Saab has a loyal fan base, but it’s been suffering from financial trouble for a while now. The company is now set to focus more on the Chinese market as a maker of electric cars. Interestingly enough, the main investor is a Chinese-born Swedish businessman.
Kai Johan Jiang founded the State Power Group in 2004, and that firm has proven very capable in the field of sustainable energy. Much of its development is focused around biomass. Jiang was born in China, but has Swedish citizenship.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden acted to buy the ailing automaker, and they beat out a bid by the Chinese Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile group. NEVS claims they want to revitalize the Saab 9-3 model as an electric car. The new automobile would be launched sometime near late 2013 or early 2014. Eventually they also aim to design a completely new Saab platform. There are also plans to build new models based on Japanese technology.
Saab has been on a strange journey as of late. A business that was making cars since 1947 probably shouldn’t end up bankrupt. However, it wasn’t solvent by the end of 2011. This bankruptcy came less than two years after General Motors sold the automaker. Spyker, which is based in the Netherlands, picked up the ailing company. They apparently couldn’t do anything with it either.
Even though the news seems quite positive, NEVS claims they will only require around 200 employees for the time being. Saab used to employ 3,500. Nevertheless, there are hopes that more people will be hired once the new models hit the market. Saab won’t be able to start building the 9-5 and 9-4X, however, since those are still covered by General Motors.
Around 51 percent of NEVS is owned by National Modern Energy Holdings, which is run by Jian. Japanese Sun Investment owns the remainder. Sun was founded to finance the development of environmental technology in Japan. Nevertheless, the details of the financing are still a little bit sketchy. Japanese influence might be why another automobile with Japanese technology looks to be on the drawing board.
Though Saab is well known, it was always sort of a bit player. Drivers in many areas may no longer have access to their favorite vehicles. One might wonder whether or not these new eco-friendly automobiles will reach the North American market in time to make any real impact. That’s if they reach the North American market at all.