Saab enthusiasts rejoice, and those of us who have covered this corporate drama take a collective sigh of relief: the Saab drama is over. At least this chapter of it. The Saab brand has been purchased (finally) by a Chinese-Japanese consortium focused on electric vehicles.
The bankruptcy administrators said previously the decision would be announced “before summer.” and with summer beginning on June 20th they have followed through with that promise. The purchase was made between two companies, Chinese National Modern Energy Holdings and Japanese Sun Investment, LLC. The result is called National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB. Forgive us if we aren’t jumping up and down (cynical, we know). We’ll have to see some results before we proclaim Saab as being “back.”
The purchase includes development rights to the Phoenix 9-3, as well as the Trollhattan factory. 9-5 and 9-4X aren’t included, and neither does there appear to be any plans for gasoline or hybrid vehicles. The resulting company wants to focus on the Chinese market, and the plan calls for continued production in Trollhattan. NEVS says that engineers, designers and executives are being recruited as we speak. The first car to go on sale will be an electric version of the 9-3.
So, it looks like the Phoenix-developed and Castriota-penned 9-3 may see the light of day after all. We aren’t completely convinced this company has the resources to pull it off though, or if focusing on electric vehicles only is the right plan. There are also a lot of questions, such as what happens to the dealer body? With the next-generation 9-3 not going on sale until 2014, there won’t be any to speak of. As far as organization, Saab is a shell of its former self – the pieces of the company unwanted by NEVS will go through liquidation. As far as parts, Saab Automobile Parts AB will be taken over by the Swedish government. That will ensure continuity for existing Saab owners. We’re glad to see the Saab name live on though and hope that maybe this time it will find some success.