Saab is lining up an audacious bid to buy the rights to the outgoing BMW Mini platform, according to sources.
The struggling Swedish car maker is keen to secure the rights to a small-car platform that would allow it to compete in the booming market for premium compact cars, defined by the Mini itself and new models such as the Audi A1.
After securing a deal to buy Mini’s 1.6-litre turbo engine, Saab bosses are said to have their eye on the current Mini platform. BMW will begin to phase out the current Mini R56-generation platform in late 2012, when the all-new Mini 3, codenamed F56, is launched.
The Mini 3 is based on a new front-drive platform developed by BMW in Munich. It will also be used for BMW’s own Audi A1-rivalling small car.
One source suggests that in 2013 BMW’s Oxford plant will be re-equipped with the new production line to build the Mini 3. Saab would then be able to use the R56 for its own 9-1.
Despite these ambitious plans, Saab continues to struggle with its survival. Production of the 9-3 and 9-5 has been halted twice in recent weeks, with suppliers alleging that they have not received payment from Saab.