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Saab Will Add Midsize SUV to Lineup

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Saab Will Add Midsize SUV to North American Lineup As Part of Product Offensive

DETROIT December 17, 2003; The AP reported that Saab Automobile AB, continuing a product offensive, plans to add a midsize sports utility vehicle to its all-car lineup, the Swedish automaker said Wednesday.

The all-wheel-drive Saab 9-7X will make its debut at the 2004 New York Auto Show in April and go on sale about a year later. Initially, the 9-7X will be produced specifically for the United States and Canadian markets.

"We're pleased to continue to expand our product line in the North American market, which is critical to Saab's success," said Peter Augustsson, president and chief executive of Saab Automobile AB, a division of General Motors Corp.

Saab said it eventually hopes to sell 10,000 to 15,000 of the SUVs annually in North America. The automaker hasn't disclosed pricing.

The SUV will mark Saab's first product collaboration with GM North America. It will be built at GM's Moraine Assembly Plant in Ohio beginning in the first quarter of 2005.

The 9-7X will join the 9-3 and 9-5 cars and, next summer, the new 9-2X, a Japanese-made, five-door entry in the emerging premium small car segment.

The automaker said last year it planned to introduce one new vehicle a year for five years as it tries to revive its business. Saab has posted an annual profit only twice since GM acquired a stake in 1990.

Through November, Saab's U.S. sales were up nearly 27 percent from the same period a year ago.