Press Release: National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB acquires the main assets of Saab Automobile

I’m not going to get into reproducing presser after presser on this site, but given the events of the day and the newness of the company concerned, I figured this one was important.

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National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB to establish a new venture for development and manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs) in Trollhättan, Sweden.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) and the Receivers of the Saab Automobile bankruptcy estate today signed a purchase agreement which covers the main assets of Saab Automobile AB, Saab Automobile Powertrain AB and Saab Automobile Tools AB. The agreement includes all outstanding shares in the property company which owns the Saab Automobile facilities in Trollhättan, Sweden. The price for the assets has not been disclosed. Saab Automobile Parts AB, as well as intellectual property rights for the Saab 9-5, owned by General Motors, are not included in the purchase agreement.

“The sale to NEVS is our most important action to realize the assets of the estate,” said Anne-Marie Pouteaux, Partner, Wistrand, Hans L. Bergqvist, Partner, Delphi, Receivers in bankruptcy for the Saab Automobile estate and Kent Hägglund, DLA Nordic, Co-receiver in bankruptcy for the Saab trademark and trade name rights. “From the outset, it has been our ambition to find a comprehensive solution by the summer, so we are very pleased today, having reached this agreement.”

NEVS is an international consortium formed by Japanese, Swedish and Chinese stakeholders. The company will establish a new automobile venture in Trollhättan, solely dedicated to development and manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs).

The first model to be developed will be based on the current Saab 9-3, which will be modified for electric drive using advanced EV technology from Japan. Launch is targeted at year-end 2013/2014.

In parallel with EV conversion of the Saab 9-3, an all-new model will be developed, based on additional cutting-edge technology from Japan. Marketing and sales will be global, with an initial focus on China, projected to be the largest and most important EV market.

“China is investing heavily in developing the EV market, which is a key driver for the ongoing technology shift to reduce dependence on fossil fuels,” said Kai Johan Jiang, founder and main owner of National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd, the majority shareholder of NEVS. “The Chinese can increasingly afford cars; however, the global oil supply would not suffice if they all buy petroleum fueled vehicles. Chinese customers demand a premium electric vehicle, which we will be able to offer by acquiring Saab Automobile in Trollhättan.”

NEVS aims to become a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles. Recruitment to a number of key positions in the company is in progress, and the following step is to hire skilled engineers to the Trollhättan site, in order to immediately start the product development. The development will be conducted in collaboration between Swedish, Japanese and Chinese engineers.

“I am delighted that we can build on Saab Automobile’s skills in vehicle design and production to start a new future-oriented venture in Trollhättan, where world class manufacturing facilities are available,” said Karl-Erling Trogen, Chairman, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB. “We will match Swedish automobile design and manufacturing experience with Japanese EV technology and a strong presence in China. Electric vehicles powered by clean electricity are the future, and the electric car of the future will be produced in Trollhättan.”

About National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) has been established for the purpose of acquiring the assets of the Saab Automobile bankruptcy estate. Using existing resources, and adding Japanese cutting-edge technology, NEVS plans to start a new venture in Trollhättan, Sweden, aiming to become a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles.

www.national-ev.se

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29 Comments

      1. Future Saabs were going to be more expensive anyway, that was the plan.

        I think this is a lot better than a factory in ruins. They already have a half (maybe more) developed EV (9-3 ePower) in Saab, and it will be a damned good looking EV.
        A future hybrid car based on Phoenix, could be stunner.

        And consider this, competing with Tesla and some half motivated models from Nissan/Renault is surely easier than head to head with the teutonic three…

  1. Well lets see how it works out..

    Pretty interesting to hear old doomsday journo Jens B Nordström talk about the sale on TV4…. He did have some valid pointers but as always his ignorance showed “An electric 9-3 by 2013-14? Hardly since it would involve totaly reengineering the car. To take out the driveline etc etc”… So it turns out the writer of “Circus Muller” does not know of the ePower 9-3 and that that car was in production even after the other line halted last year. Jezz….

    Lets hope for the best. The only thing I can say is that I will probably not be able to afford a new Saab when they arrive. So I’ll have to find good 9-3’s until prices are down and the infrastructure is ready for EV’s.

    If and when Hybrids are built I Might be able to dig deep into my pocketbook though.

    Cheers/Tom

  2. From the bloomberg.com story: 🙁

    ““Electric cars are a very tough business with a lot of risk,” and “there’s been almost no demand for them,” said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. The models are 10,000 euros to 15,000 euros more expensive than equivalent gasoline-powered cars, and their restricted range also makes them less attractive, he said.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-13/chinese-japanese-consortium-said-to-buy-bankrupt-saab-automobile.html

    Good luck. They’re going to need it.

    1. The internet’s going to be awash with opinion stories on how this can’t be done. Nothing unusual or remarkable there. It’s a massive target and everyone will be hitting it.

      Personally speaking, I’m skeptical, too, for all the reasons The Dude mentions in that story, and more.

      But for the sake of Saab and the friends I have in Trollhattan, I’ll be watching with an open mind and they’ll go with my best wishes. There’s nothing that would give me more satisfaction than to see them pull this off.

      1. If The Dude is off, then I’m on. Its a step into the unknown but its got some interesting possibilities for sure. If they can get them to market here, I’ll do my best to buy one.

        As per Swades comment & Bernards below, its great step after a long, dark hiatus. Welcome to the new Saab.

      2. Agree with you Steven. It is the PEOPLE of SAAB who need our thoughts & best wishes.

        It would be very nice to see new SAAB automobiles on the road again for many decades to come.

      3. Based on a few comments over at SU…it sounds like they said NEVS plans to hire about 150-200 people this year. Not very many for the former workers in the Trollhattan area. Sounds like it may be 1.5 years before things would really ramp up on hiring.

      4. I watched a programme last night about free range food supplied to Tesco ( A huge supermarket here in the UK) where the established players were amazed to find that the ‘weird outsider’ actually DID the impossible and created a free range product for the same price as non free range.
        Industry insiders and journalists tend not to see the next big thing coming, or even conceive it might exist until it’s too late. Remember the head if IBM about home computing. How many record stores and video hire shops were wiped out by the Ipod? Who saw the internet as competition to their business model before they were wiped out?
        I am glad to see Saab on the road to recovery and in the long term this may well be seen as a stroke of genius – the right products (quality Swedish cars) right place (China) right time (increasing wealth and fuel costs). Then again it might be Laserdisc in a VHS world

    2. I think that this is as positive as the news could get. I know a lot of people are upset that production won’t restart right away, and that this won’t be the “real” Saab (and may not even use the Saab name), but those outcomes were just wishful thinking.

      There is a lot of potential for pure-EV solutions in large cities. Tokyo, London, Paris, Rome, Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai customers don’t need 500km ranges, and most of them have better access to electric outlets than they do to petrol stations. The current-gen 9-3SS is too large for European cities, but it can work in China where size equals status.

      I’m very interested in finding out what the plans are for the Phoenix platform. Perhaps they can develop a smaller (New Mini-sized) car for the European market, as well as a range-extended hybrid for the North American market.

  3. Skeptical but hopeful. I read this on the Life With Saab blog: “Saab Parts and NEVS have however reached an agreement. At the moment it is unknown what this agreement covers”. Sounds like what you suggested in earlier post. Would like to know more about future U.S. operations.

  4. Yeah, what Steven said. I can easily list 10 major questions circling in my mind right now regarding the viability of this approach, but I just hope it will work. My old colleagues in Trollhättan deserve it.

  5. Maybe this could be good in Israel or Denmark where there is some enthusiasm. This year’s SAAB Convention is in the neighboring state of Iowa and there is no way this car could get close., from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A SAAB owner should be able to drive from Melbourne to Alice Springs. The only way they could attend any convention would be on a trailer. Even if a dealer had one to show and demonstrate it would have to be perpetually on charge.

    To take a queue in names like Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, they could call it the Leif Erikson (where a Viking boat sail could be erected on the roof to complete the journey)!

    I do however wish SAAB all the best.

  6. I’m open to the cars NEVS will create – and hold back on opinions until cars are actually announced. Then the price & range & etc are fair discussion.

    Meanwhile, NEVS may have been the only one of the suitors that really intended to keep things in Trollhättan.

  7. “…intellectual property rights for the Saab 9-5, owned by General Motors, are not included in the purchase agreement.” And thus the NG 9-5 (and its SC variant) appear to be officially orphaned. Crap.

    I am pleased for the folks in Trollhattan that a core industry will be staying around in some capacity. I am sad as now the upward trend in classic Saab prices will continue to increase for those of us who wish to own one (or more).

    That 2013 Ford Fusion Energi is looking better all the time.

  8. Saab is dead, long live Saab.

    I’m very excited by this news and hope that they do get the rights to the SAAB name.

    Let well-funded Swedes and the Japanese loose with on what they do best and we will have a killer app. This will make Saab cool again. Electric cars made in a real car plant, with real safety and longevity. I’m sold.

    Regards,

    Future customer of the Super-heavy-duty “AA” Battery company.

  9. They say that their products will be global,well I hope they include the UK as I would dearly like to see an electric SAAB here, and I hope they get the use of the brand name as looking to the future andthinking out side the box is what SAAB is all about for me.

  10. One question is whether they will use the new A123 systems battery. It should (in theory) be a game changer for the car industry as it doesn’t require extensive cooling systems to make it work. If it works as advertised you’ve just cut a lot of weight from the vehicle and increased the range to about 450 miles.

  11. GM couldn’t make a profit with Saab. And this was a huge car company with deep pockets. Victor Muller couldn’t make it with the new 9-5, 9-4X and aging 9-3. What are the odds for an unknown Chinese company that wants to sell a 12 year-old electric vehicle in China only? They’ll ship the interesting Saab assets to China and sell the factory in Trolltown within a year.

    I really hope Saab AB won’t let them use the the Saab name. We need closure on the brand so just let it retire already. NEVS is another disaster waiting to happen. Saab is dead, long live Saab.

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