Published on December 4th, 2013 | by Christopher DeMorro0
Saab Restarts Production & Still Promises Electric Model
Originally published on Gas2.
By Chris DeMorro.
Somehow, against all odds and good business sense, Saab has managed to stave off destruction and today the Swedish automaker restarted production of the 9-3 model. While initial vehicles are limited to gasoline engines, Saab has promised to introduce an all-electric model, which could be well situated given Scandinavia’s fondness for electric cars.
Purchased by a Chinese firm known as National Electric Vehicle Sweden, or NEVS, Saab 9-3 production is restarting with an eye towards China. Swedish customers will still be able to buy a locally-built 9-3 via a website, but right now Saab is looking towards the Far East for salvation. Part of those future plans include an electric model, though there are few details to deliver right now.
The only way I see Saab making the 21st century transition is with an all-new, built-from-the-ground-up electric vehicle platform. Something like that would cost upwards of a billion dollars to build, so the more likely route is that NEVS is going to stuff an already-licensed EV drivetrain into the ancient 9-3 architecture, and the ending won’t be good. That said, NEVS is right on schedule with its promised production schedule, so maybe they are as serious as they seem. That’d be a nice change of pace.
I have always had a soft spot for Saab, and I am genuinely wishing for the best with them. At the same time I’ve got to be realistic about their chances, and the odds just aren’t that good that Saab will get the full-fledged investment it deserves. I hope I’m, wrong, but betting against Saab is still the safest bet you can make.
Source: Motor Authority