Chinese-Japanese Group To Turn Saab Into Electric-Car Brand

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Last December Saab fans all around the world received the grim news their beloved brand was filing for bankruptcy, despite the best attempts of its then-owner, Swedish Automobile, to find a buyer interested in paying off all of Saab’s outstanding debts and investing in new products.

Since then administrators have been sifting through the remaining assets in order to help raise enough money to pay off creditors.

One of these remaining assets is the Saab brand itself, which several firms around the world have been keen to get their hands on.

Unfortunately, General Motors, a former parent of Saab and still owner of preferential shares in the automaker, is reluctant to see Saab and much of the technologies required to build Saab cars fall into the hands of a competitor. So far, GM has blocked most deals to purchase Saab but it looks like one has finally been reached. 

Though yet to be officially announced, a consortium made up of investment companies from China and Japan have agreed to buy Saab and relaunch the brand as a manufacturer of electric cars. The consortium is National Electric Vehicle Sweden, and a spokesman for the group, Mattias Bergman, has confirmed the details at a press conference.

“We’re striving to be a world-leading company for electric cars,” Bergman said. “It’s not only about China being a big market for electric cars, it’s also about China having the ability to make the investments required and build the needed infrastructure.”

The first vehicle to be launched under the revived Saab will be an all-electric 9-3 sedan, most likely in 2014. If successful, this will be followed by a second-generation 9-3 model based on a platform developed by Saab before it went bankrupt. This new platform was previewed in 2011 in the Saab PhoeniX concept car, which featured a hybrid drivetrain and body penned by famed designer Jason Castriota.

Perhaps best of all, marketing and sales will be global, though there will be an initial focus on China, which is projected by National Electric Vehicle Sweden to be the largest and most important electric car market going into the future.

We’ll keep you updated as further news on the matter breaks.


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Comments (4)
  1. Those anxious to build an electric car better create a "generic battery" model that can accept any type (the most cost effective)
    of battery format. And not try to sell one using current, soon to be obsolete li ion battery types. Fortunately, DC current is DC current, so there will never be intrinsic incompatibilities between batteries. I believe that GM once built two versions of their 350 transmission, one would bolt up to Chevy engines (and I believe Pontiac also), while the other only bolted up to Olds, Buicks and Caddys. Talk about dumb...

  2. Standard battery types, similar to small AA, AAA, C, D cell batteries for consumer electronics with standard size, interfaces and voltages.

  3. Well, maybe the Chinese will bring the cost of EVs down to earth...

  4. Actually, according to the TTAC site National Electric Vehicle Sweden is just a Chinese front firm with little or no connection to Japan and without any background in EV building created with no other goal than to get as much of Saab technology as GM is willing to let go in Chinese hands, which turned out to be the 9-3 model apparently.

    The whole deal sounds pretty fishy and I doubt it will ever result in electric Saabs, mostly because the Chinese are absolutely clueless about how to do an affordable, commercially viable EV at this point. Nobody around to copy the plans from....

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