Saab's Victor Muller tells Autocar that the firm is developing a new Mini-rivaling 92 supermini

Saab saviour Victor Muller is working at top speed on a “super-cool” new supermini, even before his acquisition of the company is complete.

The new car, code-named 92, is intended to have the same kind of relationship with the original teardrop-shaped ‘50s Saabs as the latest Mini has with the Issigonis’s original.

The new Saab baby, sometimes described as the 9-1, is tipped to be at least three years away and likely to be made at Saab’s Trollhattan plant.

It will be based on major components, including engines, supplied by a multinational partner. Muller declines to confirm the partner’s identity, though Vauxhall Opel looks the likely contender, given the strong and continuing relationship between the companies over Saab’s other models.

Muller and Saab’s reinstated CEO, Jan Ake Jonsson, plan a four-model range: the mid-life 9-3, a new 9-5 executive saloon which is “ready to go”, a Mexican-built, GM-based SUV, the 9-4X, to be launched late this year, and the new “92”, unlikely to be seen before 2013.

A deal to supply Corsa parts for the baby Saab is rumoured to be part of the acquisition deal, valued at around £45 million. Victor Muller, who “works with Saab designers every day” on the 92 project, carries the latest renderings when he travels on business.

He says Saab will be be successful again when its annual volume exceeds 100,000 cars. Sales for 2009 collapsed 40,000, but hit 95,000 in 2008.

Steve Cropley

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23 February 2010

Long, long overdue. Just the kind of thinking we knew we could rely on GM not to supply. Thank you, Mr Muller, it's better late than never. Saab was never my favourite brand, but, if it goes RWD for most cars and makes some really characterful cars, then I'll back it to the hilt. Mr Muller, I wish you the very best of luck. Don't have too much wacky baccy, though =P

23 February 2010

As above. Well done Saab.

Cant believe those idiots at GM had 2 decades with Saab and couldnt come up with ideas like this.

Hopefully there will be an A3/1-series rival too.

23 February 2010

I can't imagine SAAB ever removing themselves from one of their major brand identities. it would be like Porsche going FWD. However AWD is another issue entirely and this is the direction SAAB has gone for their performance vehicles. However let's get a few things straight; performance in SAAB land will not translate into 500, 600hp Mercedes Black chasers but apparently there is a 420hp Twin-Turbo new 9-5 in development.

I think SAAB will be looking to remove themselves from GM as quick as possible and all manufacturers are eager to sell their wares to help produce a better bottom line. If I were to guess a new future partner for SAAB's entry-level vehicle then Peugeot could be on the list; more favorably though would be BMW with their new FWD architecture due 2012.

23 February 2010

great news again i think Saab will be a major player in years to come

23 February 2010

[quote Rover P6 3500S]Saab was never my favourite brand, but, if it goes RWD for most cars and makes some really characterful cars, then I'll back it to the hilt[/quote]

I think I'm right in saying that Saab has never produced a rear-drive model; it's been using front-wheel drive from day one (the 1949 Saab 92) and - apart from its all-wheel drive models - has stuck with it. I'd be amazed if Saab went the rear-drive route now - and, personally, I hope it doesn't.

A Mini-rivalling Saab is a great idea, and exactly what the company needs as soon as possible. Maybe, just maybe, Victor Muller has the same kind of pioneering spirit as those in charge of Saab in the early days. There could be some interesting times ahead!

23 February 2010

I can't understand all the obsessing about fwd and 4wd when talking about saabs. they are virtually all fwd and don't really suffer as a result. i've owned 2 saabs (currently run a 2001 9 3 turbo as a second car) and they are hardly the ultimate in performance and handling but no less likeable as a result. buy a bmw if you want to go round your tesco mini-roundabout in a lairy fashion. saabs are more about being quirky and very usable on a day to day basis. a new version of the 96 could be just what saab (and many motorists bored with modern hatches) need.

23 February 2010

I think a small SAAB would be brilliant. Especially with a tear-drop shape, this would be a pretty cool little car. I'm liking how passionate they seem to make SAAB work again!

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

23 February 2010

Concerning engines, maybe one of the ideal partners would be Volkswagen (1.2TSI / 1.4TSI) but for obvious reasons (Audi A1 / VW Polo) there will be no chance. Another interesting option would be the 1.6 from Peugeot/BMW, but then kicks in, again, Mini / 207...

maybe some chances with Opel (OPC) even considering them slightly detuned (competition, competition)...

There are any chances from Ford side (Ecoboost tech)? I just hope the partner wouldn`t be Renault, anyway they already have ties with Volvo.

Seems to me that this new SAAB also pleases me.

Good and long life to SAAB!!

23 February 2010

The natural assumption would a small turbocharged engine from GM; After all SAAB developed them. But Ford does has a what could be a great little Turbo-2cyl coming down the pipeline in the not too distant future. Which ever engine SAAB decide on their 'right-sizing' goal is 150hp per Litre Cubic Capacity. That doesn't mean a 150hp 1.0Ltr in a literal sense. It could also mean 75hp from a 500ccm engine.

23 February 2010

Your forgetting something... Fiat!! Fiat already provide SAAB with Diesel engines... the 1.9 TwinTurbo 180bhp and the 1.9 150bhp and the 2.0 170bhp.. Could they not also share in with Fiat on the 900cc TwinAir Engine 2 cylinder due to be launched later this year and the 1,4 Multiair engines.. plus there is the 1.8 T-Jet Fiat are always up for partners to increase the economies of scale with!! plus their engine tech is incredible. Any thoughts on how close SAAB will be to GM from now on??

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