Saab Ramps Up Production of New 9-5, Plans New Models

Saab faces many obstacles on the road ahead, but the plucky Swedish automaker believes it's on track to restore its production volume.

CEO Jon Ake Jonsson informed Spyker shareholders at an annual meeting that the company's production is "on schedule," presently building roughly 1000 cars a week. The automaker will reportedly meet its target of building 54,000 vehicles. Jonsson says Saab will increase productivity at its plant in Trollhattan, Sweden, during the month of June to ensure it will meet those goals.

Spyker CEO Victor Muller says Saab's break-even point will come when it is able to sell 85,000 cars annually by 2012. That may be important should the automaker wish to expand its lineup. Saab has publicly expressed its wishes to develop a car smaller than the 9-3 -- dubbed the 9-2 -- that could take on the likes of the BMW 1 Series.

"The Saab 9-2 is clearly on the forefront of our priorities," said Muller. "It has to be something as iconic as a Mini and it has to be a real Saab."

Saab officials have indicated that development work on the new car will only occur once the brand's operations are profitable. To help lower engineering costs, the company is also looking for an automotive partner that could help design and produce the 9-2.

For the time being, the 2010 9-5, which should arrive at U.S. showrooms come July, will be the first all-new Saab offering to roll off the assembly line. In a twist, the old 9-5 is also starting to roll off assembly lines, but not in Sweden. Beijing Automotive Industrial Holding Company (BAIC) bought the rights and tooling for the last-generation model from General Motors.

Source: Automotive News; 1,2 (Subscription required)

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