Saab was quite successful in rally competition once upon a time, and it looks like the automaker's new management hopes to kick-start the brand's revival with a return its motorsports roots.
The word out of Europe is that Saab has met with World Rally Championship officials and committed to a 2012 entry into the series with a machine based on its upcoming smaller car. Depending on who you talk to, the new model could be dubbed either the 9-1 or 9-2.
The small car project originally began several years ago when Saab was still under the General Motors umbrella with the car expected to be based on the Gamma platform that underpins the Opel Corsa. As an independent, Saab doesn't have the resources to develop such a platform on its own and is currently talking to other potential partners including BMW and some Chinese makers. Expect its design to be inspired heavily by the Saab 9-X Air BioHybrid concept (above).
If Saab hooks up with BMW, it could have a Mini-based 9-1/9-2 competing against the new Mini Countryman WRC.