This may not spell great news for one specific reporter trying to get parts for his '99 Saab 9-3, but electric-vehicle proponents may want to party.

The Swedish automaker is officially under contract to be acquired by National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) for an undisclosed price. The company is described as "an international consortium formed by Japanese, Swedish and Chinese stakeholders" that will "establish a new automobile venture in Trollhättan, solely dedicated to development and manufacturing of electric vehicles."

Yes, out with targeting lovers of odd-shaped cars, old-school Saab enthusiasts and other assorted West Coast liberals! In with Chinese electric-vehicle buyers! The sale makes sense if you believe a forecast from last year by Pike Research that said the Asia Pacific region would account for more than 600,000 annual plug-in vehicles sold by 2017, with China accounting for most of that figure.

The group, whose operations will be led by ex-Volvo Trucks chief Karl-Erling Trogen, said its first vehicle would be a battery-electric 9-3, likely by 2014. Green Car Reports, which reported on the deal earlier this week, said that would be followed up by model based on the Saab Phoenix concept car (pictured) that was shown off last year. The official press release on the sale is available below.

Late last month, Autocar reported that National Electric Vehicle Sweden neared a deal to buy Saab's assets. Ex-Volvo Trucks chief Karl-Erling Trogen was leading the group. That followed March reports that an unnamed Chinese-Japanese group was looking to buy Saab and convert it into an all-plug-in brand. Before filing for bankruptcy in December, Saab had built a 70-vehicle test fleet of battery-electric 9-3s that used batteries from Boston Power and motors made by UQUM.

Saab sales dropped from a high of 133,000 units in 2006 to 31,700 in 2010, and may have plunged further (no official numbers have been disclosed) to as few as 10,000 last year, Bloomberg News reports, citing an ex-Saab spokesman.
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National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB acquires the main assets of Saab Automobile

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) and the Receivers of the Saab Automobile bankruptcy estate today signed a purchase agreement which covers the main assets of Saab Automobile AB, Saab Automobile Powertrain AB and Saab Automobile Tools AB. The agreement includes all outstanding shares in the property company which owns the Saab Automobile facilities in Trollhättan, Sweden. The price for the assets has not been disclosed. Saab Automobile Parts AB, as well as intellectual property rights for the Saab 9-5, owned by General Motors, are not included in the purchase agreement.

"The sale to NEVS is our most important action to realize the assets of the estate," said Anne-Marie Pouteaux, Partner, Wistrand, Hans L. Bergqvist, Partner, Delphi, Receivers in bankruptcy for the Saab Automobile estate and Kent Hägglund, DLA Nordic, Co-receiver in bankruptcy for the Saab trademark and trade name rights. "From the outset, it has been our ambition to find a comprehensive solution by the summer, so we are very pleased today, having reached this agreement."

NEVS is an international consortium formed by Japanese, Swedish and Chinese stakeholders. The company will establish a new automobile venture in Trollhättan, solely dedicated to development and manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs).

The first model to be developed will be based on the current Saab 9-3, which will be modified for electric drive using advanced EV technology from Japan. Launch is targeted at year-end 2013/2014.

In parallel with EV conversion of the Saab 9-3, an all-new model will be developed, based on additional cutting-edge technology from Japan. Marketing and sales will be global, with an initial focus on China, projected to be the largest and most important EV market.

"China is investing heavily in developing the EV market, which is a key driver for the ongoing technology shift to reduce dependence on fossil fuels," said Kai Johan Jiang, founder and main owner of National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd, the majority shareholder of NEVS. "The Chinese can increasingly afford cars; however, the global oil supply would not suffice if they all buy petroleum-fueled vehicles. Chinese customers demand a premium electric vehicle, which we will be able to offer by acquiring Saab Automobile in Trollhättan."

NEVS aims to become a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles. Recruitment to a number of key positions in the company is in progress, and the following step is to hire skilled engineers to the Trollhättan site, in order to immediately start the product development. The development will be conducted in collaboration between Swedish, Japanese and Chinese engineers.

"I am delighted that we can build on Saab Automobile's skills in vehicle design and production to start a new future-oriented venture in Trollhättan, where world class manufacturing facilities are available," said Karl-Erling Trogen, Chairman, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB. "We will match Swedish automobile design and manufacturing experience with Japanese EV technology and a strong presence in China. Electric vehicles powered by clean electricity are the future, and the electric car of the future will be produced in Trollhättan."

About National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) has been established for the purpose of acquiring the assets of the Saab Automobile bankruptcy estate. Using existing resources, and adding Japanese cutting-edge technology, NEVS plans to start a new venture in Trollhättan, Sweden, aiming to become a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      Nick
      • 1 Day Ago
      Highly dount SAAB will be an all EV company. I'm thinking it's the chinese firm, Youngman, that found a way of acquiring it by hidign behind an offshore JV and the promise to produce EVs.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Nick
        They've knocked it back to 40 or so employees, so they aren't going to be designing any new ICE cars on that sort of staffing. Their aim is the electric Chinese market.
          Dave D
          • 1 Day Ago
          @DaveMart
          That kind of makes sense. If they were looking to buy a brand name that would give them some credibility then I can understand that. Another Chinese manufacturer was looking to do the same thing and asked me if I had any connections that would get them in touch with Saab last year.
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @DaveMart
          @Dave D, At least seven PRC corporations made expressions of interest for Saab. In all, over 40 potential suitors who lodged expressions of interest, quickly lost interest after the due diligence stage. A major disincentive seemed to be the discovery that advanced GM technology, was not included in the price.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 1 Day Ago
      That is a design that bears almost zero resemblance to any of the Saabs of old. The wing/loops/arty spoiler thingies would seem to have zero function. Too bad they didn't do a modern remake of the UrSaab. http://www.motivemagazine.com/emAlbum/albums/Manufacturers/Saab/92001(UrSaab)%20(1945)/saab-ursaab-008.jpg http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/saab-92001-aka-ursaab-6823.html *That* would be going back to your roots... Neil
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        seeing as Saabs have uniformly been ugly, perhaps a departure from the ugly and bankrupt would be a good thing..
          ev_ftw
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          The ugly part is the Saabs were capable of all the tasks that people use big, thirsty suvs for today. 3 mountain bikes? no problem. 8x4 sheet of plywood? no problem. Fast? As fast as a period 3 series. Safe? One of the safest cars on the road. You say ugly and I agree it's not a conventional look, but it was all done with purpose and thought. From reading your posts I'd figure you'd appreciate that...Looks like you're one of the herd afterall... They had a seriously loyal fanbase, much like Subaru today.
          JP
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          Yeah, going back to ugly still gets you to ugly.
        Chris M
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        I really don't expect those loopy "wings" to ever appear in a production model, they were added to this concept just for show, and of course their only real function is to catch the eyes of people at auto shows.
      sandos
      • 1 Day Ago
      An EV built ontop of any SAAB sounds like it will be silly, crazy expensive. Think Volvo EV expensive. I think this will fail spectacularly, sadly.
        Timo
        • 1 Day Ago
        @sandos
        In order to make successful BEV going from expensive to affordable and not other way around can work quite well. Look at Tesla Motors. Thing is that batteries still cost a lot, so cheap car would be utter crap as car and still have just tiny battery (a city car basically). You need to make a luxury car, because then the % of the battery cost doesn't hurt the quality of the car as much, and you get the silence and smoothness of really expensive ICE basically for free. Cheap useful BEV:s are still few years in future. Only a few, but still.
      • 1 Day Ago
      Looks like they were just interested in the marque. They didn't get much else. I wonder why they didn't go for a more soviet-lineage brand, like Moskvitch, or Izhmash? up the party!
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 1 Day Ago
      if Saab were to survive I'd wish for it to become an electric car maker. that would be the ideal. but as right as that is in itself it will just be another failure if they don't do it exactly right, vis a vis light weight and very aerodynamic. battery cars are only really commercially viable when they are efficient. not when it's a stupid conventional car like the Leaf or Volt. if these guys do something stupid like a Leaf or Volt they will most certainly go bankrupt again. and given the gargantuan stupidity of mankind, I fully expect them to do that. or attempt it, depending on how much money they have to burn on their poor decisions. if you're going to make a right electric car the first mistake is to buy Saab.. so they would have to be very selectively intelligent for this to end well. or someone offered them a lot of support on the condition of buying Saab. and the text does indeed say they intend to start with an electric Saab 9-3 which superficially you might think sounds like a cost efficient option because you don't have to develop a new car. but I'm betting that's just not true because in a conventional car manufacturer money are spent really fast on a large staff and large facilities and maybe more. could be hundreds of millions of dollars per year and then the model is not exactly for free anymore. and the 9-3 is a very conventionally inefficient vehicle so it's all wrong. the demise is already given.. the concept looks better but is still all wrong
        Chris M
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Saab has fairly good aerodynamics, that came from their aircraft heritage. Weight is another matter, their cars tend to be solid, sturdy, reliable, safe, and heavy. They may have to do some major re-thinking and redesign to get the weight down to reasonable levels, but I don't expect them to sacrifice safety or reliability just to save some weight.
      ev_ftw
      • 1 Day Ago
      I grew up with Saabs, awesome cars. I thought that killing the brand was the worst thing that could happen to the company... I was wrong... This is...
      Dave D
      • 1 Day Ago
      As an EV fan boy I say: COOL!!! As a logical businessman I say: Wow, I hope they have deep pockets and long term plans to wait this out with the new buyers. It will take a while before this is profitable...a long while.
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dave D
        Dave D Like Spec, I echo your sentiments! But Karl-Erling Trogen,is no fool ! During his period as head of Volvo GM Heavy Truck's North American operations he was credited with returning the company to profitability. I wish Karl-Erling Trogen the best of luck with his endeavour.
          Dave D
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Marco Polo
          There are few people who have the vision to stick with something like this along with the business savvy to make it work. Musk seems to be one of those people but even in his case we have a few years yet before we'll know for sure he can pull it off. But it seems promising. Hopefully, you're right and Trogen can be one of those people as well.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dave D
        if they make a light aerodynamic and ferrari beating EV that everyone can afford, why would it take a long time to become profitable.. since the other EVs are so unintelligently engineered it is relatively easy to steal their thunder and since the others are so dull witted and slow to adapt there is a very significant window of opportunity. the real problem here is not time to profitability. the real problem is that NEVS will most likely be just as dullwitted as all the others and then it will never be profitable.
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dave D
        Yeah, that is EXACTLY how I feel. :-/
      Grendal
      • 1 Day Ago
      If the purchase came with an advanced manufacturing facility then it might be worth it. But to dive into EV's with very little to no experience in EV tech then this is just someone buying a name and little else. When the title said Asian-Swedish, I immediately thought of food...then I thought...sounds gross. Lets hope their car building mixture doesn't end up...gross.
      Spec
      • 1 Day Ago
      Always interesting to get another market entrant. But I gotta say, I'm quite skeptical. I think EVs have taken a beating lately and the recent drop of oil prices certainly isn't going to help them. I hope those lower oil prices help give the economy a jolt because it sure needs it. Things seem stagnant in the US, stagnant in Japan, and Europe is close to entering crisis mode. :-(
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