far: a base Shenbao D280 and an extra luxurious Shenbao D320 with a different grille. The black car seems to be a D280 but there was no D-badge on the back.

Spotted in China: first Beijing Auto Shenbao D-Series on the Road

The Shenbao D-Series hasn’t been launched on the Chinese car market yet. When it will be launched is unclear, some Chinese media say late March, other say April, other say the first half of this year. Beijing Auto is, sadly, famous for delays, so it could take a while before car buyers can get one.

The Shenbao D-series is based on the old Saab 9-5. Beijing Auto Industry Corporation (BAIC), the parent company of ‘Beijing Auto’, bought the rights to the old Saab 9-5 and Saab 9-3 from General Motors in 2009, including the rights to the Saab 2.0 turbo and 2.3 turbo engines.

Interestingly, Shenbao (绅宝) is the old Chinese name for Swedish Saab, which for unknown reasons changed to a new Chinese name ( Sabo (萨博)) in the late 1990′s. Beijing Auto so has the car and the original Chinese name.

Spotted in China: first Beijing Auto Shenbao D-Series on the Road

Only the Beijing Auto logo on the back. There have been many conflicting reports on the engines. The latest news is that only the old Saab-units will be used. Both engines have been slightly reworked for a bit more power. The 2.0 turbo poops out 200hp and 290nm, the 2.3 turbo 250hp and 350nm. Transmission is a paddle-shifted 5-speed tiptronic, which is an oldie from Saab as well. Beijing Auto is working on its own 1.8 turbo but it seems development isn’t finished yet.

Size: 4861/1820/1462, wheelbase is 2755. Front Suspension: McPherson independent suspension. Rear Suspension: Multi-link independent suspension.

Spotted in China: first Beijing Auto Shenbao D-Series on the Road

Still very much a Saab from here.

Spotted in China: first Beijing Auto Shenbao D-Series on the Road

Interior is completely new.

Spotted in China: first Beijing Auto Shenbao D-Series on the Road

Sure a different car, but still somehow familiar…

5 comments

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  1. AK- March 19, 2013 Reply

    Hey Tycho,

    Actually this is a test car from BAIC (see the license plate), probably outside the map certification office for its navigation map data approval.

  2. dragin- March 19, 2013 Reply

    Famous for delays indeed. Sources were telling us we could expect launch back in fourth quarter of 2011. Obsolescence is creeping in and, we’re running out of runway….

  3. Chip Lamb- April 1, 2013 Reply

    Only the back looks slightly like the last 9-5. The rest is very Korapanese generic sedan. I don’t see any shared sheetmetal with old 9-5. You sure about this?

  4. Burnitallagain- April 1, 2013 Reply

    ChipLamb – Buying the rights is totally different than buying the printing plates for the sheet metal. Buying the rights usually mean getting access to patents and supply chains. The BAIC likely got the rights to purchase all the components and engines from suppliers and probably some unibody production tools. As for sheet metal, why would you remake a Saab when you can just style a frame for your own market? At least the BAIC is not like GM and all they do is replace a Suzuki badge and call it a day.

  5. MikeVT- April 2, 2013 Reply

    This is definitely 9-3 not 9-5. Look at the windshield, rear window and interior center stack. 9-3. the nose is pushed out further and it’s made to look larger for Chinese market. The drivers seat back is parallel with the B pillar but the steering wheel is in the drivers lap. 9-3.

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