An image of the next-generation Saab 9-3 has broken cover. The car will be part of Saab's recovery
31 October 2011

This image hints at the shape of the next-generation Saab 9-3, a car that will play a major role in the recovery plan of the struggling Swedish manufacturer.

The picture was uncovered by Swedish website, SVD Näringsliv, which acquired a presentation that Saab gave to the European Investment Bank last year.

See the leaked image of the next-generation Saab 9-3

The new 9-3 is one of several new models in the pipeline by the revived Saab, which wants to expand its range as part of its recovery. It is expected to arrive in 2013 or 2014 and the line-up will include fastback and convertible versions. As well as the 9-4X and 9-5 SportWagon, new cars in the premium compact – possibly badged as the 9-1 – and executive segments are also part of the recovery plan.

Car production at Saab is expected to restart in early 2012 after company’s sale to Chinese investors Youngman and Pang Da was finally agreed last week. The firm’s future plans involve expansion into China, repositioning as a near-premium brand and a renewed model line.

The deal to save the cash-strapped car company was sealed last Friday after last-minute talks between Victor Muller, boss of Saab’s owner Swedish Automobile NV (Swan), and representatives of Youngman and Pang Da.

Swan was under pressure to agree a deal because the administrator looking after Saab’s affairs, Guy Lofalk, wanted to end the reorganisation process that was effectively protecting the firm from bankruptcy.

On Friday, when a district court was due to decide whether to agree to Lofalk’s request, the Chinese investors agreed to purchase 100 per cent of Saab Automobile and Saab GB for 100m euros. The deal still requires the approval of the Chinese government, which is expected to make a decision by the middle of this month.

Off the back of the deal, Saab unveiled a restructuring plan to its creditors on Monday. The plan indicates that Youngman and Pang Da have committed to providing 50m euros (£43m) to fund Saab Automobile during the ongoing reorganisation process.

The Chinese companies have also pledged about 615m euros (£535m) to clear debts, restart production at the firm's factory in Trollhättan in western Sweden after six months of inactivity and fund the company’s operations throughout the next couple of years.

Under the terms of the buyout, Saab GB will become a subsidiary of Saab Automobile, along with Saab’s property, tools, powertrain and parts businesses.

Matt Burt

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