NEVS, the company that took over Saab, gets new majority owner

China's Evergrande is also a key investor in Faraday Future

Chinese real estate conglomerate Evergrande Group, a key investor behind troubled electric vehicle startup Faraday Future, has acquired a 51 percent stake in NEVS. That's the Chinese-backed Swedish electric vehicle company that purchased the assets of Saab out of bankruptcy in 2012.

The investment by subsidiary Evergrande Health Industry Group was valued at the equivalent of $930 million and is expected to help NEVS develop new EVs. Evergrande said it paid the first installment of $ 430 million on Jan. 15, with the remainder due by the end of the month. The remaining 49 percent stake is controlled by a holding company controlled by NEVS founder Kai Johan Jiang.

"It means that NEVS will get a financial (sic) strong main owner who is very interested in developing our vision about green mobility transport solutions for the future," NEVS CEO Stefan Tilk said in a statement.

NEVS, short for National Electric Vehicle Sweden, owns production facilities in Trollhättan, Sweden, and Tianjin, China, with another under construction in Shanghai. In late 2017 the company launched what apparently was limited production of the 9-3 EV, an electric vehicle based — you guessed it — on the old Saab 9-3 platform. The company now says it will be built in Tianjin starting later this year, with components coming from Trollhättan. It boasts a 186-mile range, in-car WiFi and a cabin air filter for the notoriously smoggy Chinese air.

It also showed a battery-electric 9-3X concept at CES Asia in 2017, which is likely to be its next model pegged for production. The South China Morning Post, citing local media reports, says two of NEVS' models meet the standards for mass production in China.

Definitely the best promotional video we've ever seen.

Evergrande Health first came to Faraday Future's rescue back in 2017 with a promised $2 billion investment, but the two sides later went into arbitration in Hong Kong over a dispute about money following the first infusion of $800 million, leading the automaker to cut staff and wages last year, casting the future of FF into doubt. At the end of 2018, Faraday announced it had entered into a new restructuring agreement with an Evergrande Health subsidiary that sees them end litigation and jettison the previous investment agreement, taking Evergrande's investment in the company to 32 percent.

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