Saab and BMW are continuing their "I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine" partnership on the next 9-2 supermini due out in 2012 by announcing that they will also be borrowing BMW’s latest front-drive platform. This news comes shortly after the two companies announced that the new 9-2 would be powered by a BMW sourced engine allowing BMW to reduce costs on their ever popular Mini which carries this same engine.
The sharing doesn’t end there either as Saab boss Victor Muller said that the next 9-2 might share technologies with the future 9-3: "We’re in constant dialogue with a number of players to share the [9-3] technology," he said. "There are parties that are interested in talking about possible licensing of the technology."
Expect the new Saab 9-2 to be unveiled sometime in 2012 and to be powered by a modified 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. The new model will compete with models like the Audi A1 .
Reports are coming out that the reinvigorated Swedish brand, Saab , is also set to make its return to the most prestigious rally racing series in the world, which, if everything pushes through, could happen in the 2012 season.
Saab has been absent from the rally scene since 1979 and the brand’s return to the WRC could be in-line to the recent revival the automaker is enjoying under its new ownership.
Details are still sketchy at best, but there appears to be mutual interest from both Spyker - that’s Saab’s new owner, if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months – and officials from the WRC for Saab to make its rally comeback. Given the brand’s rich history in rally racing, we’re going to be surprised if their return to the WRC doesn’t happen.
In the event that Saab does come back to rallying, it is expected that the brand will be fielding a modified 1.6-liter turbocharged Saab 9-2, which, interestingly, will also be the same platform that the MINI Countryman will be using when it makes its own return to the world of rally racing.
It’s been an interesting year for Saab and now things just keep getting better. AutoExpress is reporting that BMW and Saab are linking up to work on the new Audi A1 rivaling 9-2.
Auto Express spoke with new boss Victor Muller at the recent Saab Festival in Trollhattan. “We could build the 9-2 on our own, but that wouldn’t make sense,” he said. “Thanks to the crisis in the industry, everyone is willing to share everything. So Spyker couldn’t have bought Saab at a better time.”
Saab will look to take advantage of BMW’s joint project with PSA Peugeot Citroen. The group will work on a front-wheel drive chassis that will be on the new Mini . Front-wheel drive is in the company’s history, so it seems like a smart buy for Saab.
For BMW, this also seems like a smart move. Gaining partnerships will help reduce the cost of the new Mini and it shouldn’t hurt sales given the Mini’s reputation. Yet, we haven’t heard anything from either company, so we will have to wait and see.
An unnamed source has reported to Reuters that the Saab chairman has been in talks with BMW to use its engines and transmission in a new version of the 9-2.
Victor Muller, the chairman of Spyker and Saab, has said he is deep in talks with potential partners about a 9-2 platform. They hope to have a tear-drop-shaped model, similar to the 9-2 of the 1950’s.
Dagens Industri reported on Friday that BMW had plans to provide diesel motors for the Saab 9-4X city jeep that will debut in Europe at the start of 2011.
The two companies have made contact over the possibility of a partnership on the 9-2, which could be built on the MINI platform, the newspaper reported. There is a meeting scheduled for the end of June.
Spyker and BMW both declined to comment to Reuters.
"We are in talks with several interested parties who have interest in our technology," a BMW spokesman said to Reuters. "There are no contracts with Saab at the moment."
Saab said that they were looking for “possible partners”, but they too declined to comment on the issue.
"We are concentrating on the 9-5 and the 9-4X," Eric Geers said. "A smaller Saab below the 9-3 is not in our business plan though it would be on our wish list."
Earlier this year Saab was saved from General Motors when Spyker took the reigns for $400 million.
The all-wheel drive Saab 9-2X enters it second year of production with a more powerful engine in the Aero model, more horsepower and a new name for the base model, and simplified option packages. At the same time, MSRP’s for 2006 9-2X’s remain unchanged from 2005.