A dead car company is resurrected by a Chinese-Swedish consortium, and used to make electric vehicles. This might sound like the plot to a very strange fiction book, but it’s true: Swedish carmaker Saab has been purchased by National Electric Vehicle, a company who hopes to leverage Saab’s assets in selling electric cars down the road.
Saab has been in some sort of freefall or another since the 1990s, when the quirky Swedish cars began to fall out of favor and from the zenith it hit in the 1980s. Support from General Motors, which purchased 50 percent in 1990 and another 50 percent in 2000, was either limited or simply not enough to keep the niche brand afloat, depending on your perspective (brand loyalists abide by the former). The company faced imminent death as GM tried to jettison unprofitable products during its 2009 bankruptcy, and was slated to be wound down, but a last-ditch effort from Dutch automaker Spyker Cars was approved, and Saab had a new owner in 2010. Spyker’s efforts weren’t any more successful, and Saab ultimately fell into administration by the end of 2011.
In May, Japanese investment firm Sun Investment and Hong Kong-based green energy company National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd. formed a consortium and called it National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB. That company, in turn, purchased Saab this week.
While the details of the deal are scarce, we would hazard that the final purchase price exceeded the $567 million offer floated last month by Chinese automaker Youngman Lotus Automobile. For the (possible) price of $600 million, NEVS now owns Saab’s Trollhattan, Sweden production facilities. The intellectual property to the late Saab 9-5, however, remains property of General Motors, and replacement parts manufacturer Saab Automobile Parts AB is still its own company.
So, what’s next? NEVS is apparently interested in building an electric car based on the current Saab 9-3, and hopes to launch it by 2013 or 2014. NEVS will market it primarily within China, whose car-hungry citizens and traffic-choked streets could be a perfect fit for an inexpensive green car.
Source: Spyker NV