Jason Castriota is best known for his exotic supercars, but the American designer is expanding his repertoire by taking over as lead designer for Saab.
Castriota, best known for the Maserati Birdcage and Gran Turismo, Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina, and Bertone Mantide, will start his tenure at Saab by designing the replacement for the aging 9-3. According to Castriota, the model will be more upscale to better compete with the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series and heavily emphasize aerodynamics.
"It's absolutely vital we get this car right," Castriota told Automotive News. "This is Saab returning to its roots, not having to worry about being part of a much larger machine that they were before in the GM organization."
Castriota isn't just getting his feet wet. According to Spyker-Saab CEO Victor Muller, the design of the new 9-3 will be completed within weeks and the company hopes to get the car on the road by 2012 as a 2013 model.
"The 9-3 design as made by him is basically done, and I can tell you it is spectacular," Muller told Automotive News. "It is truly aircraft-inspired and Swedish-clean."
Castriota won't stop with the 9-3, either. He will, in his own words, help "define the strategy for the new models" and Saab spokesman Eric Geers confirms that Castriota will be responsible for designs of other models beyond the 9-3. The first all-new model that Castriota could have a hand in will likely be the new 9-2, a teardrop-shaped small car paying homage to the original Saab 92 that launched the brand. Saab is rumored to be in talks with BMW about using the Mini platform for the car.
"A small premium car from Saab is a very important vehicle and is something that could truly help the overall production volume of Saab in a great way," said Castriota.