The Saab 9-4x and the Saab 9-5 will be the next production vehicles we’ll see from Saab. The 9-4x will be built in Mexico and the 9-5 in Russelsheim, Germany.
It’s been thought that the Saab 9-3 would follow the 9-5 to Germany due to the belief that they will both reside on the Epsilon II platform.
This story from the Trollhattan newspaper, TTELA, seems to be casting some doubts over the 9-3′s move, and even whether the 9-3 will be built on Epsilon in the future.
Thanks to Tobias for the translation.
The next generation 9-3 production site is still not determined. GM is thinking of building the next 9-3 on a smaller architecture, in which case Trollhattan has suddenly high potential for production.
Head of information Eric Geers confesses that the next gen 9-3 is no longer decided. Its not obvious to build on the mid-size architecture. Bob Lutz thinks that the 9-3 can be built on a different architecture. The decision to build the 9-3 in Rüsselsheim was based on the fact that the car was to be built on the mid-size architecture. If this was to change then Rüsselsheim is no longer a possibility.
If we choose to build the car on the compact structure it is a theoretical possibility to build the car in Trollhattan, says Geers. The compact structure, known as Delta, is possible to build in four EU countries from around 2010. It is the same structure that the small 9-1 will be built on.
Paul Åkerlund, chairman from the Union, says that the discussion regarding the 9-3 was ended, but new discussions has started as a result of the debate about our climate. A small structure means a smaller car and vice versa.
Paul doesn’t want to make any premature conclusions, but he claims that the factory will be ready if the opportunity comes along.
Eric points out that a decision on a smaller 9-3 doesn’t automatically means that they will be built in Trollhattan. There are four more plants to take in consideration. – It is good for us that the discussion is ongoing.
Just me thinking out loud here……
This is a rather stunning development and obviously poses somewhat of a threat to the 9-1 being an additional car in the Saab lineup. If the Saab 9-3 is to go smaller then it may even be possible that the 9-X Biohybrid is a basis for it, partially explaining the lack of a “1″ in the name.
The guys at Motor Trend might have a point here….
Mike Floyd writes that it looks good for U.S. import, while I remain dubious, as in a previous post. There’s just not room under the 9-3 pricing for a premium hatchback with a Saab badge in North America.
I’ll be emailing Saab about this shortly to see if we can clear the air a little.