The Saab 9-4X crossover is unlikely to be offered with a diesel engine option that would be crucial to its success in Europe.
The car, revealed last week at the LA motor show, will launch in the US in May with two petrol V6s – a 265bhp 3.0 and a300bhp 2.8T – and sales will follow in Europe with the latter engine from August.
Saab sources have conceded to Autocar that sales will be hampered by the lack of a diesel and company boss Jan Ake Jonsson has said a diesel 9-4X is unlikely to ever be launched.
“If you then look at the life cycle of the vehicle, typically five or six years, before we actually have a diesel engine, we have to find one, we have to test it, we have to install it, validate it, and you are two years into the life cycle,” he said.
“And then you have a very short payoff period. So I think it is unlikely.”
Jonsson has also confirmed the firm will begin distribution in China in 2011 and a similar deal for Russian distribution is likely to be confirmed with the next few weeks.