Saab is not relying solely on the 9-3 to boost its fortunes… The Swedish company is planning to build a Golf-sized car with the help of Subaru.

Saab is not relying solely on the recently-launched 9-3 midsized saloon to boost its fortunes… The Swedish company is planning to build a Golf-sized car with the help of Subaru.

The General Motors subsidiary reported year-end losses of more than R1,75 billion and this has prompted both Scandinavian and Detroit executives to fast-track the newly planned high-volume 9-2.

Tentatively scheduled as a 2006 model - but maybe as a 2005 entry - the 9-2 lineup will include a sportwagon plus three- and five-door hatchbacks similar in size to the Ford Focus and VW Golf.

Some expected that the 9-2 would share components with the next-generation Opel Astra (expected in Europe as early as next year) and look a lot like the 9-3X concept shown at Detroit in 2001, reported this week.

But instead, Saab will sign a deal with Subaru holding company Fuji Heavy Industries next month to build a Subaru Impreza-like car with a boxer-four engine and tag it as the 9-2, sources say.

The move away from the traditional Saab turbocharged inline-four scheme has taken years to get the go-ahead, but is now considered crucial to the company’s recovery plan. As Saab boss Peter Augustsson said at the Detroit auto show, “It’s time for Saab to quickly and effectively expand its range.”

Could this mean that Saab will make its long-awaited return to the world rallying scene it abandoned in 1980 - perhaps with a Subaru Impreza inspired four-wheel drive 9-2?

Original article from Car