Since it bought the assets of bankrupt automaker Saab in 2012, Chinese-backed consortium National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) has been working toward mass production of electric cars.

But despite ambitious plans for a multi-model lineup of electric cars, the company has made relatively little apparent progress toward that goal.

While it is still unclear if it has a car to produce, NEVS is now at least following through with its previously discussed plans to open a factory in China.

CHECK OUT: First Electric Saab 9-3 Models Built, Will Go To China Test Fleet (Apr 2014)

It was recently granted a production license by the Chinese National Development Reform Commission, a document that is required to manufacture electric cars in the country.

The plant—located in Tianjin—is already under construction, and NEVS hopes to start production by the end of the year.

At full capacity, NEVS says, the factory will be able to produce 200,000 electric cars per year.

NEVS logo

NEVS logo

For the time being, the cars built there will be electric versions of the old Saab 9-3 sedan, based on the General Motors Epsilon platform and built from 2003 through 2011.

That makes the 9-3 an old design by industry standards, although NEVS also has an agreement with Chinese firm Panda New Energy to supply 150,000 cars.

Panda is one of numerous "new energy vehicle" companies taking advantage of Chinese government incentives.

ALSO SEE: NEVS Cuts Deal For Sale Of 150,000 Electric Saabs In China (Dec 2015)

It leases cars, primarily to chauffeur services, and has said it hopes to become the largest electric-car leasing company in the world.

When the deal was first announced in December 2015, Panda New Energy said it would make a second purchase of 100,000 cars at some undetermined point after receiving the initial order.

NEVS also previously struck a deal with the Turkish government to license production of the 9-3 in that country, which Turkish officials hopes would stimulate the local auto industry.

2014 Saab 9-3 Aero

2014 Saab 9-3 Aero

In addition to the former 9-3, NEVS also owns the former Saab plant in Trollhättan, Sweden, and has built a handful of cars there.

It also owns the rights to the nascent Saab Phoenix platform, which may be used for future NEVS models.

The Phoenix platform was intended to underpin a new generation of post-GM Saabs, but the company collapsed before it could be put into production.

MORE: Saab Owner NEVS To Launch Five Electric Cars By 2018, For Chinese Market (Dec 2015)

What NEVS does not control are the rights to the Saab name and logo.

The logo was not included in the assets purchased by NEVS, and the company lost the rights to the Saab name as well in 2014.

Cars sold by the company will instead be marketed under the NEVS brand name.


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