8/23/2013

Saab Could Resume Production By Year-End

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Saab Automobile’s new owner tells Automotive News Europe the company is “practically ready” to begin producing the Saab 9-3 small sedan late this year.

Saab, which went bankrupt in 2011, was acquired a year ago by a Chinese consortium, the National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB.

The group originally planned to relaunch the Saab brand in 2014 with an electric car based on the next-generation 9-3. But the company said last November it might first produce a conventionally powered model to help fund the EV program.

NEVS tells ANE the initial model will be a variant of the 9-3 that Saab stopped building in 2011. The company intends to sell the cars in Europe and China and says it eventually wants to reenter the American market.

Future Saab models, including the EV, will use the Phoenix chassis Saab developed shortly before its financial collapse. The consortium says the platform will be modified to replace about 20% of its components that otherwise would be sourced from General Motors Co., Saab’s former owner.

GM has vehemently opposed allowing any of its technology to be used by Saab’s new owner.

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