It has been approximately six months since Saab Automobile announced its bankruptcy and in that time, a rollercoaster of drama and suspense raged on at full speed. More than likely, there was a moment when the automotive industry felt certain that the book of Saab was officially finished but it appears that another chapter has just been started. Last month, a report of a potential buyer in the form of a Japanese-Chinese investment group surfaced and now, that company has followed through. Meet Saab’s new owners: National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB.
Comprised of the Japanese investment firm Sun Investment and Chinese powerplant builder National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., the new joint company was given the name National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB when interest in Saab was peaked. The goal of the purchase is to use Saab’s technology, architecture and its Swedish facility to build electric variants of their previous models. According to an Automotive News article, the administrators of Saab’s estate said, “the company will start a new operation in Trollhattan (home to Saab in western Sweden) where all development and production will be focussed on electric cars.”
If everything goes according to plan, the first National Electric Vehicle Sweden car will roll off the factory floor in 2014. The vehicle will be based off of the 9-3, which was fully purchased, but instead of a hot-rod turbocharged inline four cylinder, motivation will be supplied by a unique, electric powerplant. Initial sights will be set on the Chinese market, where interest in EVs seems to be great.
Saab may be brought back to life, but some of its previous assets still remain in lockdown. National Electric Vehicle Sweden was only able to purchase the rights to the 9-3 and future, Phoenix platform while the 9-5 and 9-4X remain in General Motors’ stranglehold. Since previous attempts to buyout Saab involved those two vehicles, each potential buyout was shot down by GM who feared excessive competition in the Chinese market. Though Saab may continue on with a new life, it will do so without a midsize SUV or full size sedan until a new line up is created.