SAAB Is Back
We are pleased to announce the return of the iconic Swedish brand, SAAB, after the marque’s new owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), restarted production of the midsized 9-3 sedan at its plant in Trollhattan, Sweden. Sales will initially be focused on the China market and initial production will see the 9-3 Aero mated to a 2.0 litre turbo petrol engine which, given the name of the company’s new owner, is a little bit confusing. But we are assuming that more eco credentials will be added to the emerging brand, possibly as early as 2014, with an all-EV destined for the Chinese market.
The new vehicle will be built on the perhaps prophetically named Phoenix architecture that was being developed prior to the cessation of operations in 2011. Of course, the Phoenix is the mythical immortal bird that arises from its ashes after death, a little bit like the situation that SAAB is trying to achieve. Initial production is set to be limited to about 10 cars a week and, as of yet, there has been no announcement as to when volume will increase. The company has said, though, that some of the production will be reserved for Swedish buyers via its website and the car, which is said to resemble the last 9-3 production at Trollhattan in 2011, will start at EUR31 474. NEVS’ President, Mattias Bergman, said in a statement, “It is truly a complex mission to start a car production process which has been still for 2 and a half years. It is very pleasing that we have embarked on a journey where we want to and will make a difference with our partners and customers.”
SAAB is probably most famous for the introduction of one of the early turbo powered sedan in the 1970s, known as the SAAB 900, which fast became the darling of architects and other professionals. The advertising was also iconic, with strong references to SAAB’s aero industry and jet fighter heritage, although there really was no link between them. The last cars produced by the automaker rolled off the production line in April 2011. Saab, then under the control of Spyker NV, filed for bankruptcy on 19 December of that year. NEVS bought Saab out of bankruptcy last August. The production start became possible after NEVS reached an agreement with 400 parts suppliers to produce the sedan, according to the company. SAAB further added that service and parts distribution for the vehicles will be provided in partnership with Orio, formerly known as Saab Automotive Parts.
NEVS is owned by Hong Kong based National Modern Energy Holdings, which is run by a Swedish-Chinese, green energy entrepreneur, Kai Johan Jiang. NEVS is 22% owned by the Chinese city of Qingdao following a deal earlier this year.