Saab mulls speeding up relaunch plan
Fuel-powered 9-3 could come in 2013, a year ahead of EV
National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the new owner of Saab, may speed up the brand's relaunch by offering a gasoline-powered 9-3 in 2013 rather than re-starting the brand in 2014 with the debut of an electric car, a company spokesman told Automotive News Europe on Tuesday.
"We are evaluating the possibility to start production around next summer of a 9-3 with a traditional powertrain," said Mikael Oestlund, who added that the decision was dependent on ongoing talks with Saab's former component suppliers.
Oestlund said the company was considering the move to raise cash and maintain consumer awareness of the brand ahead of EV sales beginning in 2014, although he said the company had sufficient funds in place to start production of the vehicle and to implement its wider business plan for EV output.
Oestlund added that despite its financial position, NEVS is open to attracting investment for Saab, but declined to say if the company had talked to any potential investors.
''We are open for further investors that would also add more than finance, such as other competences or skills,'' the spokesman said.
NEVS, which bought the Swedish carmaker earlier this year after it was forced into bankruptcy in 2011, had said its first car would be 9-3-based battery-driven model underpinned by its Phoenix platform and built at Saab's factory in Trollhaettan, Sweden.
Oestlund said all future vehicles built using the technology would be branded as Saabs, but added that the company would develop a new logo unrelated to the griffin emblem previously used by the automaker.
NEVS is owned by Hong Kong-based renewable-energy powerplant builder National Modern Energy Holdings.
You can reach David Jolley at email@example.com.