Saab has been locked in negotiations with owner General Motors and the Swedish Government as the Scandinavian car maker struggles to re-establish itself as an independent entity.
GM and Saab are said to be co-operating smoothly on the plans. The split is also in GM’s interests as it races to produce a new business plan that will see it concentrate on the Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac and Buick brands. GM has also to meet a US Government deadline to prove its own long-term viability.
Saab and GM have been working on a plan in which most of Saab car production would move back to Saab’s Trollhattan HQ, according to reports in the Swedish press.
Saab would also untangle its new product development work from GM Europe, re-establishing its own research and development facilities at Trollhattan, as well moving all design work back.
A key part of the plan would involve moving production of this year’s all-new 9-5 from the Opel factory in Russelsheim, Germany, to Saab’s Trollhattan facility.
Although this would be expensive and complex, it is seen as the keystone of Saab regaining its independence after 20 years of GM ownership.
The Swedish government has already readied a bailout package for the Swedish car industry, and insiders say this money could be tapped to move the Saab 9-5 and get it in the showrooms by the end of this year, or early 2010.
It’s likely that $100m (£72m) would be needed to finish the Saab 9-5 engineering work and pay for the launch and global marketing costs of the new car.
Initially, Saab 9-5 body shells would probably be shipped from Germany to Sweden, but eventually the whole car would be made domestically.