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SAAB sold but future uncertain

Editorial Staff

The SAAB saga (no, that's not a new model) is still not over, despite news that a sale has been arranged.

The problem for anyone buying SAAB is that there's not much there except a name.

Last December, having bought the parts that General Motors wanted to sell - which did not include the technology for much of the range - Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker gave up and put SAAB into receivership.

GM had refused to sell the parts that would have made it a viable business first to Chinese interests and then to Spyker. Worse, SAAB had been turned, largely, into a boring brand with vehicles concocted from the GM parts bin.

But there is still a factory and there is still production. Some 3,000 people still work at the Trollhattan, Sweden, factory. The plan, say the new owners, is to develop a range of electroc cars.

But administrators have a simple duty: get in the assets and / or sell the company in order to pay creditors. They, generally, don't care who buys them so long as their money is good. And Kai Johan Jiang's money - through his investment vehicle NEVS is good. Jiang was born in China but educated in Sweden and is a naturalised Swede.

What the buyers seem to have not got is all the intellectual property: today saab.com has been turned into a website for parts. That part of the business was not included. So owners of past models will not deal with the new company. And the SAAB 9-5, which was perhaps the death-knell for the company (its predecessor, the 9000 series was an outstanding vehicle) following on, as it did, from the 9-3 that had the awful chassis from a GM mass market repbuggy.

The electric vehicle idea has strong backing in China where there is an official policy to increase popularity of clean cars especially in cities already choked with fumes.

NEVS has committed to building cars in Trollhattan but it's possible that there will also be production in China.

NEVS (National Electric Vehicle Sweden) NEVS, is 51% owned by Hong Kong registered alternative energy specialist National Modern Energy Holdings and 49% by Japanese investment company Sun Investment LLC.

NEVS has also said that it plas to create an electric car based on the 9-3. One has to wonder if they have ever driven one. And how they will ensure a supply of parts if GM decided to take its ball home.

The new model is expected in Q4 2013 or Q1 2014.