Phoenix-like SAAB is reportedly going to get access to BMW engines, technology and possibly a crack at the Mini Clubman platform to serve as the basis for a reborn teardrop-shaped SAAB 92. No, seriously.
BMW will share gasoline and diesel engines for use in the NG (next-generation) SAAB 9-3, due for a late 2012 release. The timing of this announcement couldn't be better, coming hot on the heels of the Paris Auto Show and the upcoming release of the Mexico-built SAAB 9-4x, which desperately needs a competitive diesel engine if it is to see sales success in European markets.
While BMW (and modern Mini) purists may be all verklempt over this twist, it should come as no surprise to anyone with their ear to the ground in Munich. BMW's CEO Norbert Reithofer has been searching long and hard for other companies to buy BMW components in order to boost the company's revenues across the board. For example, Carbon Motors, developing a sexy new police car for the US market, has agreed to pick up BMW 6-cylinder engines, cooling systems and drivetrains for use in their new cop cruisers.
SAAB may also get access to BMW's Efficient Dynamics Program, a whole raft of technology that reduces fuel consumption, increases motor efficiency, and generally makes their cars less douche-like (no word on whether these fancy new bits will include Douche Parking Assist, however).
Sources indicate that SAAB will acquire the new 222hp 4-cylinder engine that hasn't even yet made it into a production BMW. Diesel options also abound for the European market, but no word yet on whether the diesel-hungry US market will finally get an oil-burning SAAB that isn't a two-stroke. This new engine is destined for the NG9-3 and possibly as an option in SAAB's new flagship NG9-5 sedan.
What?s even MORE appealing about all this tech-swapping is the ever-increasing possibility that SAAB will in fact put a new small car into production, based on the Mini Clubman platform and shape-inspired by the legendary SAAB 92, 93 and 96 models, in production from 1947 to 1980. SAAB savior and Saab Spyker CEO Victor Mueller has been flashing concept sketches of this car to anyone who wants to look at his Blackberry. Sources say it is one sexy little beast, and would give a whole new demographic of buyers reason to visit a SAAB dealership for the first time since the last original 900s rolled off the line in 1994.
Design duties for this potential 92/93/96 rebirth have been given to SAAB's recent new hire Jason Castriona, the American designer best known for penning the Ferrari P4/5 and Maserati GranTurismo. SAAB aims to release this new small car by the end of 2014, and so far support has been strong from the SAAB fan faithful.
As if all this wasn't enough to drag you back into a shiny Ikea-like SAAB showroom, how about this: owners of a luxury nameplate car, 1995 or later, will be given a $1000 incentive to buy a SAAB. Here's the fun part: you do NOT have to trade in said luxury car to get this grand, you simply have to provide proof of ownership. That's it. If you own a '95 or later Lexus, Benz, BMW, Volvo, Audi, Cadillac, Infinity or Acura, take your pinks with you to the SAAB dealer and you'll get a "$1000 Luxury Conquest Incentive" towards the purchase of a new 2010 SAAB. Guess being a gearhead really DOES pay off.
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