It looks as if the Saab brand may not come back to the automobile market—at least, not in its entirety. Saab AB, a Swedish aerospace business with ownership of the name, will not allow the use of its name or logo by its buyout company.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden bought out Saab Automobile following its bankruptcy in 2012, and recent reports about the company included plans of five new Saabs in the works for 2018. But those “Saabs” won’t bear the famous name, as Automotive News reports that Saab AB withdrew NEVS’ right to the name and logo two years ago. And they plan on enforcing that.
The naming bar that has been around for two years comes as a surprise, as the Saab Cars website hosts the NEVS name in more than one area—including the copyright mark—and press photos of the planned vehicles have the Saab logo.
So why the big stink now? According to Saab AB, NEVS never had the rights to the logo and developed its own. From Automotive News:
Saab AB reaffirmed that NEVS will not be allowed to use the Saab name. “We have revoked their right to use the brand name” and there is no longer a discussion about NEVS using it, Saab AB spokesman Sebastian Carlsson told Automotive News Europe.
NEVS eyed a return to the car market as early as next year for the Saab name, with a “heavily upgraded” car based on the Saab 9-3 planned for mid 2017 and four more models to be released the next year. The cars would hit the Chinese and Sweden markets, with several crossovers and a fastback to follow up the 9-3.
The branding restrictions surface a month after NEVS signed a $12 billion deal with Chinese leasing firm Panda New Energy, planning to supply the firm with 150,000 9-3 electric sedans by the end of 2020 and 100,000 more cars after. According to Automotive News, NEVS also secured a $996 million deal with China Volant Industry for delivery of 20,000 9-3s between 2017 and 2020.
With the not-new restrictions in mind, Automotive News reports that NEVS owner Kai Johan Jiang now plans to sell the 9-3s and other vehicles under a different brand name “designed to suit the Chinese market.” Jiang added that the company “be very precise with what kind of brand” it uses.
If anything, NEVS should re-re-brand the cars as “Saaab” or “Saaaab” just to stick it to the man. The extra A’s stand for quality!