Jan-Ake Jonsson, as well as recently being in Oz (see below), has also been in Atlanta for the launch of the 2006 model 9-5. The following was published by Wards Auto, but supplied to me by Saab. As I’m totally stuffed after a day of painting, window-cleaning and banging nails, this is perfect content for me. No thinking, just read and enjoy.
Jan-Ake speaks, and Trollhattan listens:
Jonsson says despite the recent Kerkorian-fueled flare-up in speculation about Saab’s viability, the niche-appeal Swedish automaker and GM “agreed” late last year on a 5-year business plan for Saab “that includes significant investment” in the Saab franchise.
That investment includes, among other things:
Development of a cross/utility vehicle that is “a little more passenger-car-like” than the GM truck-based 9-7X SUV Saab currently sells. “It’s a development from scratch,” Jonsson says of the future CUV (likely to share a front-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive platform with other GM vehicles). “It’s going to be a global vehicle.”
A potential new model line below the 9-3, currently Saab’s entry point. This model, probably a hatchback called 9-1 or 9-2, would tilt in global markets at the increasingly popular premium hatchbacks such as the Audi A3 or Volvo C30, shown at January’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Saab officials are stoked regarding a concept vehicle to be shown at the upcoming Geneva auto show. The concept, fronting an aggressive new styling direction, could presage the premium hatchback or the CUV, although Saab sources refuse to provide details.
An all-new 9-5 flagship in 2008 that puts the current model to rest after more than 10 years in the market. It and a new 9-3 will be based on the next generation of GM’s Epsilon FWD/AWD platform. Jonsson confirms both new models will offer AWD as an option, because “if you want more (engine) performance, you’ve got to have all-wheel-drive.”
Jonsson says Saab also is working to craft a more consistent image for the brand, after years of mixed messages
A five year plan. New models and best of all, AWD.
I like Jan-Ake. I like him a lot. Seems like a fairly straight shooter. He gave the 9-7x’s fuel economy a bit of a bagging last year. I like a man that can admit the shortcomings of his own company. He’s generally the type of guy that’s capable of fixing them rather than glossing over them.
I just wish he’d looked me up while he was here in Oz.