LOS ANGELES -- Saab expects 75 percent of 9-4X production to go to the United States.
But even so, the number isn't large by industry standards.
The 9-4X is Saab's new crossover, which was developed with former owner General Motors Co.
9-4X output will average 12,500 units annually when full production is reached next year, said Jan Ake Jonsson, CEO of Saab Automobile AB.
Jonsson said it is a very conservative production forecast. Approximately 9,400 vehicles are intended for the United States, he said.
“It is not that we don't believe in the car. We are trying to be responsible in how we set our volume,” Jonsson said during an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show, where the vehicle debuted yesterday.
The 9-4X and the Cadillac SRX share engines, components and a front-wheel-drive vehicle platform. All-wheel drive is available.
What separates the two crossovers is styling and suspension tuning. The 9-4X will be assembled in the same GM factory in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico as the SRX.
U.S. sales of the 9-4X will begin in May, followed by shipments to Europe, Australia, Taiwan and the Middle East starting in August.
The base U.S. fwd 9-4X has a sticker of $34,205, including freight. The Aero model has a sticker of $48,835. The base Cadillac SRX stickers for $34,705 including freight. Standard and optional equipment differ.
“It is the perfect car for the U.S. market,” said Mike Colleran, Saab Cars North America president and COO. “We need a crossover utility, and we need one that fits the Saab brand and what our customers expect from us. They expect innovation and some Scandinavian feel.
“This car brings a great deal of our traditional cue lines that frankly we couldn't get in the 9-7X,” Colleran said. The 9-7X was based on the Chevrolet TrailBlazer. That vehicle is no longer offered.
Saab is targeting Audi Q5 and BMW X3 shoppers.
Two V-6 engines are offered, each teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission: a 265-hp 3.0-liter with direct fuel injection and variable valve timing; and a 300-hp 2.8-liter with direct injection and twin-scroll turbocharging.
There are no plans to offer the vehicle globally with a diesel engine.
The 9-4X will expand Saab's model line to three vehicles, including the 9-3 and 9-5.
This is the second new product launched by Saab since Spyker Cars NV purchased the company from GM in February. The redesigned 9-5 went on sale in the summer.