Months after being bought out by Spyker, Saab is close to finding a partner to build a premium small car, it has been revealed.
The new CEO of Saab, Victor Muller, says it has identified a partner to produce the car, which has been given the name Saab 92, by 2013.
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Despite stressing nothing has yet been finalised, Muller said the revitalised Swedish manufacturer has been looking for a potential partner to share engines, platforms, technologies and hybrid and electric expertise.
The Saab 92 is not a new concept – the name is taken from a 1949 Saab model, but Muller insists it will be a completely new design despite reviving the name.
"It will never be retro, that just demonstrates a lack of imagination, but it will embody all that was good in the original - an upmarket, premium small car," he said.
Muller also criticised General Motors, Saab’s previous owners, for neglecting the brand and the 9-5 saloon, which was launched 13 years ago.
Muller said: "Saab is a car of passion. My only contribution to the 9-5 is that it exists. Under GM, and before that, Scania, Saab lost its DNA. It's a miracle that it has retained any of its integrity. Something needed to be done to get the soul back.
"9-5 was developed while GM still owned the company, but 70 per cent of the parts are not interchangeable with the Insignia with which it shares a platform and that is a massive step in the right direction.
"But considering it is now 13 years old, the 9-5 has done well for Saab with just the odd bone being thrown at it by GM. What were they thinking?"
He revealed a 9-4X crossover SUV will be released next year and a 9-3 saloon will follow in 2012. The trio of models will bring in 125,000 sales annually, says Muller.
"Saab has the most loyal customers in the world and we can reach them very easily. They are generally highly educated so they read everything and are internet savvy.
“There are 6 million former and current customers out there. If we can persuade 8 per cent of them to buy a new one we are home and dry," he explained.