We knew that National Electric Vehicle Sweden planned to restart production of the last-gen Saab 9-3 at some point in the future, we just didn't know exactly when, or exactly where. As it turns out, the answers to those questions are soon, and China.

Though NEVS had initially said it will build vehicles in Sweden before shipping them to China, the latest report from Autocar suggests that the cars will instead be built right in Quingdao starting later in 2013. That's right, this calendar year. Also on the docket is a followup electric version of the 9-3, which is slated to come to market in 2014 in an effort to satiate China's wish that there be half a million EVs silently filling its streets within the next two years.

NEVS wants to be part of the EV solution, but it's not going to be easy. Naturally, if these cars are to be built in China, a factory has to be located or built, tooling needs to be in place, workers need to be hired and trained and a lengthy trail of paperwork has to be signed off by the government before even the well-known gasoline-powered 9-3 can be a reality, let along the unknown quantity that is the 9-3 ePower.

In other words... Må kraften vara med dig, NEVS.

*UPDATE: We were contacted by the brains behind saabsunited.com, who claims production will indeed be in Trollhättan, Sweden, as previously reported. Cars will be exported to China until maximum capacity is reached, at which point, possibly by 2015, production in China will begin in earnest. This version of the story makes much more sense...


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  • 32 Comments
      Brodz
      • 1 Year Ago
      SAAB continues to live. Hopefull saabunited.com are right and they will be made in Trollhattan. That will be good for the make. But so will China, because it will allow them to cheaply build back up to the production they need. Hopefully it will be made with the same passion the previous saab's were.
        hmmwv
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Brodz
        Well if the same team does the engineering then it probably carries on the passion, but I very much doubt the average Chinese auto assembly line worker has much passion for this relatively unknown brand, besides the paychecks, of course.
      Trident1996
      • 1 Year Ago
      A Saab made in China is not really a Saab.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      That car is ancient by now. Even chinese car buyers aren't going to want something so outdated
        IBx27
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Look up the BAW S12. It's licensed and legal, and you are beyond wrong. The reds will take a twenty year old American car over a brand new national piece of crap.
          Bruce Lee
          • 1 Year Ago
          @IBx27
          Look it up and see how it sells like crap?. The Chinese buy way more of many self made models, the BYD Su Rui has been selling out every car they can produce since launch whereas that BAW is nowhere to be found on sales lists.
      wfmsu7
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really hope this actually happens. I'm sick of countless rumors about SAAB that just turn into smoke. Although I've never had the chance to drive a SAAB, all the ones I've ever been a passenger in I've loved. The 9000 was my favorite.
      md_stew
      • 1 Year Ago
      I thought the whole idea in saving SAAB was to save Sweedish Jobs??? The market has gotten Sooooo Far Ahead of where the 9-3 was when production ended, who's in the market for a Rebodied Pontiac G6??? I Hope they dont plan on selling a Chinese Made SAAB in the USA. They couldnt sell them before GM owned them, or during GM's ownership, or after GM sold them. Why do they think people want them now?
        waetherman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @md_stew
        I agree - a car made on the quick and cheap in China, even if it wears the Saab emblem, won't sell well in the US. Which makes the decision seem a strange one, since as 6speed points out the US used to be the biggest market for Saab. I suppose all the goodwill that brand had built up is gone now anyway - might as well make a fresh start in China.
        wrestleprocbt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @md_stew
        Owning a SAAB before GM ruined them was cool, I wish it would go back to the unique car it always was. GM is all about mass production, not about uniquness. Just look at Chevy, they have so many models that all look alike. You can't tell a spark from a cobalt or whatever its called now from a malibu or ....it's all confusing with their line up. They are not cool to drive anymore and since they are now Gov't Motors, why would you ever buy from the company that goes out and buys votes, saves the unions but leaves it's vendors unpaid and stock holders with nothing?
        Stirling Matheson
        • 1 Year Ago
        @md_stew
        They're not building the old 9-3. They're using the phoenix platform. Check out the one photo of the new car here: http://www.complex.com/rides/2013/01/saab-gets-a-300-million-investment-wont-stay-down
      telm12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      I was in a terrible crash a few years ago. I was driving a 9-3 and it literally saved my life. What I loved about Saab was that it was safe like a Volvo, but the driving dynamics were a lot more enjoyable (this is 10 years ago). The steering was pretty precise and light, but not jittery - didn't require constant input. The seats were fantastically comfortable and supportive. I took it from NYC to Montreal and back in 2.5 days and never felt fatigued. Of course it would need a ton of updates today, but they were already drawing up a new 9-3 before going bankrupt. I just hope they bring it back. As an entry level luxury car, it had a good business case, and there isn't a lot of competition other than the TSX. Can't speak for the 9-5 other than that sweet sweet turbo, again circa 200X (never drove it, but rode in it).
        Jim
        • 1 Year Ago
        @telm12345
        I had the old 9-3 hatch and it was one of my favorite cars. It was comfortable, handled well, and was well packaged. Found myself leaving my MB in the garage a lot more than I thought I would
      4gasem
      • 1 Year Ago
      SAAB made in China? NO THANKS! I'll buy from countries that treat there people with a bit more dignity and pay them an honest wage.
        TheLadyWithTheDog
        • 1 Year Ago
        @4gasem
        Those terrible conditions persist because consumers around the world happily buy Chinese goods while ignoring what makes their low prices possible. Everybody wants to criticize, but nobody wants the responsibility.
      ChaosphereIX
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really hope they come back. I want to keep buying Saabs, and I was afraid that soon I would run out of ones with low kms. China is doing a good job with Volvo, so may be an updated 9-3 to meet today's standards will get some traction. They need to sort out the interior build quality, but other than that it was a solid car. Turbocharged or bust though...
      6speed
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can't wait. I hope they bring it to the US - Saab's largest market. Or at least it used to be.
        carguy1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @6speed
        I doubt it. Setting up a brand doesn't happen overnight, and most if not all Saab dealers have either closed or purchased other franchises, and luring them back isn't going to be easy.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      carguy1701
      • 1 Year Ago
      So in addition to having spotty reliability, it will crumple like a tin can in an accident? No thanks.
        TsarBomba
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carguy1701
        Uh, please do research. The 9-3 was, and probably still is, one of the safest cars on the market. They are over-engineered for safety. My 9-3 was super reliable without a problem and still going strong. See safety scores below... http://autos.aol.com/cars-Saab-9_3-2012/safety-ratings/
          TsarBomba
          • 1 Year Ago
          @TsarBomba
          @CarNutMike... I hear ya, let's hope they don't cut costs by stripping out what made them safe (and overly expensive)
          Lunch
          • 1 Year Ago
          @TsarBomba
          Yeah, it WAS safe, but after the Chinese cut the braces out to save $, it will crumple like a Coke can.
          CarNutMike
          • 1 Year Ago
          @TsarBomba
          I suspect carguy1701 was referencing Chinese industry's legendary cheaper-is-better build quality (see: collapsing bridges, etc) not Saab/GM's.
          Horia-Ionut Baciu
          • 1 Year Ago
          @TsarBomba
          Check your facts: 2006-07-98 the 9-3 was the most reliable middle-class car in europe.
      Jim
      • 1 Year Ago
      While I really wanted to see Saab survive, this isn't the way. Bringing the old 9-3 back is not the answer if we do get it in NA. The studies for it's replacement were stunning and a new 9-5 would be needed. So wish I could buy a new model 9-3 hatch. Miss my old one.
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