It seems that quirky, Swedish automaker Saab might be on life support yet again. Its owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden, has announced that it's reducing its workforce and temporarily halting production of the 9-3 due to financial problems. NEVS was only building six cars a day, anyway.

The company put out a press release admitting its economic woes, but it still appeared hopeful. NEVS claims it's developing "a new platform on the Phoenix architecture," and it has a frame agreement with an international automotive OEM. It didn't give any specific details about either one of these assertions though. According to The Wall Street Journal, NEVS needs the partnership to lower development costs in order to stay afloat. Saab spokesperson Mikael Ostlund told Autoblog in an email that the stop in production of the 9-3 in Trollhättan would last four weeks.

NEVS says it's in negotiation to sell a portion of the company to an automotive company. Its current monetary woes are caused by shareholder Qingbo Investment Company not financing the company as agreed. "We plan to have the results of the discussions at latest during June," said Ostlund.

The path of Saab since the sale to NEVS has been full of bumps along the way. It was sold in 2012 to a joint venture between a Chinese company and a Japanese investment firm. Production restarted in Trollhätten last year, but it has taken a long time for its promised electric 9-3 to come along. Initially, Saab built a turbocharged, gasoline-fueled version of the sedan, but assembly of the EV finally began recently. However, the electric models are still prototypes, according to Ostlund.

For a relatively small automaker, Saab has weathered its rocky recent history well. We shouldn't count it out, yet. Autoblog reached out to the company to comment on when it planned to resume assembly. We'll update this story, if it replies. Scroll down to read the full press release from NEVS.
Show full PR text
Status update from Nevs

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) is preparing an extensive investment to develop a new platform on the Phoenix architecture, which will be the base for future car models. This development will be done in cooperation with other global OEMs. These collaborations involve sharing cost of development and reduced costs of components through significantly higher volumes.

Nevs has recently signed a frame agreement with a major international automotive OEM regarding the cooperation in product development of the future platform. A negotiation with another major automotive OEM is also taking place regarding part ownership. The objective is to add significant resources to the development of Saab as a global premium car brand name. The partnerships will contribute to secure Nevs with the right financial and technical support to develop new products and distribution of cars on a global basis.

Even if the long term perspective of Nevs remains very exciting and promising it is a short term cash problem.

The root cause of the current situation is that Nevs' shareholder, Qingbo Investment Co. Ltd, has not fulfilled their contractual obligation to finance the operations.

As a consequence Nevs' main owner National Modern energy Holdings Ltd. (NME) has since the beginning of the year decided to enter into the position as the sole financier of the company. Recently NME had to conclude that despite enormous efforts it has not been possible to capitalize its assets in China as fast as needed to support Nevs. This has resulted in a time lag between the financing from China and the need of cash to pay suppliers. As of today NME has transferred over 3 Billion SEK to Nevs and made additionally large investments in China, i.e. in the new battery factory and the technology development center.

It is important to state that the assets are significantly higher than the debt but Nevs is planning to use short term credits to cover all outstanding and near term obligations until the long term financing is secured. This is bridge solution is planned to be realized within a near future.

To further support the situation financially and give Nevs time to align the strategy with the new OEM partners Nevs will also take short term measures to reduce cost. Among the measures to be taken are a short term stop of production, which today is six cars per day, and a reduction of hired consultants.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      John Overmyer
      • 7 Months Ago
      I have a 2010 SAAB 9-3 Aero. It will be a classic. Long live SAAB!
      Matthew Priebe
      • 7 Months Ago
      I just bought my first car its a 2004 Saab Linear 9-3 and i love it!!!!!! Saab's are great cars, and I hope they can find a solution to the money problem and continue production so I can someday buy a new Saab. I'm 20 and all my friend love my car they talk about how they want one and how nice my car is. people complement me about my car a lot, so just saying your wrong AG SHOP. My generation still wants Saab to live!
      • 7 Months Ago
      Why let them go? SAAB was a really cool brand and is still recognized world wide. It was for people that wanted a nice car but didn't want to shout about it. Kinda of like scandinavian architecture on wheels.
      • 7 Months Ago
      Saab is the Commodore Amiga of automobiles.
        • 7 Months Ago
        nah, Amiga was cool and loved once. Saab was always variations of ugly. but maybe it will also walk the earth forever as an undead although I doubt it :) Amiga has crazy hardcore techie fans. Saab does not. Saab could be resurrected in a completely new form. Reinvent it like a new Tesla Motors. The brand itself is cool enough that it could fly. But you have to completely cut out that pretentious clueless architect style that it has now. That stench of death will not wash off. But with my goto suggestion of a new superior leaner and meaner Tesla Roadster, it could work and with relatively little money. Just the Norway market alone could run it. And especially considering Norway and Holland and Cali will be going through the rapid flip soon where EVs become mainstream and they need some appealing EVs to fill those massive sales. The current selection of EVs will not do. All way too expensive. So there is big opportunity. But producing the ICE 9-3, that was just top of the line stupid.
          • 7 Months Ago
          although I seem to recall something about them not being allowed to use the brand? in which case their worth is awfully close to zero
      • 7 Months Ago
      That's too bad, Saabs are cool.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 7 Months Ago
      Just let this company die, ffs.
      • 7 Months Ago
      For the love of God, please just put this corpse in the ground and let it finally die a dignified death.
      • 7 Months Ago
      Let. Saab. Die.
      • 7 Months Ago
      I'm surprised they got as far as they did.
      • 7 Months Ago
      Sigh, the title is a bad joke. I said it was stupid to continue an expensive factory of a model that has no appeal but they knew best...They always know best. So much facepalm. It's so puzzling to me how again and again they put random folks in charge of hundreds of millions in an EV project and NOT ONE from any of these companies say to themselves, maybe I should check the community, indeed the world if there are some really knowledgeable guys who can give us a lay of the land and maybe some smart insight. No press releases on news sites, no postings on evtech looking for a few good men, not a single peep in the comments on this site or any other EV news site from decision makers at any level. Not even a damned enterprising low level engineer from a single company in the effing world. They live in complete bubbles. Absolute Stupidity. Again and again, hundreds of millions of dollars or equivalent, and they are so busy doing they never stop to wonder if it's the right thing they are doing. Even if we entertain the petty notion that so many of you ninnies do that I don't know what I'm talking about, where are they reaching out to others? It's statue time again.
      • 7 Months Ago
      Just let them go.
      • 7 Months Ago
      even with 6 cars a day....nobody wants a saab anymore. The name has been dragged in the dirt for to long.
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