Saab talking to BMW about MINI platform?

A Swedish paper reports that Saab and BMW are set to begin in depth conversations about a possible platform-sharing for a sub-9-3 Saab based on the MINI Cooper.

Ever since Spyker saved Saab from execution by General Motors, the Dutch company's CEO has talked up plans to quickly introduce a small entry-level model inspired by Saab's original 92. To expedite the process, Saab has said that the vehicle would need to be based on a third party's platform.

Now, a report from Sweden suggests that the automaker is in talks with BMW about using the German automaker's front-wheel-drive MINI platform.

Sweden's Dagens Industri reported today that a more formal meeting to discuss platform sharing has been scheduled for the end of this month.

"We are concentrating on the 9-5 and the 9-4X," Saab spokesman Eric Geers said. "A smaller Saab below the 9-3 is not in our business plan though it would be on our wish list."

Yet Spyker chief Victor Muller has himself proudly shown illustrations of a sub-9-3 teardrop-shaped hatchback to numerous members of the media, including Leftlane. The smaller model, says Muller, would be essential in both returning Saab to its roots and expanding the brand's global output to the roughly 80,000 units it needs to be profitable.

BMW diesel power for 9-4x?
GM will supply Saab with a Mexican-assembled 9-4x SUV based on the Cadillac SRX beginning early next year. Designed primarily for the North American market, Saab has expressed some concern about how the crossover could be sold in Europe.

According to the Swedish paper, Saab would like to use a BMW-supplied diesel engine in the 9-4x for Europe. North American sales of the diesel would be possible if Saab and BMW agreed on a powertrain that would pass different standards in the United States.

BMW has neither confirmed nor denied talks with Saab.

"We are in talks with several interested parties who have interest in our technology," a BMW spokesman told Reuters. "There are no contracts with Saab at the moment."

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