Back in June I reported that Saab was in the process of being sold to National Electric Vehicle Sweden, a company that has strong ties to Hong Kong. Well that deal is completed, and amazingly the Saab brand will indeed live on as a maker of electric vehicles. I might have been wrong on this one.
FrankenSaab Lives On
The deal preserves the Saab name, and also grants NEVS access to key technologies in the form of the latest 9-3 platform and the never-released Phoenix platform. NEVS will utilize both platforms for a line of premium luxury electric cars, the first of which are set to arrive in the next 18 months or so.
Of course, a lot can happen in 18 months, and the past few years have not been nice to Saab. After multiple deals came and went, Saab finally wound up owned by Dutch automaker Spyker…before declaring bankruptcy in September. GM seems to be a common factor, as the General doesn’t want precious company secrets to fall into Chinese hands.
New Saab, New Logo
But with Saab coming back as an EV maker, that is less and less likely. For one, the Saab 9-3 platform is merely the “evolution” of a platform that has roots in the 1980’s, while the hybrid PhoeniX platform never even saw the road. More likely, GM was protecting its powertrain technology, technology NEVS won’t need if Saab is to return as an EV maker.
One thing NEVS didn’t get though was the famed Saab griffin logo, so they’ll need to come up with a new one. I’m not holding my breath, but Saab’s fortunes may have finally taken a turn for the better. As many companies have proven, there IS a market, albeit a niche one, for high-priced performance electric cars.
If the new Saab can tap into that market with a Swedish flair on the whole EV thing, who knows? Maybe the brand will prove more resilient than the analysts predicted, and Saab will live on after all. What is your take on this whole scenario?