What's Next for the Swedes

#Saab, #9-5

The Plan Going Foward
Saab has begun selling the all-wheel-drive 9-3X, which was announced last year but never delivered. GMAC is back on board to finance customers. The new 9-5 went on sale this summer in limited quantities (500 units) as an Aero only. The 9-5 2.0T arrives this fall. In the spring of 2011, we'll get the 9-4X, which is based on the Cadillac SRX and is being built for Saab by GM in Mexico (and is the only Saab not built in Trollhättan). The 9-5 SportCombi (wagon) is due in late spring, and a new 9-3 (based on a shortened GM Epsilon platform) is promised for 2012. At that point, Saab's oldest car will be the 9-5 sedan, a level of product freshness Saab has never had before.

And after that? Magnus Hansson, manager of Saab global product, says, "There is no doubt about it-we have to do something smaller than the 9-3." Muller concurs: "We all agree that the missing link is the 9-2-the small Saab, the premium Saab, the teardrop-shaped Saab-which is not retro."

But can the company stay viable? Saab expects to sell 100,000 cars in 2011 (25,000 in the U.S.) and claims its break-even point is 85,000 units. "There are 1.8 million Saab owners," says Muller, "and if one in eight buy a new Saab, we are profitable."

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