A binding agreement has been entered between Saab and Chinese carmaker Youngman for the development of three new models: the 9-1 entry-level model, a big ‘9-6x’ SUV, and the executive ‘9-7’ saloon.
The investment of Youngman and Pang Da (the Chinese distributor and dealer network) will amount to £221 million for this agreement, which assigns Saab to design, engineer, and develop the cars at its Trollhattan HQ.
Youngman is expected to build these models in China; however, the agreement will depend on "regulatory approvals" in China as well as in Europe. Insiders say that the 9-6 and 9-7 will be based on Saab’s new scaleable Phoenix platform which could be extended up to 5.4m in length.
It has yet to be confirmed which market niche the finalized 9-1 will enter. However, if it’s Phoenix-based, it will have a length of about 4.2m, which makes it a direct rival to BMW’s upcoming front-drive hatchback.
According to Victor Muller, CEO of Swedish Automobile N.V. and Saab Automobile, the binding agreement “underlines the confidence of all parties in a successful tripartite partnership."
He said that the joint venture gives Saab the chance to develop models that weren’t cited in its original business plan. As an example, he cited a small entry level Saab, which was on the top of the carmaker’s “wish list."