Saab to team up with ZF for chassis technology image

ZF has announced plans to set up a new sub-assembly plant in Halvorstorp, 3km from Saab’s Trollhättan plant, in Sweden to supply front sub-frames and complete rear axles for the Swedish automaker.

Under the agreement, the plant will be run by ZF as a subsidiary company, ZF Sverige AB, and is expected to employ about 50 people.

Large sub-frame pressings will be stamped out at the Trollhättan press shop and taken to the ZF Sverige 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 the factory for vehicle installation on the production line.

“This is a significant step in the development of our engineering capabilities,” said Mats Fagerhag, Saab Automobile’s vice presidentVehicle Product Development. Most probably the new technology will be used on a new platform – the Phoenix.

The new Phoenix will be available with unique McPherson struts and “race-car style” five-link rear axle. Autocar can also reveal that the Phoenix architecture has been inspired by the philosophy of Swedish truck-maker Scania, which is also providing assistance to Saab.

It will be flexible enough for the new 9-3 and the larger 9-5 when it’s replaced in a few years. It can also be stretched up to 18 feet for a range-topping “9-7″ if need be.

ZF is a worldwide leading automotive supplier for Driveline and Chassis Technology with 123 production companies in 27 countries. In 2010, the Group achieved a sales figure of EUR 12.9 billion with approximately 64,000 employees.