Saab will decide within the next few months whether to build a small car to compete with similarly sized premium models from Audi and BMW , according to Spyker CEO Victor Muller , who said he was deep in talks with potential partners about procuring a platform for the 92, a revival of a tear-drop-shaped Saab model from 60 years ago.
The decision whether to go forward with the new model, which would be introduced in 2013 at the earliest and be the first car fully designed under new Saab owner Spyker’s stewardship, would depend on economic conditions, partners and financing, Muller told Reuters.
“That is my job for the next 100 days,” Muller said as Saab launched the 9-5 flagship redesigned under GM ownership before Spyker took over Saab in January in a US$400m deal.
The new 92, if built, would be aimed at a fast-growing car segment for premium small cars, which includes BMW’s Mini, the new Audi A1 launching this summer and Fiat ‘s 500. Citroen is also rolling out a new premium line called DS.
“The 92 has to be the most stunning looking, the most ingenious and the most premium car. It has to undeniably be a Saab,” Muller said.
Saab would choose a platform from a bigger carmaker rather than make the investment for a car that would have a projected yearly production run of 30,000 to 60,000.
Volkswagen’s small car platform for the Polo is being used by Audi. The Mini is by the far the top seller in the segment, with well over 200,000 in yearly sales.
Muller said a new Saab 92 would be priced “about 10% more than a Mini”.
Saab needs about $300m to develop each new model and would have to secure financing as its current funds are already earmarked for planned models and upgrades.
Muller did not link plans for a listing in Stockholm to the 92, but said that once the group announces half-year results on 28 August, he and Saab CEO Jan Ake Jonsson would set off for a investor roadshow to drum up institutional interest in Spyker.
“We’re not planning to offer shares any time soon,” he said.
He had indicated earlier this year that Spyker would also seek a London listing and possibly delist from Amsterdam’s stock exchange but said that an Amsterdam-Stockholm dual listing was the most likely scenario for now.