After General Motors' last-minute decision to save the Saab brand by selling it to Spyker, few firm details have leaked out about the Dutch company's plans for its new acquisition. Now, Spyker has released its detailed plans for keeping the Saab brand afloat with new products designed to make the company appeal to its cult-style following again.
As Spyker has said previously, the first new Saabs will be the GM-designed and engineered 9-5 and 9-4x, both of which will go on sale within the next year. The plans are subject to change, Spyker acknowledges, and they all hinge on Spyker formally acquiring Saab from GM by the middle of this month. Most importantly, Spyker still needs to ensure that the European Investment Bank will still provide its $400 million loan. The Swedish government guaranteed the loan late last month, but it still requires approval by the European Commission - which Spyker says is "expected very soon."
"All Saab" future lineup
The 9-5, according to Spyker, will go on sale in early Summer and will eventually offer the much-spied SportCombi wagon variant as well as an off-road styled 9-5X model - envisioned in the vein of Volvo's XC70.
The 9-4X, set to debut at next month's Geneva Motor Show, will go on sale in early 2011 in both Europe and North America. The 9-4X, as has been previously reported, rides on the same Theta Premium architecture as Cadillac's all-new SRX. The 9-4X will be assembled in Mexico and Saab says that the crossover will help it achieve "pre-crisis" sales levels of more than 100,000 units annually - still a small number by global standards.
Yet it's the redesigned 9-3 that will likely be Saab's volume player should plans come to fruition. Spyker stresses that the new car will be "all Saab" and that it will be offered in the sedan, SportCombi wagon, convertible and ruggedized X variants currently offered. Yet Spyker also says that it plans a return to the hatchback bodystyle that was offered on both of Saab's models during the 1980s and 1990s. The hatchback bodystyle was dropped during the GM era and has been blamed by many for Saab's falling out with its core buyer groups.
Spyker hasn't ruled out an entry-level 9-1; the automaker says it will investigate the potential of adding a fourth line to Saab's operations but that the car doesn't currently fit in with the company's funding.
Spyker says that Saabs will be benchmarked against Audi's A4 and A6 and BMW's 3 and 5-Series cars and that its technical center in Trollhattan, Sweden, is capable of developing complete new cars. The company will continue to utilize its nearby Trollhattan assembly plant, which it says is one of the most efficient of its kind in Europe.
GM has expressed interest in continuing to be involved with the development of Saab's future products and the giant Detroit automaker's experience could be essential in keeping Saab afloat.
To cut costs and improve engineering, future Spyker and Saab products will share certain parts and suppliers.
Spyker has not given any firm plans about its intentions for Saab's global dealer network. It's expected that some of the stores will eventually begin to carry Spyker's high-end performance cars, but the company says that it will first implement a new sales and distribution approach.
Unlike Koenigsegg, which lost out on the bidding for Saab late last year, Spyker has not indicated that it plans to cut any of Saab's 1,100 global dealers.