Continuing the biggest product offensive in its history, Saab Automobile AB has announced its latest new model and first sport utility vehicle, the 2005 Saab 9-7X. Featuring standard all-wheel-drive and two engine choices, the mid-size SUV will fill Saab's need for an entry is this rapidly growing market segment.

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

"We are pleased to continue to expand our product line in the North American market, which is critical to Saab's success," commented Peter Augustsson, President and CEO of Saab Automobile AB. "With the Saab 9-X and 9-3X concept vehicles, followed by the award-winning Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan and Convertible, the 9-3 Sport-Hatch concept and the dynamic new 9-2X, we are exceeding our commitment to introduce one new vehicle each year for five years."

"Saab is currently the fastest growing European brand in the U.S. market, and the Saab 9-7X will be the perfect addition to our model mix to continue our momentum," said Debra Kelly-Ennis, President and COO of Saab Cars USA. "We have found that as many as 28 percent of customers who left the Saab brand bought an SUV in 2003. We must position ourselves to recapture many of those lost sales and continue to broaden our brand's appeal to new buyers. The 9-7X allows us to join the growing mid-luxury SUV market with a unique, premium vehicle offering European style and the kind of all-wheel-drive versatility that we have never had before."

Kelly-Ennis noted that the mid-luxury SUV market is growing at a rate exceeding most other market segments. "We need a product like this to continue to grow our brand - and to fuel our product development program," She emphasized.The new model marks Saab's first product collaboration with GM of North America. The new 9-7X will be built at GM's Moraine Assembly plant in Ohio, beginning in the first quarter of 2005.

Saab Cars USA, based in Norcross, GA, is the importer and distributor of Saab 9-3 and 9-5 automobiles, and soon the new 9-2X and 9-7X vehicles.