Saab Announces New Models
It looked like the end might be near for Saab not long ago, but now the automaker is bouncing back, recently announcing three future models and a new partner.
While details on the new models were sparse, Saab did release their names: 9-1, 9-6X and 9-7. Based on Saab's current naming strategy - with each model designation starting with a "9" followed by a second number indicating the car's size - it's likely the 9-1 will be a small, relatively inexpensive vehicle, while the 9-7 will be a large sedan. Presumably, the 9-6x will be an SUV, slotting just above the automaker's recently released 9-4X crossover.
"The Saab 9-6X and 9-7 will be key to enhancing the prestige of the Saab brand to an even larger group of customers in China and the US, while the entry-level Saab 9-1 will appeal to urban motorists around the globe," said the automaker in a statement.
Announcement of the future models came just days after Saab secured funding from Chinese carmaker Youngman and Pang Du. In the newly-inked deal, Saab will be responsible for developing, testing and manufacturing new vehicles, while Youngman will provide funding. The agreement keeps Saab running following recent factory shutdowns due to lack of funding.
With a newfound infusion of cash, Saab can move forward with plans for several other new models, too. A station wagon version of the automaker's midsize 9-5, dubbed the 9-5 SportCombi, is scheduled to roll out later this year, along with the 9-4x. And a fully redesigned version of Saab's most popular car, the 9-3, is expected to go on sale sometime next year as a 2013 model.
For Saab loyalists, that's great news. Last year, the brand sold less than 3,000 cars nationwide and seemed headed towards extinction. But while sales figures are still low, they're improving - and increased funding may be just what the quirky Swedish brand needs to get back on track.