MotorTrend: Next Saab 9-3 to come on custom Epsilon I architecture

MotorTrend have been speaking with Victor Muller in New York and have quite a good article on their website talking about his revelations to them.
There’s the customary showing of the PDA Saab 92 image:

MULLER: Well, you can see it. This is not television, right? The Saab 92 is definitely the missing link in the portfolio of Saab cars. And this is clearly what we want to bring to the market, really soon.

My reaction to his Blackberry pix? Wow.
MULLER: That is the reaction I like. Is that a Saab, or what? So that is my priority, Saab’s top priority, because that is not part and parcel of our business plan. So we need to find separate financing, or we have to perform so well, we can do it out of our own means. … Or find a partner who we can share a platform with who has deeper pockets, so we can share it on their balance sheet.

And then there’s this stuff, on the next Saab 9-3, which we’re expecting to see in 2012.

“The 9-3 now is basically built on the Saab I-P platform,” he says of the next car. “It’s a heavily modified Epsilon I platform, but Saab now. So that’s the basis for the new 9-3. So we have no further restraints. So we don’t have to share it with anyone else. Which means we can knock ourselves out to make it the car we want it to be.”
In other words, its development on GM’s Epsilon II platform was halted rather long ago.
“They made that decision right in time, to stick to the Epsilon I. And it’s a great platform. There’s nothing wrong with it. There’s no necessity to share it with anyone else. So we can make a Saab Saab out of that one.”
His plans are to take the next 9-3’s design direction “more in the direction of the Saab Aero-X, 9-4x. To take that design one notch up, more in the direction of the real individualistic Saab design that we want.”

It’s an interesting decision.
There was talk some time ago of the next Saab 9-3 moving down in size to GM’s new compact architecture, called Delta II. Think new Astra.
There was also more recent chatter about a customised version of Epsilon, but nothing as official as this.
So Epsilon it is. I think the size will be a winning decision compared to a generally smaller architecture, but can they tweak it enough to get good improvements in ride and handling compared to the current generation 9-3?
I’m sure they can.
Thanks to Frank for the link.

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