Do you remember Saab? The Swedish manufacturer which, after a short ownership by GM, filed for bankruptcy a few years ago? Shortly after, a consortium composed of the Swedish government and a Chinese investor bought back the factory and the assets of the defunct company with hopes of building their own electric vehicle. A few months later, the first gas-powered 9-3 (with its 2002 Epsilon platform) was produced to help generate funds for the production of the electric powertrain.
However, the 9-3 production has been shut down recently because the Chinese investors, Qingbo Investment, have not kept their part of the deal, which causes National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd alone to foot the massive bills. Some of the Trollhättan factory employees also had to be laid off.
Saab's owners are nonetheless optimists, using this unexpected stop in production to work on their Phoenix architecture, which will be used in their next vehicles.
Since the 9-3 was not compliant with the latest European safety standards, Saab is limited to 1000 vehicles per year. Just before the shutdown, they made 6 per day.
Good news: according to the press release, the Swedish manufacturer has just secured a cooperation agreement with an anonymous major automaker for the creation of new platforms.
While there is nothing to SAAB-rate just yet, it’s nice to know the Swedish car industry is not yet down.