31 March 2004

General Motors is putting plans into action that will double Saab’s size in the next decade. GM boss Rick Wagoner said Saab’s vehicle output would double to 250,000-300,000 units, with ‘four core models and six or seven differentiated models’.

Core models, influenced by the 9x concept (right), are the 9-3 and the 9-5, the replacements for today’s 9-2X and the new 9-7X (above), while the niche cars may include 9X coupé and roadster crossovers and Saab’s traditional cabriolet.

‘We need better distribution and more models to get to the dealers we need,’ Wagoner said, referring to the expedient creation of new models such as the 9-2X as ‘fast cuts’. Among the fast cuts currently under consideration is a replacement for the ageing 9-5 saloon, based on the rear-wheel-drive Holden VE.

Some GM Europe insiders believe that the VE platform will be used to provide Vauxhall-Opel with a production version of the Insignia crossover concept, using rear-drive, while an all-wheel-drive version of the platform, currently under development, could serve Saab’s requirements.

Another possibility could be provided by GM’s rear-drive Kappa platform, about to go into production in the Pontiac Solstice. The four-cylinder rear-wheel-drive platform might yield a sports car or a compact sports coupé. Compact roadsters and coupés are nothing new to Saab, the company which made the Sonnett in the 1960s.

Saab is also developing a replacement for its Impreza-based 9-2X with Subaru, which is three to four years away. And, in another project, Saab may also manufacture a new, small Cadillac saloon based on the 9-3’s Epsilon platform.

The Swedes had a record year for sales in 2003, but still sold fewer than 140,000 cars – a tiny number in global terms.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK
  • Volvo V90
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The Volvo V90 is a big estate ploughing its own furrow. We’re about to see if it is refreshing or misguided
  • Kia Stonic
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Handsome entrant into the bulging small crossover market has a strong engine and agile handling, but isn’t as comfortable or complete as rivals