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Saab owner lands $12B contract to build 150,000 EVs for China

by Justin King

The agreement has been inked with leasing firm Panda New Energy.

Saab owner National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) claims to have established a supply contract with Chinese leasing company Panda New Energy.

Under the agreement, Nevs will deliver 150,000 electrified Saab 9-3 vehicles by the end of the decade. The company will also provide an additional 100,000 "other EV products and services," though specific details are unclear.

Panda New Energy is focused on leasing low-emission vehicles, partnering with many chauffeured car services in China. The company is said to have set a lofty goal of becoming one of the biggest EV leasing companies in the world.

"This is a strategic collaboration for Nevs not only in terms of the numbers of vehicles, but it is also an important step to implement our vision and new business plan," said Nevs vice chairman Stefan Tilk. "In the long term, we want to provide our customers with both sustainable products and mobility services."

Nevs last week announced that it will return to the automotive market in 2017 with a substantially upgraded 9-3 sedan, eventually offering a range of five different models to be rolled out by 2018. The expanded lineup includes a midsize family SUV, a fastback, a fastback-styled crossover and a compact urban SUV.

The first markets to receive the new EVs include China and Sweden, with production operations performed in both countries.

Nevs not long ago had sought creditor protection as suppliers asked Swedish courts to force the company into bankruptcy. The trouble reportedly led Saab Group, the aerospace and defense conglomerate, to withdraw Nevs' rights to the Saab automotive brand. It is unclear if the bankruptcy and trademark disputes have been fully resolved.

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