With the Geneva Motor Show opening, Saab is in the news with its BioPower vehicles and the news of a 2.9l diesel being developed by GM for the European market.
Thanks to CTM for the translation:
Saab Automobile is about to expand it’s model range in a huge way – starting off next year. General Motors will spend some 2 billion USD on new models the next 3-4 years – even though the company has lost some 3.5 billion USD already on Saab. This according to Jan-Åke Jonsson, CEO of Saab Automobile.
– “But one shall remember that we are now using platform that exists inside the GM-family. The money we are spending now is only to make the new models truly Saab.”
It therefore seems that Saab has a rather generous budget for the new models, and great opportunities to finally develop cars that can compete in the premium segment.
– “GM has understood that it takes models of all sizes to be able to stay in the game,” says Jan-Åke Jonsson.
This is what the expanded model range will look like.
Next autumn, or possible in 2009, there will be an all new 9-5. It will share technology with the coming Opel Vectra and Saab 9-3 (Epsilon II), and will be built in Rüsselsheim in Germany.
After that a cross-over, with a possible name of 9-4X. It will share platform with a Cadillac, and it will be built in Mexico but sold worldwide. With the current exchange rate of the dollar, this can have a very positive result for Saab. Expected sale are 30.000-40.000 vehicles a year.
Sometime in 2010, the new 9-3 will arrive. It will also be based on Epsilon II, which means it will be built in Rüsselsheim in Germany.
The smaller model 9-1 is after that, when the production of the 9-3 has moved from Trollhättan. The model share technology with the coming Opel Astra. The final decision has not yet been taken, but Saab are already testing prototypes of it in Trollhättan. Jan-Åke Jonsson seems sure that the car, if produced, will be built in Trollhättan.
– “We are projecting a sale of 40.000 vehicles of every year during it’s life cycle. That’s enough to make it profitable. But in using the Astra platform, we get a huge possibility to build other Opel models in Trollhättan. Today, Opel has a capacity of 800.000 vehicles in Europe, but the trend is towards more and more models and that’s were Trollhättan comes in to play. The biggest plants do not have that kind of flexibility.”
The old target of 250.000 vehicles for Saab is something Jan-Åke Jonsson has moved away from. – “We are happy if we can reach 175.000-200.000.”
Tomorrow, at the Geneva Auto Show, Saab will show the 9-5 concept that can be used with pure ethanol, E100. The engine is only a 2 liter, but has a massive 300 bhp.
– “It’s nothing we are planing to produce producing, but it shows what kind of effect we can deliver. In the future, we may end up with engines of about 1.4 to 1.6 liter but with effects of about 150-170 bhp,” says Kjell AC Bergström, CEO of Saab Powertrain. [I think they mean GM Powertrain]
Saab will also show the 9-3 1.8t BioPower with an ethanol engine at 175 bhp. The model can already be ordered in Sweden with prices starting at 236.000 SEK.
Later this year, the 9-3 will get a facelift and an optional AWD.
Great news all round, especially for aspiring 9-5 owners.
Tom – great stuff!!
UPDATE for comment….
As mentioned earlier, we managed to break the 9-5 story a week or so ago right here and hinted that there may be something coming in the Swedish press about it. I’m pleased to see that that’s come to pass.
A new 9-5 built with the modern premium sector in mind is going to be something quite special, I’m sure.
I’d fully expect it to use the new 2,9 V6 diesel that GM are showing off at Geneva, too. This engine produces around 250hp and 550Nm of torque and is slated for the European market around the time the 9-5 is due. Seems like a fait accompli to me.
I’ve also just received some notice via email that we can expect to see a preview of the small engines that were mentioned in this article in th next 12-18 months. The engines are quite possibly HCCI engines of 1.4 or 1.6 litres, turbocharged by Saab.
HCCI stands for homogenous charge compression ignition and I don’t have a clue how it all works, but that’s why we’ve got Wikipedia. Through taming and applying HCCI technology and turbocharging, Saab will be able to realise higher power and torque outputs but with massive fuel efficiency gains and minimal emissions.
Should be interesting to say the least.