Swedish car maker prepares rebranding for independence

Saab has made plans to use its upcoming independence from GM to become the ‘Apple of car brands’.

Knut Simonsson, the Saab’s director of Global Brand and Sales, told a Dutch auto magazine that the Saab DNA underpinning future models will be represented by "innovation, aircraft history and Scandinavia". This can be summed up by the idea of “independent thinking” he said.

Saab could ape Apple by having a small market share but appearing to be much bigger, said Simonsson. It would be a "special brand for entrepreneurs, dentists, doctors and agency people". Saab was "absolutely not" about being the same as other car makers. "We don't want to be another Audi," he said.

Simonsson said the work on Saab’s future direction began "three or four years ago" and the dramatic Aero X concept was "a restart for the brand". He also underlined that Saab wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past, deciding a strategy and then changing direction.

The all-new 9-5 saloon is currently undergoing winter testing, Simonsson revealed, and is "99 per cent finished". He said that it will go on sale in 2009, after being unveiled at the Frankfurt show in September. An estate 9-5 is scheduled for 2010. The new 9-5 is also likely to cost more than outgoing model.

Simonsson did not, however, comment on the plans to make the 9-5 at Saab’s HQ in Trollhattan, rather than at Opel’s factory in Russelsheim.

In the longer term, he said, Saab doesn’t have to be a very big company to be viable, claiming Saab can be profitable with production of 150,000 cars per year. Simonsson also claimed the company was "profitable in Europe for the last two or three years", suggesting it is in the US sales market that the company loses money.

Hilton Holloway

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    28 April 2015
    The Superb never had a problem with space but for 2015 it gets even more. It's also lighter, cleaner, more frugal and better equipped.
  • First Drive
    27 April 2015
    Whether the original BMW X5 M has diluted the brand is a moot point. However, there's no doubt that this second iteration is a cracking car
  • First Drive
    27 April 2015
    The original S-Max was a game changer – your only option if you wanted a fun, seven-seat MPV. The new model aims to be the same, only better.
  • First Drive
    24 April 2015
    Space and practicality has never been an issue for the Seat Leon ST, and thanks to a Cupra 280 engine it's now fast, too - but does it gel as a package?
  • First Drive
    24 April 2015
    Ariel's third model is the best yet - in fact, it's one of the best driving experiences we've ever had