Anyone sick of hearing about the wrangling over Saab? It isn’t completely over yet. Welcome to the next phase of this corporate drama. The company was recently purchased by a joint investment consortium comprised of Chinese National Modern Energy Holdings and Japanese Sun Investment, LLC.
The two formed to create National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, the owner of the new company. Saab enthusiasts watched this development keenly. The preferred bidder (pickings were slim!) out of the lot was Mahindra. For reasons unknown, the bankruptcy administrators sold the company to NEVS for an undisclosed sum. Some keen observers noted that the purchase of “Saab” didn’t actually include the name.
Ownership of the name resides with airplane manufacturer Saab AB and truck maker Scania. You might remember the whole “Born From Jets” advertising campaign. It’s probably better off if you don’t….anyhow, The Detroit Bureau reports that new company is currently negotiating with Saab and Scania regarding use of the name on cars. The name also includes the iconic Griffin logo that is shared by both companies. It’s a curious setup. Saab has always been in good hands. With this new company owning it, that has been questioned. We really have no idea yet about the seriousness of the operation.
Tellingly, Scania is approaching the situation with caution. “The brand name discussion isn’t over,” says Erik Ljungberg, Saab’s Scania’s spokesman . “It’s a complex issue and several questions must be sorted out. We’re very keen that the griffin brand isn’t used for anything we can’t stand behind.” In simple terms: on cheap Chinese engineering. Erik Magni, spokesman for Saab AB (the airplane manufacturer) echoed this: “We want a long-term solution for the brand name where we share the same view on how it should develop to make sure it’s associated with engineering, high competence.” Given that Saab manufacturers airplanes for defense applications, it is a salient point. Both companies will want assurances of the quality of the final product before approving anything. If given the green light for use, we’ll have a bit more confidence in the operation being setup by NEVS.