New Saab 9-3 due in 2012: Muller

Ignace, the guy who provided the “Saab Saved” image for the announcement of the sale of Saab, has forwarded a translation of a quick interview of Victor Muller by Autoweek.nl.
The big takeaway here is a firm commitment to deliver an all-new Saab 9-3 in 2012.
The link. The translation:
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Masterpiece or just hot air?
AutoWeek spoke with Victor Muller this morning to speak with the person in the leading role of this (fairy)tale.
The take-over of Saab has risen many questions. Victor Muller will shed some light on the business-plan.
“In our plans for the upcoming years are three cars; – the 9-5, – the 9-4X and the 9-3. The 9-3 will be introduced in 2012 and it is a very important car to become profitable. Contrary to what analysts say, no extra funding is needed to make the 9-3 ready for production.”
In the TV-interview yesterday evening with Pauw & Witteman, Muller criticised the management by GM. By using Opel platforms, Saab models of the past years were a bit bland. The question arises: how should it be done instead?
“The next few years we will use GM-technology, and it still is too early to say what we will do after that. Maybe we will knock on the doors of other manufacturers, or maybe we will choose for GM. But it is also possible that we will develop a platform ourselves.”
Finally; what can we expect after the 9-3 ?
“I would love to see a small, waterdrop-shaped car being developed, the 9-1. But we would need extra investors for that. Saab used to be in the absolute frontline within GM when it comes to alternative technology, so you can expect that we will have a lot of news in the future when it comes to alternative technology.”
When we ask Muller about how he sees Saab in 10 years, he is very clear:
“Like a premium brand that has its own face that has earned its place between BMW and Audi.”
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The other interesting part of this is the goodbye given to the Saab 9-X Biohybrid concept car as a potential Saab 9-1. When it was first shown in Geneva in March 2008, the Saab 9-X Biohybrid was described by Bob Lutz as being a potential Saab 9-1, if Saab were ever going to produce it.
Muller has said here, and elsewhere, that he’s interested in a 9-1 that’s more inspired by some of Saab’s earlier models.
That does leave the Saab 9-X Air a little stranded, however. Where the hardtop version was warmly received, the chop-top version was an absolute killer. I can’t imagine they’d leave that by the roadside, however, and would expect the design theory behind the 9-X Air to be brought into play for the 2012 Saab 9-3.

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