TROLLHATTAN, Sweden - Saab suspended plans for a third model line a year ago, but the company is investigating larger and smaller products than the 9-5 and the 9-3.
The 9-5 has succeeded the 9000 series; the 9-3 will succeed the 900.
The names 9-5 and 9-3 suggest that Saab plans to introduce larger cars, but 'we have more ideas going down,' said Saab Automobile AB President Robert Hendry. 'Inevitably, we'll get something smaller.'
When Hendry became chairman last August, he reassigned vital engineers from a small-car project to the 9-5. A third model line would be an impossible drain on company resources, he decided.
At the 9-5 launch, Hendry said he would like to build a Porsche-like sports car to evoke the tradition of the old Saab Sonnett. Saab also is looking at a multipurpose vehicle and a 4x4 version of the 9-5 wagon, due next year.
'We're looking carefully at what the next trend in crossover vehicles will be,' Hendry said. 'There's no sense in joining a market on the crest of the wave.'
In general, he said, 'we're looking at more of a utility-type thing than theater seating. Our customers say our cars should be sporty and distinctive.' Individual, theater-style seats are more suitable for sedans.