New Saab Cars to be Rolled out in 2014

Sept. 4, 2012
Company said in next 18 months, they plan to introduce their first electric vehicle based on Saab 9-3 technologies and a new technology electric powertrain.

The buyers of bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab AB (IW1000/943) said Monday they would launch their first model in 2014 using the Saab name, after concluding the purchase of the company for an undisclosed sum.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden, a joint venture between China's National Modern Energy Holdings and the Japanese fund Sun Investment, announced it had finalized its acquisition from bankruptcy administrators of the main assets of Saab Automobile, Saab Automobile Powertrain and Saab Automobile Tools.

"The efforts to implement our business plan can now be multiplied, focused on the development of a world-class electric vehicle in Trollhaettan," in southwestern Sweden where Saab is based, the chairman of NEVS, Karl-Erling Trogen said.

"In approximately 18 months, we plan to introduce our first electric vehicle based on Saab 9-3 technologies and a new technology electric powertrain," he added.

Bankruptcy administrators announced a preliminary agreement with NEVS in June.

The two sides did not disclose the transaction sum on Monday, and the TT news agency suggested the amount would only be revealed in November, when documents must be presented to a local court.

"The acquisition includes intellectual property rights for the Saab 9-3, intellectual property rights for the Phoenix platform, tools, the manufacturing plant, and test and laboratory facilities," NEVS said.

"The acquisition also comprises all outstanding shares in the property company which owned the Saab facilities in Trollhaettan, Sweden."

However, NEVS did not obtain the rights to Saab's logo -- the griffin, the mythological half-lion half-eagle. That logo has been shared with the Saab defense and aeronautics group and Scania trucks, which all used to be part of the same corporate group. NEVS did not say what its new logo would be.

The new Saabs will primarily be aimed at the Chinese market.

"The Chinese can increasingly afford cars; however, the global oil supply would not suffice if they all buy petroleum-fueled vehicles," NEVS main owner Kai Johan Jiang said.

"Chinese customers demand a premium electric vehicle, which we will be able to offer by acquiring Saab Automobile in Trollhaettan," he added.

Saab filed for bankruptcy last December after teetering on the edge of the abyss for almost two years. At the time of its bankruptcy, Saab was working on a new version of its 9-3 sedan. But it was forced to halt that project due to a lack of financing.

NEVS said it was now in the process of recruiting new management and engineers.

The Swedish government hailed the agreement.

"The aim of developing new electric cars based on Saab's proven technology is innovative and forward-looking. It fits in well with the existing research and development in the Swedish automobile industry," Enterprise Minister Annie Loeoef said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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