National Electric Vehicle Sweden SA, a Chinese-Japanese investment group last week agreed to buy Saab Automobile and convert the bankrupt Swedish manufacturer into a maker of electric cars.
The agreement includes all outstanding shares in the property company which owns the Saab Automobile facilities in Trollhättan, Sweden.
But it’s not over.
NEVS are continuing negotiations over the rights to the brand name with defense company Saab AB and truckmaker Scania AB. Saab AB, Saab Auto and Scania, once a single company, own the brand name together and must approve the transfer.
“It’s a complex issue and several questions must be sorted out. We’re very keen that the griffin brand isn’t used for anything we can’t stand behind.” Erik Ljungberg, Scania’s spokesman said.
Mikael Ostlund, a spokesman for National Electric Vehicle Sweden, said that the parties are seeking to resolve the brand issue “as quick as possible.” The buyer plans to close the Saab purchase in a couple of months, he said.
The first vehicle under the plan will be based on Saab’s 9-3 car and will go on sale early in 2014, with China as the main market, purchaser National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB and the bankruptcy administrators for Trollhaettan-based Saab said.
In parallel with EV conversion of the Saab 9-3, an all-new model will be developed. Marketing and sales will be global.
Saab had been struggling since at least December 2009, when Detroit-based GM announced it might dissolve the Swedish brand as it did with the Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac divisions in the U.S. With sales peaking at 133,000 deliveries in 2006, Saab sold just 31,700 vehicles in 2010.
No sales figures have been released for 2011.