Saab will decide within the next few months whether to build a small car to compete with similarly sized premium models from Audi and BMW, said the chief of Dutch carmaker Spyker, which bought the Swedish company this year.
Victor Muller, the CEO of Spyker, said he was deep in talks with potential partners about procuring a platform for the ‘92’, a revival of a tear-drop-shaped Saab model. The decision whether to go on with the new model, to be introduced in 2013 at the earliest and be the first car fully designed under Spyker’s stewardship, would depend on economic conditions, partners and financing.
“That is my job for the next 100 days,” Muller said at a launch event for Saab’s new 95 flagship model, the first since Spyker took over Saab in January in a bold $400 million deal with GM. The new 92, if built, would be aimed at a fast-growing car segment for premium small cars, which includes BMW’s MINI -- a revival of the English Mini Cooper -- and the new Audi A1 which launches this summer as well as Fiat’s 500.
Saab would choose a chassis platform from a bigger car maker rather than make the investment for a car that would have a projected yearly production run of 30,000 to 60,000.
Asked whether Saab was in talks with Volkswagen or Hyundai Motor Co, likely platform partners, Muller said there were no talks with the Korean automaker and declined to comment further. Volkswagen’s small car platform for the Polo model is being used by its Audi unit, which the company says could reach 50,000 orders this year. The MINI is by the far the top seller in the segment, with well over 200,000 in yearly sales.
Muller said a new Saab 92 would be priced “about 10 percent more than a MINI”. Muller did not link plans for a listing in Stockholm to the 92, but said that once the group announces half-year results on Aug. 28, he and Saab CEO Jan Ake Jonsson would set off for an investor roadshow to drum up institutional interest in Spyker.