SAAB Will Be Entering The Russian & Chinese Market – rpmGo.com

SAAB 9-3X

It seems that the Swedish car manufacturer SAAB Automobile AB is planning on starting to sell cars to the expanding Chinese market some time during next year. CEO Jan Ake Jonsson declared this week that a deal is expected to be signed by the end of this year. On the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show, Jonson affirmed that “Until we launch the new 9-3 at the end of 2012, it will be just a couple of thousand units (annually), all based on imports. As we lead up to this, we have to make a decision if and when we are going to introduce local manufacturing in China.”

The current issues with this upcoming decision are to decide which will be the dealer network that will sell the SAAB cars in China. Jonsson affirmed that the company must have dealerships in five or six cities with a total of 10 to 15 dealers.

Besides China, SAAB is also considering creating a distribution deal in Russia. Details were not revealed but it is expected to be announced at the end of this year.

If SAAB decides to start assembling cars in China, the first model would be the new generation 9-3 model while the upcoming 9-4X crossover and the 9-5 will be imported. SAAB’s chairman, Victor Muller recently said that “you need to get a volume of 10,000 cars (in China) before you can start manufacturing locally”.

SAAB 9-3X

The production for the United States version of the 9-4X will start next year in April, while the ones for the markets outside the North American continent will be manufactured starting with August 2011. Jonsson affirmed that the 9-4X will be offered most likely with gasoline engines as there are small chances of introducing a diesel power unit.

On local territory SAAB is planning on eliminating 200 jobs from the Swedish factory, which represents approximately 1/8 of the entire staff. Hakan Skott, who is a union representative at SAAB, told Reuters that the SAAB Company, which is now owned by Spyker Cars NV, had told the staff that it would reduce the number of employees by 200, out of 1600 jobs.

Jonsson recently affirmed that SAAB’s sales target is to surpass 85,000 units per year. Spyker estimated in October that the company would sell about 30,000 to 35,000 units next year which is significantly lower to the estimation made back in February when they announced that they are expecting sales of more than 60,000 units.

Post tags: Tags: 9-3x, 9-4x, Saab, Spyker