SAAB Brand Gets A Recharge From Its New Owner

saab brand electric 9-3

After much weeping and sentimental tributes, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) is seeking to restart production at the mothballed Saab factory in Sweden later this year. A spokesman for National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), Mikael Oestlund, said recently, “It is possible to start production later this year,” hinting that the factory was almost ready to begin production. About 300 people including team leaders have been recruited to be trained in assembly.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which is owned by a Chinese renewable energy investor, bought Saab out of bankruptcy last August. Oestlund said the plan is to build the 9-3 model, which will be very similar to the 2011 version. He did not disclose power-train details other than to say that gas and electric versions would be offered with the electric version having distinct styling cues. The 9-3 electric version will use batteries built by NEV’s sister company Beijing National Battery Technology, which builds batteries for city buses.

Oestlund said: “SAAB will again be a global brand, but we will gradually add markets.” China and Europe would be first to get the new 9-3 with the  U.S. to be added later. “The U.S. market is important for us and we intend to enter when we see that we have a business case,” concluded Oestland.  NEVS plans to build approximately 120,000 units of the 9-3 a year by 2016. This would pick up where the last 9-3 left off building 133,000 units in 2006.

NEVS is also 22 percent owned by Qingdao, a city in China.  NEVS and Beijing National Battery Technology are owned by Hong Kong National Modern Energy Holdings. The Hong Kong parent is run by Swedish-Chinese green energy entrepreneur Kai Johan Jiang.  Quite a circuitous route for the resurrection of our beloved Swedish brand.

It will be good to see the Saab brand return even if it is through strange means. However, wasn’t that the appeal of Saab in the first place? Just a little quirky, just a little offbeat and thriving despite not following the status quo.

For a look at another Sweedish born brand, watch this TFLcar mashup video where 2013 Volvo S60 T5 takes on Infiniti and Audi: