IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Design of Saab 9-3 replacement more or less finished

When Saab on December 19th filed for bankruptcy, the design of the Saab 9-3 replacement was more or less finished. To TTELA head of Saab design, Jason Castriota, says that they were working on the finishing touches when the bankruptcy happened.

Here's a translation of the interview Castriota did with TTELA:

"It's frustrating not being able to see the new car"

They were putting the finishing touches on the new 9-3 model's design when the bankruptcy happened.

"It's so frustrating to think that it's not going to be out on the roads, I know how competitive it is. But I have not given up yet," says Saab chief designer Jason Castriota.

TTELA reaches Jason Castriota at home in New York where he is celebrating Christmas with his family. He says that they were doing the very last details on the 9-3 when the bankruptcy became a fact.

"We were working hard to get it ready in view of the vulnerable situation Saab was in."

He describes how the work on the 9-3 was in the final stages.

"We would soon put prototypes of the model out on the roads to really test the car. To think that this car would not be built is impossible for me, I know what car this would be. I have worked for major automotive companies and know the 9-3's qualities. It is incredibly frustrating if this car will not be built when at the same time I know that less competitive cars are being sold and are out on the roads. The car is also very competitive in terms of size."

More models

He also tells how they were about to go on to develop more models on the Phoenix platform.

"The work to look at the bandwidth and the size of future models on Phoenix had begun. We have had this kind of cooperation. The spirit during the development has been fantastic and even the collaboration with Mats Fägerhag, Kjell ac Bergström and all teams involved."

There are many indications for continuation

Jason Castriota says that there are many indications of a continuation, after all.

"The Saab brand is so strong and this model is so valuable that I can not imagine that there wouldn't be a continuation. We worked for 20 months on this project. If it would not be built under the Saab name, one must hope that at least it will be under a different name. I really hope the administrators can take advantage of the values here. And that the facilities and personnel in Trollhättan remain involved in car production. When I went to Trollhättan the town's ability to innovate really hit me, although it is not such a big place."

He does not know what will happen now.

"We went on Christmas holiday right after what happened last week and have not seen each other since. I've only had contact with Victor Muller on text messages, he is busy in his own way right now. We'll see, but as I've said I hope for a continuation."