The show's not over for Saab. An investment group agreed to buy the Swedish automotive manufacturer and plans to build electric cars for the Asian market, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press.
Saab's savior is a Chinese-Japanese investment group, whose key player is energy tycoon Kai Johan Jiang. Jiang founded the alternative energy supplier National Bio-Energy Group in China, and his other company, the National Modern Energy Holdings, owns 51 percent of National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, the company set up to buy Saab, according to BusinessWeek. The remaining 49 percent of National Electric Vehicle Sweden is held by Sun Investment, a Japanese company that plans to bring technology to the table to help build Saab's electric lineup.
The first electric vehicle will be the 9-3 Electric Car, according to blog SaabUnited.com, with plans to build a new generation 9-3 EV based on the Phoenix platform that debuted in 2011. The company will leverage its existing ePower program to quickly bring the EVs to market.
Saab expects to produce its first EVs sometime in 2013 or 2014, and the vehicles will be built in Saab's existing facilities in Trollhattan. Interestingly, the new buyers have purchased the patents for the 9-3, but not the 9-4, 9-4x, or 9-5, reports SaabUnited.com. GM has refused to supply parts for the 9-4x following any change of ownership, according to MotorTrend.
You wouldn't be alone in wondering if this sale will just be another short-lived iteration for the brand that can't seem to build any traction. The market for electric cars isn't exactly booming in the U.S. or in China. In fact, the auto market in China has seen a dramatic slowdown, and electric car manufacturer BYD reported a 90 percent drop in sales, according to CRI.com.
Source: Detroit Free Press