Saab to Live On as Electric Vehicle Manufacturer

By Jonathan Spira on 16 June 2012
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Saab Automobile, which filed for liquidation last December, was sold to a group of Chinese, Japanese, and Swedish investors earlier this week.  The new owners, which had formed National Electric Vehicle Sweden to acquire the company, will turn Saab into an electric-vehicle manufacturer.

The sale of Saab, which is based in Trollhätten, was announced in a statement by Saab’s bankruptcy administrators, Anne-Marie Pouteaux and Hans L. Bergqvist.  The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“We will match Swedish automobile design and manufacturing experience with Japanese E.V. technology and a strong presence in China,” said Karl-Erling Trogen, National Electric Vehicle Sweden’s chairman, in a  statement on the company’s website. “Electric vehicles powered by clean electricity are the future, and the electric car of the future will be produced in Trollhättan.”

The new owners announced that the first electric Saab would be based on the current Saab 9-3.  The automaker hopes to have the car on the market by the end of 2013.

Saab had entered into liquidation proceedings after a failed buyout attempt by a Chinese consortium of companies that was blocked by General Motors.  In 2010, Saab had been acquired by Viktor Muller, a Dutch entrepreneur who had also run Spyker, a sports car company, for $74 million and $326 million in preferred shares from General Motors.  As Saab’s former owner, GM held veto power over any technology transfers and was concerned about an adverse impact on its business in China in the event of new Chinese ownership of the company.

“The sale to N.E.V.S. is our most important action to realize the assets of the estate,” the administrators said. “From the outset, it has been our ambition to find a comprehensive solution by the summer, so we are very pleased today, having reached this agreement.”

(Photo: Rémi)