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Saab to recycle 9-3

Back to the future: Saab's next-generation 9-3 will be built on a renovated version of its current platform.

Current Saab 9-3 platform will be re-employed beneath a new model in 2012

7 Apr 2010

SAAB has revealed it will re-use the GM Epsilon platform that underpins its 9-3 when the time comes to produce the next-generation model.

The Swedish car-maker, which reopened its Trollhattan factory doors and started production of the new 9-5 last month after being sold by General Motors to Spyker, had previously committed to building a new 9-3 in 2012.

New company chief Victor Muller said Saab would follow recent industry trends by redeploying the same chassis beneath a new bodyshell, or ‘top-hat’ in Ford-speak, and developing an all-new model only every second generation.

However, unlike some models that have taken this approach in recent times – such as Volkswagen’s current Golf and the latest Mazda3, both of which are now on a shortened five-year lifecycle – Saab’s 9-3 emerged in 2003 and will be nine years old in 2012.

Mr Muller said the Epsilon platform - rather than the GM Delta chassis that underpins Opel’s new Astra and Holden’s Cruze, or the newer Epsilon II platform beneath Opel’s Insignia – will be heavily modified to suit Saab’s next volume-seller.

"It's a heavily modified Epsilon I platform, but (it belongs to) Saab now,” he said. “So that's the basis for the new 9-3 – we have no further restraints so we don't have to share it with anyone else.

“This means we can knock ourselves out to make it the car we want it to be,” said Mr Muller, who has also said Saab hopes to produce am all-new entry-level model to revive the brand’s memorable 92 as part of its recovery plan.

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