Saab has proven itself to be harder to kill than a vampire cockroach. While the rest of the world had written the Swedish former General Motors subsidiary off as dead after its Chinese-backed owner National Electric Vehicle of Sweden faced bankruptcy demands last year, Saab Blog reported this week that five (!) new NEVS SAABs are in the works by 2018.
Lest you think that’s rumormongering bullshit, Saab Blog has details and photos on a presentation from NEVS boss Mattias Bergman this week in Stockholm:
At Sweden’s largest annual automotive conference “Stora Bildagen” in Stockholm this week, Bergman unveiled key elements of their new and eagerly awaited business plan. The first (SAAB 9-3 based, but heavily upgraded) EV Sedan will hit the Chinese and Swedish markets in the first half of 2017, to be followed the year after by four brand new models. Mobility services will be playing a really important role and while they haven’t said it explicitly, one could argue that NEVS is reinventing itself to become a supplier of sustainable mobility solutions.
The report says the new lineup will start with the electric 9-3 sedan (yes, that 9-3, a car that first launched in 2002) to hit China and Sweden in two years. After that NEVS plans several crossovers and a fastback, also all-electric.
How will NEVS, which has struggled financially since buying Saab in 2012, pay for this exciting new lineup? Reuters reports NEVS on Thursday signed a $12 billion deal with Chinese leasing firm Panda New Energy. If all goes according to plan, Saab will supply Panda with 150,000 9-3 sedan electric vehicles by the end of 2020, and 100,000 other cars to follow.
It all sounds very ambitious! But as usual, I’m skeptical that the long-troubled Saab and NEVS can pull it off, let alone get cars on the road, let alone somehow get these cars in markets other than China and Sweden.
But hey, you have to admire the resilience of Saab, the Car Company That Just Won’t Die! Shine on, you crazy diamond.
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