BIG News: 9-1 may be a go!

Some big news poking up in the Swedish papers this morning, with Jan-Ake Jonsson apparently confirming that a new Saab, smaller than the 9-3, has been decided upon and development is underway.

The article appears in Dagens Industri and this translation has been provided by CTM:

The decision of a new smaller car below the 9-3, to be introduced in 2009, has already been taken and the development has entered the initial stages.

“We need a new model range and has planes for a smaller car. I believe it will be produced in Sweden.”

The decision about where in Europe the new GM line of this smaller car will be produced, is to be made in the first quarter of 2007.

“The Trollhättan plant has big possibilities. It is important for the brand that it is produced in Sweden. Without to much investment, the plant here could make 100.000 cars of the new smaller product line.”

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Recently here at Trollhattan I’ve been metioning that GM had decided against the 9-1, so I’m the most surprised out of everyone at this latest development.

My information came from two independant sources in different countries, both of whom had heard it come directly from the Director of Saab in their respective countries. It was communicated to me in a way that left no room for misinterpretation by both sources an one of these is a source I’d trust implicitly. At least one of these countries would be a ready candidate for the 9-1 and I’d tend to think that both markets would get it.

Despite the apparent egg on my face, I’m overjoyed about the decision, if it’s true. This is a car that Saab desperately needs and with a refurbished 9-3, a new 9-5, a 9-4x and this on the way – things are looking sweet indeed!

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CAUTIONARY NOTE: I’ve published this in the interests of getting the news out as quickly as possible. The more I read it, though, the more I recall this same story being mentioned some time earlier this year. I’m about to go trolling through the archives as I think Dagens might be pulling a fast one.

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9 Comments

  1. There is one thing I find strange in all this.

    I make a comparison again with Apple. Being an Apple user for 18 years and 3 month, I have gone through some bad times with that company. But the fans are loyal, and rumors constantly flowing. Usually, everything they will present is revealed some weeks or month before. And this is the computer industry, where development is fast and furious.

    Developing a new car should take at least 18 month from initial studies to final product if it’s only a quick rebadge job, and probably at least 4 years if it’s a ground-up development on a shared platform. So the possibilities that there during this long time are someone somewhere within the development process that want to break the silence, should be big. So why do we just get all these small shallow matter-of-fact thing (like “a new small Saab in 2009” or some dream photoshop job from an artist), and not any real juicy dirt from inside Saab and GM? 🙂

  2. Part of the big news in the article is that SAAB are still having large losses. For the 6 month of jan to june, saab loosed 1billion sec = 150M USD. Considering the fact that the sales where great during the first 6 months, this is not all that great (eventhou 34% better than last year).

    And swade, it feels as if those comments have been used before by the newpaper….

  3. I read an article in the UK edition of Autocar that the 9-1 will not be a sporty hatch like the A3 or 1 series, but more a car like the Mercedes A Class, where practicality and utility are at the forefront of development rather than sportiness.

    Anyone else have thoughts on this?

  4. “We need a new model range and has planes for a smaller car.”

    Wouldn’t it be easier to use the Astra platform rather than cutting the wings of a 340? 😉

    Having spent the afternoon guiltily coveting the Volvo C30, I have to say this is good news, though naturally one must keep their cynical hat on until a real vehicle is announced.

    Unfortunately it is sad that this decision wasn’t made 4 years ago.

  5. Saab made the BLS in 24 months on a shared platform but with alot of new exterior styling… so from now untill 2009 gives alot of room for development…

  6. Indeed you did, Ivan. It looked like a phony story based on an old Autocar item when I first saw it on my RSS feed, hence I didn’t take any notice.

    I’ll be scouring the Bankok Post for all my Saab news from now on!

    😉

  7. Sorry, Swade, I didn’t want to blame you, of course.
    The article and the image could be still a pure guess, nothing more.
    As far as I see, Saab just confirmed the fact of planning smaller model but all beyond this is only fantasy.

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