I’ve just received the following:
June 18 (Bloomberg) — Jason Castriota, the U.S. designer known for creating the Ferrari P4/5 and Maserati GranTurismo, will head Saab Automobile’s design team to help the Swedish carmaker take on Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Audi AG.
The report has once again come in from Ola Kinnander at Bloomberg and I’ve received some confirmation externally as well.
This is a big appointment and whilst Castriota’s career includes some noteworthy achievements with Pininfarina and Bertone, long-term Saab fans will feel a little for Simon Padian and other long term members of the Saab Design team.
From the Bloomberg report:
The first assignment for Castriota’s design firm is to create an upscale version of Saab’s current 9-3 model, scheduled for release in 2012, the 36-year-old said in an interview. Aerodynamics will be a focus of the new design, he said.
“It’s absolutely vital we get this car right,” Castriota said from New York late yesterday. “This is Saab returning to its roots, not having to worry about being part of a much larger machine that they were before in the GM organization.”….
…..Castriota will play a major role in fashioning the new 9-3 and other models, said Eric Geers, a spokesman for the Trollhaettan, Sweden-based Saab.
“The 9-3 design as made by him is basically done, and I can tell you it is spectacular,” Muller said by telephone, adding that the design will be completed within weeks. “It is truly aircraft-inspired and Swedish-clean.”
The design of this new 9-3 is going to be critical for Saab. The three cars that they will release in the next 12 months or so will be the launch pad but the new 9-3 will have to be the bread and butter car that inspires a new generation of Saab fans.
This is big, big news.