Friday, November 26, 2010

Saab Targets Chinese and Russian Markets, Unlikely to Develop a Diesel 9-4X

Saab has revealed plans to begin distribution to China and Russia. Deals for both countries will be signed before the end of the year, while Saab is also pondering the assembly of cars in the Far East. In other news, the Swedish maker also said that it's unlikely that we'll see a diesel-powered 9-4X any time soon.

In regards to China, Saab CEO Jan Ake Jonsson, told reporters on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show: "Until we launch the new 9-3 at the end of 2012, it will be just a couple of thousand units (annually), all based on imports. As we lead up to this, we have to make a decision if and when we are going to introduce local manufacturing in China."

If Saab decides to assemble cars in China, production would concern the next generation 9-3, as the 9-5 sedan and 9-4X would be imported to the country.

Until then, Saab wants to define the dealer network first, which will have 10 to 15 showrooms, spread out in five or six cities. Mr. Jonsson didn't reveal any further information about the company's plans in Russia.

Speaking about the 9-4X, the Saab CEO said that there are no current plans for the introduction of a diesel engine to the range, due to the short payoff period it would have.

"If you then look at the life cycle of the vehicle, typically five or six years, before we actually have a diesel engine, we have to find one, we have to test it, we have to install it, validate it, and you are two years into the life cycle. And then you have a very short payoff period. So I think it is unlikely" Jonsson said.

By Csaba Daradics

Source: Autonews