When Saab first showed the 9-X Biohybrid concept at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, it was expected to evolve into a production model based on General Motors' compact Delta architecture which forms the foundation of the Opel Astra and Chevrolet Cruze. Now that Saab is owned by Spyker Cars, CEO Victor Muller is reportedly looking for a new platform partner in Munich.
According to Swedish daily Dagens Industri, Saab is negotiating with BMW about getting access to the Mini architecture for a new 9-2 model to slot in underneath the 9-3. Before the teardrop-shaped runabout can become a reality, Saab needs to successfully launch both the 9-5 sedan and the 9-4x crossover.
There is no word yet on whether Muller is said to be in exclusive talks with BMW, or if Muller and Co. are in discussions with other automakers about supplying platforms and parts for the planned supermini. For its part, news agency Reuters quotes a unnamed BMW spokesman as saying "We are in talks with several interested parties who have interest in our technology... there are no contracts with Saab at the moment."
The 9-4x, which shares its platform with the Cadillac SRX, is expected to finally launch early next year. But for the model to be successful in Europe, it will need to have a diesel engine option, and Dagens Industri is also reporting that BMW could also provide engines options, although that could be more problematic. The 9-4x has a transverse mounted powertrain, but all of BMW's engines are longitudinally arrayed, which would require significant re-engineering. A tip of the hat to William!