The saga of Saab goes to show that you can't keep a good automaker down. Founded back in 1947 (the same year, incidentally, as Ferrari, TVR and Maserati defector OSCA), Saab split off from its aerospace division, merged with Scania trucks, was subsequently picked up by General Motors, then pawned off onto Spyker before its current Chinese owners brought it back out of bankruptcy. Now under the auspices of National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), Saab has official restarted production of the 9-3 sedan, but what are its plans for the future?

In correspondence with Autoblog, NEVS communications director Mikael Ostlund gave us an idea of what to expect. First of all, NEVS is living up to its name by launching an electric version of the 9-3. As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the 9-3 EV currently is undergoing a pilot launch in the Chinese city of Qingdao (which owns part of NEVS) before being rolled out in other markets around the world. But that's not all NEVS has planned for Saab.

The reborn Swedish automaker also plans to relaunch the 9-3 SportCombi to supplement the 9-3 sedan. The wagon version was part of the second-gen 9-3's rollout in the early 2000s, offering increased cargo space and versatility – particularly vital since GM had seen it fit to replace the previous hatchback bodystyle favored by the brand faithful with a more traditional trunked form to lure new buyers into the fold. Although Ostlund confirmed that NEVS has "the option of adding the convertible" back into the lineup, nut has yet to decide on if and when it will do so.

Meanwhile development continues on the Phoenix architecture which Saab was developing with GM money before going bankrupt. Previewed by the Jason Castriota-designed PhoeniX concept, the new platform was set to replace the current 9-3 and spawn a liftback coupe, convertible and even a crossover. "As the Phoenix platform is flexible," said Ostlund, "we are able to develop different models and bodystyles out of it, but we do not present the plans and specifications today."

At the moment NEVS is limiting Saab's reintroduction to its two home countries: Sweden and China. "As we have a global perspective we want to add markets when we can see a profitable business case," reports Ostlund. Just which those markets will be, however, and when they will be added to Saab's business plan, remain to be seen.


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  • 20 Comments
      Justin Campanale
      • 8 Months Ago
      They need to bring the Phoenix to production ASAP. The 913 was uncompetitive 5 years ago; it will be even more uncompetitive today.
        Susan
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        Is the 9-3 using the same body as the previous generation Impala? I thought that version of the Impala had dismal driving dynamics.
      carguy1701
      • 8 Months Ago
      Don't expect Saab to return to North America any time soon. Name is tainted, parts distribution has dried up, and all the dealers either folded, switched to selling used cars, or picked up new franchises.
      T. C.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Sorry, Saab, but I'm never buying a Red Chinese car. Ever.
      benjamin_braddock
      • 8 Months Ago
      GM utterly killed Saab with years of poor investment and asset stripping. It could have been light years ahead if it had been bought by a corporation who actually understood the brand and wanted it to succeed. GM is now attempting to reintroduce Cadillac to the European market, which will again fail.
        carguy1701
        • 8 Months Ago
        @benjamin_braddock
        >bleeding money when GM bought them You sure about that?
        carguy1701
        • 8 Months Ago
        @benjamin_braddock
        >bleeding money when GM bought them You sure about that?
        AcuraT
        • 8 Months Ago
        @benjamin_braddock
        Agreed. Saab was collapsing in on itself when GM bailed them out and kept them going another 20 years. They were past due in the end since GM could not invest in them what was necessary to turn it around. They kept it on life support, nothing more, nothing less.
        carguy1701
        • 8 Months Ago
        @benjamin_braddock
        >bleeding money when GM bought them You sure about that?
      to your email L
      • 8 Months Ago
      Did anyone get the Meanwhile development continues on the Phoenix architecture which Saab was developing with GM money before going bankrupt. That Phoenix was a Pontiac 'X-body' that was kinda troublesome and that they no longer make Pontiacs. Hope this doesn't portend anything like that.
      whatever
      • 8 Months Ago
      What's a Saab?
      danfred311
      • 8 Months Ago
      Is it just me or don't they have a dealer network? so a boring old car that nobody wants with no dealer network. How is that going to work...
      Nicholas
      • 8 Months Ago
      It was sad that Saab fell through the cracks in the first place. I have little faith that this "resurrection" will be grow into anything of significance. What Saab needs is a parent company with very deep pockets, who will essentially rebuild the marque from scratch. The VW Group, perhaps?
        thecommentator2013
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Nicholas
        There are many fine manufacturers out there. Nobody needs - or wants - SAAB. I like them but they're just.....a thing of the past.
          Snark
          • 8 Months Ago
          @thecommentator2013
          Was that directed at me? If so, I invite you to meditate on the old proverb, "Better to remain silent and be supposed a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt." Also, I own a Mini, a Subaru, and a BMW.
          Ivar
          • 8 Months Ago
          @thecommentator2013
          You are a hillbilly with an old pick-up truck as the only option right ?. SAAB is better cars than any of those you are refering to.
          Snark
          • 8 Months Ago
          @thecommentator2013
          It's telling that Ford, Hyundai, FIAT (later buyer of Chrysler), and VW all considered acquiring Saab before GM bought it, and all basically did the transnational corporation equivalent of running screaming into the night. The company was a basket case, they had absolutely no concept of what the market wanted from them, who they could compete with, and the leadership and management was in turns delusional and utterly without vision. And that was BEFORE 20 years of GM indifference.
      Jörgen Trued
      • 8 Months Ago
      Here is one of the very first 4 door sedan Turbo cars. http://www.saabsunited.com/2014/04/restoration-of-a-classic-99-turbo-4-door-sedan-part-1.html
      Brodz
      • 8 Months Ago
      I'm glad Saab was able to be resuscitated. It's so awful when a car company goes under.
      AcuraT
      • 8 Months Ago
      The good news for Americans who kept their cars - if you own the 9-3 - you will have the full parts support from NEVS. Now that they are producing cars again (for now), body panels and all other parts will be offered to the American distributor so that independent mechanics and fomer dealerships will be able to service their cars for the forseeable future. For me with my 2006 Saab 9-3 and 119,000 miles, that is good news as the car has been the most relliable car I have ever owned. Replaced the alternator at 70,000, replaced the suspension at 118,000 (rear rocker arms, front shocks and one spring). For a car running on bad roads in the northeast, this is not bad at all.
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