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From the top, why Saab's new flagship has struggled since take-off

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News

Saab Chairman Victor Muller admits he made a mistake with the redesigned Saab 9-5.

Global sales for the Swedish automaker's flagship are a disaster.

The company tried unsuccessfully to woo a wide range of Saab enthusiasts around the globe with the new 9-5 after the Swedish automaker separated from GM in February 2010.

The redesigned 9-5 is bigger and more powerful. The exterior styling gives the car a noticeable presence. Global sales finally began last summer.

But here in the U.S., total first quarter sales tallied a miserable 327 units.

"We could have done a better job" of marketing and introducing the car, Muller said during an interview at the New York auto show.

The car is completely different than the 9-5 that was replaced, he said.

But "we acted like nothing happened."

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