SAAB SOLD - BUT THE BUYER ISN'T WHO YOU'D THINK
Electric car consortium to turn Saab into a super-green brand
It's been a troubled few years for Swedish automaker Saab; first Victor Muller stormed in and saved the firm at the last minute after GM decided to pull the plug. Then the 9-5 was launched to diluted applause, the 9-4X debuted in America and the UK arm's sales were on the up. Then Saab ran out of money, failed to pay its parts suppliers and stopped manufacturing cars back in April 2011.
Since then Muller strived to rescue the firm with Chinese backing, but that also failed and by the end of 2011 Saab was placed into administration. BMW showed interest (having agreed a deal to supply petrol engines for the forthcoming 9-3) while Chinese maker Youngman and Indian manufacturer Mahindra fought it out in the headlines to be the best suitor for saving Saab.
With NEVS Having worked on developing its own 9-3 ePower hybrid, you can expect a re-worked version of this to be the first to appear - though experts suggest this is still some years away from being fully production-ready.
The 9-3 saloon uses an electric rear axle and small petrol engine to drive the front wheels to create a full four-wheel-drive system. Coupled with the trick eLSD the 9-3 ePower actually promises to be the best-driving Saab of recent times. It's also thought NEVS has bought the rights to the Phoenix platform (the all-new vehicle architecture that was to underpin future Saabs), which it will re-engineer to make suitable for hybrid and electric powertrains and produce a range of new Saab-branded vehicles.