National Electric Vehicle Sweden signs a framework deal worth $996 million to provide 20,000 Saab 9-3 electric cars to Volinco, a Chinese aerospace firm.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), owner of Saab, might not be dead yet, because the company is reportedly close to having a new owner with deeper pockets in near future. The declaration comes from the business's latest request to prolong its reorganization and includes the claim that NEVS has a signed letter of intent from an unnamed Asian automaker to take majority ownership of the beleaguered brand.
Saab parent company National Electric Vehicle Sweden refuses to go down without a fight. After a recent trip to court, the company is emerging with an extension on its reorganization until November 29. According to Europe Online Magazine, there's also an appointed committee of creditors and union representatives to monitor NEVS' restructuring process.
For a fleeting moment a few weeks ago, the news from Saab-owner National Electric Vehicle Sweden appeared almost positive. The company had its reorganization plan approved (a day after it was denied), and the automaker was actually showing a real, running vehicle, albeit one with a top speed of 75 miles per hour. But those tiny crumbs of potential goodness have been swept away because NEVS has announced layoffs of as many as 200 factory employees in September "due to lack of work."
We can't read Swedish, so when it comes to a first-drive review of a Saab 9-3 electric-vehicle prototype, we'll trust Inside EVs' translation of a write-up from Swedish automotive publication Elbilen i Sverige. And it's a decent one. The write-up, that is. The translation, too, we hope.
What a difference a day makes. Thursday, we reported that current Saab parent National Electric Vehicle Sweden had its application for creditor protection denied by the Swedish court for being "vague and completely undocumented." But NEVS was back in court on Friday, and this time the application was granted. However, the story continued to get weirder as defense contractor Saab AB allegedly revoked NEVS' rights to use the Saab name.
The story of Saab is practically a Greek tragedy at this point. The quirky Swedish automaker that was once known as a pioneer of affordable turbocharging has been followed by years of news that just seemed to keep getting worse. At this point, maybe the brand name should be allowed to fade away into the ether and be remembered for the good times that it gave us.
The many fans of 1987's The Princess Bride will recall Billy Crystal's Miracle Max character optimistically referring to the protagonist Westley as "mostly dead." It looks like National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the company that now owns the Saab brand, fits that description. Of course, Westley does end up surviving and getting the girl.
It's ironic that Saab's current vehicle architecture is called the Phoenix platform, because like the mythological bird, the company keeps returning from the ashes. That's right, the embattled Swedish automaker isn't completely dead yet. Again. Actually, it may be facing yet another buyout, and this time, the buyer may be from India.
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 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
Saab is officially building cars again. Production of the 9-3 Sedan has kicked back off in Trollhättan, Sweden, and the first example is reportedly earmarked for the company's museum. Initial sales are targeted for China, although Swedish customers will also be able to buy new Saabs built in their country right away, too. It isn't immediately clear if the model will be available in the rest of Europe, let alone in North America.
If you're one of the small cadre of Saab drivers, first of all, kudos to you. Because as Top Gear pointed out, Saab drivers are among the most intellectual drivers out there. Secondly, we've got good news for you, because the 9-3 will officially resume production at the marque's Trollhättan plant in Sweden on Monday.