General Motors has been telling Saab dealers to be patient — new products are coming.
The next-generation 9-5 is expected to be unveiled this year, possibly in October at the Paris auto show. Next week in Geneva, Saab will debut a concept: the 9-1.
The 9-1 is expected to show Saab's desire to develop a premium entry-level model. If produced, the 9-1 would be aimed at BMW 1-series and Volvo C30 buyers.
Sources say that if GM approves production, the 9-1 would be developed on the company's new global front-drive compact-vehicle architecture and go on sale after 2010, possibly as late as 2012. GM sources say some plans for that vehicle architecture are uncertain because of regulatory issues.
Steve Shannon, Saab's U.S. general manager, told dealers this month at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco that the 9-1 concept is a very small car.
Saab has been struggling to become profitable. Industry sources say the brand needs to sell 180,000 units worldwide annually to break even.
General Motors thinks a wave of new products will turn Saab's fortunes around. Last year Saab sold 124,438 units globally, down 7.1 percent from 133,936 in 2006.