It all started with a report at Dagens Industri (who’ve been eerily quiet since being told to stick their bottom lip up over their head and swallow).
The two Swedish car manufacturers may be heading for a collaboration, at least if one of them has his way.
According to DI want to Saab Automobile happy to start cooperation with Volvo Cars and it’s CEO Jan Ake Jonsson, who runs the idea. That cooperation could become a reality confirmed by Volvo Car Corporation’s communications director Olle Axelsson.
It is primarily convertible models would be the focal point for cooperation. Volvo has begun to review the company’s cabtillverkning in Uddevalla, something that can open for an interaction between Saab and Volvo in models C70 and 9-3 Cab.
Sales of the C70 has halved since the peak year of 2007 when 21 000 cars were sold and now is the production of the car stopped for five weeks. In Uddevalla, it is possible to produce 40 000 cars a year, Volvo is very keen to fill the plant with other brands in order to prevent a closure.
Sounds like a plan that’s in motion.
However, when contacted by other news agencies, things get a little muddy….
Swedish car brand Saab said on Thursday it was too early to talk about a possible co-operation with Volvo Car Corp. on producing a new model, pouring cold water on reported interest from its domestic rival.
Swedish business daily Dagens Industri had earlier reported that carmaker Volvo, recently bought by China’s Zhejiang Geely, was interested in cooperating with domestic rival Saab in softtop model cars.
The newspaper had cited Volvo spokesman Olle Axelson, who later told Reuters that Volvo had had no actual discussions with Saab over product development, though the firm was always open to discussions with other carmakers.
“Our priority number one … is China operations right now,” Axelson said.
“There are absolutely no discussions and have never been any discussions on the executive level at Volvo to cooperate around product development with Saab.”
Saab Nederland spokesman Dick Braakhekke said it was too early to talk about whether Saab and Volvo would work on a new model together.
As we all know, Saab are indeed looking for deals that will help them bring their breakeven down to around 85,000 vehicles per year. The Saab deal with BMW for engines is part of that. The deal with AAM is part of that. They give Saab the opportunity to bring new technologies to market without having to bear the full costs of investment.
It has been mentioned before that Saab may look to produce the next generation of the Saab 9-4x on the Phoenix platform, in Trollhattan. By that stage, it’ll mean production of the 9-5 (sedan and combi) as well as the full next-gen 9-3 range will be taking place in Sweden. Perhaps a new compact Saab 92 as well.
If it got to that stage, maybe some outsourcing to the Volvo/Pininfarina plant in Uddavalla would make sense. But that looks to be a long way down the road.
Thanks to Per and others for the tip!