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Saab factory re-opens, new 9-3 coming this fall

by Ronan Glon

The new 9-3 will be powered by a turbocharged engine.

Employees have returned to the Saab factory in Trollhättan, Sweden, for the first time in nearly two years.

Parent company National Electric Vehicles Sweden (NEVS) opened the factory so workers can start cleaning the assembly lines and carrying out routine maintenance. How many employees are currently working in the plant is not known, but NEVS is actively recruiting and hopes to have a 400-strong workforce by the end of September in order to resume Saab production this fall.

Swedish media outlets report the first post-bankruptcy Saab will be an updated variant of the second-generation 9-3 that was introduced in 2002. Powered by a turbocharged, gasoline-burning engine, the car will undergo a host of updates inside and out in order to stand out from its aging predecessor. A four-door sedan will spearhead Saab's return, but NEVS has not commented on the fate of the station wagon and the convertible models.

Resuming production is easier said than done because many parts suppliers went under with the company in 2011, and Saab's global dealer network has essentially collapsed. If these obstacles can be overcome in a timely and cost-effective manner, look for the updated 9-3 to bow before the end of the year.

NEVS has not given up on building a brand new battery-powered car based on the Phoenix platform but the car is still several years away.

Photo by Ronan Glon.

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