According to Dagens Industri’s sources, GM is planning to use the new Saab 9-5: an own model program, including a future Buick in the U.S.. GM is also in a letter to Saab’s sub-contractors have estimated the time of closure of Saab to five years.
There are sources in Saab Automobile in the Dagens Industri – DI – indicates that GM now see positive opportunities to closure of Saab. By making use of Saab’s technology, tools and production equipment for GM use the new 9-5: an – that would be launched in the spring – to a future Buick in the U.S..
In the GM is also talk of exploiting Saab technology for the production of a new premium car for Opel, “says DI’s sources. It would then be about the reopening of the closed trial with an Opel Senator in Europe.
GM clearly has to do something with the 9-5. The General’s latest global mid-size platform (Epsilon II) has been a sticking point in all the failed Saab rescue deals, as the RenCen has refused to let the architecture fall into the hands of Chinese or Russian firms. Pulling the 9-5 out of the smoldering remains of Saab might keep the platform safe from reverse-engineering, but it also torpedoes any chance of getting real money for the Swedish division. Using Saab’s development of the EpsiII in a different division could help pull a little money out of Saab’s cash whirlpool, but only if there’s a possible use for it.
Which there isn’t. Epsilon II is already represented in nearly all of GM’s brands, especially the 9-5’s rumored inheritor, Buick. In fact Buick will soon be offering two versions of the platform, the LaCrosse and the Opel Insignia-rebadge Regal. With these models sandwiched between the Malibu and Cadillac’s forthcoming EpsiII-based XTS “flagship,” Buick needs another EpsiII sedan like it needs a hole in the head. Opel might be able to add a little volume with a 9-5 rebadge, as its only mid-size offering is the somewhat cramped Insignia, but such a move would only deepen Opel’s identity crisis. On the other hand, Saab has already sunk money into the 9-5’s development. If GM isn’t going to sell it for fear of losing its technological advantage, a rebadge may be the only way to recoup some of that development cost. Old habits can be so easy to fall back into.