Saab – one foot out of the grave?

by Ernie Hernandez on September 3, 2012

Saab 9-3

Another electric car on the way

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) has finalized the purchase of Saab AB with the intent to develop the Saab 9-3 into an electric car for distribution in China.

Founded in the 1940’s, Saab has gone through various iterations every decade or two since. General Motors effectively dismantled the company and sold its remains to Spyker, a Dutch based car company, in 2010. Spyker was undergoing their own financial issues and was able to make no headway with the Saab brand. Saab filed for bankruptcy last year with the Swedish government.

Several international automotive entities had been looking to possibly acquire Saab, including India’s Mahindra and Mahindra, producer of the REVA electric car. Apparently the Saab 9-3 just looks like it should be an electric car. In any case, the plan is to build the 9-3 with an electric drivetrain designed in Japan for the Chinese market. It seems that one thing recognized by the Chinese government is this: as their citizens develop the means to modernize and buy automobiles, the cars that the government wants them driving will be powered via electricity rather than gasoline. For many that have been used to getting around via bicycles, scooters, and motorcycles, we don’t think that range anxiety will be a major issue with the introduction of the electric car to the Chinese population. The challenge will be producing affordable electric cars. The 9-3 is to be positioned as a premium EV for that market, which still leaves the door open to others to stake their claim to the potentially huge affordable EV market in China. NEVS says to expect their new car in about 18 months.

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