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Saab: The Car That Refuses to Die

Can the Saab be resurrected as an electric? Its new owners seem to think so.

Many of us remember Saab as a low volume, premium vehicle that just couldn’t quite make it, despite the best efforts of many investors over the years.

During the economic downturn, Saab got passed around a few times. GM unloaded the brand in 2009, after it had failed to make a profit for years, to Spyker Cars N.V. Following a few years of high drama, including Spyker’s failed attempt to sell it, the Saab brand wound up in bankruptcy, at which point its assets were purchased by Sweden’s National Electric Vehicle Sweden, or NEVS, in 2012.

So NEVS has been trying to get an electric version of the Saab 9-3 into production since it took in this perpetual orphan and, says Digital Trends, the company has recently gained approval to build an electric car factory in China. According to the article, construction at the factory site in Tianjin has already begun, and NEVS hopes to start production by the end of the year. At full capacity, NEVS claims the factory will be able to build 200,000 cars a year. And, it already has a customer – NEVS signed a multi-billion dollar deal in late 2015 with Panda New Energy, a vehicle leasing company in China, who has agreed to purchase 150,000 electric 9-3 sedans for their fleet.

But the kicker to this sob/Saab story is that these probably won’t be sold as Saabs. Digital Trends says the Saab logo was not included in the assets NEVS purchased after the bankruptcy, and that it lost the rights to the Saab name after a round of financial trouble in 2014.

I’m Anna Wells, and this is IEN Now.

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