This is the still-born Saab 900 that was intended to revive the company under private ownership, after General Motors sold the company in 2010 to Spyker Cars.
Codenamed Project 540 and based on the all-new, Saab-engineered, Phoenix platform, this five door hatchback should have been revealed late last year, along with a new version of the classic Saab convertible.
It was designed by US stylist Jason Castriota and, as these pictures show, was intended to be strongly reminiscent of the classic Saab 900. The rear elevation, especially, looks very much like Saab’s most successful model. Arguably, there are hints of Audi’s A5 in the nose, which is possibly because Saab’s own research said that Audi was the brand most ‘cross-shopped’ by potential buyers.
The 4.5m-long 900 was set to have been powered by a Saab-tweaked version of the Mini’s 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which also had stop-start and braking regeneration. The first version of the new 900 was expected to have 200bhp. BMW announced an engine supply deal with Saab in autumn 2010.
This car would have also been available as a hybrid, driven by an electric motor mounted on the rear axle. The set-up was being developed by American Axle and Saab in Sweden and is expected to appear on another brand of vehicle in the near future.
The Phoenix platform was designed to be easily upgradable across future generations of Saab models and was based on a technique of ‘common component interfaces’ pioneered by truck maker Scania. Scania engineers were involved in advising Saab engineers working on Phoenix. Phoenix was designed to be stretched to underpin an all-new, 5m-long, 9-5 as well as 5.2m long super-saloon for Asia markets.
Sources told Autocar that replacing the 9-5 with a Phoenix-based model was the next priority after the new 900, along with a marketing scheme to retain the owners of the 2010 GM-based 9-5, which was destined to be a short-lived model. Saab also intended to continue to source the GM-based Saab 9-4X, which was being manufactured in Mexico.
Saab folded in December 2010, after production was halted in March and June of that year. A takeover deal with Chinese carmaker Youngman and retailer Pang Da resulted in General Motors stating that it would not allow the use of its technology if Saab became Chinese-owned.
It’s thought that the rights to the ‘60 per cent complete’ Phoenix platform are owned by Youngman. Last June, Saab’s then-owner Victor Mueller announced plans to revive the Phoenix platform as the basis for an SUV and a series of saloons under a deal with Youngman.