• GM’s Saab hopes to build new compact in Sweden

    Saab 9-3
General Motors’ loss-making car brand Saab hopes to make a new compact model at its plant in Trollhattan, which last year lost a race to build the next generation of GM’s mid-sized cars.

The Swedish brand, which last year sold about 129,000 cars, mainly in Europe and North America, has run up hefty losses in recent years in a fiercely competitive market.

Saab’s Managing Director Jan-Ake Jonsson told Swedish news agency TT the new compact car would compete in the same segment as the BMW 3-series and Audi’s A 3 and be made on a platform similar to that of the next generation of Opel Astra.

Trollhattan last year lost the race for a contract to build the next generation of GM’s mid-sized cars in Europe, to the Opel plant in Ruesselsheim, Germany, and may face stiff competition over the new model from several other European GM plants.

The Trollhattan plant currently produces different versions of its Saab 9-3 and 9-5 models and the new Cadillac BLS.

Jonsson said management was talking to unions and that a decision to build the model in Trollhattan could mean that some of Opel’s coming compact models could also be produced at the plant in western Sweden.

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