Saab Is Unlikely to Introduce Diesel 9-4X in the US

Saab’s CEO, Jan Ake Jonsson, said his company might not bring a diesel version of the 9-4X model to the US. This comes as a result of high development costs and low chances to return a profit. He also stated that the carmaker will be targeting two new markets, Russia and China, starting next year.

Jonsson explained, in an interview given to Autonews, that the introduction of a diesel engine to the 2012 Saab 9-4X is 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."

Saab is looking to move forward after its long relationship with General Motors. The 9-4X is aiming at the luxury crossover segment dominated by the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

The biggest issue that has to be resolved before the move to China can be made is the establishment of a dealer network. According to the CEO, the company needs to have a presence in at least five or six cities and at least ten to fifteen dealers.

Victor Muller, Saab’s chairman, says the company has to sell at least 10,000 cars in China before it can think about establishing local manufacturing facilities. Until the launch of the new 9-3, the Swedish company will have to make due with just a few thousand car sales per year. If the decision to manufacture Saabs in China were to be made, production would start with the 9-3, followed by the upcoming 9-5 and 9-4X crossover.

The company also wants to sell more cars in Russia. To this end, a distribution deal is expected to be announced by the end of this year.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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