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Saab's Victor Muller tells Autocar that the firm is developing a new Mini-rivaling 92 supermini
Autocar
News
1 min read
23 February 2010

Saab saviour Victor Muller is working at top speed on a “super-cool” new supermini, even before his acquisition of the company is complete.

The new car, code-named 92, is intended to have the same kind of relationship with the original teardrop-shaped ‘50s Saabs as the latest Mini has with the Issigonis’s original.

The new Saab baby, sometimes described as the 9-1, is tipped to be at least three years away and likely to be made at Saab’s Trollhattan plant.

It will be based on major components, including engines, supplied by a multinational partner. Muller declines to confirm the partner’s identity, though Vauxhall Opel looks the likely contender, given the strong and continuing relationship between the companies over Saab’s other models.

Muller and Saab’s reinstated CEO, Jan Ake Jonsson, plan a four-model range: the mid-life 9-3, a new 9-5 executive saloon which is “ready to go”, a Mexican-built, GM-based SUV, the 9-4X, to be launched late this year, and the new “92”, unlikely to be seen before 2013.

A deal to supply Corsa parts for the baby Saab is rumoured to be part of the acquisition deal, valued at around £45 million. Victor Muller, who “works with Saab designers every day” on the 92 project, carries the latest renderings when he travels on business.

He says Saab will be be successful again when its annual volume exceeds 100,000 cars. Sales for 2009 collapsed 40,000, but hit 95,000 in 2008.

Steve Cropley

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B reg 25 February 2010

Re: Saab plans Mini, Audi A1 rival

"intended to have the same kind of relationship with the original teardrop-shaped ‘50s Saabs as the latest Mini has with the Issigonis’s original" - i.e. none at all except for the number of wheels.

Holy.Cat 24 February 2010

Re: Saab plans Mini, Audi A1 rival

Would love a RWd 'Aero' model too compete with Cooper S etc

Rover P6 3500S 23 February 2010

Re: Saab plans Mini, Audi A1 rival

Paul123 wrote:
I think I'm right in saying that Saab has never produced a rear-drive model; it's been using front-wheel drive from day one (the 1949 Saab 92) and - apart from its all-wheel drive models - has stuck with it. I'd be amazed if Saab went the rear-drive route now - and, personally, I hope it doesn't.

I believe you're right, I can't think of a single RWD Saab (though some day I'd like to convert one of the old 80s 900s, moving the front axle forwards, lots of re-engineering involved...). However, as I have already said, Saab going RWD would enable a good deal of component-sharing with Spyker (I can see Spyker going front-engined to use Saab platforms). This would help save a lot of money. And, let's face it, with cars getting bigger and heavier, we need more torque/power. In a FWD car, this means torque steer. I've been driven in a 9-3 Viggen and I have never had so much fun or been so terrified as a passenger in all my life. Massive torque steer, lots of understeer, a fair bit of lift-off oversteer... its handling was comically awful! RWD would enable a greater degree of controllability, as well as being more fun. The old 9-5 was to Europe what similar Buicks and Cadillacs were to America. Snoozemobiles for the middle-aged couldn't-give-a driver.