Beijing Auto (BAIC) launched today the "Shenbao" marque for its upcoming high-end passenger car lineup and the first model carrying it, the D320. Previously called C70G, the D320 sedan is built on BAIC’s "M-trix" platform, derived from the GM2900 that gave rise to the first-gen Saab 9-5.
"Shenbao," whose official English translation is currently unknown, is a Chinese name of "Saab" that has been used in Hong Kong and Macau (in mainland China, Saab’s Chinese brand name is "Sabo"). In 2009, BAIC bought three vehicle platforms and some powertrain technologies from Saab, but failed to acquire the brand. In launching "Shenbao," it seemed to follow a strategy similar to that of SAIC’s, which has resurrected "Rover" in China as "Roewe."
Sitting on a 2755mm wheelbase (compared with the 2703mm one on the first-gen Saab 9-5), the D320 is 4861mm long, 1820mm wide, and 1462mm high. It is to get three turbo-engine choices: a 130kW 1.8L, 150kW 2.0L, and 184kW 2.3L. They will be paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission.
The D320 will be built in BAIC’s Shunyi factory and hit the market in the first half of 2013.