It appears Saab is relatively safe from going bankrupt in the immediate future, with the automaker announcing today the establishment of a new sub-assembly plant less than two miles from its main car plant in Trollhattan, Sweden. The plant is being established in partnership with automotive parts supply giant ZF and will supply front sub-frames and complete rear axle assemblies for installation in the next generation of Saab cars.
Large sub-frame pressings will be stamped out at the Trollhattan plant and taken to the new sub-assembly plant where they will be welded together and fitted with chassis mountings. Suspension and brake components will also be fitted to the rear sub-frames to form complete rear axle assemblies. All units will then be shuttled back to Trollhattan to join the production line in process creating more than 50 jobs.
These components form the basis of the new ‘Phoenix’ platform, which will go on to spawn a whole new generation of Saab cars starting with the redesigned 2013 Saab 9-3 next year, and eventually the replacements for the 9-5 and 9-4X crossover.
The new platform is loosely based on GM’s older Epsilon architecture, which can be found in the current 9-3. However, it has been made into a modular setup, allowing it to be stretched, widened and lowered to suit a variety of vehicles. A new rear axle has been installed, along with plenty of other technological upgrades including optional all-wheel drive and alternative drivetrain capability.
Phoenix is also believed to feature a McPherson strut suspension up front and a motorsports inspired five-link rear axle, the latter being made at the newly established plant.
Saab recently gave a preview of its Phoenix platform in a concept car of the same name, which was on display at the recent 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Penned by the automaker’s new chief designer, Jason Castriota, the concept hints at the styling of Saab’s future models and also previewed the new IQon telematics system. Click here to read up on all its details.