Saab working on 9-5 improvements
* Transition from GM created issues * Saab is now trying to build up momentum * Four models planned in next few years...
Saab is working on improvements for its new 9-5 saloon after What Car? gave it a poor initial reception.
The instrument panel and other cabin parts of the new 9-5 will be upgraded by the summer to compete more closely with rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Saab's global product boss Christopher McKinnon also said that the company is acting on What Car?'s criticisms of the 9-5's ride and handling, and will incorporate changes at the same time.
The improvement in the quality of parts is included in a top-to-bottom reassessment of the hundreds of component suppliers that Saab inherited from its previous owner, General Motors (GM).
New models on the way
The next new car to come out of the factory will be an estate version of the 9-5. This is due to arrive in showrooms next summer.
After the 9-5 estate, the next all-new model will be the 9-4X, a Volvo XC60-sized crossover that will arrive towards the end of 2011.
The model was signed-off years ago, but has been delayed because it took more than a year for GM to find a buyer for Saab.
The 9-4X is a legacy of GM ownership and will be based on other products from the American manufacturer. It will be built in Mexico, making it the only Saab not made in Sweden.
The new 9-3 due in 2012 is a crucial car for the brand. It is the first opportunity Saab has had for many years to inject home-grown DNA into a car from the ground up. As a result, it is seen as a key chance to put the company's fortunes back on track.
A smaller Audi A1-style supermini is also high on the wish-list, although McKinnon maintained that it's not yet in any official plans.
Saab wants it there, however, and is looking to see if it can collaborate with other manufacturers to get the car built.