RUSSELSHEIM, Germany - Saabs could be made in North America by the middle of the next decade.
General Motors' global platform strategy gives the flexibility to build future Saabs at a number of GM plants in North America and Europe, said Robert Hendry, CEO of Saab Automobile AB and chairman of GM's Adam Opel AG unit here.
GM has made no decision on plants outside Sweden, Hendry said, but 'it's a possibility.'
Hendry pointed out that America is Saab's biggest market, and that manufacturing in America would give Saab a hedge against currency swings.
'The issue had been how much capacity in Trollhattan (Sweden) can we really get,' he said.
In Sweden, Saab has capacity to make 150,000 cars and will build between 115,000 and 120,000 this year. Beginning with the next generation of the 9-3 in 2003, all Saabs will be built on GM's global Epsilon platform.
The Epsilon platform will include next-generation versions of the Chevrolet Malibu, Oldsmobile Alero, Pontiac Grand Am, Opel Vectra, Saturn LS and Saab 9-3.
Assembly plants in Lansing, Mich.; Oklahoma City; and Wilmington, Del., produce current versions of the Malibu, Alero and Grand Am.