That headline reads pretty nice, doesn’t it?
That’s my dream: to see Saab truly given the vehicles, resources and treatment to make that claim truthfully and boldly.
Jan-Ake Jonsson has been speaking to the German pulication, Automobilewoche. Following is my cleaned-up version of the Google translation. I’ll share a few thoughts about the Saab 9-4x afterwards.
Saab: Gains by U.S. production and premium prices
Saab Managing Director Jan-Ake Jonsson plans to bring the Swedish GM subsidiary back into profit. In an interview with Automotive Week, Jonsson explains how the production of the SUV 9-4X in Mexico can help. The long-term annual sales target is 175,000 new cars.
Munich. Saab is currently the problem child of General Motors in Europe. The model program consists of two series. One of them, the Saab 9-5, is already virtually unchanged since 1997. According to Saab Managing Director Jan-Ake Jonsson, the resurgence plan that started four years ago will begin to bear fruit in 2009. “In the coming year we will introduce the new 9-5 and 9-4X. That means the restart for Saab,” Jonsson said in an interview with Automotive Week.
The SUV 9-4X could especially see the profits needed for developing the brand – if the segment of large premium off-roaders stops collapsing. Saab will try with the so-called Rightsizing approach to win customers for the 9-4X. Saab’s powerful, turbocharged four-cylinders follow the downsizing principle to find a buyer. A two litre, four cylinder engine from Sweden is designed to run on E85 and produce up to 300 hp.
The 9-4X will be buit in a Mexican GM plant. “This allows us to keep costs in dollars, which we export to Europe at a higher profit,” said Jonsson. Moreover, the 9-4X will be on the level of rivals BMW and Mercedes. “Finally we are the European premium brand of GM,” stressed Jonsson.
Jonsson also sees good sales opportunities for Saab hybrid models. “We will offer such vehicles. But because the cost of the technology is still very high, these cars can not shift from user-pays,” said Jonsson.
Overall, Jonsson sees Saab selling around 175,000 cars per year, “then we can achieve a good profit.” In the past year, Saab in Europe sold nearly 88,000 units.
Now, about the 9-4x.
Many of you may remember that I’ve forecast several times that the 9-4x will have a six cylinder base model. That info comes direct from the source. A Saab document.
However, as I’ve also mentioned several times before, that document was for the US market. Jan-Ake Jonsson is talking here to a European publication, speaking of European models.
But, the document I’ve seen was a preliminary document, sent to me early this year. Fuel prices (which have now dropped again, the credit crunch; both could have played havoc with the plans made back then.
For the moment, though, I’ll still back the document I saw. 4 cylinders and diesel for Europe, and a 6 and a big turbo 4 for the US.
Thanks to Albert VDB!