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Saab prepares to enter China, Russia


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Saab prepares to enter China, Russia

Rick Kranz

Automotive News Europe -- November 22, 2010 06:01 CET

LOS ANGELES -- Saab Automobile AB plans to begin distribution to China some time in 2011.

A deal is expected to be signed by year end, CEO Jan Ake Jonsson said this week.

“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,” Jonsson said on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Among the issues to be resolved by the end of this year is “defining the dealer network” in China, he said. Saab needs to be present in five or six cities, with a total of 10 to 15 dealers, he said.

A distribution deal for Russia also is expected to be announced by the end of the year. Details were not revealed.

If a decision is made to assemble vehicles in China, production would begin with the next-generation 9-3. The 9-5 and the upcoming 9-4X crossover would be imported.

Victor Muller, Saab’s chairman, said, “You need to get to a volume of 10,000 cars (in China) before you can start manufacturing locally.”

While the U.S version of the 9-4X model goes into production in April, 9-4X models for markets outside of North America will be built starting in August.

Jonsson said it is unlikely that a diesel engine will be offered in the 9-4X. Diesel engines are offered in Saab’s other vehicles sold outside the United States.

“If you then look at the life cycle of the vehicle, typically five or six years, before we actually have a diesel engine, we have to find one, we have to test it, we have to install it, validate it, and you are two years into the life cycle.

“And then you have a very short payoff period,” Jonsson said. “So I think it is unlikely.”

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101122/COPY/311199974/1198#ixzz161nbhjkb

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Saab readies move into China and Russia, downplays 9-4X diesel

by Jeff Glucker (RSS feed) on Nov 23rd 2010 at 5:59PM

12-2012-saab-9-4x.jpg

Saab CEO Jan-Åke Jonsson has provided the wayward Swedish brand with some direction, and the marching orders point out two very large markets for the sales team to focus on: Russia and China. According to a report in Automotive News, Saab will begin distribution in the Chinese market beginning sometime during the 2011 calendar year. Until the launch of the redesigned 9-3, Saab will shoot for a few thousand sales per year. Once the distribution network is in place and the model lineup is refreshed, Saab will look at the possibility of local manufacturing facilities.

Now that China is rolling forward, Saab can start to finalize decisions with regards to the Russian market. No deal has been announced, but one is expected to be made the end of the year. Saab's chairman, Victor Muller, specifically stated at the 2010 LA Auto Show that the both China and Russia are getting a taste of the recently unshackled Swedish brand.

One of the newest expressions of the automaker's freedom is the 2012 Saab 9-4X. Saab offers diesel engines outside of the North American market, and we were curious if this new crossover would also get an oil burner. Per Jonnson, it seems this is highly unlikely:

"If you then look at the life cycle of the vehicle, typically five or six years, before we actually have a diesel engine, we have to find one, we have to test it, we have to install it, validate it, and you are two years into the life cycle... and then you have a very short payoff period."

link:

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/11/23/saab-readies-move-into-china-and-russia-downplays-9-4x-diesel/

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