Victor Muller, the new boss of Swedish carmaker Saab, said that he is close to finding a partner to help develop a new premium small car.

Muller wants to put the new model, known as the Saab 92, into production in 2013 but to make the project viable the company needs to a partner to share engines, platforms, technologies and even electric vehicle and hybrid expertise.

A number of potential partners have been looked at, but the Saab chief said that one had “identified us”.

Speaking to the Fleet Street Motoring Group at a lunch in London, Muller did not reveal the identity of the partner but said it was important that “they can deliver what we need rather than Saab having to use what it’s given. Every decision is now taken on the basis of how best it serves us.”

In terms of design the car will not be a throwback to the original 92 launched in 1949. “It will never be retro, that just demonstrates a lack of imagination, but it will embody all that was good in the original – an upmarket, premium small car.”

Muller has already come up with his own design vision for the new 92 but he insists that he is not a car designer

“I’m a lawyer turned crazy who likes to design my own cars and have some sort of influence.”

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