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Saab seeking a few good partners


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Saab seeking a few good partners

November 18, 2010 06:01 CET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- The future of Spyker's Saab rests on finding more manufacturing partners and bringing down the number of cars it must sell to break even, its executives said.

The company hopes to cut costs by finding automakers to share vehicle platforms, Spyker CEO Victor Muller and Saab CEO Jan Ake Jonsson told the Reuters Global Auto Summit here.

The company is talking to potential partners, Muller said, but he declined to name any. Muller said the company is in talks with "a few" potential partners to share its new Saab 9-3 platform.

Jonsson said Saab's target is to break even at sales of 85,000 cars annually. But he said that the niche automaker currently needs "north of 100,000" vehicle sales to break even.

Saab aims to sell 80,000 cars in 2011. In November, the company lowered its 2010 production target to 30,000 to 35,000 cars from a plan in August to build 45,000 vehicles.

Muller said in 2014 or so, Saab would also like to introduce a smaller car that harkens back to the automaker's earlier teardrop-shaped models, but only if it finds appropriate partners.

The ideal car of this type would carry "the DNA of the original product" without seeming too retro, Muller added.

The automaker is also experimenting with an electric car prototype, planning to launch 70 or so next year to gather data about how such vehicles are used.

Muller thinks by 2020, no more than about 20 percent of cars would be battery-driven in some form including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles.

"Generally, we overestimate electric cars," he said. "The success of the electrical car by 2020 will depend on whether we come up with some technical breakthroughs in this technology."

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101118/ANE/311179960/1265#ixzz15eOgL71E

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