EV maker officially acquires Saab

Saab has risen from the ashes as an EV manufacturer.

A Swedish-Chinese consortium has officially completed its purchase of bankrupt automaker Saab's assets, including the rights to use the former General Motors subsidiary's nameplate. As Saab's new parent company's name, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, implies, future vehicles badged as Saabs will be powered by electric motors.

NEVS said in a press release that it has obtained the intellectual property rights for the existing Saab 9-3 and the "Phoenix" platform that was to underpin the stillborn third-generation 9-3, as well as the tools and facilities that made up Saab Automobile Powertrain and Saab Automobile Tools. The sale includes Saab's Trollhattan, Sweden, assembly plant, which many analysts considered to be the sweetest part of the deal since it is one of Europe's most modern vehicle production facilities.

Future Saabs will not retain the automaker's Griffin logo, NEVS has said.

Saab's new owners told SaabsUnited that, contrary to earlier reports suggesting that Saab would become a China-only brand, they intend to market electric Saab-branded vehicles across the globe. China will, however, likely wind up being Saab's biggest market in part because of its sheer size and in part because of its government-backed EV initiatives.

Initially, NEVS plans to build an electric car based on the outgoing 9-3. Pre-production models are slated to begin rolling off the Trollhattan assembly line as early as next year, although NEVS hasn't detailed the vehicle's powertrain other than stating that it will be sourced from a Japanese supplier. While Chinese production hasn't been ruled out, NEVS says that it needed to retain the Trollhattan plant in order to maintain European levels of assembly quality.

And just who is NEVS? While the company remains somewhat of an enigma to many of us, it has the approval of Spyker chief Victor Muller, whose company acquired Saab from GM but wasn't able to turn it around before being forced to declare bankruptcy less than a year ago. Based in Hong Kong, the company is a subsidiary of China's National Modern Energy Holdings. At the helm of NEVS is a Swede, Karl-Erling Trogen.

"I am delighted that we can build on Saab Automobile's skills in vehicle design and production to start a new future-oriented venture in Trollhättan, where world class manufacturing facilities are available," NEVS chairman Trogen said in a statement. "We will match Swedish automobile design and manufacturing experience with Japanese EV technology and a strong presence in China. Electric vehicles powered by clean electricity are the future, and the electric car of the future will be produced in Trollhättan."

NEVS says that it will begin by hiring about 75 employees effective immediately.