Following a Successful Block, Saab’s Back and Making EVs?


In January of 2010, GM agreed to buy a then ailing Saab with an expectation of turning the company around and selling 50,000 cars by year’s end. The Swedish government guaranteed a loan to back the sale. By October of that year, the projection had been revised to 30,000. A conservative figure. The company would sell 31,000 overall.

It didn’t help that suppliers weren’t sending shipments to the main plant in Trollhättan because of unpaid invoices. In 2011 a bidding war erupted for the company – the source was China and it looked like someone was going to win out. There was Hawtai Motor company, a company whose name means “Magnificent Extremes,” that primarily produced SUVs with diesel engines. They were the first in a line of Chinese suitors, but GM refused to let the sale go. Meanwhile, the company went broke, so broke it couldn’t pay its employees. Eventually Saab filed for bankruptcy and GM’s claims that it couldn’t let its tech fall into the hands of a Chinese company held up in court.

Apparently, all that’s changed now that National Electric Vehicle Sweden has stepped in to breathe new life into the brand. Their newest project is an electric vehicle, but does that mean it’s time to sell your Saab?

Who are NEVS

NEVS is actually a Chinese business consortium based in Sweden. The company purchased most of the assets of Saab, including the factory, Saab’s powertrain technology, and the company’s tools. In August of 2013, after a lengthy court battle, the doors of the Trollhättan Saab factory opened again.

Saab was able to protect the classic Griffon logo in a trademark dispute, and branding will look a little different moving forward.

The New Saab

So what does the new Saab actually look like? The body style is similar to the previous Saab 9-3, but the car has received a face lift at the front. Aside from a simpler badge, the shape of the car looks sleaker, lower to the ground overall, but not much else has changed. And NEVS plans to keep it that way, saying they hope to produce models with a similar architecture and style to previous Saab models.

NEVS also landed a deal with retailers in Europe and China for distribution of the new 9-3. So Americans will have to wait a bit until the EV makes it stateside.

Sell Your Old Saab?

So now that the company has changed hands, it begs the question of whether you should sell your old vehicle. It’s been a good three years since Saab produced a new car, and the most recent version is similar in style but not in build type. That brings up the very valid question of whether a Saab was a wasted investment and the answer is “no.”

First off, a well-maintained Saab will easily last 100k miles, but are known to have some engine issues later in life. Fortunately, engine components are still in supply, and you can find all kinds of Saab auto parts online. There are even Saab forums, where owners and enthusiasts discuss the car, and help in diagnosing issues. Most mechanics will also be able to service your Saab, as there are no unusual parts involved.

Facts about Saab

Saab is a well-recognized name for a reason. It’s cars ushered in new technology and helped improve the standards of automobiles worldwide. For one, the signature center ignition is by design. Saab says that you are less likely to suffer a knee injury during an accident with the ignition at center.

Saab also holds several endurance racing records, including a 100,000 km race in 1986.

Saab was also the first in car history to outfit every model of its GT 750 line with seatbelts. Another technology we take for granted, headlights, was released along sidewindshield wipers in 1970.

EV’s may just be the next evolutionary step for a company with accolades stretching back to its early days as a jet manufacturer. The name remains in Sweden, and GM no longer holds the trademark, but the Saab brand will continue onward.

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