Saab's Ghost Continues to Roam the Earth, Starting in China

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
saab s ghost continues to roam the earth starting in china

When National Electric Vehicle Sweden bought out Saab Automobile after its 2011 filing for bankruptcy, it expected to get the whole enchilada and went straight to work producing electric 9-3s. However, NEVS filed for bankruptcy itself a few years later and production of those EV 9-3s stopped as it hunted for financial backing from China. Fed up, Saab AB revoked the company’s right to use its name on future NEVS-built products.

While that only changes the badging and branding, it made it feel a little like Electric Vehicle Sweden is defiling Saab’s corpse without the namesake and company’s blessing. Still, the pathway to bringing that disgusting dream to life remained long and dark. NEVS said from day one that its goal was to bring “Saab” back to the world but, after a $12 billion deal with Panda New Energy, it would have to tackle China and plenty of red tape first. After substantial delays, it appears to have found a pair of scissors.

According to GreenCarReports, China’s government approved NEVS’ application to begin production of electric vehicles in its manufacturing plant in Tianjin. The electric vehicle production license approved by the Chinese National Development Reform Commission is required in order to manufacture electric vehicles within China.

It may be behind schedule but, with no more financial woes and a green light on production, it is ready to attempt its goal of 100,000 electric not-so-Saab 9-3s before moving onto world domination. NEVS’ factory in Tianjin is under construction and anticipated to be up and running by the end of this year, with an annual capacity of 200,000 electric passenger vehicles.

“I am very grateful for the approval we now have received for the electric vehicle production license. It is an extremely important milestone for NEVS, which is based on 70 years of Saab’s long history. It means that we can take the next step to realize our vision— shape mobility for a more sustainable future,” Kai Johan Jiang, chairman of NEVS, said in a statement.

Assuming the company finds success out east, NEVS wants to expand its lineup to include crossovers and an electric fastback. It is also required to fulfill its commitments in China before it can think about the global market and that will take years. By the time something makes it to North American shores, there is a good chance it’ll share about as many components with a Saab as the International Space Station.


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  • FreedMike FreedMike on Jan 30, 2017

    Talk about the walking dead...where's Lucille when you need her?

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jan 30, 2017

    "I am very grateful for the approval we now have received for the electric vehicle production license. It is an extremely important milestone for NEVS, which is based on 70 years of Saab’s long history." I don't see what these two statements have in common. They're converting an old platform into an EV; the history of the name-only company is irrelevant.

  • FreedMike No, but then again, I think folks who truly have no money should be given the opportunity to pay through things like community service. Otherwise, the traffic justice system becomes an excuse to make poor folks into de facto debt slaves.
  • Paul Alexander "Rumors have pointed to it switching to the larger LX’s platform, giving it expanded exterior and interior dimensions. Lexus is expected to offer a hybrid powertrain in the upcoming GX, which could also appear in the Land Cruiser, and a trick four-wheel drive system is all but a given."So it'll be an LX with the GX name? What does this paragraph mean?
  • Jeff S If Ford can do a software update on their EVs to receive AM then this should be something that all EV automakers can do. Doesn't seem that an AM band on a radio is that big of a dollar item when you consider the overall cost of a new vehicle in today's market. I have started to listen to my favorite FM station on AM since I lose FM reception the further away I get away from an urban area. Maybe not as refined a sound as FM but the AM comes in much clearer when I am driving in rural areas.
  • Mike Beranek Well yes, any government fine should be based on the offender's income. But I'd take it a step farther.Any public funding aid, from welfare to stadium deals to tax incentives, should also be doled out based the need. And trust me, Shad Kahn doesn't need the taxpayers of Duval County to pay for his football stadium renovation. He can easily pay for it himself, without even having to downgrade to a lesser yacht.
  • Jeff S No it should be based on the violation and the fine on speeding should be based on how much above the speed limit the violator is going. Anything 5 mph are below should not be ticketed.