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New models key to Saab sales growth

03 October 2007

Saab bosses believe a host of new models will dramatically boost the company's sales over the next four years.

UK managing director Jonathan Nash said the new models would help to nearly double the number of Saabs sold in the UK by 2011 from last year's 28,000 cars.

Nash and sales and marketing boss David Pugh wouldn't be drawn on what models are in the pipeline, but the gaps in Saab's range provide clues.

Saab to go off-road?
A compact 4x4 to rival the likes of the Land Rover Freelander and Honda CR-V is almost certain to be the first to appear.

Company insiders have already said that the car, probably to be called the 9-4X, was originally scheduled to go on sale this year.

Although the 9-4X could be based on the same platform as the Antara or Captiva 4x4s from sister-manufacturers Vauxhall and Chevrolet, Saab has said in the past that it was a separate development.

The company may also be considering a large off-roader. Saab had hoped to sell versions of the Subaru B9 Tribeca 4x4 badged as the Saab 9-6X, but the tie-in with the Japanese manufacturer unravelled in 2005.

Next year, the company will begin the introduction of four-wheel-drive systems to its range.

Called XWD, for Cross Wheel Drive, the system can divert up to 100% of the engine's power to the rear wheels if needed.

Coupe on the way?
A coupe is also a highly likely addition - the Aero X concept car was the centrepiece of the manufacturer's stand at the Geneva motor show in 2006.

While a production Saab coupe is unlikely to feature ideas as radical as the concept car's fighter-aircraft-style canopy instead of doors, the Aero X gives excellent pointers to the look of the future new models.

Elements of the concept's design have already been incorporated into the face-lifted 9-3 range, which is on sale now.

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