Saab engineers developed 70% of the new 9-5 and the company has the capability to continue developing new models thanks to the investment General Motors has made in it in recent years.
“I have 900 engineers in Sweden and I have all the capabilities and knowledge that I need to continue to develop models,” said director of vehicle engineering Mats Fägerhag.
His main priority as the company moves forward and way from the GM umbrella will be to get Saab back to its engineering roots and strengths.
“GM was all about volume and that dictated the decision making. What we can do with Saab now is to focus on premium rather than price and volume.”
Saab will also look at producing cars smaller than the 9-3. “Downsizing is definitely on the agenda but we also need to produce safe and environmentally-friendly cars. We have a good starting point,” said Fagerhag.
The 9-5, unveiled in Frankfurt on Tuesday, is based on the same architecture as the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia with Fägerhag in charge of 1,000 engineers in Russelsheim and 500 at Saab’s HQ in Trollhatten.
The platform had to span GM brands from the volume end like Chevrolet to the more upmarket Buick and Cadillac.
“What we did was develop a menu of components – a bandwidth or basis for a car – with, for example, a choice of two front and two rear suspensions, different HVAC systems to cover the requirements of the different brands.
“The Insignia and 9-5 are different cars from the same family. They look different, feel different and drive differently. The 9-5 has a wheelbase 100mm longer than the Insignia.”
Fägerhag said that the 9-5 “had to be a real Saab, built around the driver.” Features include a head-up display taken from Saab’s aerospace links, which the Insignia does not have.