Saab plans a small family car

* Company wants smaller car * Car to take on Audi A1 * Could be called the 9-1...

Saab plans a small family car

Saab is urgently looking to find a way of adding a small car to its range, says chief executive Jan Ake Jonsson.

A small Saab to be called 9-1 or 9-2 and based on the latest Vauxhall Astra was part of the model plan when the Swedish car maker was owned by General Motors.

However, for budgetary reasons it became a casualty after Saab was taken over by Spyker earlier this year.

Despite this, the idea of a small Saab remains a core part of Jonsson's plans for the company. 'On top of our wish list is a smaller vehicle than the 9-3,' he says. 'We do not have this in our portfolio or our business plan at the moment, but we are working hard to achieve this kind of vehicle.'

Audi A1 rival
Jonsson has a different vision to that of GM, though. He envisages a car to take on the Audi A1, and wants it to be called the 9-1.

He has no desire to also see a 9-2 to plug the gap between the 9-1 and the next 9-3. He believes the 2012 9-3 will be small enough to straddle two market sectors.

If a 9-1 is to become reality, Saab will need to find a partner to share the development and engineering costs, but Jonsson says that since the company split from GM there have been plenty of expressions of interest in co-operation deals.

Jonsson did not rule out the possibility of letting someone else build the 9-1 for Saab.