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.