A fresh start and now a fresh partner? Insiders at Saab have hinted that the firm will link up with BMW to build the new Audi A1-rivalling 9-2. Plus, new boss Victor Muller has confirmed the Swedish brand will make a stylish coupé based on the 9-3.
Muller remained tight lipped about the link-up during an exclusive interview with Auto Express, but did say Saab was looking to share technology. “We could build the 9-2 on our own, but that wouldn’t make sense,” he said. “Thanks to the crisis in the industry, everyone is willing to share everything. So Spyker couldn’t have bought Saab at a better time.”
The firm is likely to tap into BMW’s planned joint project with PSA Peugeot Citroen to produce a front-wheel-drive chassis – this will underpin the next MINI and a version of the new 1-Series. Given Saab’s front-wheel-drive history, the sports-focused platform is a good fit.
An Italian designer has created a series of images of the car, guided by the Saab 91 Petition and Support Group. It campaigns on Facebook for the firm to build a small, high-volume-selling model, which it confusingly refers to as the 9-1.
Fabio Ferrante’s pictures show how the MINI rival could get an aggressive look. Engines are likely to be small-capacity turbos. Muller believes the 9-2 will be a ‘halo model’ – drawing customers to other cars in the range. “Saab used to own this sector,” he said. “We need to reclaim it.”
Muller also revealed the firm’s next major project will be inspired by 1966’s Sonett sports car. The two-seater coupé will be based on the 9-3, he said, “but more sporting than anything before and with a unique feel”. Nearer to production is a new 9-5 estate. The previous load carrier proved a big hit.