Saab Automobile AB plans to invest some $130 million to prepare its plant in Trollhattan, Sweden, for a much bigger future.
Trollhattan is short of capacity for the 9-3 and 9-5 sedans. The 9-5 station wagon will be added next spring.
The plant has capacity for about 127,000 units and is on schedule to add about 9 percent to that.
'But after 2000, we need to look at other capacity,' Saab President Robert Hendry said in an interview.
'We're trying to get to 400,000 to 600,000 units, but I don't know if we'll ever get there.'
Saab wants to develop a new vehicle, which would probably be a kind of sport wagon. It would arrive in 2002 or 2003. A decision will be made before year end.
Saab's next generation of products will be built off a new global GM platform, and Hendry said the new products could be built at other GM plants around the world.
'Productivity at Trollhattan is not world-class,' Hendry said, except for paint and body shop. The new investment likely is for long-term improvements to the final assembly area.
The plant now produces 550 cars a day on two shifts. That is due to rise to 600 a day this fall, when production of the wagon is expected to begin.