Just when everyone thought it was gone for good, the iconic Swedish automobile brand Saab will be reincarnated as an all-electric car.
Saab’s bankruptcy administrators last week announced that National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) has purchased Saab for an undisclosed sum, according to an article in The Local. Despite its name, the Swedish-registered company is backed by a Chinese alternative energy company and a consortium of Japanese investors.
The deal adds yet another chapter to the Saab saga. Two years ago the company was put up for sale by General Motors after several unprofitable years. The company was purchased by the small Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker for a reported $400 million but they, too, were unable to make a go of it.
There were reports of several buyers showing an interest, but nothing materialized. So last year the last of the Saabs rolled off the assembly line at the plant in Trollhattan, and the company was declared bankrupt in December – until Wednesday, when the deal with Nevs was announced.
“It is a great day today for me to stand before you and say we have reached an agreement with the administrators,” said Nevs CEO Kai John Jiang at a press conference Wednesday.
The new Saabs will continue to be built at the Trollhattan plant, though the primary market will be China. The first of the electric Saabs will be based on the on the Saab 9-3 model, and is expected to be put on the market in 2014, according to an article on the Bloomberg News website.
“We’re striving to be a world-leading company for electric cars,” said Nevs spokesman Matthias Bergman. “It’s not only about China being a big market for electric cars, it’s also about China being able to make the investments required and build the needed infrastructure.”
For current Saab owners who may need to look for spare parts, that part of the business was separated from the Nevs deal and there is some indication that it may be taken over by the Swedish government. They had taken that part of the business as collateral for backing Spyker’s loan from the European Investment Bank, which was never paid back.