Despite Saab’s demise last year, the Saab 9-3 is once again in production in Sweden thanks to National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), a conglomerate company that now owns most of Saab’s intellectual property. The first 2014 Saab 9-3 sedans began rolling off the assembly line in Trollhättan this week and will be sold mainly in China, with a limited number of vehicles available for purchase in Sweden as well.
In case you missed the story a few years ago, Saab declared bankruptcy in late 2011 and went through a series of failed rescue attempts from companies like Dutch supercar maker Spyker. Eventually, National Electric Vehicle, a Chinese company, purchased Saab’s Trollhättan production facility and other pieces of the company’s intellectual property like the outgoing Saab 9-3. Other elements of Saab, like the 9-5 sedan and the Saab Automobile Parts AB company, remain independent from NEVS, as the 9-5 is owned by General Motors and the parts company is a stand-alone enterprise.
Contrary to what the NEVS name suggests, the 2014 Saab 9-3 sedans in production in Sweden are not powered by an electric drivetrain. Instead, these Saab 9-3 Aero sedans are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine making 220 hp paired with either a manual or an automatic transmission. NEVS does say that there will be an electric car based on the 9-3 which will launch in spring 2014.
Sales of the 2014 Saab 9-3 will start this month, and the car will be available for purchase in Sweden through NEVS’ website on December 10. Initially, NEVS plans to produce around 10 cars a week, with production increasing according to demand in the future. The starting price is 279,000 Swedish Krona, slightly more than $40,000 under the current exchange rate. At this point it’s unlikely for NEVS to export these Saabs to the U.S., but the company does say that expansion could take place into “markets where we see potential for growth and profitability.”